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Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick CD (album) cover

THICK AS A BRICK

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.64 | 2245 ratings

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jrfernan
4 stars Jethro Tull has been in my top five prog bands of all time for the past thirty some years. It fluctuates in that top five depending on my mood. At one point or another I have owned every recording up to Heavy Horses. I have seen the band in concert various times throughout the years and can honestly consider myself a serious JT fan/connoisseur.

All that being said, I am astonished by the overall rating of this record! I cannot believe it falls into the top five or six prog recordings of all time.

This record sits side by side with Aqualung as their most overrated work.

I am not at all impressed by TAAB. It was much more intriguing to me when I was an impressionable kid back in 1974-75. But thirty year later and after having listened to MUCH progressive music(across many genres), I can say with certainty that this record has not stood up well to the test of time.

The opening of the record is a classic: subtle folk guitar accompanied by the trademark IA tongue-in-cheek lyrics; nothing short of a masterpiece and a glimpse into the future of JT(SFTW and HH). Beyond the first 7-8 minutes, the record really takes a dive. More specifically, a dive into blues guitar and repetitive riffing.

There is very little here to call progressive; even by the standards of the time. There are so many repetitive, boring parts that are obviously used as filler material in order to stretch the record, that it really makes listening to the entire "suite" a difficult task.

On this particular JT effort Martin Barre is at best an average rock/blues guitarist. I feel almost embarrassed for him when listening to some of his riffs on this record. It is evident he was struggling to make any meaningful, progressive statement.

In a nutshell: this is JT's most transparent work. Transparent because one can clearly see that the band was trying way too hard to create something large and profound, but instead found themselves running out of ideas very quickly. When a band has to fall back on blues riffs in order to fill gaps you know their creativity wells have run dry. Contrast TAAB with Yes' Tales. The latter has four very distinct tracks that have no relation to one another and do not rely on any blues or less progressive forms as filler material.

I'm very tempted to give this record three stars but won't do it because of its historical significance. Due to its place in the stream of prog rock I must give it four stars. I'm being very generous!

I recommend Passion Play as an alternative to TAAB. Although PP is another JT attempt at creating something GRAND, in that particular recording they've perfected some of what they were "learning" on TAAB.

My favorite JT recordings are Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses. By the time they recorded those two they'd reached their pinnacle of creativity and finally realized that they were much better at prog folk than prog rock/blues.

jrfernan | 4/5 |

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