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

SONGS FROM THE WOOD

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.16 | 977 ratings

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Starette
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I don't give Jethro tull as much credit as a major fan of theirs would but that doesn't mean I don't find them dull to listen to.This is my first album in listening to Jethro Tull. They sounded a tad bland pop-songy to me, but still trying to be folk-music-ish.They still have genius, I admit (whistle and flute-use= excellent) and the in-put of random celtic instrumentals was good enough for me to swoon at times. I'm a fan of the Corrs *blush*- now I know where they got it from.

Songs from the Wood: Do you mind if I refer to the band as 'a bunch of tree-hugging good-natured hippies'? Ian Anderson had the technique of 'twirling' his voice- sticking of the conventions of Irish folk-singers. It sounds delightful. This song kept the same catchy beat while introducing us to most of the instruments to be played in the album.

Jack-In-The-Green: "Have you seeeeen the Jack-in-the-green?" No. Can't say that I have. This song, like many of Jethro Tull's, sticks to the theme of wishing there were more trees than buildings. I repeat. Hippies. The melody of this didn't really capture me as much but it *is* a fun song.

Cup of Wonder: The riff in this wasn't enough to stay in my head for long after listening to it three times but after a while I was how catchy it was. A song that appears to be the celtic equivalent of Bacchic rites. "Pass the cup of crimson wonder!" I want wine NOW dammit!

Hunting Girl: One of the songs that sticks in my head after listening to the album; a fast- paced ballad of a song with great use of a distorted elec-guitar riff AS WELL AS a flute riff! Anyone who knows that I love songs to bang my head to know that I love this song. In fact, this song inspired me to paint a picture. And that's saying something.

Ring out Soltice Bells: Like Cup of Wonder, this sounded quite like something I'd rather sing in church. Seems to be the choral chord they all sing together. Nice technique with the echoing voices at the end (probably to reflect the way church bells sound). Very much a happy-go-lucky song. What am I saying? It's Jethro Tull! Of COURSE it sounds like a happy-go-lucky song!!!

Velvet Green: A harpsichord at the beginning playing a melody to take us back to the 17th or 18th century..but then the drumbeat comes in and Ian sings in his folky way. Not only does this song appear to be about the colour green (tut, tut, you would NEVER have guessed that, I'm sure!) but it also shares the same romantic environmentalist theme as Jack-in-the-Green. Good use of tempo and melody-change in this song which keeps proggers happy.

The Whistler: I found this quite fun indeed. "Come on... I am the whistler *the whistle sounds*" It also uses the convention of having a minor key in the verse and a major key in the chorus (pardon me if I sound like a musical-theory prat) which means that it's VERY 80s-style poppy. Need I explain it's good for irish-dancing? No.

Pibroch (Cap in hand): This is definitely a song that is typical of progressive rock, unlike the others on this album which I'd rather put in the pop/rock category. It starts with an eerie suspending-pedalled guitar moan wich leads on to an Iliad of great riffs and (my favourite) a fantastic little celtic duet from the flute and guitar..and occassionally what sounds like an irish-tin-whistle. (JOY!) Also with the odd singing ever now and then, but it's really more instrumental-dominated. Ends with the same guitar moan with which it began. This emphasis on the guitar moan makes it seem like the backgroud music to some kind of ancient celtic ritual to me- or maybe that's just me being overly- imaginative.

Fire at midnight: This song didn't do anything for me to be honest- the melody sounded like any irish folk-song would. Give me The Currah of Kildare any day! This is definitely the kind of song that urges us to sing along. Very repetitive at first but, I must say- I DO like the duet with the electric and acoustic guitars.

So do Jethro Tull have the 'genius' that most proggers say they do? Yes; I suppose you could say they awoke an almost forgotten tradition by mixing rock with folky-sounding music. Something that many other bands eventually followed in the footsteps of (as expected.) It is also known that they ripped-off their folky idea from another obscure band that I've forgotten the name of "but Jethro Tull do it BETTER" someone once said. But are they essentially "progressive rock" in general? Well... hunt me down and kill me but I'm a bit sceptical on this one. Probably it's just the lay-out of the songs and the singsong-edness of all the melodies that we're all too used to in the world of non-prog. But I still enjoyed this album! It's good music for getting your kids into so I shall play it to my children and my children's children. It will grow on you if you allow it to.

Starette | 3/5 |

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