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

SONGS FROM THE WOOD

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.15 | 897 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Always found "Jethro Tull" a difficult band to catalogue, are they progressive Rock, folk/prog, Celtic/prog Fusion/blues/prog? Not even Ian Anderson dares to answer this question and he often makes jokes about this categorization. But in the case of "Songs from the Wood", the answer is easier, they have clear folk, pastoral and progressive influences due to the fact that Ian had moved to the countryside shortly before.

The years had passed and Tull's style had evolved from being a complex blues band to one of the most influential progressive bands (even if Ian doesn't admit this), "Thick as a Brick" became a prog' icon and one of the most respected conceptual works, but with "Songs from the Wood" they landed in a less complex and ambitious ground, returning to shorter tracks as in their early years but with a different feeling.

"Songs From the Wood" is an extremely beautiful album and one of the best balanced records ever released, there's not a track that can be considered the most representative of this album, but every single song is very good and almost in the same level, there's not a single filler.

The title track starts with an amazingly low toned chorus that introduces the listener to a pastoral atmosphere, a great introduction for Ian's characteristic voice, the constant of this song are the contrast and changes in timing, with an outstanding guitar work by Martin Barre and a strong bass by John Glascock this song is absolutely brilliant.

"Jack in the Green" gives Ian the chance to prove he's not only a charismatic frontman but also a complete multi instrumentalist, he dares to play all the instruments as Mike Oldfield and Vangelis did before him but with the extra merit that he's also a great vocalist.

"Cup of Wonder" is a very rhythmic and happy tune, starts with the classic flute by Ian and is properly supported by all the band, especially by a precise piano played by John Evens or David Palmer, not sure about that because both are credited in the album.

"Hunting Girl" is a track where no Tull member takes the lead, everyone is absolutely accurate, it's beauty must be credited to a solid band work, each instrument fits perfectly and everything is exactly in it's place. A harder song but good for all tastes

"Ring Out Solstice Bells" is a very elegant song where the sacred Christian world blends with the Celtic spirit, based in early English British folk melodies works perfectly in the "Jethro Tull Christmas Album" released a year ago.

"Velvet Green" starts absolutely Medieval reminding me of other Celtic bands as Steeleye Span, even when Ian's voice is so unique. The complex vocal work is the higher point of this wonderful track along with the Renaissance sounding keyboards.

There's something in "The Whistler" that always makes me believe that nothing can be wrong and that the world is alright, a catchy tune also influenced by Celtic music, the flute work is simply delightful especially because is ultra high and makes a nice contrast with Ian's low toned voice. "The Whistler" proves that great songs don't always need more than 3:30 minutes to be unforgettable.

"Pibroch (Cap In Hand)" This song must be credited to Martin Barre's heavy guitar sections, probably is the most challenging track of the album not only because it's length but also because it breaks the basic atmosphere of the record. Not my favorite track but surely is a complex and ultra progressive song that flirts with hard rock.

"Fire At Midnight" is the closer of the album, a short song that returns the listener to the countryside that Ian Anderson loves so much, mostly a good vocal work with acoustic guitar and almost sure with lute to complete the scene.

Not a 5 stars Jethro Tull album, I believe this honor is only reserved for "Thick as a Brick", but well deserves 4 stars for the solid band work and the amazing personality of Ian Anderson playing the style where he seems more comfortable. I strongly suggest "Songs from the Wood" to every Tull fan.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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