Tull was, even in its heyday, an acquired taste. The band achieved international acclaim with Aqualung, which got radio play and brought the piped-piper of rock to the fore as a sort of mad minstrel of arena rock. But Tull started as a blues band and Ian Anderson’s flute playing was not always at the forefront on the earliest albums. Stand-Up is one of my favorites because it captures the band at its bluesy best, with elements of the medieval minstrel stuff nicely worked in; listen to ‘We Used to Know’ and appreciate that the medieval and the blues can co-exist. The rest of the album is killer. Pressings: the album, though a Chrysalis record, was distributed by Island and follows the same pattern of early pink label releases. My go-to copy is a first issue UK “eye-ball” pink label:
This pressing was followed by the “blocked” “i” logo label, then the white “i” before being reissued as a pink rim in the UK. My recommendation is to find one of the pink labels in as good a condition as you can reasonably find and afford. I generally prefer the sound of the UK pink labels to the later pink rims and judging by prices at the time of this writing a clean copy on the pink label from one of the original UK issues (whether an eyeball, blocked ‘i’ or white ‘i’) should be priced in descending order of release, i.e., the white ‘i’ logo should be the cheapest among the UK pink labels, all else, including condition, being equal (which, of course, it never is). We’ll review Benefit and Aqualung at a later point with some surprises on best pick for sonics.
This record may not best exemplify Island Records during the era, but it does best exemplify this band.