This Was and Stand Up where the albums of the rhythm’n blues era of Jethro Tull and Aqualung started the proggressive period - but Benefit doesn’t really fit to either one of these. But let's think of the year the album was made – 1970 – and in comparison with other bands of the same era. Then Benefit fits to it’s place nicely: Yes: Time and a Word, Gentle Giant: 1st, Genesis:Tresspass, King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon, Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother and also: Led Zeppelin: II, Deep Purple: In Rock - or even: Uriah Heep: Very ‘eavy, Very ‘Umble.
Things were in progression everywhere but no one seemed to know what the final path would be. In this perspective Benefit is really a remarkable album. The band (or Ian Anderson, to be more precise) had left the blues sound behind and moved into more complex composing. Songs like With You There to Help Me or To Cry You a Song paved the way to the future epics-to-be and Alive And Well And Living or Teacher (the famous bonus track of the same period) proved Andersons melodic songwriting skills.
Benefit is also the album where Martin Barre got more room as the lead guitarist. It also introduces the long time Tull-member John Evan on piano. Also one of the original members of the band, Glenn Cornick did his last appearance on bass to be replace with Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond on Aqualung. Even these line-up changes prove that much was happening around the band at that time.
The leap from Stand Up to Benefit was indeed longer than from Benefit to Aqualung but Benefit still remains the odd period of the band when no future paths were carved to stone. It was not untill the next album – Aqualung – that did the job.