I've always heard Jethro Tull around the house for as long as I can remember. I would also pore over the covers to the albums, many of them with colorful gatefold sleeves, pages of pics of the guys in the band, and even the cutout of the guys in the Stand Up album.
One in particular caught my attention. It had a white cover, with a simple line drawing of the Flute Guy on the front, standing on one leg, playing the flute. I couldn't tell if he was standing in place while playing it, or if he was hopping on that one leg. Dad had colored the drawing on his copy with colored markers, giving it a little "color" to a rather plain cover.
What grabbed my attention were the labels, which had a outline of the same image, except as a white silhouette, with a tan background, on both sides. It was fun to gaze at the label while the record was playing. I was knocked out by the opening section of "Thick As A Brick", which segued directly into "Bungle In The Jungle", another early favorite. And everything else on Side 1 was great...so much so that Side 2 was not played as much back then!
This was another album that disappeared after a while (it s successor was a newer compilation called Original Masters, which had many of the same songs on it), but was re-acquired on cassette in the summer of 1987, from the Hilltop Pawn Shop. I played it many times that summer, including the second side this time, and discovering things like "Fat Man" and "Nothing Is Easy".
I never knew what the title M.U. meant or stood for until years later, when I found it was a jokey reference to "Musicians Union", also referencing to the various guys in the band who'd came and went since the first album.
This one had some good cuts on it, including a couple of edit pieces from Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play, which were my favorite parts from those albums. They had put out a couple of albums since the first volume (Minstrel In The Gallery and Too Old To Rock And Roll), and the title tracks from each of them were on there, plus an unreleased cut called "Glory Row", which closed the album.
There never was a third volume, though there was a compilation in Spain called The Best Of Jethro Tull, Volume III, but it contained some of the songs from the previous volumes (did no-one have a copy of the other ones?), and even borrowed an image from the Living In The Past booklet!
This was one of Dad's favorite bands back in the '70s. In fact, he saw them in 1972, 1974 and 1978 in Seattle, and--like I said--I heard them many times in the house in my preschool years, and they really grew on me. Flash forward to August 10th, 2010, when Geoffrey was just past six months old. I was with him in the front yard of the house, and Dad brought out the little Soundesign radio/tape-player. Since the day was Ian Anderson's birthday, he celebrated it by putting in a cassette copy of M.U., and played it in its entirety, while it was just the three of us in the yard, enjoying it. A very pleasant moment and memory for me, one that would be all too brief.