“Crystal-clear stereo separation, a much fuller and warmer sound… Steven Wilson’s remaster is a huge improvement”: Jethro Tull’s Bursting Out – The Inflated Edition

Bookset series turns to the band’s first live release, which showcases Ian Anderson as zany ringmaster

Jethro Tull - Bursting Out – The Inflated Edition
(Image: © Warners / Parlophone)

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With Jethro Tull’s classic run of albums, from 1968 debut This Was to 1982’s The Broadsword And The Beast – all now reissued and repackaged in expanded form as lavish ‘bookset’ remasters – it’s time for the band’s first live album to receive the same treatment.

Bursting Out was originally released in September 1978, and recorded earlier that year at a variety of shows on the European tour for Heavy Horses. It captures the band in fiery form while highlighting Ian Anderson’s role as frontman and zany ringmaster. Well-received at the time, it still stands up today as a record of Tull as an exciting live machine and stadium-filling global brand.

Steven Wilson continues his exemplary work remixing the band’s back catalogue on The Inflated Edition. As well as crystal-clear stereo separation, the sound is much fuller and warmer than the 2004 remaster, the default until now – it’s a huge improvement.

Jethro Tull - Unboxing Bursting Out (The Inflated Edition) - YouTube Jethro Tull - Unboxing Bursting Out (The Inflated Edition) - YouTube
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Also present and correct are the accompanying series of in-depth interviews and essays that have really made this reissue programme stand out from the pack of archival releases. These include illuminating chats with live crew and recording engineers, plus reprints of contemporary articles.

As ever, it’s Anderson’s considered reflections on the album that deliver the best value

But, as ever, it’s Anderson’s considered reflections on the album that deliver the best value – likening Wilson’s role to somebody examining the “dark details of the interior of my lower rectum” is particularly amusing.

There are audio extras too, the most important of which are the missing songs from the original set, which had previously been cut down to fit on a double LP. The most significant addition is a spirited version of Heavy Horses, “dedicated to all old dobbins everywhere.” 

Jethro Tull - Bursting Out – The Inflated Edition

(Image credit: Warners / Parlophone)

Also new is a short instrumental take of Living In The Past, super-charged by guitarist Martin Barre, who plays brilliantly throughout. There’s the unedited version of Songs From The Wood as well – with the concert split across two CDs, this track now ends with Anderson ribbing the crowd that he’ll see them shortly in the bar, as the original show is also split into two halves.

A number of soundcheck tracks from the same tour are presented in addition, recorded to test out the tape machines. The most interesting of these are an early instrumental version of 4.W.D. (Low Ratio) and a run-through of Botanic Man, their unused theme to a David Bellamy TV show. 

And talking of television, this bookset additionally includes a DVD of Tull’s 50-minute performance from Madison Square Garden, broadcast live by satellite to the UK in October 1978, plus a CD edit of the whole concert – previously released in 2009, it’s also now been remixed by Wilson.

Bursting Out – The Inflated Edition is on sale now via Warners / Parlophone.

Joe Banks

Joe is a regular contributor to Prog. He also writes for Electronic Sound, The Quietus, and Shindig!, specialising in leftfield psych/prog/rock, retro futurism, and the underground sounds of the 1970s. His work has also appeared in The Guardian, MOJO, and Rock & Folk. Joe is the author of the acclaimed Hawkwind biographyDays Of The Underground (2020). He’s on Twitter and Facebook, and his website is https://www.daysoftheunderground.com/