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

MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.98 | 805 ratings

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Erik Nymas
4 stars I can't get out!

Introduction

I can easy say that Minstrel is the last ''classic'' from them, at least is the last album that can be compared with the sound of JT's masterpieces (even if it's not at their level), in this album Ian is at his best with the lyrics (I've spent quite a day to understand all the meanings under Baker Street Muse's lyric) and in every song we got the impression that he is joking with the words, the lonely duck or the ''sweet Sunday lunch confusion'' and maybe the ''may I buy you again tomorrow?'' are examples of how the disc is fullfilled with multiple meanings and you can listen it like a thousand times without understand everything.

Main Theme

This time there isn't any concept, just only 7 songs fullfilled with music, from the start of Minstrel with his guitars, the intro with acustic and the electric with the enter of drums in the center piece. Follow Valhalla that's maybe the weak part of the album even if it's far better that Warchild's tracks here we see again the flute dancing between the guitar and the percussions ad the counterpoint of Ian voice. After this we got a sad part (that will end with Baker Street), starting with the quite and slow Black Satin Dancer, fullfilled of Ian voice at moments and full of drums+electric guitar in others, but keeping always the quite theme almost 'till the 4th minute where a great (even small) intro of solo guitar bring again the voice and his flute counterpoint, till the end where Ian bring back the first part of sadness. The same mood is the prelude for Requiem: this one tell when two lovers lose themselves, here we got the second weak part, empty of music even with great moments of the quite guitar (like an interloper between the starrings of this song) and the flute, again superb work for Anderson.

The last three song could have been alone in the disc and still it'd be great: starting with the last chapeter of sadness, White Duck/Nothing at All were in origin two separate songs but since the sound was similar Anderson put them toghether and the final work is a superb song with the guitar which start slowly at the beginning of Duck as Ian start to sing, is a quite easy song (talking about how is structured is empty again, far too less music in it but since Ian make himself an instrument I think it's a plus) and the reprise of Nothing at All bring everyone to ask himself what is coming.

Reprise

I'll spend some words for Baker Street: is the road where lived Sherlok Holmes (at 221b), Anderson himself lived there near the time he wrote this and finally Baker Street today is one of most known roads in the center of London... add too that in english ''muse'' and ''mews'' have the same pronunciation (at the beginning Palmer himself thought that the title of the track was Baker Street Mews) and you get the complete picture of how deep you need to go for understand this song. Talking about the structure is a suite of 16 minutes, divided in 4 parts (maybe 5 since the last part repeat itself), here we got a complete picture of the people living in the street from the onomatopoeia at the bus stop 'till the chorus following with the second part where the music changes and the lyrics become much faster, as the Pig-Me (maybe Pygmy?) does what he needs to do with Fraulein, follow the 3rd part and the sadness grows again for the Crash-Barrier Waltzer, the music is a reprise from Requiem/White Duck, this time we got the prostitute and the policeman stuck in their roles. Last part comes out as Anderson himself, here the music is slow at the beginning and follow the voice again but this time is like he makes the counterpoint of the instruments. The song finally grows when Anderson describe the sleeve of SftW (There was a little boy stood on a burning log, rubbing his hands) when enter the flute and the drums, while magically the guitar turn itself as an electric one. But there is some time to repeat the 1st movement with a more harder music from the percussions. Just great, maybe alone this song can match TAAB, too bad is only 16 minutes. The end leave a 36 seconds of Grace. Powerfull and charming, again the duo voice/guitar make the whole thing where Anderson salute the things of his life asking them if he can buy them tomorrow (in the lyrics he doesn't explain if the last words are referred to the breakfast or to the whole thing).

Coda

Conclusion of this long review: This is the last chapeter of greatest Tulls, like Going for the One for Yes or Wind & Wuthering for Genesis after this the things change and we'll not see, last it's maybe the best lyrics form Anderson after all. The middle part riuned the perfect picture: the emptyness of music cannot match the full and complete Aqualung or the neverending freshness of TAAB, so if they are 5 stars this Minstrel (too bad) can be only 4 since is a quite step back from them.

Erik Nymas | 4/5 |

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