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Jethro Tull - Minstrel In The Gallery CD (album) cover

MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.02 | 1063 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars If IAN ANDERSON is a deft writer of lyrics and flute and acoustic guitar player, these qualities have always been offset by a voice that grates after at best half an album, an unredeemable cynical edge to his themes, his dictatorship over the band, and a blend of folk and hard rock that misses more than it hits. As a prog folky, I felt like "Minstrel in the Gallery" would finally be "Tull" does "Amazing Blondel", but Anderson lacks the warmth and devotion to the folk idiom that would be required. While this clearly works for the massed prog fans who like to feel they have a folk side, his success depends on that side rarely surfacing in any authentic way. So this 1975 offering is really an exercise in flat and rote verbose Elizabethan hard rock more than anything.

Most of the track lengths are generous, and certainly some development does occur, but even the pleasing structure of "Black Satin Dancer" cannot hide the cacophony that comprises its bulk. The title cut is even worse, as there seems no transition between introductory acoustic phrasings and the raunchy majority of the exercise. For that reason, "One White Duck" is by far the most effective piece, as it includes two folkier tracks, the first mellow and intensely melodic, the second more expressive and classically Tull, but remaining focused primarily on harmonics. It manages to convey the general album theme of the unfulfilled minstrel better than anything else here. "Baker St Muse" has some fine moments in the middle but suffers along with most of its ilk from lack of cohesion and melodic strength, and a tendency to resort to a surfeit of wailing guitars and flutes to cover the dearth of inspiration..

JETHRO TULL's eclectic mix of prog, hard rock, classical and folk suffers from a lack of emotion and genuine minstrelsy on this 1975 release, which is maybe Anderson's point after all, as it is more of a piece in a rogues' gallery than an intrinsically valuable work of art.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |

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