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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance CD (album) cover

A PASSION PLAY: AN EXTENDED PERFOMANCE

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.90 | 62 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
5 stars A passion play ? Extended

How do you follow up an album that has been universally hailed as one of extreme brilliance, a masterpiece? How do you accomplish that? Well, really you don't. It is no point in making an album inferior, if that was your answer. You have to excell. Be greater than that praised album. Well, better than ever before! You need to become greater than ever. THE greatest. But then again, how do you go about doing that? I have no great answer but I do know that Jethro Tull pulled it off. Not everyone seemed to think that back in the day and there is still some debate whether or not it holds up to scrutiny. Like most people I adore "Thick as a brick", thinking it being one of the finest examples of progressive rock ever made, but I also think that "A passion play" is just as exemplary, though not the same at any great length. On the original vinyl the only two seemingly concurring elements was the inclusion of two long tracks. The two albums are really two different entities, apart from the two part suite thingy.

To me this has always been one of those albums superior to almost everything. I got it way back on a sale and I couldn't have been more than 16 years old. Two songs and a cover so dark and bleak it took my breath away, evoking the eclipse of existance. And from the first thumping beats of the album's beginning, to the last shivering notes of track two, I loved it. I was infused with a greatness, as if in the presence of divine beings. I had reached the holiest of places, the Temple of Tull. I loved it all. "The hare who lost his spectacles" was and is to me the perfect mockumentary of a children's story. In that piece of the musical palette lies something truly genius. The story is so wonderfully crafted and conducted, lyrically and not least musically, that I continously return.

I will not go into detaails of the contents of the album, particularily not the original album. It is a tremendous piece of music and differs, as stated, in tone and musical direction. It is very much Jethro Tull but in my opinion the darkest and most complex music created by them. The very delicate balance between all what makes Jethro Tull the great band they are, is augmented by the presence of truly complex shifts and turns, ammzing chord progressions and even some slight avant-garde stuff. It is an album of daring and vision that got slandered in the day, leading them to, as I perceive, to tread a more traditional Jethro Tull path on the next album. One can however see elements of "A passion play" on "Warchild" but in a gentler shape and form.

Now, the bonus tracks. It is a real treat to hear the recordings they made in France, which were to lead up to the album we know today. The sessions in France got canned and Ian Anderson re- wrote and arranged the songs in a different fashion and recorded it once again. That was really a blessing, since the album in it's known state is far superior. It is, though, a pleasure hearing those tracks that later transformed and those tracks that lead nowhere, despite their grand quality.

"A passion play" is one of the finest progressive rock albums I know. The quality of songs, the arrangement and the superior musicianship, alongside a tremendous dose of quirky british sense of humour, makes this one of those to-die-for albums. The price of this box is ridiculous and anyone can afford it, really. It is beautiful to look at and the overall package (songs, video, booklet and what not) really makes it essential.

GruvanDahlman | 5/5 |

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