Truth Is Like Freedom (Godfather Records GR 783)
Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL – August 16th, 1970
(73:58): Introduction, My Sunday Feeling, My God, To Cry You A Song, With You There To Help Me, Sossity / Reasons For Waiting, Nothing Is Easy, Dharma For One, MC, We Used To Know /For A Thousand Mothers
After recording Benefit in December 1969, a follow up to their successful album Stand Up, Jethro Tull spent much of 1970 on the road including at least three visits to America and tours of the UK and Europe. All this live activity and writing material for their fourth LP Aqualung (recorded December 1970) saw them move firmly from a blues based hard rock band (whose early tours with Led Zeppelin made artistic sense) to their progressive rock peak.
Truth Is Like Freedom contains one of the best sounding live documents from the era. This particular tour was supposed to end on August 11th in Vancouver. Tull were going to fly to Japan on August 14th to headline a music festival at Expo ’70. After an eleven date tour, they were going to fly to Australia for dates there before heading back to the UK for their set at the Isle Of Wight on August 30th.
But for some reason those plans fell through so three dates were booked including August 15th in Wisconsin, this date in Chicago and finally a show on August 17th in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Godfather use very good professionally recorded tape for the show. There are several minor cuts between numbers and one 8:48 in “Dharma For One.” It’s stated this was broadcast on WXRT-FM (with some sources claiming this was recorded on January 16th but broadcast on August 16th which doesn’t make sense).
There are not disc jockey comments or commercial breaks. It also sounds a bit distorted and rough for a radio broadcast. I could make the argument this is really a raw soundboard tape instead of a polished radio production, but that’s purely academic.
The earliest audio to surface was a fifty-four minute tape. Missing twenty minutes from the broadcast, it omitted “Dharma For One,” “We Used To Know,” the improvisations and Ian Anderson’s quips and stories between numbers. All of the previous silver pressed editions of this show used this tape including Blues from Chicago (Manic Depression CD-015), Where’s Jethro (Tendolar TDR-043) and Live In Chicago (Optimes DIR-17), a title given as a gift to readers of the Italian rock-magazine Dizionario Del Rock.
The only complete version is on the no label CDR Aragon Ballroom released in 2001 so Truth Is Like Freedom is the first silver pressed edition of this recording.
The tape begins with Ian Anderson telling the audience “we’ll start off with a very old song we haven’t played for years and years. This is actually from the very first album when Martin was just a baby and wasn’t old enough to join the group. Then Mick Abrahams grew up and died and Martin came along and learned this one which is an oldie called ‘My Sunday Feeling.’ Just you wait ’cause we forgotten how to play it, woo hoo.”
While waiting for the band he tells the audience they won’t have the benefit of end-of-tour shenanigans because they play the next night in “Council Bluffs, Nebraska” (forgetting that Council Bluffs is across the river in Iowa). When they are finally ready they play “My Sunday Feeling,” the first song on their first album This Was.
The set highlights the talents of the individual members of the band. “My God,” which was first attempted in April but rearranged for the Aqualung album in 1971, contains Anderson’s long and nutty flute solo in the middle. In addition to his rock chords, he also includes quick references to “Camptown Races” and “God Bless Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”
After “To Cry You A Song” new pianist Mike Evan who has a nice solo in “With You There To Help Me.” The main set ends with “Dharma For One” and the encore set contains “We Used To Know,” “For A Thousands Mothers” with a six and a half minute improvisation in the middle.
Truth Is Like Freedom is packaged in a tri-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve with various period photographs and the complete tour itinerary for 1970. Because Jethro Tull silvers are so rare this one is definitely recommended for the great sound quality and beauty of a show.