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Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses CD (album) cover

HEAVY HORSES

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 777 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars An ode to the countryside, 1978's 'Heavy Horses' would be the last Jethro Tull effort of real, genuine quality, though that's not to say that later efforts were not without their occasional merits. Having so far navigated a highly-successful and strangely-eclectic musical course throughout their career, from early blues-spiced beginnings('This Was'), to experimental folk- rock('Stand Up'), full-blown progressive rock('Benefit', 'Aqualung', 'Thick As A Brick' & 'A Passion Play') and, latterly, rootsy acoustica('Songs From The Wood'), it seemed like Jethro Tull had pretty much touched on every conceivable style the group had to offer. With punk in the ascendancy, group-leader Ian Anderson(him of the flute, codpiece and famed one-legged stance) decided to add a new dimension to Tull's repertoire in the form of a hard-edged, heavy- rock veneer that nicely-complimented the group's folk-prog-rock style, thus mixing up all the elements that had made Jethro Tull so wonderfully diverse since their late-sixties inception. 'Heavy Horses' features thick, glutinous bass-lines, meaty guitars, fluttering flute breaks and Anderson's trademark gruff-posh vocals, thus brewing up a darkly-toned concept album about the green hills, crumbling train stations, sturdy animals and bucolic farmyards that make the British countryside so appealing and so unique to those who inhabit it. However, summing up these feelings in musical terms was never going to be easy, yet , somehow, the group's semi- progressive sound suits tracks such as the imperious 'Journeyman' - which features some surprisingly rock-funky bass-playing courtesy of John Glascock - right down to the (earthy) ground. Stand-out tunes, alongside 'Journeyman', include the album's folksiest piece, in the form of the surprisingly-catchy 'Acres Wild', the brazen, bruising 'Rover' and the sweetly-toned album finisher 'Weathercock', which features a tour-de-force from both Anderson and guitarist Martin Barre. Occasionally the added orchestral arrangements threaten to overshadow the carefully-constructed tracks, but 'Heavy Horses' is still, nevertheless, a fine addition to the Jethro Tull canon. Keeping your sound both fresh and exciting over the course of ten years and eleven studio albums is no easy feat, yet Anderson, who is assisted ably by Glascock, Barre, Barriemore Barlow(drums), John Evans(piano, organ) and David Palmer(keyboards), manages yet again to find a wining formula that shows just why this winningly original group have stayed so popular for so long. In the grand scheme of things 'Heavy Horses' doesn't quite make 'classic' Tull status; but it comes damn close. Highly recommended. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 4/5 |

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