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Jethro Tull - A Little Light Music  CD (album) cover

A LITTLE LIGHT MUSIC

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.64 | 128 ratings

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Syzygy
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The 80s were a disappointing decade for Tull fans; most of the studio albums lacked the inspiration that made their 70s output so compelling, plus Anderson's voice dropped slightly in pitch following an operation and from Crest of a Knave onwards Tull often sounded unconfortably like Dire Straits. They were still an excellent live band, however, and the decision to do a semi unplugged tour of Europe in 1991 was inspired. This excellent live album was the result.

All phases of Tull's career are represented, although most of the songs are pre 1980. Rocks on the Road is the token number from their then current album, and is played pretty much straight. Under Wraps is given an acoustic makeover and shows that, despite his fascination with synthesisers, Anderson's writing skills hadn't completely deserted him in 1984, while Pussy Willow is is a good choice from their best 80s release Broadsword and the Beast. Elsewhere, John Barleycorn Must Die is Tull's reading of the English folk classic - well executed, though not a patch on Traffic's brilliant version, while A Christmas Song is a resurrection of one of my least favourite Tull songs with a slightly embarassing intro by Anderson. The remainder of the album is superb - the stripped down line up really shows the strengths of Anderson's songwriting, and the arrangements are imaginative. Martin Barre, Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks all get a chance to shine here, with Pegg's bass playing being a particular revelation. Anderson blows some pretty mean blues harp on Someday the Sun Won't Shine For You, A New Day Yesterday and Look Into the Sun in addition to his usual flute embellishments, and he's in good voice throughout.

As well as being a strong live album (preferable in some ways to the occasionally overblown Bursting Out) this is also a good introdution to Tull for the newcomer. For established fans, the old favourites are rearranged and sound fresh, while one or two lesser items from the back catalogue come out surprisingly well. Recommended.

Syzygy | 4/5 |

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