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Jethro Tull - Catfish Rising CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

2.60 | 438 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is a discussion that takes place among the stalwarts who don't leave their seats when the film is over: which is best among Crest and the rest. For example, I'd rank Crest at the top (naturally), followed by Roots, Rock and Rising. Many fans would invert those last three, citing that the folk/metal strains of Catfish reek of rock credibility. I won't argue that Tull has an authentic energy all its own, but most of these songs slip through the net when you try to bring them onto the boat of recollection. "This Is Not Love" repeats the earlier exercise of "Kissing Willie," and in fact Ian Anderson seems to have grown more leering and lecherous since then. When he sings on "Like A Tall Thin Girl" that "She looked good enough to eat / (And I mean eat)," you can't help by squirm a little at the thought. And I'm not sure that the mandolin and the electric guitar deserve the same weight in the same song, which often happens here. As much as the exotic folk arrangements presage the middle eastern experiment Roots To Branches, Catfish lacks anything as compelling as "This Free Will." Musically, Catfish is more adventurous than Rock Island, though again nothing in net measures up to "Ears of Tin" or "Another Christmas Song." Wordy, dirty, wounded and severe, Catfish Rising is that great, greasy machine belching hot air in the tundra ("Something's On The Move"), that rusted ferry cresting over black waters ("The Whaler's Dues"), the Tull that steamrolls you with its heavy designs. And that's fine for a time, but it's the artful dodging in the music that I miss. "Sparrow On The Schoolyard Wall" and "Still Loving You Tonight" contain enough of the old magic, and I may warm up to both of them in time, but it hasn't happened yet. On the heavier side, "This Is Not Love" and "Rocks On The Road" are solid numbers (both get a nice makeover on the live A Little Light Music). If you find yourself revisiting Rock Island more than most, catch Catfish Rising too. Otherwise, this is one of the last Tull albums you need to own.
daveconn | 2/5 |


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