An introduction to "M.U."

While the recording sessions for the next album, "Too Old To Rock 'N'Roll: Too Young Too Die!" were still taking place, Chrysalis Records decided to release a compilation album, awkwardly titled "M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull". In fact it was a single album, which contained only one track, that wasn't released before: "Rainbow Blues".

Though the collection could be interesting for new fans, and was probably released for that purpose, it irritated many 'old-timers' among Tull-fans that they had to buy an album with songs they already posessed on previous albums, in order to obtain this one missing song. The abreviation 'M.U.' stands for Musicians Union. According to David Rees the album came with a poster of all Tull members, past and present, reunited for an afternoon for the pose. "The only notable absentee was Mick Abrahams, who was pointedly not invited!" (p. 72).

In 1977 and 1985 similar releases took place with the albums "Repeat : The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II" and "Original Masters", which by diehard Tull-fans once again were welcomed with mixed feelings. It is in my opinion striking, that the cover art work of these three albums is poor, whereas it has always been a subject of special care and originality on previous and later Tull albums. From the sources I have used it has not become clear whether the initiative for releasing these albums was taken by Chrysalis Records or by Ian Anderson himself.
* Jan Voorbij

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Rainbow Blues

  • This song probably arose from the Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll sessions. During the concert at Ahoy Hal, Rotterdam, on 5 May, 1976, Tull played a group of new songs: Big Dipper, Bad-Eyed And Loveless, Quizz Kid, Rainbow Blues, Crazed Institution, and Taxi Grab. Perhaps 'Rainbow Blues' was written for the stage musical, but didn't fit the theme of the album, so was instead slipped into the 'MU' compilation. The tracks played live clearly weren't in the same order as on the album, so it shouldn't be assumed that 'Rainbow Blues' was originally supposed to fit between 'Quizz Kid' and 'Crazed Institution'.
    * Neil R. Thomason

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  • This poster came with the original vinyl-version of "M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull". The picture was taken during the reunion dinner in 1976, where the members of the second and third Tull line-up were present. In his book "To Be The Play", Brian Meyers refers to this picture reminding him of The Last Supper (p. 126).

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Jan Voorbij (1998-2009)