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Jethro Tull - 20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box  CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.61 | 80 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is a boxset you have to see in its historical context. When it came out in the late 1980s, none of Jethro Tull's albums were available in remastered form, and most of the performances included here had never been freely available, although obsessive Tull collectors (which I am not!) may have been familiar with certain performances from old and obscure B-sides, E.P.s and the like.

For the enthusiastic (but not necessarily completist) Tull fan, 20 YEARS made a perfect Christmas present. It looked great (the box lid is adorned with ten irresistible black-and-white photographs of the band in various incarnations) and contained a well-written, informative booklet (LP-sized, as was then customary), chock-full of obscure pictures and featuring a Pete Frame-designed family tree.

The choice of material was idiosyncratic but fascinating, which indicated that this was indeed a set for true fans, not for beginners. Only nine classic Tull tunes were lifted from their respective studio albums - especially acoustic ones such as 'Cheap Day Return', 'One White Duck' and 'Moths'. (For some obscure reason, the totally pointless 'Bungle in the Jungle' was included as well.) Some of the band's best loved songs, on the other hand, ('Locomotive Breath', 'Songs from the Wood' and a shortened version of 'Thick as a Brick', for example) were represented by unfamiliar, and indeed substandard, live performances. By contrast, most of the BBC radio recordings (e.g. 'A New Day Yesterday', 'Velvet Green' and the classic 'Stormy Monday Blues') sounded superb.

In my view, the most obscure material was the best of all. The band's first single, 'Aeroplane'/'Sunshine Day', (originally released under the name Jethro Toe!) simply sounded SHWEET. Other unfamiliar tunes ( '17', 'One for John Gee' and 'Witch's Promise') were equally enchanting. And many previously unreleased tracks from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties immediately cast their spell, especially 'Summerday Sands', 'Strip Cartoon', 'King Henry's Madrigal', 'Motoreyes', 'Blues Instrumental', 'Part of the Machine' and the gorgeous 'Jack-a-Lynn'. Most, if not all, of these tracks are now available as bonus material on re-mastered Jethro Tull albums.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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