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Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick CD (album) cover

THICK AS A BRICK

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.63 | 2937 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
5 stars We tend to forget, or perhaps ignore, that even FM rock radio in the 1970s was commercially driven, so, while TAAB was hugely successful from day one, it eventually posed more radio programming problems than it solved. By the mid 1970s, all one got to hear was a 5 minute "gut job". I remember finding it quaint at the time but it certainly didn't incite me to rush out and buy the way a self contained piece like "Benedictus", "And You and I", "In the Court of the Crimson King", :The Musical Box", "New Horizons", or "Conquistador" might have, and did. I'm not trying to downplay the role of those fine works from the full concepts behind them, but instead to reinforce how TAAB is the indivisible entity. I say this even though, or maybe because, interviews with Mr Anderson reveal that, for all its cohesiveness, TAAB in fact includes bits and pieces that had been lying about for the prior few years, somehow plucked from dusty corners and amalgamated with verve and communal spirit. They are not worthless without each other, but they stick up for each other, which is the clear sense I get about this band at this moment in time.

Apart from the extended set, the progression from "Aqualung" is remarkable; indeed the blend of acoustic and electric guitars, flutes, and organ is propelled by the concept to the extent that it makes the prior work seem like riff rock by comparison, and I do mean that kindly. Part 1 includes several themes that incorporate folk, rock and blues masterfully, and I think the folk wins out,in the best parts, chiefly "The Poet and the Painter" and "Childhood Heroes".. Part 2 does revisit the key themes of Part 1 in deliciously subtle and more direct ways, but I must especially single out the jaw dropping beauty of the ":Do You Believe in the Day" segment. The bonus material amounts to a live version of Part 1, which reveals just how "live" the original was, to the credit of all concerned, and an interview that is certainly valuable as an insight into how it all transpired.

It's hard to fairly evaluate a masterpiece 40+ years after its apparition, but I can't blame JETHRO TULL for the foibles of radio programmers and my lack of friends who were fans, or even being introduced to the band via "Bungle in the Jungle". I also seem to have reluctantly acquired the taste for Mr Anderson's voice after years of grimacing like a baby when his whir pierced a stately melody at the worst moment. Here's to Gerald Bostock from one of his thickest fans!

kenethlevine | 5/5 |

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