This is a video review looking at the classic album Aqualung by Jethro Tull and looking at the different versions that are available and which one I would recommend.
I don’t have an absolute original vinyl copy. This one is from the mid-70s. It’s still got the textured sleeve, which it had throughout its whole career at this point. This is on Chrysalis Records, and you can tell it’s the later version because it’s on the blue Chrysalis record label. I’m going to be honest and say that, yes, this is probably the biggest-selling Jethro Tull album in the UK, anyway. I know in Germany Broadsword and the Beast probably outsold it.
I have always thought the production on this sounded old. The album is from 1971, and it always sounds a bit like the cover looks, kind of grubby, but that’s what a lot of the early Tull albums had this kind of murky sound, Then in 1996, when we’re in the age of the CD, this appeared from 1996, this is the 25th anniversary version, which makes out that it’s been digitally remastered, 20 bit, sound remastering etc.
It came with a kind of slightly wider booklet plus some extra tracks on it, which were unavailable elsewhere, some information about what the music papers said and the lyrics. It came in a silver plastic box, with information on other about other albums by Jethro Tull.
I have to say that it might have been a bit of an improvement but it still sounded murky and it still sounded like it was from a very, very long time ago. Then there was a super deluxe version came out, which Steven Wilson had mixed, and it was about £100 and it’s just way out of my league. So the next thing that I bought was the special 40th anniversary edition 2CD, which Steve Wilson did.
This is outstanding. The quality of the music and how it sounds and you’ve got so many extra tracks. It’s fantastic. The booklet is fairly extensive, it goes into lots of information, and this was the one which you could get, as I say, Steve Wilson talks about the mixes and they sound absolutely unbelievable, and I have to say the album on this sounds better than it had ever sounded.
Now, those of you who know Jethro Tull, know all of their issues come in the book format. I think Benefit’s the only one that hasn’t caught up. But this came out not that long ago and you can still get it for about £20 +. So if I was going to say which is the ultimate version of Aqualung, then this would be it.
I so wish that Led Zeppelin had done something like this with their albums or even Yes or Deep Purple. Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull, this format for reissuing a classic album is absolutely incredible. You’ve got the whole album, plus a 80 page book, then associated 1971 recordings, and the most important thing, you have two DVDs. One of them contains a 5.1 surround sound mix, and I know some of you think 5.1 sound mixes are a gimmick, they’re not. This sounds absolutely stunning.
On the DVD, you get the quad mix, the flat transfer, vinyl transfer, you get every version of Aqualung you could ever want. The booklets that Jethro Tull do, they are incredible. It’s not just about the music, it’s about the cover, it’s about the artist, it’s about the tours, it’s about everything they did. These books in themselves are so spectacular and so detailed about what was going on at the time, looking back from now through the eyes of a rock fan from the year we’re in now, right back to when it first came out. They are absolutely brilliant. I can’t say enough about them. This is how a reissue should be done.
So, what about if you’re a vinyl fan? Is there anywhere else you can go? There is. And it’s this. This has not long been out. This is the vinyl reissue, the 2011 Steven Wilson stereo remix. So if you’re going to get a vinyl version, get this one. I’m not sure which version is currently available, but you can see that this is on the old Chrysalis label, and it’s green vinyl as well, which is rather lovely.
But unlike a lot of vinyl reissues, this one also comes with an absolutely huge book. You can get it for about £20 so again you’ll see some of the pictures but you’ll get the full story about the band. So some of this is from the hard back reissue book but if you’re into vinyl, and you’re into Tull, and you’re into Aqualung, get this version. It really is good.
Thank you everybody, I hope you enjoyed that, and as I say this is the one to buy if you’re into the CD and DVD area or try and get hold of the green vinyl version with the Steve Wilson remixes. See you soon, thank you.