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Jethro Tull - Nightcap CD (album) cover

NIGHTCAP

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.64 | 156 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars As a disclaimer I should note that I am not an in-depth expert on Jethro Tull by any means, despite owning a dozen of their albums. Although I have an original vinyl pressing of Stand Up! (given to me as a teenager), my first recollection of the band was the radio-friendly “Bungle in the Jungle” and later discovered most of their 70s classics. During the 80s and 90s I continued to pick up the occasional album, but never really got into anything the band did after Broadsword.

This is a two CD set I picked up mostly out of mild curiosity for the second disc, which is a collection of songs recorded during the 70s and 80s for several of the band’s albums, but for one reason or another were never released. I thought it might be an interesting exercise to try and figure out which album each song was originally intended for. But as soon as I opened the case that idea faded since the liner notes clearly lay out the band members and dates for each track, so determining when and why they were recorded wasn’t necessary.

The first disc turns out to be the tracks Anderson dubbed the “Chateau D’isaster tapes”, the shelved recordings from the band’s foray into tax exile to France in 1972. I’ve read this was the band’s original attempt at A Passion Play, and in fact much of the music on the disc can be mapped to parts of that album. Overall the music feels unfinished, which of course it was. Apparently a lot of Anderson’s flute tracks were dubbed in years later. There are a couple of mildly interesting tracks, particularly the dual “Law of the Jungle” tracks with their spoken-word snippets and some tight guitar work by Martin Barre. “Critique Oblique” is also well-developed, but is characteristically understated and I wouldn’t rank it among the best things the band has recorded over the years. Eight of the thirteen tracks are quite short (one or two minutes), and are almost definitely unfinished from their originally intended scope. Overall this is an interesting listen, but not particularly stellar, and a bit disappointing considering the great albums that preceded it.

The second disc gives a nice chronology of the band’s musical and lyrical development over about a fifteen year period, but that’s about it, and will likely only be of interest to hard-core fans of the band.

All told there are over thirty tracks here spread over the two discs, and the volume of music and crisp production are noteworthy, but I have to say that this does not have the cohesion one would expect from a typical Tull studio work. Of course, that’s because it isn’t a typical studio work, but I can’t see giving this more than three stars overall – four for the first disc mostly for the historical interest, and two for the second because “for collectors only” pretty much explains why this collection was ever released at all. So three stars it is, and some mild disappointment that I paid full price for it.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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