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Jethro Tull - A Classic Case CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.01 | 142 ratings

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Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After having read on the main page of this web site some reviews about Jethro Tull in the last few days, I have decided it was time for me to add further personal thoughts on this wonderful band. The album I'm going to review is a strange one because it's not exactly a Jethro Tull record. In fact it borns from an idea of David Palmer, the orchestral arranger and conductor of the band since their very first album in 1968, then a permanent member of the band between 1977 and 1979 on portative organ and other keyboards with John Evan.

A Classic Case is so the reproduction of the most famous Tull's music by the magniloquence of a symphonic orchestra. Paradoxally it's the very first and only "symphonic" album of the band builded up by Palmer with the London Symphony Orchestra plus, obviously but not necessarily, guest appearence of the Tull's member of that period (1983-1984) who consisted, apart Anderson and Barre, in Dave Pegg on bass guitar (he also is a member of Fairport Convention even today) and Peter Vettese, one of the most controversial keyboardist in all the history of the band 'cause his contribution was given in such album as Walk into Light (Anderson first solo), Broadsword and the Beast and Under Wraps. I personally like his style and the fresh air he brought to the sound of the band, not to talk of his composing qualities. It's not a pure coincidence that the best track on this classical compilation is the opener of Walk into Light, titled "Fly by Night". Orchestra, with a strong brass section, finally reveals the secret of beauty of the song, partially hidden in the original version, due to the specific sound of the 80s' keyboards. Don't get me wrong, I always liked so much Walk into Light and "Fly by Night" in particular, but now the song has a "grandeur" flavour which made it irresistible...

Other Jethro Tull's classics went good, even not at the same level. The omnipresent "Locomotive Breath" and "Aqualung" weren't material for a symphonic orchestra rearrangement, in my opinion, but their absence would be a "vulnus" in every Tull's good compilation or live album. "Elegy" is great, not so different from that of the album version in Stormwatch (1979). With "Bourée" it seems to jump back in the past during the 18th century...

"Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Too Young to Die" is a pleasure to listen, not different from the original one but more pompous than that. Very good! Then the orchestra plays a meddle containing exerpts of four songs: 1) the wonderful "Teacher", recently a bonus track on the Benefit remastered album. I prefer the original version by far! 2) "Bungle in the Jungle" is somehow different...a symphonic transaltion, very nice; 3) "Rainbow Blues" another bonus you can find now on the remastered version of War Child. Very strong re-arrangement... this is really one of the best tracks ever recorded by Tull. What a pity it was rejected due to the weel-known time limits of the vynil...; 4) "Locomotive Breath", again. Maybe it' too much in a same record....

"Living in the Past" is near the original version but then it's the time of "War Child"...oooh, My God, this is what I was waiting for from a such a symphonic orchestra...PURE SYMPHONIC PLEASURE!!! (warning: it's not the reproduction of the original song...). Along with "Fly by Night", the best track here, easily!!

In conclusion, if you're a Tull's aficionad and fan, this one should be a "must". If not, maybe you could be pleased by the general orchestral mood and, in particular, by the two wonderful songs I've mentioned.

Andrea Cortese | 3/5 |


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