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Jethro Tull - Songs From The Wood CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.18 | 1326 ratings

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5 stars Review Nš 40

Jethro Tull always was one of the best progressive bands and I sincerely think that they can be seen as one of the ten best progressive and most important bands from the 70's. Even today the group can be considered as one of the best and one of the most influential bands in the progressive rock scene.

"Songs From The Wood" is in general considered to be the first of a trio of studio albums more oriented to the folk music. I'm talking about of their tenth, eleventh and twelfth studio albums, "Songs From The Wood" released in 1977, "Heavy Horses" released in 1978 and "Stormwatch" released in 1979, respectively. Ian Anderson had moved to the countryside, some time earlier, in 1975, and that fact, became very important and decisive to him about the choice of the source material for the next album of the band. Anderson became fascinated with the country culture, namely, the early British folklore and legends, and the result of that, was the produce of a particularly appealing collection of songs, which became part of this incredible and fantastic studio work, one of my favourites, undoubtedly.

Besides the five usual members of the group, coming from their previous ninth studio album "Too Old To Rock'N'Roll: Too Young To Die" released in 1976, which were Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, Barriemore Barlow, John Gascock and John Evans, David Palmer, who had made some musical arrangements on some of the earlier Jethro Tull's albums, formally joined to the band, playing mostly keyboards, and starting to have a very close musical relationship with the band, which would be kept during the three more oriented folk albums, already mentioned by me.

"Songs From The Wood" has nine tracks. The first track is the title track "Songs From The Wood". This is a great song to open the album. It's the song that introduces us to the calm and pastoral atmosphere of the countryside. It's the song that explains everything that will be brought to us all over the album. The second track "Jack-In-The-Green" is one of the smallest tracks on the album and is a little tune of an English folk ballad. On this song, the charismatic and eccentric leader of the group Anderson plays all the instruments, which gave to him the opportunity to prove that he is also a complete and multi-instrumentalist musician. The third track "Cup Of Wonder" is a song in the same vein of the previous one, and is a very rhythmic and happy song. This is a kind of a classic folk song in the Jethro Tull's repertoire. The fourth track "Hunting Girl" is the harder rocking theme of the album, which became in one of their best songs and is also one of my favourite songs, too. Thanks to its great musical variety this is really a great Jethro Tull's piece of music. The fifth track "Ring Out Solstice Bells" is the opposite of "Hunting Girl" because is softer and slight, and represents a truly celebration in the song. It's a more orchestral song, in which it seems to appear a real Christmas choral chord, when they all sing together. The sixth track "Velvet Green" is another very beautiful theme with some Celtic spirit. It's a purely classic folk acoustic theme with a medieval musical atmosphere. It became also a great Jethro Tull's classic song. The seventh track "The Whistler" is another theme with the spirit of the Celtic music, beautifully combined with the rock sound. It's a small song and one of the best on the album, which proves that the great songs don't always need to be big. The eighth track "Pibrock (Cap In Hand)" is the lengthiest, complex, elaborate and progressive track on the album. It's the heaviest song on the album with a more instrumental domination. Despite be a very good theme, we can say that this track seems to appear a little bit out of place on the album. The ninth track "Fire At Midnight" is the smallest song on the album. Like the first track "Songs From The Wood", a great opener of the album, "Fire At Midnight" is also a great song to close it. It's the song which tells goodnight to the pastoral musical atmosphere of the countryside and represents a truly perfect moment to complete the final scene of this musical piece.

Conclusion: "Songs From The Wood" is a great album with a collection of great songs. It's the perfect hybrid of medieval pagan derived acoustic folk and symphonic and contemporary rock styles. From the opening solo vocal to the grandiose finale, the album it's more like a single musical movement than a simple bunch of songs. It shows a clear artistic vision and a full commitment to realizing that vision that can go a long way, especially when it's perfectly combined with an exceptional musical collaboration and with themes that touches the heart of a modern soul. "Songs From The Wood" is, in my humble opinion, one of the best efforts made by the group. It's an unpretentious album, very simple, beautiful and pleasant with several pieces of music with the only purpose to be funny and to get to enjoy us. I invite you to make a trip in the "Tull's Wood", with no hesitation and with an open mind, and enjoy with no fear this entire and very special musical atmosphere, inside this magnificent musical journey. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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