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


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.18 | 1300 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Following the relatively disappointing Too Old To Rock 'n Roll & etc., the Tull came roaring back with this exceptional album, the one that is, to my mind, the exceptional prog folk album.

Anderson, by turns, educates us, for instance in Jack in The Green, amuses us, whiplash across buttocks for Hunting Girl, calls us all to celebrate ancient festivals in Ring Out Solstice Bells, or invites us to join us in a farewell nightcap in Fire At Midnight.

In other words, this album has just about every aspect of our great and good rural society that you could possibly wish for. It is an album which screams out against the metropolitan elite that was, by this time, increasingly destroying vast tracts of British rural life (it hasn't got any better since), but, actually, it is better for the fact that Anderson does not preach or scream. He merely celebrates, and what a celebration it is.

This does not, of course, make a great album on its own. Because, I don't think the band ever sounded as good as it does in this particular incarnation. Martin Barre displays a rich and thoughtful acoustic texture throughout in addition to his trademark blues licks & riffs, whilst Barriemore Barlow was, to me, the finest percussionist they ever had. He shines throughout this album. John Glascock proves himself a perfect foil on bass and his backing vocals complement Anderson's throughout, and the keyboards provided by David Palmer and John Evan provide the backdrop to it all.

To come out with this album at a time when punk was raging across the UK was Anderson's very typical way of cocking two fingers up at the musical establishment in my country. He was, of course, stating that his band would do their own thing, as ever, but also that there was a rich folk tradition that should never be ignored, and one that was perfectly compatible with a band who played the blues and progressive rock. Pibroch is just about the ideal example of this, the start of which has a glorious bluesy feel that really does take the band back to its roots, before taking us into symphonic territory with exceptional keyboards, and then into the nearest that Anderson ever got into space rock, then reverting to the overall folk feel of the album as a whole before stunning us with more blues. Staggering to have so much within the space of just eight minutes.

This is truly an essential album, one that every single prog collection should include. Without wishing to be controversial, I will give Thick As A Brick four stars when I review it. It's great, but it is not, to me, an archetypal Tull album, more of a mickey take. No, this is the definitive Tull musical statement.

Five stars. Get it if you haven't already.

lazland | 5/5 |


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