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Passion Play

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By Greg Cahill

CLASSIC ROCK deserves classic treatment. The Sebastopol-based audiophile company Mobile Fidelity has reissued several of Jethro Tull's classic rock albums on 24k gold-plated CDs under its acclaimed ultradisc II series.

Good luck finding a Mobile Fidelity copy of its now out-of-print audiophile version of 1972's Thick as a Brick, a critically panned sci-fi-inspired recording that features one extended track about a boy's growth into manhood and presages the cloning phenomenon.

Still around, though, is the two-CD set Living in the Past, which features the hit title track and some less than engaging filler.

More recently, the label has reissued Tull's 1973 opus Passion Play, which explores the subject of life after death. As Rock: The Rough Guide notes, critics found it obscure and pretentious (a criticism often leveled at Jethro Tull's mid-career output), but U.S. audiences sent it to the top of the pop charts.

For my money, I'm holding out for a 24k copy of the band's 1968 debut This Was, which contains mostly self-penned blues material and a nod to jazz player Roland Kirk, whose flute phrasing and techniques Ian Anderson has borrowed liberally throughout his career.

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From the August 27-September 2, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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