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Jethro Tull - Catfish Rising CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

2.61 | 451 ratings

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2 stars Of all the Tull albums I have this is the one I like the least. Right off the bat with “This is not Love” Martin Barre kicks the record off with a guitar riff that sounds like it belongs on a Foreigner album. This is not a promising first impression.

Also, I discovered the band through ‘Warchild’ like most midwestern American kids; yep – “Bungle in the Jungle”, and frankly after fifteen years of listening to them by the time this one came out I was getting a little bored with Anderson’s vocals and would have liked it if he’d have yielded the mic to some comely young lass or something. His perverted lecher’s ranting was really cool on ‘Aqualung’ and inspiring on ‘Thick as a Brick’, but on this and most of the other 80s/90s albums he just sounds like he’s being a control-freak with the band’s artistic direction (which of course he was).

Many of these tracks are ones Anderson is almost solely responsible for, and most of them are rather uninspired and perfunctory: “Roll Yer Own”, “Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall”, “Like a Tall Thin Girl”, the really stupid “Thinking Round Corners”, and what seems to have been a misguided attempt at a hit single with “Doctor to My Disease”. None of these rise to the bar the band should have set for themselves after their awesome early career, but in fact they seem to have mailed in most of what was released between 1983 and 1993. This album was both the last of that era, and rock bottom for them (although I kind of wish ‘Rock Island’ had been rock bottom because I could have worked that into a clever play on words).

The two tracks that keep this album from being a complete flop are the throwback “White Innocence” and the lyrically clever “When Jesus Came to Play”. Otherwise I’d have given this thing a single star without much thought.

But those two salvage some dignity for the record, although I’m fairly certain not too many people who are familiar with Jethro Tull and with this album will argue when I say that ‘Catfish Rising’ will really only be of interest to fans and hard-core collectors for the most part. And that is the definition of a two star album.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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