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Jethro Tull

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2 stars This cheapy that popped up in a bargain bin in 2007 appealed to me as at the time I had not bought a Jethro Tull compilation so for the price it seemed like a good idea. The problem with this compilation is there is so much missing that it plays like a veritable singles collection and Jethro Tull was never about the singles. They shined when they took off into full flight on legendary epics such as Thick as a Brick and the Minstrel in the Gallery epics.

This compilation focuses on the early years such as the wonderful Teacher, Fat Man, Nothing is easy and Living In The Past, all from 1969, and all legendary.

From the pinnacle of success comes 1971's Aqualung, and Locomotive Breath so no complaints here. Thick As A Brick is poorly represented with a 3 minute edit of the album long epic. Likewise, A Passion Play gets 3 and a half minutes and does not do it justice.

On the plus side the awesome Bungle In The Jungle from 1974 features, along with Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of The New Day). It wraps things up with Rainbow Blues, but there are so many others that could have been included.

The compilation runs for a criminal 50 minutes or so and is therefore simply a genuine cash-in rather than a decent overview of Jethro Tull's back catalogue. There are better compilations, such as the 25th Anniversary set, and one would be well advised to leave this one where you found it.

Report this review (#537716)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Review Nº 376

'Essential Jethro Tull' is a compilation of Jethro Tull and was released in 2007. This is a compilation album that comprises tracks from seven original albums of Jethro Tull. This compilation covers the years between 1969 till 1974. So, here we have two tracks from 'Stand Up', one track from 'Benefit', two tracks from 'Aqualung', two tracks from 'War Child' and one track from 'Living In The Past'. It has also two very small extracts, 'Thick As A Brick' from 'Thick As A Brick' and 'A Passion Play' from 'A Passion Play', besides a track which was never released on their albums.

The line up on the compilation is Ian Anderson (vocals and flute), Martin Barre (electric guitar), John Evan (keyboards), Glenn Cornick (bass), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass), Clive Bunker (drums) and Barriemore Barlow (drums).

'Essential Jethro Tull' has eleven tracks. The first track 'Teacher' is from 'Benefit'. However, this is only true in relation to the US version. On the UK version, despite it has also the same eleven tracks, the order of the tracks is different and on the UK version 'Teacher' was replaced by 'Alive And Well And Living In'. 'Teacher' is a good pop rock song of a single with good melody and composition, as usual with all their songs. The second track 'Aqualung' is from 'Aqualung'. It's one of the most complex songs to be found here. This is one of the best Jethro Tull's songs. It's a very well known song, very heavy and dark with many acoustic elements. This is a great track that is almost played out as a mini suite with several different parts. It's a timeless composition where the changes in time and signature are great. Everything functions perfectly here. The third track 'Thick As A Brick' is from 'Thick As A Brick'. The version on this compilation is a very short edited version of the theme. 'Thick As A Brick' is simply their greatest magnum opus with more than 40 minutes. So, is absolutely ridiculous to reduce it to so shortly. The fourth track 'Bungle In The Jungle' is from 'War Child'. This is a melodious song well orchestrated composed in a pop commercial style. It's very simple, very humorous and nothing pretentious, a typical hit song made to sell an album. The orchestration is the key word here, since are David Palmer's arrangements that really make the song. The fifth track 'Locomotive Breath' is from 'Aqualung'. It has a beautiful jazz pianistic start, really remarkable, and then it develops too predictably and ends in a kind of a decline. It has some dark guitar chords, slow soft acoustic parts alternated with heavy fast rock and great rhythms. It's a Jethro Tull's legendary track with great piano, guitar and excellent flute work. The sixth track 'Fat Man' is from 'Stand Up'. It's a happy and fast song where the use of the balalaika gives to it a very special atmosphere. This is typically a classic Jethro Tull's folk rock song with a very unique sound and with lots of tempo changes and fabulous rhythms. The seventh track 'Living In The Past' is from 'Living In The Past'. It has a great bass line, haunting flute and cool lyrics. It's a hit song from a rock group led by a flute. This is one of the highlights of Jethro Tull's career. It was a bit revolutionary at the time, especially for a single, one of the best prog rock singles ever. The eighth track 'A Passion Play' is from 'A Passion Play'. The version on this compilation is a very short edited version. As happened with 'Thick As A Brick', 'A Passion Play', which has also more than 40 minutes, was also cut too shortly. Once more this option remains incomprehensible and inexcusable. The ninth track 'Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of The New Day)' is from 'War Child'. It's a great acoustic song with nice orchestral arrangements, which gives to it a very interesting and pleasant touch. It's one of the favourite songs of the band. It's usually performed live on their live venues. The tenth track 'Raibow Blues' was never released on any of their studio albums. It's a leftover track from 'War Child' recording sessions. It was issued for the first time on this compilation. It was also issued as a bonus track on the remastered edition of 'War Child', in 2002. 'Rainbow Blues' is a good rocker with great orchestration, with some good guitar, flute and organ parts. The eleventh track 'Nothing Is Easy' is from 'Stand Up'. It's another classic Jethro Tull's song. This is a fantastic rock track with several musical sections and with an incredible musical performance. It has fine drumming and the interaction between the flute and the guitar is perfect. The balance between the power and elegance is great.

Conclusion: So, 'Essential Jethro Tull' is a compilation album that covers the first six years of the career of Jethro Tull. It has tracks from almost all their albums released in that period of time. The only exception is their debut studio album 'This Was' where non of their tracks were included. It has also one track from their compilation album 'Living In The Past', because as we well know, 'Living In The Past' is almost more an original album than a compilation album because it brings to us many tracks that were never released on any of their studio albums. Thus, apparently we can think that we are in presence of a great compilation very well representative of the band. Still, as happened with some other compilations of them, the reducing of 'Thick As A Brick' and 'A Passion Play' to two very short versions, can be seen as a criminal thing and I can't rate it with more than 2 stars. So, this is a compilation for collectors and fans only.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2450735)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2020 | Review Permalink

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