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Ian Anderson - Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock? CD (album) cover

THICK AS A BRICK 2: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GERALD BOSTOCK?

Ian Anderson

 

Prog Folk

3.75 | 345 ratings

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maani
Special Collaborator
Founding Moderator
4 stars On Jethro Tull's 1972 concept album masterpiece, Thick As A Brick, we are introduced to precocious grade-school outlier Gerald Bostock, author of the poem "Thick As A Brick," which was disqualified from a poetry contest due to some of the its "questionable" attributes.

Fast-forward 50 years. What might Gerald Bostock be doing now? That is the premise of Ian Anderson's "sequel," Thick As A Brick 2.

The first section gives us an overview of the "concept." We are then given five different "possible futures" for Gerald: as a banker, as a homeless man, as a military man, as a preacher, and as an "ordinary man" (shopkeeper). Part three gives us two different possible "ends" to those futures, and the final part is a quasi-reprise of the opening.

TAAB "purists" are likely to have knee-jerk reactions to both the lyrics and the music - which, despite being a concept album, do not "flow" as they do in TTAB, but are "individualistic" for each song. There are also fewer repeated musical "motifs," and the album is admittedly not as "consistent" as TAAB (though it is, in a way, more cohesive).

But these are actually quibbles. Having heard the album twice through, I find that it grows on you (if you allow it to...): I liked it better the second time around, and expect to like it even more next time.

The lyrics are quite topical, and far more "direct" than TAAB (which was far more esoteric). And there is a great deal of undisguised "anger" in some of them. The banker is, of course, based on current events. The homeless man was also sexually molested. The military man is all about loyalty and valor. The preacher is all about power and money. The shopkeeper is a milquetoast.

The music ranges from good to great. Interestingly, I have always preferred the first half of TAAB to the second. Here, I find my preference being for the second half.

In an interview with disc jockey Earl Bailey, Anderson noted that the recording itself was done "organically": after arranging all the parts, the band rehearsed the entire album for seven days, and then recorded it live in the studio: there are very few overdubs of any kind; even the guitar solos were ad libbed. This organic quality makes the album very "immediate" in a way that TAAB (as brilliant as it is) is not. (TAAB "sounds" like an "atmospheric" studio recording, where TAAB sounds more "real" and "human.")

Ultimately, comparisons are going to be made, and TAAB isalways likely to "come up short" in such comparisons. But taken on its own merits, it is a very worthy sequel to its predecessor, and a wonderful addition to the Tull canon.

maani | 4/5 |

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