Rolling Stone (12/13/69, p.54) - "...quite marvelous....[Ian Anderson] revels a melodic gift on this album...a fuller awareness of the coloristic possibilities of the flute, and a catholicity of taste....a meticulously crafted work, which deserves careful listening..."
Q (11/01, p.139) - 4 out of 5 stars - "...One of prog rock's neglected classics..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Anderson's superlative melodies have survived the test of time."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.84) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he album captured the band on a vertiginous upswing, jubilant with confidence....A winning combination of brisk, cartwheeling rockers..."
Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson (vocals, guitar, balalaika, mandolin, flute, mouth organ, Hammond B-3 organ); Martin "Lancelot" Barre (electric guitar, flute); Glen Cornick (bass); Clive Bunker (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: David Palmer (arranger, conductor).
Producers: Terry Ellis, Ian Anderson.
Principally recorded at Morgan Studios, London, England. Includes liner notes by Ian Anderson.
The group's second album, with Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards, balalaika), Martin Barre (electric guitar, flute), Clive Bunker (drums), and Glen Cornick (bass), solidified the group's sound. There is still an element of blues, but except for "A New Day Yesterday," it is far more muted than on their first album, as Mick Abrahams' blues stylings are largely absent from Martin Barre's playing. The influence of folk music also began to manifest itself ("Look Into the Sun"). The instrumental "Bouree," which could've been an early Blood, Sweat & Tears track, became a favorite concert number, although at this point Anderson's flute playing on-stage needed a lot of work; by his own admission, he just wasn't that good. Bassist Cornick would last through only one more album, but he gets his best moments here, on "Bouree." As a story song with opaque lyrics and jarring tempo changes, "Back to the Family" is the forerunner to Thick as a Brick. The only major flaw in this album is the mix, which divides the electric and acoustic instruments and fails to find a solid center. The LP comes with a "pop-up" jacket interior. ~ Bruce Eder