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Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.04 | 1195 ratings

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5 stars 1978's HEAVY HORSES, as many fans will agree, was the last truly great album from Ian Anderson and company, and remains one that I play more often than many other Tull efforts. Track for track, like the massive equines of its title, HEAVY HORSES stands head and shoulders above its lesser brethren that followed. To further extend the metaphor, some of the later entries may well run faster, but they just can't match the pull and staying power of this very strong -- but often gentle -- and beautiful beast of noble lineage.

Each of the nine songs is quite enjoyable (those who enjoy the folkier strains of SONGS FROM THE WOOD should be particularly pleased), but some are especially great. The rollicking "Acres Wild" with its lusty lyrics, catchy rhythms, ringing mandolins, and joyous drums, is a genuine toe-tapping treat.

"Moths" is a lovely showcase for Anderson's considerable lyrical powers and sprightly strumming acoustic, with David Palmer's "spot-on" strings lifting the listener to lofty heights on "powdered (or is it rosined?) wings."

"Rover" is another standout, with great vocals and trademark flute from Anderson, and more superb orchestral accents from Palmer.

"One Brown Mouse" is simply one of my all-time favorite Anderson compositions -- a truly beautiful, uplifting, sparkling little gem of a song: "Smile your little smile -- take some tea with me a while. Brush away that black cloud from your shoulder.... Behind your glass you sit and look, at my ever-open book -- one brown mouse sitting in a cage." Yes, this quaint tribute to friendship and simple pleasures can often make this sentimental old soul a bit misty-eyed....

Finally, the title track has it all. Within its near nine-minute length, we get diverse, engaging musical sections, fine Martin Barre lead, tight bass and drums from Barriemore Barlow and Martin Glascock (who really shine on the entire disc) and more exquisite, gilt-edged Palmer orchestrations. The thought-provoking, powerfully poetic lyrics look to the return of the old ways, in an inevitable post-petroleum future: "Bring me a wheel of oaken wood, a rein of polished leather / A heavy horse and a tumbling sky, brewing heavy weather."

Very highly recommended! If you're a Jethro Tull fan, you should own a copy of HEAVY HORSES -- you certainly won't regret the purchase!

Peter | 5/5 |


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