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Jethro Tull - A CD (album) cover

A

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.19 | 392 ratings

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febus
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars A DIFFERENT TULL DOESN'T MEAN A BAD TUL!!

Like most of the successful bands of the 70s, JETHRO TULL was at a crossroad when the new decade came.In order not to be considered as a fossil or a relic, especially from the recording companies, one had to adapt to the new ''modern'' times or else.Even Very successful mainstream rockers such as Don Henley, the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, David Bowie had to evolve and changed their sound to remain relevant in the opening 80s

As IAN ANDERSON wanted to record a ''solo'' album ,he decided to go for a different sound, not in the vein of good ol' JETHRO TULL and started to record 'A'' with the help of EDDIE JOBSON .We all know how the story ended up with the music company going public announcing a new ....JETHRO TULL album. The other permanent JT members learn that way they were not part of the new plan and felt quite betrayed. That's the original version as i can imagine the qualityof the language of the conversations when IAN called EVANS, PALMER and BARLOW on the phone to explain the misunderstanding; not vey nice, i assume!

The amazing thing is IAN ANDERSON asked MARTIN BARRE to participate on the recording of 'A'!! What kind of a solo album is it when you have Anderson teaming up with his TULL guitarist , the 2 most prominent members of the band for the songwriting and the TULL sound. I mean IAN ANDERSON is JETHRO TULL; just add MARTIN BARRE and how it can be a solo album??

But the star of ''A'' is neither ANDERSON or BARRE; this privilege goes to EDDIE JOBSON, the ''' special guest' 'member of the band who didn't want to consider JETHRO TULL as long term project. Also present are bassist DAVE PEGG who took over the late JOHN GLASCOCK for the STORMWATCH tour and drummer MARC CRANEY from South Dakota.

This is not the JETHRO TULL from your grand parents, the one ''we used to know''!This is 80s JT with a new sound, more modern with all the synths you want and the most up to date electronic equipment. Forget the mandolin, forget the lute and the string quartet, forget also the acoustic guitar from IAN as well!. There is no minstrel entertaining some count in his medieval castle. There are no earthy songs from the wood on ''A'.The cover is now a high tech space design with all the members in the same astronaut uniform . TIME WAS, no more!You still have some flute (wouldnt be JETHRO ANDERSON otherwise), the heavy guitar of BARRE, but what you notice first is the omnipresence of the keyboards and electric violin from EDDIE JOBSON!.

When 'A' was released, i didn't like it as it was definitely a very different sounding JT. I bought it as i was a faithful fan but never really played it more than 2-3 times. I couldn't go into it and so i was part of the criticizing legion ''what happened to good old TULL" and i forgot about it until now when the new remastered CD was released with a DVD. Once again, for complete collection purposes i bought it and gave it another try after a poster here on PA recommended me lo listen to it one more time.And thanks to him,i am glad i did!

Not that 'A' has become a sudden masterpiece, but this is a GOOD album nevertheless; Yes the sound is different, definitely more ''modern'', but that is still JETHRO TULL. The songs are more straightforward , lasting from 3 to 6mns, but you will find great solid song writing on this album from the catchy opener CROSSFIRE to the violin led-UNIFORM. What is there not to like in FLYINGDALE FLYER or BLACK SUNDAY?? Good TULL songs as good as anything they did in the past.A lot of good energy!

Maybe some fans are turned of by the synths sound, but i guess 27 years later, it doesn't affect and we have to accept than your favorite artists have or want to change. I am not the same person that i was in 1980. IAN ANDERSON is not in the same spirits than he was in 1968. Everybody is allowed to grow and to adapt to a new (musical) environment.

Also if there is change, it's good to notice there is no sell-out from the band. Jethro TULL has not become a boy band; this is just a solid modern sounding JT. IAN ANDERSON sings as good as usual, the flute is still around and BARRE still plays hard. The difference is EDDIE JOBSON!! But this is someone with some startling references: he played with FRANK ZAPPA, ROXY MUSIC and led UK with JOHN WETTON. And if you take the time to listen to his performance on 'A', he is really good and add a lot to the sound with his violin and grandiose piano playing; Actually he acts like the musical director on this album. He is the sound of the album.

So a different TULL? definitely! but why not trying something new! a violin all over JT music! i think it was something interesting and fresh to experience. There is no winning anyway for these guys! or they change their sound, it's a betrayal; or they remain the same true to their old sound and they become static or lacking of new ideas.

There are no acoustic ballads, but 'A' is a damn good rocking album! this is not a excellent addition to a prog collection, so won't be 4 stars, but i would like to give3.5 stars.

3 STARS!i

febus | 3/5 |

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