The group's second album, with Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards, balalaika), Martin Barre (electric guitar, flute), Clive Bunker (drums), and Glenn Cornick (bass), solidified their sound. There are still elements of blues present in their music, but except for the opening track, "A New Day Yesterday," it is far more muted ...
The group's second album, with Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards, balalaika), Martin Barre (electric guitar, flute), Clive Bunker (drums), and Glenn Cornick (bass), solidified their sound. There are still elements of blues present in their music, but except for the opening track, "A New Day Yesterday," it is far more muted than on their first album -- new lead guitarist Martin Barre had few of the blues stylings that characterized Mick Abrahams' playing. Rather, the influence of English folk music manifests itself on several cuts, including "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square" and "Look into the Sun." The instrumental "Bouree," which could've passed for an early Blood, Sweat & Tears track, became a favorite concert number, with an excellent solo bit featuring Cornick's bass, although at this point Anderson's flute playing on-stage needed a lot of work. As a story-song with opaque lyrics, jarring tempo changes, and loud electric passages juxtaposed with soft acoustic-textured sections, "Back to the Family" is an early forerunner to Thick as a Brick. Similarly, "Reasons for Waiting," with its mix of closely miked acoustic guitar and string orchestra, all hung around a hauntingly beautiful folk-based melody, pointed in the direction of that conceptual piece and its follow-up, A Passion Play. The only major flaw in this album is the mix, which divides the electric and acoustic instruments and fails to find a solid center, but even that has been fixed on recent CD editions. The original LP had a gatefold jacket that included a pop-up representation of the band that has been lost on all subsequent CD versions, except for the Mobile Fidelity audiophile release. In late 2001, Stand Up was re-released in a remastered edition with bonus tracks that boasted seriously improved sound. Anderson's singing comes off richer throughout, and the electric guitars on "Look into the Sun" are very well-delineated in the mix, without any loss in the lyricism of the acoustic backing; the rhythm section on "Nothing Is Easy" has more presence, Bunker's drums and hi-hat playing sounding much closer and sharper; the mandolin on "Fat Man" is practically in your lap; you can hear the action on the acoustic guitar on "Reasons for Waiting," even in the orchestrated passages; and the band sounds like it's in the room with you pounding away on "For a Thousand Mothers." Among the bonus tracks, recorded at around the same time, "Living in the Past," "Driving Song," and "Sweet Dreams" all have a richness and resonance that was implied but never heard before. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
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