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


Jethro Tull

Prog Folk

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Jethro tull's first of a long series of progressive rock records (until 1979) and probably the best. JT were the ones, along with Renaissance, to blend acoustic folk music and progressive rock. They succeeded in their approach and brought eight studio albums, from 1972 to 1979, with top quality music. Thick as a brick is a concept album that builds with very good vocal performance by Ian Anderson, very strong acoustic parts and excellent drumming by Barriemore Barlow, replacing Clive Bunker. David Palmer plays an important role, adding a symphonic dimension to JT's music. This is to recommend to everyone in search of beautiful vocals and intricate (intriguing?) music.
Report this review (#16319)
Posted Sunday, November 2, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you are a JT fan you already possess this LP, but for those who are and don't have it 's a must. You will never have heard a flute go this mad and this "heavy", and even though the epic lyrics are about medieval society, they still aply to modern society.
Report this review (#16311)
Posted Tuesday, December 23, 2003 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
5 stars Probably the most "subtle" prog-rock album, Thick as a Brick flawlessly brings together folk, rock, minstrel, quasi-classical, musical theater, and progressive sensibilities, and creates an atmosphere of understated grandeur. This album is both "deeper" and yet less complex than it sounds, achieving a near-perfect balance of styles that is accessible even to those who don't "get" prog-rock.
Report this review (#16327)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If I'm ever banished to that fabled "desert island," and allowed to bring only a single Jethro Tull album, this would likely be the one (though it would be tough to leave AQUALUNG, MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY, SONGS FROM THE WOOD and HEAVY HORSES behind).

Why does this disc get the nod as possibly my favourite of Tull's extensive oeuvre? Well, for a start, the music really resonates with me. The various themes and melodies, arranged as a single, album-long suite, are brilliant, and insinuate their way into the pleasure-center of your brain, n'er to depart. I love Barre's guitar and Anderson's flute as usual, but the inclusion here of so much Hammond organ (courtesy of John Evans) really fleshes out the sound, and gives this effort a classic Prog feel. Season that with generous dollops of workmanlike fiddle from the multi-talented Mr. Anderson, and you've got a delectable auditory stew -- a feast for the ears of epic proportions. That's not all: I also think the lyrics are brilliant -- some of the best Anderson has ever penned (the credited lyricist, little "Gerald Bostock," was, of course, fictional). My tastes in poetry may be somewhat plebian -- I confess that I prefer Byron to Keats or Shelley -- but to me, lines like "The poet sheathes his pen, while the soldier lifts his sword" and "The doer and the thinker, no allowance for the other" are simply brilliant. I always find new lines to ponder and enjoy when I listen to this awesome disc, and I listen to it fairly often.

If you're not familiar with the music of Jethro Tull, I'd suggest starting with AQUALUNG, then, if you like that, pick up this album next. If you're already a Tull fan, but don't have THICK AS A BRICK, then run, don't walk, and beg, borrow, buy or steal it! A MUST!

Report this review (#16339)
Posted Thursday, January 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the most beautiful collections of pop/folk/rock melodies that ever has been recorded. Sad however, that Tull, who could easily have had a "1972 Reward of the Year" with this magnificent "prog-structured" recording, had to be coincident with at least two other giants of Rock History; the very prog "Foxtrot" and the very everything "Close to the Edge". On the other hand it tells us that this was the golden age of Rock progression. Almost all the genres in the forthcoming decades started up at this period. In a way, "Thick as a Brick" showed to enter a dead end street, or perhaps was it just one of those buds that swells and burst into blossom while the stalk was eagerly growing away. -What a beautiful flower! Thick as a Brick is very dear to me. It certainly holds the qualities you can desire from an early solid progrock album with emphasis on its emotional, rythmic music. And ofcourse, on the clear magical voice of epical and overall genius Ian Anderson. I don't waste my fivestars. They're given to a few.......
Report this review (#16317)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk

The mad flauter had warned the press and took the world in a storm. As a spoof, this album depicts the story of a Young Poet winning some Baptist Church Contest with a brilliant but sombre poem but being disqualified by the authorities as a deranged and immoral youth when they discovered his tender of 8 and his assistant/lover a 17 years old fully developed female partner.

The music developed here is one long 43 min number cut in two for Vinyl Complications and is in the form of classical music, which might sound pretentious if it was not so tight sounding and inventive. All of the musicians are at the top of their game, every note in place and none superfluous. Right from the first few acoustic guitar notes, you know you are in the mother of all progressive trips. Those very first notes come back three times every time bringing you back to reality, but to make you sink deeper into madness. Side 1 is flawless and makes grumble as the needles lifts off the wax, that you have to get up and change side. There are some lengths on side 2 as the music becomes more difficult, but the lyrics remain astounding of reality as the Upper Class tells the Lowly Masses what is a good taste and where the Moral Melée should be, simply flabbergasting.

The only thing I ever regretted is that they never played it live as a whole, but recently I heard a bootleg pointing out that they might have done so, but the sound was just horrendous.

Get the original vinyl as the St-Cleve Chronicle newspaper: it is simply hilarious poke at the English society depicting all the quirks and quacks of rural England. It will make you want to read everything on it as they even review their own album and have created a sport halfway in between croquet and rugby and made general standings.

If one album must epitomize this site, this might be the one as the other groups were never keen on humour (Caravan and Genesis aside, Zappa being some kind of Alien)

Report this review (#16318)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Geared towards the exceptional (not the average)

"Thick as a Brick" is unquestionably the most progressive, and indeed the best release by Jethro Tull.

The album is one complete piece from start to end, with repeating lyrics and melodies throughout. The lyrics are amusing and witty, including references to Superman, Batman and Robin (Robin DAY was a BBC journalist by the way), and the boy scout manual(!).

The music is a strange mixture of acoustic folk and full blown prog. The album opens with what sounds like an amusing little folk ditty with Anderson singling over acoustic guitar. Sharp bursts of bass, drums and guitar intrude, apparently unnoticed by Anderson until the full band surges in and we're off on 40 minutes of pure fantasy. Anderson's flute never sounded better, but the whole band are working as a unit on this album, giving a depth of quality missing from most of their subsequent albums. Old military sounding themes make way for driving rock bursts, brief orchestration towards the end blends seamlessly with the frantic build up which preceded it. There is true musical magic at work here.

While there is only one track as such, the section towards the start of side 2, with the chorus "Do you believe in the day". Is surprisingly sensitive and beautiful.

The original LP sleeve was a multi-page parody of a local English village newspaper, and was worth the price of the album on its own. It was a worthwhile investment too, good condition copies now selling at grossly inflated prices.

The essential Tull album.

Report this review (#16340)
Posted Monday, March 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars My Reprise "full newspaper" LP version of this album is the crown jewel in my collection. Do you want to rock out? Do you want to laugh? Do you want to relax? Just this one song can take you through all that and more. The packaging is nothing short of genius. This album actually gave us the urban legend of the couple in Thailand who go to a restaurant and inadvertantly have their poodle cooked and served to them. How's that for a claim to fame?
Report this review (#16328)
Posted Friday, March 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me this is one of the true essential Progressive recordings of all time and certainly is JETHRO TULL at its finest moment. What makes this recording work so well for me is the careful attention to the song writing that occured during these sessions. Like many great masterpieces the songs are long and are given the space to build into some breathtaking proggy moments. As per normal JETHRO TULL, musicianship is exceptionally high and Anderson's flute playing is highly inspiring.

Report this review (#16329)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars TULL IN CONCEPT ALBUM SHOCK!!! Thus proclaimed many a critic in '72, alarmed at Mr Anderson's decision to release a Tull LP consisting of two sides of continuous music (perish the thought!). And yet THICK AS A BRICK is a wonderful, dreamlike, rustic, charming, eccentric, totally English-sounding gem, a high-point of prog rock and, indeed, of Tull's oeuvre. Composed and recorded in less time than it took the art department to produce the magnificently-off-kilter sleeve and accompanying newspaper, TAAB is a lovely experience.Such lines as "with your downy little sidies" are surreal, yet they work; it's as though Ian Anderson has tapped into the subconscious English memory and managed to produce imagery that registers with us. This is a gentle kind of Monty Python-style LP - wonderfully rich in detail, wide-ranging in its symbolism and (as ever with Tull) beautifully-played and arranged. I came to this album in 1995, a twenty-something who wished he'd been born twenty years previously, and it affected me somewhat with its lovely pastoral sound pictures and charmingly eccentric characters. Followed as it was by A PASSION PLAY in 1973, THICK AS A BRICK represents the first half of Tull's most audacious, and satisfying, era. WAR CHILD and MINSTREL are fine albums in themselves, but neither would have the same impact upon me as Mr Anderson & Co's 1972/73 masterpieces. Ian Anderson did what any true artist would do - he went with his instincts, and, against all odds, produced two near-brilliant albums that characterise perfectly what Tull were all about. Magnificent.
Report this review (#16330)
Posted Saturday, March 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another controversial work, according to the critics, but I like this unique suite, which in so many circumstances is memorable... as another "progressive effort" (usually They are not labeled as a "Progressive" band, but never mind...) the present album is remarkable and creative as well: I don't think of this classic issue as the most prolix composition by JETHRO TULL, however the vocal parts and the instrumental excursions are well balanced and alone well worth checking out!!

Ok probably this is the most unconventional album by J.T. (regardless of the controversial "A Passion Play"), even though nowadays such a long suite (one for each side) should be out of time.I try to explain what I mean: the choice regarding a long instrumental album, without any technological support and moreover lacking the subdivision of each single phase (this latter usually characterizing a classic suite), was strange and against the stream at that time, but it should be a bit unacceptable still today, as the folk sound inside a symphonic plot or a contest of classic music at least, has to be managed in a different way.

However the suite "Thick as a Brick" is divided into two songs only, in which the dynamics change a lot, in spite of the main role of the flute which is the leading instrument all along the development of the composition. wow that's quite surprising!! The rhythmical accompaniment of the organ (as well as its melodic harmonization) is delightful, cause of its contribution to the music crescendo of the last section, considering also the pretty dynamic execution and the simple but stunning harmonic "colours". At the end if you regard of the continuity of this artistic opera, you can listen to it from the beginning to the end, without being annoyed in any moment.essential concept, whose re-mastered version earns a lot!!

Add another half star, at least!!

Report this review (#16333)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What a masterpiece! Thick As A Brick" is a real classic one! I think it is the best TULL album! 1972 was a wonder year for top prog albums: "Close To The Edge", "Foxtrot", "Fragile", "Prologue", "Three Friends", and "Thick As A Brick".

But "Thick As A Brick" is quite different from "Foxtrot", and more particularly, if I want to compare with another album more alike: "Moving Waves": the keyboards and songs are more in a specific pattern on "Thick As A Brick": organ, tons of drums, speed changes...but how much efficient!! All the instruments are extremely present and well played! Yes, the album sounds the same and has the same style from the beginning to the end, but one must admit that the result is a very outstanding arrangements technically perfectly played! The music is quite complex, and the bass, the guitars, the keyboards ans drums seem to talk to themselves!!

Extremely recommended!

Report this review (#16341)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
5 stars One of the best prog albums of all time with many mood swings and changes of pace. Ian Anderson has a tremendous voice and many talented musicians backing him up. Pick this one up ASAP, you can't consider yourself a prog fan unless you have this one! Even if you don't like this type of prog, this is the exception!
Report this review (#16342)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I 'm not sure I can make heads or tales out of this brick, but I'll try anyway. That it's a concept album is clear, purported to be a collaboration between TULL and an eight-year-old poet named Gerald "Little Milton" BOSTOCK. Gerald is IAN's alter ego; whether he represents the young IAN or simply IAN's childish fancies is somewhat cloudy. A single work broken into two sides, "Thick As A Brick" is really a collection of songs (or, rather, musical themes) spliced together. I say themes because the record does utilize several melodies over again, functioning as refrains after a sort. For example, the "So your ride." segment appears toward the beginning and again at the end, "See there! A son/man is born." appears on the first and second side to introduce a new stage in the character's development, and so on.

Anyway, as for the heads and tales: the first comes into play with the opening thickness theme, delivered in a delightful reverie that expanded on the style introduced with "Aqualung"'s short acoustic pieces. That peace is soon dispelled as the lead voice (a euphemism, since where Gerald ends and Ian begins is unclear to me) travels "back down the years and the days of my youth". Here, the work becomes an Oedipal conflict between the young boy and his father, who has gone off to war. Later (and the reference to "later" in the lyric sheet is a signpost that the tale has advanced a generation), the young character is grown to adulthood and serving as a barrister it would seem. But the barrister's world is one of illusory pleasures, and his son grows up to be a man of peace. It's tempting to look at this as Ian's family tree (he being the man of peace, I suppose), but I'll merely advance the theory without lending it my full support. At the end, the dying old man (who started this story as a young boy) reflects on life and the afterlife, drawing the same cloak of invincibility around himself at the end (as in the beginning) by claiming "your wisemen don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick". From birth to death, then, the great play all played out. As for the music (oh, yeah, right), it's more organic in tone than "Aqualung", acoustic guitars and John Evan's keyboards intermingling in a fertile setting with minimal use of the electric guitar. There are still the light and dark shadings, but it all meets in a visible middle distance rather than "Aqualung"'s extreme ranges. Ian, as the liner notes explain (should you have the stamina to pore over the tiny type for tidbits of truth) "extended his virtuosity to violin, sax and trumpet" on this recording, which expands the music considerably (the sax in particular would seem to assume some of the electric guitar's original role). This album also marked the debut of Barriemore Barlow, poor thing, who outside of one devilish drum solo was left with the unenviable task of pinning a rhythm on a moving donkey.

"Thick As A Brick" remains a brilliant, ambitious record. At the time, it confounded critics, who felt Anderson had grown too big for britches. For the rest of us, tearing down the wall separating art and music is a lofty goal, which "Thick As A Brick" does as well as any album.

Report this review (#16320)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Been said that 'Thick As A Brick' was only a joke - Ian Anderson pretending to be a prog star, after the rumours about 'Aqualung' (a prog masterpiece; a concept album - it's not). The fact is that JT are an incredible folk rock band, able to arrange their tracks like Gentle Giant did, but they never was a prog band (no symphonics: they were also declared ? heavy metal band'!). Being Ian Anderson the genius we all know, his game (to make a prog LP) became a real prog project and a masterpiece! Who cares of the intentions?
Report this review (#16343)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album represented the first attempt by Jethro Tull in prog rock bandwagon. The band's official website claimed that this album "was the first rock album to be one continuous piece of music" (released sometime in Feb 1972). Judging from its cover, it seems unique to me as the band has a 12-page newspaper to support the album, "The St. Cleve Chronicle" original cover packaging; written by Ian Anderson, Jeffrey Hammond, and John Evan. The paper itself took longer to produce than the music. The music itself comprises two parts. If there was CD in seventies, the music would flow 43 minutes straight. I guess.

Sound quality of original CD is good. As for musicianship, all musicians demonstrate their capabilities at their fullest, I think. This can be seen in many parts of the music where individual player is given chances to fill solo while other instruments played as background. Exception is for bass, there is no solo but its appearance is clear throughout the album. Let's go over the music in great details.

Part 1 is nicely opened by an acoustic guitar touch followed by Ian's voice "Really don't mind if you sit this one out" continued with flute as background. The melody right here seems to be a "central theme" that will be used repeatedly throughout the song. One good shot is that after Ian sings first two paragraphs of the lyrics with the same melody, the music flows nicely to a transition piece which starts with "And the love that I feel is so far away ..". The tone is then moving up to "Spin me back down the years and the days of my youth .." when Ian's voice is gearing into higher tone. This segment of music is really enjoyable. It kills me, really.

When it hits approx min "3:01" the music is uplifting with an up tempo and, unlike the first 3 minutes where the flute and acoustic guitar dominate, hamond organ sound is now taking the lead as melody accompanying Ian sings "See there, a son is born, and we pronounce him fit to fight". Don't overlook the dazzling bass guitar playing here. It's so dynamic. When the music segment enters at min "5:15" the flute solo come into play. Wonderful!

The band creates another transition again. This time with a lyric, i.e. when Ian sings "The poet and the painter casting shadows on the water.. etc". When he finishes with this piece of paragraph, the music flows with a nice instrumental piece with lead guitar plays dominant role followed by flute. Brilliant! Again, the bass playing is really nice as well as the sound really walks the music, as if it plays the melody. It's an excellent harmony.

If there is a downside of Part 1 is that there are many repetition of melody at the end section of Part1. The band tries their best to use different instrument to repeat the same melody, but to me it sounds boring. I rarely can finish up Part 1 completely due to this reason. The feeling is really different with enjoying Genesis "Supper's Ready" where you badly expect the encore is completely listened to as it concludes the song nicely. Or, when you listen to YES's "Close To The Edge" - definitely you wanna finish the whole track because the encore is wonderful!

Let's continue Part 2 of "Thick". Again, they use the same melody as Part 1 when Ian sings "See there, a man is born, and we pronounce him fit for peace". With this melody, even the drum solo at beginning of Part 2 (the first 3 minutes) does not really help. The nice transitions that the band has created in Part 1 is not happening here in Part 2. The melody is really unstructured here. It's a collection of jams, I think. I don't know what the boys are trying to do with this part. Funny thing happens when the melody used at the intro of Part 1 is used again here with different lyrics. Enuff is enuff my friend .. I'm so tired listening the same melody over and over . Uuuggghhhh .

Fortunately the band brings new melody when Ian sings "The poet and the wise man stand behind the gun". This is a nice piece of melody, I think. It helps a little bit to elevate my emotion. The organ sound at the background creates a strong musical nuances of this track. I like this segment very much. But is it worth it for me to reach this segment I have to undergo many "unstructured" music elements as I said before? Lack of structure. I can not bear listening to Part 2 completely as I've seen nothing compelling at the end of the tunnel. It's not "Supper's Ready" or "Close To The Edge" or "The Gates of Delirium" where the encores are something we expect to hear completely.

Here comes my rating: *** for sound, ***** for musicianship, *** for songwriting / composition (the album structurally lacks composition; even though there are nice melody here and there, but overall its structure is fuzzy.. and confusing), **** for performance. I recommend this album as one of your collection. Not that due to the fact that this album hit US Chart #1, but it's a classic prog album. Don't blame me for the boring part of repeated melodies. What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#16344)
Posted Sunday, June 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Two of the main characteristics of Progressive Rock are the ability of making conceptual albums and recording epics (songs that last much more than the average and narrate a story), Thick as a Brick contains both, the plot is about a fictional kid (Gerald "Little Milton" Bostock) who writes a complex poem for a contest, but who is disqualified because the judges used a s an excuse a four letters word (never mentioned clearly), but are really worried about the whole poem and the moral, sexual and father son relation problems, so they give the price to a 12 years girl who wrote a simple essay about Christian Ethics called "He Died to Save the Little Children".

Seems to be a simple and maybe funny story, but it's really a hard satire about hypocrisy in British society, which sometimes hides behind false morality to avoid talking about controversial issues which they know are true but want to keep in the dark. Others believe it's some kind of description of Ian Anderson who behaves as a kid even though is concerned about more important things. We'll never know the truth (unless Ian tells it some day).

The original presentation of the album is impeccable, a 12 pages cover simulating the St. Cleve Chronicle (a small town newspaper), that include the lyrics, the whole story, credits and even a rape accusation against Little Milton by an older girl, one of the best covers in history.

The music is simply amazing, goes from incredibly beautiful acoustic sections to medieval keyboard parts with some, hard rock and folksy influences, but I won't talk about it because can't be described in words, you have to listen it to believe. Ian with his flute, acoustic guitar and vocals is simply perfect, but probably John Evans is the big surprise, keyboards are complete and carries the weight of the whole album, not a redundant note or unnecessary sound, everything is right in it's place.

Martin Barre is crucial, especially in the hard parts when his guitar adds personality and strength to the music. Barriemore Barlow is always accurate even though he doesn't shine, does what is necessary to keep the rhythm section with Jeffrey Hammond- Hammond who does excellent support.

Again I refuse to make a long description of the music because it would be unfair to talk about movements, influences, high points, etc. because "Thick as a Brick" is THE ALBUM, Jethro Tull were at their peak and nobody can fairly describe 43 minutes of wonderful music in a way that would make real justice.

The lyrics are in fact the text of Little Milton's poem (who is credited as co-author, another Ian's joke) and deserve to be listened with special attention because are very complex and touch issues very controversial.

There's not much more to say, simply because Thick as a Brick is almost perfect, if you haven't heard it yet, you're loosing one of the key albums of ´prog' history and a true masterpiece that must be owned by everybody.

5 stars are not enough but is the maximum rating.

Report this review (#16348)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Jim Garten
Retired Admin & Razor Guru
5 stars Having read the reviews thus far, there is very little I can add - however, I do feel moved to put forward yet another 5 star review for this album; I do not give 5 stars lightly (if at all), but this is one of those very few albums which fully and truly deserves the accolade.

Thick As A Brick is not only Jethro Tull's finest hour, but also one of the greatest progressive rock albums ever recorded - this is not merely praise from a huge Tull fan, but plain fact.

The evidence - TAAB is effectively a single track in which the texture and mood of the music constantly change, as do the time signatures, but without ever sounding contrived or forced. Throughout the album the musicianship of what most consider to be the 'classic' Tull lineup is exemplary; John Evan's Hammond work is especially stunning here, but neither Barre, Barlow or Hammond-Hammond (what a name!) put a foot wrong throughout the album (even during the oft criticised freeform section at the beginning of part 2) - all this ably supported by David Palmer's (or Mrs Dee Palmer as she is now known...) subtle but effective orchestrations .

All the above is topped off by Ian Anderson's incisive lyrics - a non-stop truly inspired stream of conciousness he has never quite matched before or since - "take me back down the years, to the days of my youth, draw the lace and black curtains, and shut out, the whole truth".

In short - this is an album which I consider to be utterly flawless and would recommend anyone who appreciates good music/writing (whatever the genre) should own. This is especially true if you get hold of the re-mastered issue, with reproductions of all the original artwork, a live version of the abridged TAAB from Madison Square Garden in 1978 (the last tour to feature this lineup, with the exception of Hammond, who had already been replaced by John Glascock - a year later, it was just Anderson/Barre), and a very entertaining 16 minute interview with the chaps about the making of the album.

Report this review (#16349)
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Love the site, love the reviews but...what I have not seen about this album is how it was played live upon its release.

I first saw Tull in Glasgow when they were promoting this album, and enjoyed the visuals as wella s the audio magic that accompanied this album.

It had onltybeen out a week or so and as a result, the fans expected to hear "trailers" from TAAB" but when the band ripped off their tramp/derelcit outfits (yes theyhad been on the stage a full 15 minutes previously peering under the dustcovers of what appeared to be drums, pianos, speakers) Ian Anderson slipped up to the mike and simply said "Thick as a Brick" - and for the best part of an hour we were hit with this stunning piece of work which was actually longer live than the album itself given the various add -ons - mainly visual that featured so much in Tull's stage show then. Such as....when the band are at full stretch in the halfway section on side one of the album, a telephone would ring stage right on a grand piano and the band's instrumental might would stop! John Evans would get up from his Hammond stage left, sprint across the stage to the (apparantly) bemused look of the band (and the 3000 agog fans), answer the phone with "Sorry, wrong number", repeat his run back to the organ and off we would go again from the point where the phone we old timers would say, you had to be there to experience it!


Report this review (#16350)
Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars One listen to this album will not do it justice. At first glance, it is a folksy song about some medieval countryside "war of the roses" type thing, but this is what Anderson wants you to think. Digging deeper, reading the annotations at, and THINKING about it (as the album instructs) will open new doors.

The album begins with a simple classic guitar and flute reflecting the unthinking listener's inability to understand what he is saying. My brother, a Metallica fan who openly dislikes complex music (minus DREAM THEATER: it's one of the only bands we both enjoy), said it sounds like "hobbit music." That is what this part tries to do: mock the listener who does not truly listen with biting lyrics. When Anderson sings "And the love that I feel...", the perspective switches to that of a brainwashed member of modern society. He wonders how he became "thick as a brick" and "comfortably numb" (so to speak) and explores his own life as the masculine bass charges forth and those who control his life speak: "See there! A son is born, and we pronounce him fit to fight" although he obviously is NOT fit to fight.

Then the complex third part comes with its intense rural imagery (read and develop opinions for yourselves), and his absent father returns to command the now-grown son in "the whirpool" section of the song. His father is cast off by the independant son, who falls prey to certain ways... and emerges "LATER" as a sort of upper-class lawyer, just like his father. The son has not thought for himself, and is now a mirror of his hated father. He tortures those he sees unfit to exist, judging all. Then the perspective may or may not switch to that of HIS son; it is never specified. But nonetheless, "childhood heroes" are called upon to think for you, and the first part ends...

...and the second opens. Fiercly. A man is born, he is now conformed to society. A quick "that doesn't match!" section with awkward instrumentation and vocals, then the son (or grandson, I don't know...) is now a "wise man," sort of like a celebrity or famous musician which everyone worships (there are a lot of connections between this album and The Wall: guess its just another thick as a brick in the wall... heh heh...) and he rises to power over the neat little conformist hippies who worship him. Then he and a poet join forces to create a new wave and promise a new day, telling those below what to think. A vicious cycle...

But Anderson steps in as the wild man to give us a "final warning." He tells us that if we do not think for ourselves, the sandcastles will always be swept away and the pendulum will continue to swing and utopias will never be built... and then the song retreats behind a door to cry out to the "comic book heroes" to think for us, but they will not respond. The hour of judgement draweth near, but OF COURSE still do not think for ourselves. It is up to you to change this ending and bring about the end of suffering.

Overall, it is one of the best albums I have ever heard. Highly reccommended.

Report this review (#16353)
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my favorite progressive rock albums. Thick As A Brick really stands out (tremendous catchy riffs, beautiful flute sound from Ian Anderson and I think that the best part of the album is when the band switches from the acoustic to the electric sounding part). "Thick As A Brick" is an essential album with 45 minutes of "non-stop" extraordinary music. In spite of the duration you won't get fed up with it!!!
Report this review (#16354)
Posted Tuesday, September 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is simply unbelieveable, and has to be one of the top 10 prog albums. It carries all of Aqualung's qualities but even more experimental and more symphonic. It's got everyhing to make a stunning prog-rock album...complex and symphonic melodies harmonies and lyrics, relaxed acoustic guitar, Martin Barre's most amazing electric guitar playing, driving basslines, hyperactive drumming, great piano and organ, and of course Ian Andersons soothing vocals and his famous flute imporvisations...any prog must have this CD
Report this review (#16355)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Thick as a Brick ' was my return to Jethro Tull's earlier work as I kind of elected to circumnavigate everything excepy Aqualung. More fool me. This recent acquisition has made buying the Tull back catalogue all the more fun. What an album, typically progressive and both parts are one and the same really. Highly recommended and it is a masterpiece. Barre's guitar to the frenzied but methodical meanders makes Thick As A Brick a must for any Progressive rock enthusiast. For me the ' Close To The Edge' equivalent for Jethro Tull but I still have to get Benefit, Stand Up, A Passion Play, Minstrel...
Report this review (#16356)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars The prog albums of prog albums.

If you are going to own only one progressive rock album (which I imagine would be quite unusual for anyone who frequents this site) this is the one to own. There is nothing I can add in my review of this behemoth that hasn't been said already so I'll keep it short. Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick has everything the classic prog rock fan wants...complexity, variety, bombast, excellent solos, many musical ideas, keyboards, an avant passage, rock, pointless lyrics (:P), excellent musicianship, length, quiet acoustic passages and loud, kick you in the face rock sections, replayability...and more. Its amazing what satire can produce, and this is one of the best examples.

All in all, this is a prog masterpiece, this is a masterpiece of music. If you are new to the genre you have approximately one week to get this before the gods of progressive rock come down and smite you. If you are a veteran of the prog scene, you have this already, and if you don't you should be banished into the neatherworlds of 70s/80s pop music. Any way you slice it, this is a classic and a cornerstone to any music collection, progressive or otherwise. 5 stars, extremely recommended.

Report this review (#16357)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! is all I can say after listening to Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull. When I first recieved the album, I was quite skeptical as to how much I would enjoy the album. After listening through the album for the first time, I was amazed, yet quite bored of the 40+ extraneous minutes. But after I listened to the album for 3 times, I was hooked on it, despite the fact that there are some slow parts in the album. All of part one is completely excellent, while part two from about minute 30 to minute 40 went extremely slow. But at the end of the album, Ian Andersen really picked up the slack with one of the best endings I have ever heard of a song. This album releases the true potential of Ian Andersen, unlike his most famous (but still excellent album) "Aqualung."
Report this review (#16358)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply perfect. I was shortly introduced to this record by a flute player friend of mine, and was puzzled by orchestration in the short passage I listened to (I think it was celtic-like part near the end of the song), especially about the clever orchestration; so I borrowed it from him and listened to it carefully at home.Man that was a strike!!! Maybe I've never been so amazed by a record in the first listening (although I understand most people needs to listen to it two or three times, I got it from the very start); and every time I played it, I discovered I could find new textures, subtle secrets hidden in those beautiful, beautiful melodies. And one day, the entire work was in my head, like an indivisible masterpiece.

A lot has been said before about this record, so I'll focus on on point, the structure: I don't think that, in this album, structure is repetitive AT ALL. The acoustic part is repeated, yes, as a way to carry the song into different ages, like a 'break' between acts; and in fact it is never strictly repeated: after the drum solo and jamming dissonance at the beginning of Part 2 (which I think is the only dark spot in this work of art), the acoustic line comes back, but only for two lines, since the line changes inmediately to a warmer melody (if possible) acompanying the lyrics "In the clear white circles of morning wonder..." and yes, it's back at the very very end of the song, to symbolise the repetition of the cycle. About the "See there, a son/man is born..." part, it is repeated to represent the birth of the child (first) and the adult (later), but again, it's a "false repetition": first part is a 10/8, and second a 12/8, with the addition of 2 notes to the main riff, which completely changes the groove of the part. The "childhood heroes" part is repeated with completely different arrangements at the end of the song, and "cutting" the duration of the line (removing the pauses after every verse) to make it more listeneable and moving. There are also lots of "repetition tricks" here and there: for instance, during the astonishing drum solo, a few silly notes can be heard, corresponding to the melody of "You curl your toes in fun..."; and specially in the overwhelming ending (my favourite part of the entire song, I dare to say), where the "See there..." riff comes back with almost infinite variations, surrounded by numerous pieces "stolen" from other parts of the song; the final rush is filled with a melody you previously heared at the very beginning of Part 2, and it didn't seem to make much sense then, but it sure does now!! And then the apotheosis: 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-ONE-TWO-THREE!!!! And before you've noticed, all the instruments are gone and you're left back with that simple (but extremely beautiful) acoustic guitar line. Ecstasy. I don't expect to find another record which makes me feel the way this does, but if I do... hell, I'm lucky!!! Five stars seem little, can't I add one or two more?

Report this review (#16359)
Posted Sunday, December 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars To the reviews already here, I will only add that there was a stretch of time after I bought this album in which I listened to it at least once every single day. For MONTHS. It was addictive. I think I only stopped when I returned to school and my daily rhythm changed. It's still some of my favorite music to play back in my head.

It's also recently been quoted on some political 'blogs as being relevant to the recent US presidential election results:

So come on, you childhood heroes, won't you rise up from the pages, of your comic books, your super-crooks, and show us all the way?

Well, make your will and testament, Won't you joint your local government? We'll have Superman for President, let Robin save the day!

Not to get political or anything... :-)

Report this review (#16361)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Thick As A Brick" is perfect. There are many melodies and great ideas here that I don't know were to start talking about it. The initial melody with that acoustic guitar and flutes is perfect, and there are many other great sections. The worst sections are on the first half of the second part, but even those are interesting. This is Ian Anderson's songwriting peak and an essential prog album.
Report this review (#16362)
Posted Saturday, January 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.7/5.0 This album is a must for any progressive music fan. It's hard to believe that you can create so much rhythm with flute and guitars. The rhythm in the voice on the album reminds me of Gentle Giant in some way while the music itself makes me think about Harmonium's "Si on avait besoin d'une cinquičme saison". The group does not need no drum to create rhythm and the drum is very light on that album; neverthless this is a strong rhytmic album.

In every part this is a masterpiece and I would give even a higher rating than 4.7/5.0 if it wasn't for some "slower" parts on the second side. However, as always, one has to remember that it's the slowest parts that create the climax so one can really enjoy the more rhytmic parts...

Report this review (#16366)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Often coined as their "masterpiece" and best release, Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" surely is one of the most popular progressive rock recordings over the last 35 years. Though I like it's successor, "A Passion Play" better, this one still has very high qualities both lyrically and musically. It's a very constructed and well-thinked album, with very few weak spots and a light yet serious style to it. It definitely stand out as one of Tull's best albums, though it might drag on for too long, luckily not often though. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#16368)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This was my first JT experience, back in my mid teenage years, when my prog head status was still in its forming stage. and what an experience it was! I had come to first know and enjoy this band right away, with this incredible masterpiece. Unlike some other cases, in which it is usually recommended that the initiated get started with a specific band's less complex material and then explore further into their most accomplished albums, "Thick as a Brick" would surely make a perfect entrance for any curious newcomer to JT listening. There's the obvious fact that this two part 40-minute suite is constructed within a pretty intricate and ambitious frame, something that theoretically, might scare the newcomer a priori. But, on the other hand, they might as well catch an accurate glimpse of JT's varied penchant for folk, blues-infected rock, and also Ian Anderson's signature solid interventions on flute (plus other occasional woodwinds) and acoustic guitar (plus other stringed things such as mandolin) in the context of a potent rock band that's pretty capable of articulating their sonic power into the colourful, complex melodic lines, harmonies and counterpoints habitual in Anderson's exhaustive writing labour. Conceived as a massive Monty Python-like mockery against the pretensions inherent to concept-albums (and a bunch of those had become quite popular in the rock charts during the late 60s and early 70s), Jethro Tull managed to create one of the best concept-albums ever: an irony that can only be achieved by the combination of genius writing, inventive arrangements, and top-notch performances. Besides Anderson's notable virtuosity and versatility (he also plays some stuff on violin, trumpet and sax), the ensemble as a whole works beautifully. Also, each individual member makes their own particular talent a crucial part of the band's overall greatness: Barre's exciting guitar leads and riffs (stealing the limelight in some of the rockier passages); Evan's exquisite skill on organ and piano (occasionally harpsichord, too); Hammond-Hammond's precise bass lines and extra burlesque (Jeffrey, Ian and John were, indeed, accomplished showmen); and last but not least, Barlow's outstanding drumming - including the incendiary solo that bursts out soon after the start of Part 2 -, complemented by his sensitive use of other percussive stuff (tympani, bells, glockenspiel). In order to keep a sense of integrity for the whole suite, the band uses some points of reference as reprises and recurring interlude variations: the ultra-popular opening theme, the 'See there! A son is born' section, and the 'See you shuffle in the courtroom' section. Two of my favourite passages are: the instrumental expansion of the first 'See there!' and the boy scout-like marching 'I've come down from the upper class' extravaganza - this is JT at the top of their playful genius. One of the most beautiful passages is the Renaissance-inspired 'The legends worded in the ancient tribal hymn' ballad section; another beautiful moment is provided by the string ensemble arrangement, courtesy of David Palmer, that announces the last instrumental interlude before the epilogue. The closure is a reprise of the opening motif's first chorus, which doesn't sound forced: actually, the whole sequence of previous motifs seem articulated in order to lead necessarily into this conclusion. 5 stars - yeah.
Report this review (#16369)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is another Progressive Rock album that, in my opinion, every fan of the genre should own. Up to 1975 I listened to all JETHRO TULL releases and, although I enjoyed them all, this album is my favourite of the TULL albums I know.

If it had not been for the limitations of the vinyl media of the time, the music would have been one long track. As the LP had to be turned over there is an enforced hiatus in the music, but it's hardly noticeable with the CD.

The 1998 EMI/Chrysalis CD release with digitally remastered music has, apart from the original two LP sides, a 12-minute live performance of (part of) the piece at Madison Square Garden in 1978 plus an interesting 17-minute interview with Ian Anderson, Martin Barre and Jeffrey Hammond. (Count how many times they manage to mention Bermondsey in the interview!) Anderson mentions that this album was a tongue-in-cheek concept album as his reaction to "Aqualung" being labelled a concept album in the music press, when it was not. He wanted to create a complex, confusing send-up of the band, music critics and the audience, and not necessarily in that order. Apparently Anderson took about 2 weeks to write and rehearse the music with the band (!) and they then took around 8 to 10 days to record the album (!), and the band spent more time writing and completing the album cover artwork than writing, rehearsing and recording the album!

The booklet that comes with the 1998 EMI/Chrysalis CD release duplicates the original spoof newspaper (The St. Cleve Chronicle) that served as the LP cover and insert, plus a centre spread with Melody Maker clippings etc. Given the CD format, the font is very small, but you can just about read it! One of the 'articles' contains the lyrics of the music.

All I need to say about the music itself is that it is extremely good, with an amazingly simple yet incredibly effective riff that appears regularly throughout the piece. The musicianship is of the highest order and the instruments - both acoustic and electric - very pleasing. Without doubt 5 stars.

Report this review (#16371)
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing album......... from beginning to the end not 1 minute of even average music........ whether its the amazing flute leading into the part with "the poet & the painter", or the memorable instrumental just before the portion with the comic book superhero references...... the album is absolutely amazing..... I personally find Part 2 just as good as Part 1 although most people here seem to find it a bit inferior....... nehow .... to each his own!........the lyrics are great ...... though at times not as poetic as on "A Passion Play"......... I also highly recommend "A Passion Play" to go with this album...... they make a great pair as both are musically very similar ........ though PP is not a masterpeice like this one, its still an amazing peice of music ( Why its so disliked by most I'll never understand!!) nehow gr8 music...... very complex in portions too...... so if youre new to Tull, try Aqualung first
Report this review (#16373)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece. Maybe one of the best works in rock history. The sound is unique and nothing like this. Ian voice and flute in finest moment. Martin´s terrific work. Jeffrey and John with their complex contribution. And what about Barrie.The band is much better with him. For me he´s the best drumer.And David´s work , as always,very good. A must!!!
Report this review (#35702)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you are into prog you have obviously heard of Jethro Tull. After the band gained success from Aqualung, they entered a new direction of progressive rock music. Thick As A Brick is only two songs (I think of it as one) at around twenty minutes each. Certainly something very revolutionary to be done in the early 70s. While I never really understood the concept behind the album, Thick As A Brick is one of the essential pieces of the prog genre. Ian Andersons voice is very powerful and displays a great range of emotions. The rest of the band also displays an incredible use of talent. While not very "showy" Martin Barrem always seemed to be hitting the right notes. He also has a nice solo or two thrown in. Ian Andersons trademark flute is also found throughout this album. I think the album beautifully displays progressive rock. It flows perfectly from each section and never once did I find that the transition between each part of the album was forced. Seriously, if you are into prog (which I assume you are because your reading a review on Prog Archives) buy this album. It will go down with "Selling England by the Pound," "Close to the Edge," and "2112" as a masterpiece.
Report this review (#16376)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Despite all the other reviews here, I find that I have to review it myself as well. In 1972, Thick as a Brick was released, the concept an idea of Ian Anderson, one of the most wonderfully crazy people in the music business. The result: masterpiece. He managed to come up with a 44-minute song (it really is one song) with no filler whatsoever. Many 16-20 minute songs I know have filler, and this is more than twice as long. The album is pure perfection, and I view it as the greatest song of all time. On my reviews, I go song by song, so here goes:

Thick as a Brick: One of the all-time cornerstones of Progressive Rock and Prog Folk, let alone rock in general. As the first song (and album) to be contained on two sides of an album (actually, the entirety of each side), it broke new ground: hence, the word "progressive." Every section is imaginative and perfect. The famous acoustic guitar and flute intro is perfect, but the song gets so much deeper later on. Also, on side 2, the song goes through probably the most glorious section of music I ever heard. This is the "Do you believe in the day?" section of the song. Words cannot express the feeling and the perfection of this section and of the entire song.

If you don't own this album, then you must within 1 day, or else you can't be a true prog fan. You will understand what I mean once you get it and listen to it. Not just once, but again and again (it's like this for all prog albums, mind you). Perfect. 5/5 stars.

Report this review (#16379)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a fantastic album. One of the best progressive rock albums I've ever heard. The arrangements are superb, the harmonies are excellent and the lyrics are emotive and poetic. Some of the fantastic cadences almost bring a tear to my eye! I wish I could write music this complex and brilliant! Ian Anderson is truly at his best, and as one of the other reviews said, it really is the best single song ever released!

It is truly a rollercoaster and definitely an album that I will always cherish, 40 minutes goes so fast when listening to this mammoth album.

Absolutely perfect. 5/5

Report this review (#16380)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely perfect. By far my favorite CD ever. It grips you from the beginning to end. I admit I don't really understand the lyrics fully, who knows if anyone is meant to! Couldn't possibly recommend it higher
Report this review (#16381)
Posted Friday, May 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Essential :A masterpiece of progressive music. HuH!! what an incredible and spectacular album, in this cd jethro tull has an amazing interpretation, a entire cd who has two songs named thick as a brick, obviously this two songs form one song, that album song is a masterpiece because the instruments are armonized to create an atmosphere fill of sounds an folk, my english is not good you have seen , but i think thick as a brick isthe best jetrho tull cd and one of the bests records of progressive rock.
Report this review (#16383)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars J-Tull's Thick As A Brick is one of the best progressive rock albums ever to be created. Incorporating many different musical influences, like Folk, Blues, Rock, and Classical music in one big epic song lasting a good 43 minutes. A great roller-coaster ride.

It starts quite soft, with gentle accoustic guitar, and a sweet well known flute melodie, and a great voice on top of that. Soon the piano enters the play and the song beginnes to take shape. After some 3 minutes the bass start to kick in and takes the song to a more heavy frantic structure, with lots of sounds and "noises" that are held together by the tight drumming, and brilliant bass play. With each passing minute the song becomes more complex, and more instruments join the play, creating a more intense sound. Fast and rhytmic passages and more quiet passages alternate each other at a high pace.

The instrumental passages are absolutely brilliant, as are the vocals. 43 minutes of pure bliss. A brilliant album every prog-lover should have in their collection.MAGNIFICENT

Report this review (#36408)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My god this album took me by suprise i hade heard it was a good album but that it whuld be this great i hade never culd have imagined, well i guess i shuld have understod that it whuld be a masterpiece becaus all the ather 3 Jethro tull albums i have that came befor this was all of em great so i shuld not have thought anything less about this. Well this song called Thick As A Brick is simply one of the best prog rockers ever that mixes folk rock/hard rock and much ather stuff to a great progresiv mess its yust fantastic, people have been talking about weak spots but i havent found any. Ofcourse everyting is not mindblowing but everything is very good and some parts even beter i mean its a 45 min song in 2 parts every thing cant be great, still this is yust masterfull done and its Jethro tulls greatest moment and thir big masterpiece, normal people who dont realy dig prog may love Aqualung beter and its a great album, but this one is the real [&*!#] for the real music lovers and prog heads. Get it now.
Report this review (#36603)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars very beautiful, stupendous, spectacular, this album of the jethros tull is if not the best one of the most beautiful! both for the beauty of the music, and for the great massive structure of I work that is behind quiesta suite, ian anderson with its magic flute is a myth! the sound of the flute also amalgamates perfectly with all the other tools and from its great contribution in the solos. In short according to me this album is obligatory for the one that (as me) it is impassioned to the rock progressive.
Report this review (#38121)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I wonder if an album ever should reach a 5 stars judgement with 50 evaluators, and how much it could go closer to it (in mathematics it is said to be impossible, but let's see...: 4,88 before me). THE MOTHER OF ALL CONCEPT ALBUM : I have stolen this judgement from another reviewer (Hugues Chantraine), because I am absolutely of the same opinion: the idea, the story, the realization, the music, the athmosphere, ... It's 30 years or so I am listening to this music, never get bored (I beg your pardon if I put this term on this review...), always feeling as the first astonishing time. Impossible even to get close to it: FANTASTIC!
Report this review (#38190)
Posted Friday, July 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the second Jethro Tull record I ever heard, after Aqualung. This is everything prog is about: emotional melodies, excellent lyrics, great playing of all instruments by everyone, various key changes throughout the song, slow, mellow parts and heavier parts, and 43 imuntes of awesome epic folk melodic hard prog rock. The song starts out mellow, with the acoustic guitar and flute, and some kind of keyboard accompanying Ian Anderson's singing. Ian Anderson really is one of the greatest singers alive. As the song goes on, it gets jazzier and heavier, and then it gets really dark and melodic with one of my favorite musical passages ever, which really reminds of some Heep songs, particularaly Lady in Black. I love Tull's excellent use of the organ as well. The song continues to rock for a while, then it gets mellow again in another great passage showcasing Tull's ability to immediately slow it down after rocking for a while. The song starts rocking again, and then the first half of the epic fades out on an uplifting guitar/piano line.

The second half starts off a bit darker than anything in the first half, with some great organ soloing in some kind of mid-eastern scale. Then it continues with one of the jazzy riffs and melodies from the first half, but with different lyrics. Then comes the worst part of the song, I think, although the awesomeness of the rest of the song makes up for it. It has these repetitive jazzy riffs going on while some guy (presumably Ian Anderson) is saying some pretty weird stuff, but he's just talking, and this part is kind of boring. But then the song comes back with some mellow melodies and great lyrics, which although they seem a bit goofy at times, without them the feel of the song would be gone. after this mellow part comes what may be my favorite section of the song, In which the most prominent words are: Do you believe in the day? Do you? Believe in the Day! And the organ and guitar riffs really remind me of Zelda, there kind of scary, but with Ian Anderson's melodic voice overtop, its like something out of a dream. Then the song begins its long ending, which includes another rocking melody with some more great lyrics, and a few melodies from earlier in the song. The song ends with And your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick" much like it began.

This is one of my favorite albums, I just got it the other day and I've listened to it probably 25 times, you just want to keep listening. This is one of the most diverse prog epics ever, containing elements of folk (like all Tull songs), hard rock, jazz, and prog- Zelda-esque darker organ awesomeness rock. I can almost guarantee you will like this if you get it.

Report this review (#39897)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Many albums that were great in their day do not stand the test of time. This one has much to do with the most evocative classical music in that it is so rich, deep and compelling that it remains as a touchstone throughout one's life. I first heard Tull in concert when they toured the US in support of Brick's release. It was my first real encounter with prog music; while Tull has had its ups and downs, this album stands out as its defining work, much as "Tommy" is to the Who. The complexity of the arrangements demand that one spend time with it to appreciate, just as classical music does. This is well rewarded by the group's delicate interplay, with special attention to dynamic changes in volume and speed, heavy and light; something we now take for granted, but still hasn't been done much better.

Excerpts of this epic are still features of Tull's concerts; they were just here in Japan and I admit that hearing the simple opening on acoustic guitar, one of the most anticipated both for itself and for what follows, produced very powerful emotions that force us all to "look back on our youth" and take stock of what we have become. If you want to know where folk and classical meet rock, it doesn't get better than Jethro Tull, and Thick as a Brick does stand the time test as a masterpiece.

Report this review (#39967)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4/2 Stars

This is the artistic peak of Jethro tull. They flawlessly mix folk, classical music, rock, and progressive styles into a 40+ long epic. The first 2 minutes of the song is very well known worldwide, since that unforgettable folk piece is on 'greatest hits' albums, and is very memorable. The rest of the album is a progressive rock bliss full of musical changes, and excellent lyrics, though it suffers from repetition and some incoherence between side 1 and 2.

The story is very hard to fully grasp. It revolves around that newspaper article about a genius young poet not getting a reward for his poem 'Thick As a Brick' because of the content (but the poem is excellent in itself). This album goes through the central theme of young people are not usually allowed to think for themselves independently, and instead are made to think/become like adults want them to. The lyrics are very poetic and methaphoric (difficult to understand their meanings), and also contain touches of great witty humor.

You have to get this album. If you are not familiar with this band, I recommend you to listen to Aqualung first to get used to their unique sound. Then try this masterwork.

My grade : B+

Report this review (#42308)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
5 stars Truly a masterpiece of progressive rock.

The best song on this album is Thick as a Brick (ho ho!). One song on a whole album - how progressive can you get? This album stands out amongst other Jethro Tull albums of the same period. Compared with Aqualung, the sound quality is better and the band play together better as a whole. Compared with their other one-song album A Passion Play, this album contains lighter and more humourous lyrical content and IMHO better tunes.

Personally though, I prefer the live shortened versions of this album available on albums such as Live Bursting Out. The latest version of this CD contains a live version of Thick as a Brick from Madison Square Gardens in 1977, which alone is worth the price of the CD.

Report this review (#42560)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars No many words to say about Thick As A Brick: there will never be great objection to call it THE real MASTERPIECE of the progressive rock! I agree with the opinion of Dan (7 22 2005) who remembers that, if you are searching for the commistion between folk music and classical music, you can't get better than Jethro Tull (eventually also Strawbs, in my personal opinion). To a miliar stone from 1972 a five star rating from 2005!!
Report this review (#43003)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Thick as a Brick" is Jethro Tull's clever, most satisfying piece of music from their discography. The song is extremely complicated, Tull is just clever enough to change times and complicated rhythm with ease for the listener. The reason it is so popular is just that. It maintains it's "progressive" style while being something everyone has the chance to enjoy. The melodies are at most genious and at least memorable. As for the lyrics, although Ian's head is full of questionable thoughts, are inspiring, and many of them hold some real meaning for people socially conscious and sick of the way the establishment is run. Do not miss this masterpiece.
Report this review (#43292)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all I have to say I'm something of a Jethro Tull novice with the only other album by them in my collection being Aqualung.Its quite obvious to me though that this is something special.Prog rock at it sbest should be challenging and enjoyable.Both can be found here is abundance as you are taken on a ride of complex time signatures and ever shifting moods .Percussion is very strong throughout and the keyboard solos are top notch.I like this very much.I cannot think of one thing that makes this not deserving of 5 stars.Bravo!
Report this review (#43450)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's a reason that Thick As A Brick is so critically acclaimed here. It's because one of the biggest names in prog is in full effect here conceptually and musically. Tull at it's best is extremely hard to match.

Thick As A Brick, out of all the prog-giants, Tull is probably the most distinct, blending folk with just about every type of thoughtful rock there is. Ian Anderson's voice, and especially on this album, pulls you in...vocalists rarely reach the dramatic or charismatic level that Ian Anderson is on, not to mention his excellent flute. The entire band is best represented here because songwriting wise, Anderson has reached his conceptual peak, and the musical interplay at every part of this huge song is amazingly fitting, well-played and impressively enthralling. The song in it's entirety is interesting and has no low points. It's even better because each musician here gets a chance to shine, and of course there are top-notch players here, Barre's great lead guitar, Barlow's energetic grooves, Hammond's spidery basslines, and Evan's organs switch and blend beautifully, weaving through intense and beautiful melodies throughout the entire piece. The icing on the cake is the sharp and witty lyrics/story brilliantly delivered by Ian Anderson. (10/10)

To be such a bold piece in it's longevity, and to be so amazing throughout entirely, not dropping you for one second, is something that must be heard. Everything about this album screams masterpiece, and is as close to the elusive level of perfection as you can get. REVIEWER'S TILT: (10/10)

OVERALL SCORE: 10/10 or 5 stars

Report this review (#43609)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, Thick as a Brick is the best progressive album of all time. The only albums that can possibly compare are Selling England or Close to the Edge. This is Ian Anderson's all out MASTERPIECE. Brilliant Acoustic work, brillian flute sounds, great drumming, superb electric guitar, and of course excellent piano. All that aside, the lyrics are incredible, thought-provoking, and witty as they should be. I would elaborate, but I cannot capture what this album is. Once you listen, it is obvious how great it is. It was a little ahead of its time however, and critics weren't overwhelmingly kind.
Report this review (#43745)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
4 stars Don't get me wrong - I really like this album. Indeed, I have 2 vinyl copies and a CD, so it must have something. It's just that, much though I really like children, I can only eat one at a sitting. And it's the same with this. It's excellently composed and played, I can play any bit and guarantee to enjoy it, I like the cover art (the piss take of a provincial newspaper - especially on the vinyl) and the story is an endearingly silly concept (an Anderson piss take).The lyrics are deep and though provoking. But try as I might, I can't play the whole album in one go because it just doesn't quite do enough to captivate me in the same way (say) Camel's The Snow Goose does. One side at a time is enough or else I get bored. More folky and progressive than their earlier blues inspired stuff, it's a lot better than Benefit or Stand Up and only Aqualung bears comparison. A masterpiece? Nearly - worth 4.5 stars but that's all. Sorry Ian!
Report this review (#45640)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Everyone should praise Ian Anderson as one of the most creative minds on music, a person able to create amazing melodies, intelligent lyrics and play several instruments with notable passion for his art. He is obviously the one responsible for JETHRO TULL's success, since he always composed some of the most important tiles of the prog-rock wall.

One of them is this epic "Thick As A Brick", which is just one 40+ minute long song that remains interesting from start to finish, even though the same theme is played oftenly through the two parts that divide the work due to vynil restrictions. Each minute is interesting and important, no weak points are found here, so how do you define someone who composes such an amazing piece of art? A genius might be right word, don't you think? With his folk influences Ian delivers great flute passages with folk rhythm (mainly near the ending) - mixing other styles as a more hard rock one in some times - and the other members of the band work perfectly on their instruments. They all play as a true band here, being the guitar not over the keyboards or vice-versa. There's no need to "virtuosity show-off" here, they are lightened as a true group making their sound as the best they could produce.

This is their masterpiece, their definite one. It is essential at the most pure sense of the word, and if you want some more music to delight yourself get the new CD containing an extra live track (not special, but it is interesting to listen to this live) and an interview with Ian and the band.

Definitely a masterpiece!

Report this review (#47514)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars All that needs to be said about this magnificent album may have been said. This is Tull's magnum opus. It easily outshines the rest of their catalogue and that's saying something impressive. Thick as a Brick easily bests Close to the Edge and Selling England by the Pound in my humble opinion. Not only that but it has one of the great album covers and inserts. Oh for the days of vinyl when records were decked out with extravagant art, real zippers, and of course entire newspapers. The articles are quite witty and dry. Musically be prepared for a flurry of time signatures (there's even a hemiola in there too!), and a veritable banquent of musical themes. Honestly, I've never found Tull to be overly progressive, most of their stuff is straight up rock and roll, but not this. This is progressive as progressive should be. The musicians themselves really shine too. Barrie Barlow has always been my favorite Tull drummer, I don't care how much he might hate Ian and the boys nowadays. John Evans of course demonstrates why he is Tull's best piano player. And naturally nothing need be said concerning Ian and Martin, they're as good as it gets. Really this could be the best Tull line-up if only we had Peggy on the bass.

Bottom line: a true feast for the ears.

Report this review (#47708)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jethro Tull's Thick as A Brick is in my opinion, the greatest album that ever was. However, sometimes i dont want to listen to it beacuse Im worried that i some point i might get tired of it. But i probably won't. I have listened to it through multiples times a day. There are countless numbers of incredible riffs, and some awesome orchestracion at the end. If you are starting to get into Jethro Tull, get this, Songs From the Wood, Minstrel in the Gallery, Stand Up and Aqualung. However, i think Aqualung is a little overrated. Its still great though. Think is a brick, however is deffinitly not overrated. Buy it, you won't regret it. Then get all of their other albums.
Report this review (#49612)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars SUPERB!!! This is the ULTIMATE Jethro Tull album, and not just because it's an ambitious one-song prog epic. It's because 'Thick As A Brick' has the flow of a masterfully-written short song; it's because every member's performance is remarkable; it's because the sounds are gorgeous, especially John Evan's rich array of keyboard sounds; and probably the most important element: Ian Anderson's melodies are among the best he would ever write: emotionally-stirring, super-memorable, addictive, an absolute pleasure to behold.

Performed with total conviction, the rhythms and changes are all top-notch and the band's amazing chemistry is obvious. It doesn't hurt, of course, that Anderson is at his most inspired, vocally, reeling off his best-ever chunk of prose like the master he is. Every time I think I have the storyline figured out, I doubt myself on the next listen...but no matter: as an assembly of words and verses, they read well on paper and sound even more convincing coming out of Anderson's mouth. Feel free to pile on even more superlatives and praise. It deserves it. 'Thick As A Brick' is one of very few albums that I've listened to over and over in the same sitting. It's fresh and new every time. An absolute perfect prog classic.

Report this review (#52437)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars If there is one Tull cd I would pick up, if I must decide myself to take only one record by them with me on a desert island, it would be "Thick As A Brick", even it would be a close race with "Aqualung", my first taste with the band. The mother of all concept albums remains as the first record by them, where the progressive sensibilitys stood not only in the background, but took control as the main-part of the songwriting and arrangements. Mastermind Ian Anderson was on his highest point of creativity, the music on both of the TAAB parts are complex, catchy and highly memorable at the same time, which makes the record to such a highly acclaimed masterpiece for the fans of Jethro Tull and progressive rock listeners. The album reached big status in the underground as it reached the light of day and still is the high-water-mark of the whole band history, even I think that "A Passion Play" is extremely underrated and nearly can reach the brilliance of TAAB, but though I prefer this, because of it's more ambitious perfection and memorable essence. I got the remastered version with two bonus tracks: A shorter live version of "Thick As A Brick" recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1978, with excellent sound, and an interestening interview with Ian Anderson, Martin Barre and Jeffrey Hammond, who explain very well the construction of the album. Watch out for this cd version, it's superb!

Rating: 98 % on MPV scale = 10/10 points = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Report this review (#54389)
Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Nothing like a little Tull in the morning' is what a customer told me this morning at a Food Co-op - where I work. Not only was I thrilled that a customer recognized non-Aqualung Tull, but he is right. In fact there is nothing like Tull at any time of day. And especially not like Thick As A Brick.

From the first time IA sings 'And your wise men don't know how it feels' the album is off and running all the way until IA sings the very same at the end. Thick is one of the most complete prog albums I've heard. Thick keeps itself moving so well for the entirety of the album. For more glowing encomium read the other 100 plus reviews.

The album cover and package are also rather interesting, certainly like nothing else I've seen. I recently bought the LP and am now interested in completing the crossword puzzle contained within (I bought it used and the dots were already connected). Making a full on newspaper out of an LP was crafty.

The feature I love most about Thick is that it's complex enough to offer something new each time but not to dense to be a real effort to listen to. Well done, Jethro Tull.

Report this review (#54722)
Posted Saturday, November 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I clicked on the 5 star rating, a pop-up showed up saying something like: please use 5-star and 0-star ratings sparingly... and not every album you enjoy is a masterpiece. Well, Thick as a Brick is sheer masterpiece! Not many albums are comparable too it. T.a.a.B. has so much creativity, and genius poored into it that it is difficult to want to listen anything after hearing it. Ian Aderson beautifully explores and sings about our society. How the people who control the government and own the land and direct the money, are thick as bricks. The poetry in this song is amazingly beautiful. Anderson paints a picture in your mind, and all the music builds up and beautifully peaks at the perfect time. Its so beautiful that you want to cry. Thick as a Brick.
Report this review (#56228)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
con safo
5 stars A truly essential album to any prog fans collection.

"Thick As A Brick" is Jethro Tull in top form, so tight and complex as if the band itself is one single entity. Ian's flute has never sounded better, and heavy use or organ gives this album a great sound. The piece itself is 40+ minutes long, and is separated into 2 tracks. The composition is truly brilliant, with many recurring themes reappearing throughout. (but slightly altered) The album is a mock-concept of sorts, a supposed collaboration between 8-year old poet Gerald and Jethro Tull. The concept follows a child (perhaps Ian himself) through birth, childhood, adulthood, and eventually death. Ian's sarcastic and humorous lyric style is extremely clever, and delivers the concept in a way only JT can!

JT went over the prog deep end with this album, embracing the prog sound with magnificent results. The music itself is very folky at parts reminiscent of Aqualung, but it goes far beyond the simpler folk tracks of that album, using a lot of classical influences. Evan's organ is superb, adding fantastic texture throughout. The song flows seamlessly through many different themes, never meandering or boring, you are always aware that all of this is one song, as it is written with the finesse of a classical composer. Truly a work of genius! 5/5 - con safo

Report this review (#56936)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's true. It is essential. And it IS a masterpiece of progressive music.

For a long time I wasn't too sure what people saw in Thick as a Brick that made them say that it was better than Aqualung. I have enjoyed Aqualung since I was a kid and I always saw that as the essential and perfect Jethro Tull album. However... I was wrong. The number 4 spot is quite deserving of this masterpiece of an album, even though I still like it WAY better than Close to the Edge. Hahaha. But I will let that one go. Ian Anderson is absolutely perfect as a vocalist and the flute/piccalo playing is unlike anything else. Almost brings a tear to my eye. Yeah, alright. It does bring a tear to my eye. But don't tell anyone that. Perfect album. Buy it! And when you buy it try to get the 25th Anniversary Collection album or whatever it is. Live version of Thick as a Brick and you get to listen to Ian Anderson compare himself to Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd in a live interview. Hahhaa. It is great to listen to. He seems like an awesome personality... and I have passed up seening him live... twice. Yeah... I am upset about it, too.

Report this review (#57048)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick is one of Tull's best works. 43 minutes long and brilliant from beginning to end. The music never gets old despite the length of the track, and the lyrics are brilliant. This is nothing but a masterpiece. Definetely essential to progressive rock fans.
Report this review (#58289)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is only my very humble opinion, but this record is not doing a lot for me despite my affection for our favorite hobo flutist. Anderson's voice is to me one that speaks for millions of youths, whatever their age or the ages. Some segements are delectable in terms of melodies (the main theme for instance), some are more melancholic...ahh, the Tull at his zenith.

On another hand, the duper segments I talked about could be chopped from a good 20 minutes of repetitive themes and therefore the redudance is spoiling the magic. I get the same feeling of the Moonchild song from King Crimson, there's a line, but too weak to climb up my repertoire.

Perhaps to people this record is speaking more of teenage good old dayz than the concept itself?

Report this review (#59045)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars For my first review, it is only fitting that I write about my favorite album of all time! These best 44 minutes of music ever assembled, are easily a masterpiece of prog. This album strays from the traditonal Tull -- blues-based rock which had few elements of prog -- and becomes a perfect embodiment of all things prog. From the album's concept, to its whimsical lyrics, to its varying time signatures and tempos to create outstanding changes in mood, Thick as a Brick is wonderful.

Anderson's flute, Barre's guitar and Evans' work on the keys truly give this album a great overall and unique sound. And it all ends with Anderson's chuckle midway through the last time he says "And your wisemen don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick." It's just a perfect ending and it indicates how light-hearted this album really is.

Simply a pleasure. Thick as a Brick is a timeless classic, with great sophistication and layering of sounds and ideas, and sounds better with each listen.

Report this review (#60164)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW! Superb CD that belongs in every Jethro Tull and/or pog rock fans library. Changes in pace keeps the song from getting boring, excellent drum solo early in second half a highlight. Song flows seamlessly...something many artists have tried verry hard to do but have not been able to succeed at. If any complaint can be made against this is that it is not divided up on the Cd so you can jump to your favorite parts while still preserving the two track feel.
Report this review (#60786)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars WOW..........who would of thought what a great album this is after hearing for years the standard 4 min. radio song "Thick as a Brick" that there waited such a wonderful stroyline and awesome musicians. After the 3 min. version, the songs really play out very nice, and is a strong prog record. Hats off to the Tull !!!!!!
Report this review (#62851)
Posted Monday, January 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's not much to write about this without breaking down nearly every minute of the two pieces, and I do not want to do that. What I will say is that this album...simply worked immediately. I never get bored during any part of this, my attention never fades. I never get bored of Ian Anderson's playful and wonderful flute solos and flute parts, nor of the wonderful acoustic melodies, nor of the high quality drumming all around. Ian Anderson is truly a master of pleasing and lovely floating melodies. His voice is the perfect blend of edge with serenity, as is the whole album. Whereas Aqualung was much more of a rocker than TaaB, this album still retains some of that edge while focusing considerably more on subtleties.

I don't even know what to write about this that hasn't been said already. Whether it's a jazz flute style solo, a hard rock section, soft acoustic, xylophone parts or whatever, it all rocks. This album is perfect.

Report this review (#65110)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a brick is one of the 5 best music reording over the universe. It was only a joke to make a concept album for Ian Anderson but when he want, this guy is a genius. Everything is perfect in this album. My regrets is that Anderson never been able to make as good after this album


Report this review (#66279)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a great album, my favorite parts are the beginning and the end. Lyrics, music, nothing is lacking in this album. An album I go to whenever, sad happy angry all my emotions come out in this beautiful piece of art. Ian Anderson Shines, incredible.
Report this review (#68267)
Posted Saturday, February 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars An awesome album. It's one track, so you run out of things to say when talking about them. I think it was a little too ambitious. Not that I can't get through it and love it all the time, but I think it could have been one side. The whole b-side isn't that great in comparison except for the celestial strings part - that was utter genious. It makes listening to the whole b-side that much more worth it. Truly great.

Otherwise I can't even think of the sections that much. I'm sure they exist, but I've listened to the album a whole lot and still cannot do it without investigation. Hooray for a Scots' contribution to prog, though.

Report this review (#68724)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first heard this album at the age of 13 or 14. I have little memory of it, other than the intro part that was on the radio all the time when I was growing up. But my friend and I (who's father had the original LP in his collection) got no end of amusement from the full size newspaper on the inner sleve. So it was with great enthusiasm that I listened to it again after discovering prog music in my twenties, recalling that it was an album length song. And I was not dissapointed in the least. This is quite simply the best and most succesful album length piece of music I've ever heard (I'm not including more traditional concept albums here, only albums that are one continuous piece of music). It has everything to appeal to a prog lover; bombastic parts, odd time signatures, tight and complex ensemble playing, long and high quality soloing on various instruments, pastoral sections, interlocking themes that recur throughout with many variations. It is probably the only Jethro Tull album I still listen to, and is the only one I still own (thought there are others I consider great, and as a whole I like the band a good deal still). One of the great things about it is that it does not take itself too seriously. There is a humor that pervades it that is charming and helps to make it seem much less pretentious and overblown. But don't let that fool you, the music is top notch and the playing is pretty much flawless. I can't, in good conscience, give less than 5 stars. Though I think my personal overall rating is closer to 4 1/2 stars, I'll still give the masterpiece designation for the archives.
Report this review (#68868)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first got this album into my head when I was like 4 o 5 years old, thanks to my almighty father, fan of anderson's band, as well as genesis and led zeppelin. Years passing by, I had erased it from my memory, as power metal was raising in me. But, throughout the last years, I got myself back to prog rock, sinf and folk mainly, and well, the rest is just history. A couple of days ago I determined that "Thick as a brick" was my favourite album of any class of music. And, of course, that still remains.

A masterpiece for everyone, that's for sure

Report this review (#68901)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick As a Brick is 43 mins and 44 secs. of non-stop Tull at the peak of perfection. This is by far Tull's best album and defiantly one of the top 3 most progressive albums of all time. Both sides of this album are great but I would have to say as a personal prefrence Side 1 is a little bit better. The only weak point is at the very end of this side where there are gaps of silence followed by just some random playing and very muted words spoken. The guitar works of Martin Barre are fantastic in this album while he plays he multiple different times. Ian Anderson has his best singing performance on any of Tull's album, his flute playing is also at it's peak here. Seeing how he got this album written and made in such little time is still mind-boggling at the very least. Side 2 comes around after a very lively Part 1, this part seems to take a more darker side after the first 5-8 mins. After the middle chunk of this side though the album really does end with a bang with a good 5 mins of constant guitar playing and some great and humorous lyrics. All in all this is probably my favorite album of all time because it is just so catchy and well done. A absolute must by for Tull fans and prog lover alike.
Report this review (#69190)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars If there was one album to be selected as Masterpiece of Prog, this one would be my choice. Thick as a Brick is in fact the best definition of progrock. The arrangement, lyrics, energy, virtuosity, atmosphere and intensity make this album one hell of a trip every time I listen. Or as John Lennon would have said: Turn of your mind, relax and float downstream!
Report this review (#69234)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here's an album which certainly doesn't need another five-star recommendation, after racking up more than 200 reviews to date and winning the number two spot in the Prog Archives all-time popularity poll. But hearing it end-to-end (for the umpteenth time in 30+ years) is always an experience worth repeating, so why not also repeat some of the glowing accolades as well?

Any good Jethro Tull fan will of course cling to a favorite album, but to these ears the band's fifth studio effort was their first true masterpiece. More so than even "Aqualung", by comparison now an overexposed and somewhat dated early Prog artifact still riding the slipstream of its long-standing classic rock status. After 1971 Ian Anderson could have simply rested on the laurels of his newly minted superstardom, but he chose instead to put his then sterling reputation at risk with a record almost guaranteed to drive his critics to dumbfounded apoplexy.

It was a concept album, of course, as was just about every other record released at the time. But "Thick as a Brick" was the genuine article: a concept album in both content and form, mocking the philistine attitudes of cultural complacency in a single 40+ minute "song" cycle filling the entire album (with only one break, where the original vinyl LP had to be flipped over). The whole thing was meant to represent a rock-and-roll arrangement of a controversial poem written by a fictional 8-year old prodigy at odds with middlebrow conservatism, blending equal parts theology, scatology, obscure symbolism, and ribald satire into one long tragic- comic meditation on the entire human condition, here presented in a tongue-in- cheek "newspaper" poking fun not only at the anticipated critical response to the new album, but also at the conventions of album cover art overkill.

Describing the music itself would be a fool's errand. Suffice to say the rhythm-and- blues roots of early Tull were finally exorcised here, thanks in large part to the brilliant ensemble work of maybe the best line-up ever assembled under the Jethro Tull banner. The ferocious drumming of newcomer Barriemore Barlow shines through the typically anemic mid-'70s production job; old pal John Evan was allowed his modest share of the limelight on keyboards (after laboring in a supporting role on previous Tull albums); and Martin Barre continued to prove himself one of the most overlooked and underrated electric guitarists of his generation.

But this was clearly Ian Anderson's magnum opus. Consider the first four Jethro Tull albums, from their late '60s debut "This Was" through 1971's "Aqualung". Then listen to "Thick as a Brick" again. In 1972 it represented an unexpected and daring aesthetic leap forward for the band, and over 30 years later you can judge its success by how ill-suited it still is to the pre-fab, corporate music machine of our brave new millennium.

Report this review (#69633)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A little repetitive and boring as "Tales" from Yes, this record shows the indulgence of the seventies progrock. Is not bad, but not a masterpiece, by far. Lack of ideas and inspiration, the album rounds always around the same tunes and themes. No concise or consistent, it lacks the focus of other Tull's discs like "Aqualung". Anyway, not bad.
Report this review (#70659)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars It's good, but should've been an EP. Just not a whole album worth. Some of the parts are memorable. But many just repeat themselves (even the memorable one). Not sure what all the hype is about really. It's well produced, the instrumentation is good. The lyrics are all over the boards, but as a whole average. I'd figure it's the old breakdown of a good composition, but it's not even spectacular. Decidedly un-epic considering it's over 40 minutes long.

Must give credit though to the string part near the end. It validates the existence of the b-side.

Report this review (#71907)
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars If there was 6 stars that would definitely be my choice. This album is outstanding!

The most beautiful music composition I've ever heard. The magic JT team at its best!

Great music as well as interesting lyrics. I would say, in my opinion, one of the most representative progressive music albums and the best one of the JT discography.

To sum up, this album is essential: a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#72620)
Posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Listening to "Thick As A Brick" after more than 20 years without hearing it made me go back to my teenager years, in the ides of 1973-1974, when prog-rock was really KING.

I remember clearly that releases from our esteemed bands were shown ostensively in the shops, radios played their most catchy (sometimes cheesy) songs and talkings about prog were a high school and college daily matter. There was also "The Grand Parade of Covers", a kind of fad, here in Terra Brasilis, with young males and young ladies walking up and down, bearing album covers like saying which were their preferences. The most popular tribes were those sporting Floyd's 'cow cover' or Tull's 'soup of letters cover' (I had either but managed to keep them always safe at home) and I think this contest was virtually tied, a proof of the great popularity JT enjoyed here.

In fact, Jethro Tull are still very popular and dear and new fans are always being added; and the band have partially (or majorly) to be thankful to "Thick As A Brick", an amazing work, a real challenge, with its 43' plus total time; a length more common to be seen for old-time classical pieces. But we all benefited, since to be exposed to such a lengthy work was a learning experience for all hearers (specially the youngest) and a fine preparation for similar releases (from several bands) to be unveiled in years to come.

The saddest part of the history is that "Thick As A Brick" first releases had no lyrics attached and like no internet search gear existed then, the majority of non-English listeners had to appreciate exclusively the music; although many swore that the lyrics were plotted in the newspaper-like cover. Even today that I'm aware of the lyrics "Thick As A Brick" is, for me, much more an instrumental piece (however, "A Passion Play" was released since the beginning with full lyrics, a matter that we enjoyed immensely 1/3 of a century ago).

Even making me go back to the past, I wouldn't say that "Thick As A Brick" is dated or aged badly. But my feelings changed a bit, now instead of considering it a thunderous opus, I slowed the tone and for my recent hearings I observed some incontestable dull moments, and these moments are not particularly located - they appear in many parts of the song. Fortunately there are great and memorable moments, specially the flute solos and intermezzos. Ian Anderson, founder, leader, singer, flutist, ghost and elf of Jethro Tull never more achieved such an interaction between singing and playing as he did in this album. Other members worked greatly: it's nice and pleasant to hear Jeffrey H-H's bass lines, Barre's guitar riffs and Evans's keyboard handling - this line-up was probably Tull's best.

Well, after all histories, tales, feats and deeds, it's time to rate for not becoming "the bad dream I had today". An excellent addition to any prog music collection. Total: 4.

Report this review (#72652)
Posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thick As A Brick is one of the most loved albums here in the PA, 82% of the people who have reviewed this album, say it is a masterpiece. I must slightly disagree.

The Part I starts with a nice catchy melodie and some great vocalwork by Mr. Anderson. Keeps rolling for nice 11+ minutes and then starts the downhill. It repeats the same melody for too many times and I get irritated. The guitar keeps the interest, and in last 2 minutes Anderson starts singing again, very catchy melodie and beautiful flutework.

The Part II is the problem here, it's much more boring than the great first one (except for the middle-section). Its starts with some improvisation (not so great) and the vocals are somewhat boring here, maybe for intention, don't know. I'm sorry but I usually change the disc after the first 6-8 minutes of the second part but I canno't stand it. But the last six minutes are as great as the last part. I should always skip the beginning of the part II when i start to listen.

Edit: Originally I gave 3 stars because I found part II pretty boring, yes it still is if you listen this as a whole package, but If you get this, listen only 1 part and then take a pause! Highly recommended!

Report this review (#73020)
Posted Saturday, March 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I agree with some other reviewers that this album has been overrated. I fail to see why it is so popular. In my opinion, a whole load of classic Tull albums deserve four or five stars (e.g. STAND UP, BENEFIT, A PASSION PLAY, MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY and even WAR CHILD), but THICK AS A BRICK simply sounds too repetitive.

All the best bits of the album are included in a 'condensed' version on that excellent live-album, BURSTING OUT. When I listen to the original THICK AS A BRICK, I invariably get bored. One reason for this may be that I originally discovered BRICK three or four years after A PASSION PLAY, which is similar in structure. A PASSION PLAY lacks the hymn-like main melody that is BRICK's great strength, but thanks to its varied instrumentation, it sounds more colourful than its predecessor. Apart from guitar-organ-flute-bass-drums, A PASSION PLAY also has saxophone on it, glockenspiel and a whole arsenal of quirky synthesizers! No wonder The Tangent have expressed (on their website) special affection for A PASSION PLAY - not for THICK AS A BRICK.

Report this review (#73043)
Posted Saturday, March 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Aqualung, many professional critics had said, was a concept album. It was about religion, or somesuch. No, no, an actual concept wasn't really needed -- the songs had some rough (or perceived, if you asked Ian Anderson) connection, thus it was a concept album, right?

Well, Ian Anderson disagreed. It was just a "bunch of songs," according to Anderson. And so, as Anderson and the rest of Jethro Tull set to work on their next album, they made an important decision. This time, they ought to really create a concept album. That would show those silly critics. And, at the same time, why not make the lyrics nonsensical and impenetrable, and the music almost woefully complex? Yes, that would show them.

Now, then, here we are. 1972. Progressive rock is fast taking hold of the American and British music markets. Close to the Edge, Foxtrot, Fragile, Octopus -- the year was alive with some of the most important contributions in the history of progressive rock, those which would shape the genre, impacting musicians for generations to come. And among them, the delightfully titled, "Thick As A Brick."

The fictional poem of a fictional boy -- or is that the real poem of a fictional boy, or the real boy of a fictional... no, wait, that's not right. Let's try this again.

"Thick as a brick" is, I am led to believe -- or maybe was -- a common expression in Great Britain, referring to -- you guessed it -- a personal mental density. It is on this premise that Gerald Bostock, Ian Anderson's fictional schoolchild Milton, bases his poem. A beautiful, epic poem, all about comic book heroes, and sperm, and wisemen, and poetry, and swordsmen, and even the Boy Scout Manual. In fact, Anderson's lyrics seem to cover nearly every range of topics known to man, while at the same time apparently saying remarkably little, really accomplishing the purpose of dumbfounding the critics.

And the music... oh, the music. Beginning with Anderson simply strumming away on his acoustic guitar, this is the first glimpse of Tull's folky future to come. Nine words, and then the flute starts in, Anderson still strumming away, blissfully unaware. Nine more words, and the flute comes in again, this time with a single guitar chord and the drums chiming in their opinion -- they'd rather not "sit this one out," as Anderson has so kindly recommended. And with the end of the first "verse" of the first part of the song (not that the song really has any verses), the flute trails off into its own happy meadow, leaving the guitar. And then the piano comes in. And the bass guitar. Soon, the whole band has joined Anderson's soft voice and now-subtle strumming. And then, Anderson becomes brutally aware of the rest of the band, and his vocals change, the strumming leaves, and the tempo rises.

And for the next forty minutes, we're off on a journey. As with all of Tull's early work, the drumming and bass play are competent, but not great. However, the flute and guitar work is as stunning as ever, with Barre contributing possibly the least "Tully" riffs to date, and Anderson framing everything perfectly with his flauting and his soft and beautiful acoustic guitar. Spanning from hard rock to acoustic folk to the almost gothic sounds of the Hammond organ, Anderson spares us of no conceivable sound, save heavy metal.

Suddenly, we're back where we started, meandering lazily through a pastoral melody, Anderson a sort of Blakeian bard, reassuring us that the wise men really don't know everything. Then it's gone, our minds full of everything and nothing all at once, without a clue what we've just heard. We just know that, whatever it was, it must have been brilliant.

After all, if a schoolchild wrote that... (Oh, by the way, Anderson still receives questions about Gerald Bostock to this day, from unsuspecting listeners. The joke must have been a success, eh?)

Report this review (#73985)
Posted Monday, April 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I don't know. I listen to it and it just does not do it for me. Oh ya, the musicianship is good, but the composition is weak to me. The whole album sounds the same to me and lacks direction. As a kid I really enjoyed Aqualung, but this is a bit over the top. Some people complain about Tales From Topographic Oceans as being repetitive, but this top rated album as far as I am concerned is not even close to the musical effort put forth by YES and their album TFTO. Sorry to offend anyone, but that's how I feel. Oh well, we all have out own tastes.
Report this review (#75162)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this album. My first prog album maybe, along with Close to the Edge. So people might say I started my prog collection with the perfect albums. This album is definetely a classic. Only two songs both clocking in at about 20 minutes give or take a little, these long songs provide the band with all the instrumental and lirycal time to explore every aspect of music that they wanted to at that time. This is Jethro Tull's masterpiece because it not only has unforgettable melodies but also has a very unique lyrical stand, it's a complete mock of british society of the 70's, simply incredible. You can find all of the classic Tull moments you want in here: from the simple melodies, to the more complex ones, from the heavy passages to the folk passages that remind me of spring time. Just incredible, I give this album five stars. Go buy this if you don't already have it.
Report this review (#75246)
Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Jethro Tull is an interresting band and so is their Thick As A Brick album. Widely considered as masterpiece and vast majority regards it as ultimate masterpiece of prog folk. I must say that i disagree strongly. I love the beginning of the first part, I think its possibly the best start that prog folk can have. The first five minutes are pure bliss, perfect. Unfortunately rest of the album wont work so well. The album changes to less harmonic and partly very noisy. Also the exellent singing in the beginning doesn't remain its magic.

One of the weakest parts of the album is that it strongly repeats itself. That might work with some albums, but Thick As A Brick isn't one of those. It is also hard to tell the difference betveen many parts during the album. Do remember that this is just my opinion. You might like it very much, since opinion of this album varies betveen persons. If you like prog folk this is definedly a must have!

Overall : 3 stars Good, but non-essential (unless youre a prog folk fan). Remember just my opinion!

Report this review (#76957)
Posted Tuesday, May 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars No doubt about it, one of the greatest prog albums of all time. Ironically meant make fun of the pretentiousness of prog, it became one of the most endearing albums of the genre. Ian Anderson's brilliant concept and lyrics take this album to heights that most prog bands wish they could go. Brillant melodoies with some amazing work by all the members of Jethro Tull from bassist Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and hid wicked licks to Barriemore Barlow and his near-perfect drumming. Ian Anderson's vocals are pure magic as well, proving he has the perfect storytelling/singing voice.
Report this review (#79687)
Posted Sunday, May 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a masterpeice,and you know it better than me ;-) ."Thick as a Brick" is essential TULL,excellent for TULL's beginners,and a musthave for every progger.I adore the "Do you believe"-part from the side B,it's one of the most pleasant tunes I ever heard!!!Lush keyboards,fiery flute and emotional vocals from mr.Anderson,great guitar solos and the result is the Masterpiece of Progressive Rock.If TULL would have been a one-shot band (JETHRO TULL - "Thick as a Brick" 1972...and nothing more!!!),I'd love it more than some band's catalogues taken together!!! ;-)
Report this review (#79899)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It would be crazy to try and add anything to the above multitude of reviews. What I will add is a story. Over this past weekend, my daughter of 7 and I went on a ride to the post office. In my car was this album. My daughter gets very mellow in the wee hours of the morning, so she sat in the backseat and listened to about 15 minutes of the first side. After stamps were purchased, we went home. She didn't make any remarks about the music. The following day, we took a ride to a boardwalk that had rides. The first ride we went on was called the "Himalaya". You know, that ride that spins forward and back at high rates of speed. As we sat waiting for the ride to begin. Playing over the loudspeakers was "Thick As A Brick". Not the radio version, but the whole thing! My daughter nugged me and said, "Dad,'s the song you played yesterday." The fact that she remembered, especially the beginning acoustic guitar, blows my mind. Seeing that she's into music more geared to her age, she remembered this 34 year-old classic. And classic it is, of monumental proportions. If you're new to the prog scene, this is one that you must purchase, especially when it comes to the work of Jethro Tull. Top five classic, without a doubt! BTW, the version I have has an 11 minute version of the song live from NYC 1978 and an interview of Ian Anderson, Martin Barre and Jeffrey Hammond. Try and find it if you can, the sound is fantastic. Caio!
Report this review (#80989)
Posted Monday, June 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars take a look at the list of the LPs released in 1972 and you'll see many fine albums.. however, Thick As A Brick wins the first place very easily... rock's satyr, Ian Anderson, defined prog rock for the next decade within 44 min of music..

probably the longest lasting 'couple' of rock , Anderson & Barre, along with the rest of the group give us the best sample of the 70's.. i know, big talk, but IMHO, Thick As A Brick, is the best 70's has everything a rock, and not nessecarily prog, fan can ask: acoustic themes, heavy riffs, escalating parts all in good proportion..

anyone who votes for the best prog LP, any of Genesis, Yes or Floyd's classics is understandable...but my vote goes for Thick As A Brick...

Report this review (#81404)
Posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Awesome mix of melotdies and intrumental sections

This album was made as Ian Anderson said to be the "Concept album of all concept albums". It is absolutely flawless, except for the fact that it is kind of hard to navigate through because of the length of the two songs with no separate sections. THIS is the band I love, as my first experience with Jethro Tull was with Minstrel in the Gallery, which was very Ian-oriented and the band was not very present on that album. This album is a wonderful change because this is very proggy and the band is extremely evident here, with fast drums, throbbing bass and great electric and especially acoustic guitars.

The Album art is also pretyy neat, as it is essentially a whole newspaper with real articles of very odd Tull-like humourous stories. The Lyrics are even in the form of an article. 1972 was definately a greta year for prog and this is no exception. Great Album, 5 stars.

Report this review (#81469)
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars On a swelteringly hot Monday afternoon, yours truly - too knackered by the humid heat to even remotely think about doing something 'serious' - got the brilliant idea to write what may very well be the 1000th review of one of her favourite albums of all time. As in the case of such other widely recognised masterpieces as CTTE or the mighty ITCOTCK, with "Thick as a Brick" (TAAB for friends) it was love at first hearing - the first, melancholy, acoustic notes of the intro still manage to evoke a response deep within me that many other records will never, ever achieve.

"Really don't mind if you sit this one out/ My words but a whisper, your deafness a shout..." - then Martin Barre's amazingly heavy guitar explodes in typical fashion, backed by Barriemore Barlow's thunderous drums. It is but the beginning of a stunningly intricate, intriguing cavalcade through JT's 'spoof' mother-of-all-concept-albums - which, funnily enough, is much more successful than dozens of seriously-meant works of similar bent. Complete with one of the most brilliantly thought out covers in the history of rock, the album is allegedly based on a long poem written by an 8-year-old boy living in a a stereotypically narrow-minded, English country town. I remember that, at the time I first heard TAAB, I took the whole story seriously and was amazed by the depth of insight, not to mention the corrosive wit of the lyrical content, wondering about how such a young boy could have come out with lines such as "your sperm's in the gutter, your love's in the sink". Much later, of course, I learnt about the spoof - the interview with Ian Anderson, Martin Barre and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond included in the record's recent remastered edition is very entertaining, and the best proof of how prog was not above showing a sense of humour.

In the good old times of vinyl records, TAAB was divided in two, and this division is preserved on CD (but more on this later). Unlike most albums which are comprised of songs, it is difficult to analyse individual sections of TAAB. The interplay between the instruments is superb, though, with Anderson's highly individual, storyteller's voice dominating the whole proceedings. Time signatures shift and change suddenly, taking the listener from a soothing acoustic soundscape to a much heavier, tense one.

My favourite section of all is probably the one starting with "See here, a son is born", introducing a deft change of mood from the wistful, pastoral tones of the beginning. Barre's electric guitar work is its usual brilliant self, perfectly complemented by Anderson's acoustic playing and the spectacular background provided by one of the tightest (though sadly overrated) rhythm sections of that period, courtesy of Messrs Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and Barriemore Barlow. John Evan starts out with some beautiful piano runs, then midway through the first section his Hammond organ plays in unison with Anderson's flute.

The instrumental sections and the vocal ones interweave smoothly, giving each musician his own chance to shine. The almost military rhythm of one section gradually slows down and flows into another, beautifully accented by piano and acoustic guitar. "I see you shuffle in the courtroom/With your rings upon your fingers.". Those who tend to overlook Barrie Barlow in those endless, boring "best drummer" polls should get a good listen of his performance on this record - and all of us who love great music cannot but regret Jeffrey H-H leaving the music world for good after the "Minstrel in the Gallery" album.

The first part terminates with nearly strident, frantic interplay between drums, keys and flute, which fades out into silence and is then taken up again in slow motion. Hearing it as a continuous movement on CD is even more impressive than when you had to flip the vinyl over. Then, the rhythm gets high again with the reprise of the "See here, a son is born" theme, which features some truly spectacular drum rolls, accompanied by bells and flute. This is probably the most 'avant-garde' section of the album, almost dissonant at times, with Anderson half-singing, half-reciting lines about God being "an overwhelming responsibility" and "cats on the upgrade". Then, "In the clear white circles" brings back the pastoral atmosphere of the beginning, culminating in the minstrel-like, wistful atmosphere of "Do you believe in the day?", with Anderson's vocals at their plaintive best on Evan's solemn Hammond backing. This is followed by the dynamic, march-like "Let me tell you", which includes some impressive flute runs by Anderson - then segues directly into the reprise of the "So! Come on you childhood heroes" theme from the first part, only with a harder edge: "Where the hell was Biggles when you needed him last Saturday." - pure, weird brilliance on the part of one of the greatest lyricists in rock. A soothing string section heralds the initially chaotic, then suddenly peaceful reprise of the beginning. "So you ride yourselves over the fields/and you make all your animal deals/and your wise men don't know how it feels/to be thick as a brick."

What else can be left to say? This is perfect album from the best incarnation of a truly great band, a milestone of every genre of prog and rock music. Don't miss it.

Report this review (#82043)
Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars An adventurous and fun listen, I think Tull shows their best on this album. Highly imaginative and energetic, to listen to this album is pure joy. You'll be tapping your feet along in no time. This is the definitive prog folk album. Although some disagree as to Tull's listing as a folk band, this is the closest to a perfect prog folk album in my opinion.

Anderson's vocals are powerful and moving, and the dynamic play of the band is tight and cohesive. It's a truly enthralling listen. There are a few sections that I am not too fond of, specifically the end of Pt 1, but there's too much good material on this record to be listened to.

This is a milestone in the field, a necessary part of every music listeners collection. Tull's signature album. Wonderful layered melodies with those quirky and intelligent lyrics.

Report this review (#82191)
Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite Tull album. I enjoy every note from every instrument that can be heard here. Everything is in it's place. A majestic 43 minutes long piece, a magnum opus with lyrics to match. Deserves it's place among the great epic songs from the 70's (Close to the Edge, Gates of Delirium, Atom Heart Mother, Echoes, etc...). No lenghts or filler, everything is essential.

Tull's Essential Album, definitely worth the "Masterpiece" mention.

Report this review (#83468)
Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars allright i will be honest there were some things that kept me from getting any where near Jethro Tull albums. one was well of course most of their songs is drivin' by flute and for some reason that turned me off. I don't know why it did cause some of my other favorite bands like Genesis, King Crimson, The Tangent and even frickin Ayreon uses some flute in their music so i ditched that excuse. But however the genre from this website kinda miffed me which was Prog Folk. And well i have heard some Folk music but i was this kind of music would really miff me off as well most of the time i don't like Folk Music that much. That all changed when i saw a wikiencyclopedia article on Jethro Tull and looked on other sites saying the only folkish albums were Heavy Horses and Songs from Tull Wood. And about all of them said their most progressive years were from 1970-1976. And i realized that maybe i should give them a chance. So i download some Aqualung songs and little pieces of Thick as a Brick. I'll be honest i was shocked to hear how proggy these guys and once i got conviced i finally got Thick as a Brick and i must say THIS ALBUM IS A MASTERPIECE. OH my gosh i wish i've gotten this album eariler its amazing i couldn't my hears of what i was hearing. 1972 has been a great years for albums like Fragile, Close to the Edge, Metalhead, Foxtrot, Triology, Birds of Fire, and now Thick as a Brick. The music is awesome i love the melodies, the rocking sections, the great hard rock soloing, little pieces of folk (mainly some from flute), some neat classical stuff, and also a little bit of experimentation of music in Pt. 2. But anyway this album is basically a concept album that has these sort of Monty Python lyrics that is all done in one amazing 43 minute song. It never gets boring and i never realized how much talent is in the band. Of course the main leader of the band is Ian Anderson which i've heard about even before i started liking Jethro Tull. I guess i never really knew how much i loved his vocals he has a great voice i just like the way he uses his voice to i dunno make more syllables in words lol that's the best i can describe it. Plus he has great flute playing and just a very great job here. then you have Martin Barre who really pleased me in this album with great hard rock guitar playing which at times reminded me of Jimmy Page which was a plus. Barriemore Barlow dang this guy rocks i can't understand why he hasn't been mention to guys like Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, or even to Neal Peart as he is a great drummer he does incredible fills in this album very nice. Then you have Jeffery Hammond-Hammond i'll never understand how someone with that name doesn't play the keys oh well he does do great with the bass. Then with John Evans kinda dissappointed me there would be no synths but however the organ and piano stuff i really really liked some of the best i've ever heard. This guy could probably go the distance with someone like Tony Banks. so if you want really good old prog get this album it will blow you mind.
Report this review (#83592)
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is my favorite JT album... it displays all of ian anderson's amazing songwriting talent and musicianship... I enjoy this album in its enterity... 100% and that's something that doesn't happen very often... this amazing 40+ minute song divided in two parts is very representative for proggressive music and has earned its place in the 'great epics' section of all of us prog fans... this album has a wide variety of moods and instruments, as well as a great singing style by anderson... The lyrics are excellent, very illustrative of the story being told... I think this album is an essential piece in any collection, for this is the band with the most innovative flute player of rock and in this album he definitely takes music to a whole new level.
Report this review (#83685)
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thick as a Brick is creativity, beauty, emotion: essentially, poetry, in a concentrated form. The music has an overwhelming amount of power, evoking emotion, unearthing dormant memories, and etching new ones. This is more than music; it's more than a journey even. It's as if the thing is a living force, offering emotions to the listener. Whether it is an acoustic guitar section with clear vocals and thought-provoking vocals, or a bluesy bass-led section, the entire album is exhilarating, contemplating, ethereal, even psychedelic. Every time I listen to it, new thoughts are discovered. The entire idea is in certain ways distant and unknown, but it extremely clear that there is some concept behind the music. This is truly a moving piece of music: it's progressive rock at one of its greatest moments.
Report this review (#84106)
Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thick as a Brick is definitely an exceptional piece of work, and probably Tull's finest effort. As epic pieces go this has to rank among the top 10 ever. There are about 5 distinct melodies, each very powerful and greatly moving. Tull manages to connect these main themes seamlessly for the most part. One remarkable effect of this work is that I remember it being easy to 'grasp' and appreciate by the first listen (not a quality shared in most epic songs, especially in the 40 minute range). With this piece Jethro Tull really manages to draw out all of the best elements that progressive rock (in particular folk progressive) has to offer.

If there is one flaw it would be in the few spots that the band seems to be jamming and moving aimlessly, at one point they actually just shut the operation down and start fresh. It is because of these 'dead' spots that I reluctantly give this four stars as opposed to five.

Report this review (#84970)
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars An inspiring album.

I haven't heard much of Jethro Tull (Benefit, Stand Up, Heavy Horses, Songs from the Wood), but from what I heard, Thick as a Brick is high contender for being one of Tull's best recordings. You'll find here great acoustic and electric guitar work, very nice melodies, superb drumming, great keys/organs and Ian Anderson's lively flutes.

The album is divided into 2 long 20 min. pieces, of what should have been a 40+ long epic song (they had to be split to fit on both sides of a regular disc). It is strong both instrumentally and lyrically. I love the beginning of the first part, the great acoustic guitar and the catchy vocals. The recurring themes are reprised now and again with sublte differences, and are always a joy to listen to. The drum solo in the first few minutes of the second piece is also worth mentioning.

A realy enjoyable, inspired and inspiring album. I'm sure this is something great for everyone to hear, and see "how it feels to be thick.. as a brick!".
Report this review (#85251)
Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have Three JT albums....but so far this one is the best. Epic lyrics combined with the music and Ian's flute takes you to a wonderful trip. For me this album is one of the best prog. Records ever made, many may think that this is just folk rock but when you heard the drums and the guitar together with the flute you can only say that this was the golden era of JT. I recommend this album to any lover of progressive music, and if you already have it you should know what I'm talking about.

Five stars just because you don't have more.

Report this review (#85310)
Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first album review-I have chosen to review this album because this is the one that really got me into progrock. Now, I know that TAAB is more of a "progressive" effort from a band that is not considered to be a 100% progressive rock band, but this is one of the best examples of what progressive rock is all about.

I will try to be as objective as possibe in my review, but this is very difficult with music. "Thick as a Brick" is basically one long song (over 40 minutes) but it is really many songs or musical ideas seamlessly strung together. All of these "songs" that make up the whole song work together very well; none of the "songs" feels out of place. The album begins with that great acoustic guitar hook that really pulls you into the album. For the most part that is the mellowest part of the whole album. Once the part of the song which most people have heard on the radio ends, the album really takes off. I am not going to get into each part of the ablum, but overall there is a nice flow. The album transitions between moments that really rock and other moments that are more peaceful and beautiful.

The musicianship on this album is phenomenal. To me, each instrument stands out. Of course Ian Anderson's vocals and flute playing are top-notch. The keyboards have that great progressive rock sound and really fill out the music, making it sound more dense. The bass and guitar are also amazing and the rapid-fire drums top it all off.

Yet another great thing about this ablum is that it is musically dense; that is, there is no fluff or filler. I really enjoy Pink Floyd, but it seems that a lot of their longer songs have long segments of non-musical soundscapes. Now, I am not dissing Pink Floyd and I do think that these soundscapes are effective in creating moods, but I really like how Jethro Tull packed so much music into 40 minutes.

Now, as for the lyrics, they are complicated sounding, but really they are mostly non-sensical. Some of the lyrics are actually really funny ("as the wiseman breaks wind and is gone"). The reason for this is that the "concept" of this album is that the lyrics were written by an eight-year old who was disqualified from a writing contest. Also, the lyrics have a Monty Pythonesque feel, which was the intent of the band.

I will end this review by saying that this is a beautiful, funny, moving, hard-rocking, play-it-loud kind of album that EVERYONE should hear. I don't really think that one needs to acquire a taste for this album because it really sucks you in and never lets go until that last line "And your wisemen don't know how it feels, to be a brick."

Report this review (#85795)
Posted Friday, August 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not a fan of "side long" songs, and this is of course a "two side" song. The reason is that longer songs are just typically a bunch of smaller songs joined together, often in a very unconvincing way. Thick as a Brick is no exception. However, I admit the "filler' to join the smaller pieces here is often very well done. The half-second joining, near the end of the piece, back to material from the first side, is the worst example.

If you are familiar with Genesis's Trespass, this album has that kind of sound (sometimes a little toooo much perhaps). Brick has a lot more flute, way more confidence and much better musicianship. The talent of each member really comes though on this album. They are really in your face for the whole 43 minutes.

There are huge dynamics in this piece. From acoustic guitar sections to early 70s metal. The lyrics are poetic, and full of cynicism. However there is humour, and the cynicalness isn't as childish as you hear from some other artists.

If you're looking at purchasing just one side of this album, side 1 is the one you want.

Despite some of the flaws on Thick, the strong points really make this a 5 star: Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#85868)
Posted Saturday, August 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick- This album is in my top three favourite prog albums of all time. It is a 45 minute epic song with a pause at the midway point where the transition from side one to side two of the vinyl would occur. On my copy I can't skip from part one to part two but instead have to listen to the whole thing from start to finish. But no matter, the album stays good from the opening minute to the closing one. People have been burning this album for being to repetetive. Well firstly you try making a 45 minute song with no repetition. You have to! Chorus' in songs have to be repetitive because thats the whole idea of a chorus. A chorus is a consistant part of a song that represents the main idea of it. And secondly the repetetion, if thats what you call it, is perfectly placed as the song flows beautifly.

This album really shows off John Evans talent on the organ and other keyboards. The organ sections that speed up and almost song carnival related are magnificent. Ian Andersons vocals are flawless. I know Jethro Tull didn't write the lyrics as Thick as a Brick is a poem that has been written already. But the music compliments the story so well that you forget that. The lyrics sound as if Anderson had written them anyway.

This album is the peak in Jethro Tull's career and is a must listen for any prog fan or just a fan of good music. This one definately deserves five stars!

Report this review (#86333)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Thick As A Brick' was released in 1972. On the remastered CD is an interview with Tull members (Anderson, Barre , Hammond-Hammond) that gives some clues about the genesis of the record. Because a lot of people believed, according to Anderson, that 'Aqualung' to was a concept album (which it is was not), he wanted to write in return "the mother of all concept albums". (which is even from todays standard still the case).

Influenced by the absurd & surreal humour of 'Monthy Python',the band came up with a story of a 12 year old boy, who had won a poetry contest with a poem entitled "Thick As A Brick", that a rock group named Jethro Tull (really existing) put into music. Funny side- effect : Anderson tells, that still nowadays people ask, what has become of the boy who wrote the poem. To make the impact even stronger they produced a cover in form of a 'real' foldout newspaper, the St.Cleve Chronicle, narrating on the front page the stor' of the poem in the middle of a made up newspaper with all it's columns. BTW it took longer to create the newspaper, then to finnish the reord.

The music itself presents one longue composition, separated in two parts due to the contraints of a vynyl record. Contary to, let's say 'Suppers's Ready' which is a collection of songs that existed already and were segued into a suite, 'Thick AS A Brick' is based on the theme /variation model. Centered around a main theme (song), the composition combines this main-theme with several side themes (songs),presenting the verses of the 'poem', all linked by instrumental passages, that use more or less the melodic and harmonic material of these themes.The band rehearsed the whole record in 'live' condition, giving the record great band dynamics.

Side One starts with the main theme, one of the most beautiful songs that Anderson has written, supported by acoustic guitar and flute, a stunning contrast to the tongue in cheek lyrics of the 'poem'. The following themes altenate up-tempo and slower passages, with great dynamics. Towards the end of side one occurs a reprise of the main-theme played by piano and Glockenspiel and side one ends with a last theme, that bounces back and fourth with stereo panning until fading into a wind noise....

...that starts Side two evolving into a reprise of an earlier theme, that gives place to a long instrumental rubato passage with interwoven dialogue parts, fading in and out, followed by a variation of the main theme.Towards the middle of side two occurs a march- theme with solemnly vocals and 'TAAB' ends with a great arrangement of David Palmer, alternating a quick instrumental passage with a slow string movement, until the main theme returns and closes a perfect record.

'Thick As A Brick' hasn't got a wrinkle and it's still the 'mother of all concept albums'!

Report this review (#87523)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Thick As A Brick: an album of one song and possibly THE best album of all time!

I first heard this album 30 odd years ago in my teens and have loved it from that time. TAAB is a truly magical experience. This epic song has a great diversity of musical moods throughout its full length: great melodies; great rocking moments; Ian Anderson's infectious flute work; the infusion of traditional 'folk' instruments. For over 40 minutes of music there is no filler whatsoever and the transitions between the many and varied passages are seamless. The lyrics are quite comical at times, a musical interpretation of a poem, although I am not sure to this day what the the real story in the words is . but that doesn't matter because they fit the music brilliantly. (What we do know is that TAAB was JT's attempt to mock the very concept of concept albums after the previous JT release, Aqualung, was branded as a concept album by the musical press.)

As a listener I enjoy every minute of TAAB, each and every time I listen to the album. I have also been involved in Community Radio in small towns of Outback Australia for a few years, and as I have left one place to go to another my parting gift to the stations' listeners as been playing TAAB in its entirety, so prominent is this album's position on my musical radar.

For those lucky enough to have a copy of the LP with its original newspaper style packaging look after it; I am sure its value will increase in years to come. (I rarely get the LP out these days to minimise the possibility of damage to the cover.)

To my mind this is the most essential of all progressive rock albums! If you don't own it, add it to whatever wish list will get a copy of TAAB into your collection. You will not be disappointed.

Perfect! It's a shame there is nothing higher than five stars to be given out, so 5 out of 5 it will have to be!

Report this review (#87635)
Posted Saturday, August 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick stands as a paragon of excellence for anyone attempting to create a progressive album. While it is possible to dispute the music based on one's particular affinities, the masterful cohesion of this album - the interweaving melodies, patterns and poignant lyrics - makes it the perfect example of how to make a progressive album.

Take time with this album, though. Even though I am a J Tull fan all the way, this album did not sound very good the first 5-10 times I listened to it. As I paid more attention, the patterns and rythms started coming together, until, now I really am hard pressed to find a weak point in this composition. Its a lyrically dense piece, but for me this still doesn't diminish the emotional content. A five star piece, I can't recommend it with words - you must listen to understand.

Report this review (#88858)
Posted Sunday, September 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A very nice piece of work and for me, the finest of the Tull's. As usual the melodic's are so crisp and nice. A touch of humor and Ian Anderson at his best. There you go - masterpiece.

Yes, the theme repeats itself, but so does most of the classical music. Repetition is NOT equal to bad in my book. Reusing a theme with minor, well executed alterations rather improves the listening experience than the opposite. I love it. When I was younger I was drawn towards the newer sounds on for example "broadsword and the beast" and when "crest of a knave" came out i almost forgot about the "thick as a brick" album. Now, many years later I still listen to "brick" but the newer albums are history!

If a proglover should buy only one Jethro Tull album I would recommend this one.

Report this review (#89076)
Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Thick As a Brick "is almost undoubtedly the best album Jethro Tull has ever produced and it follows the band's experimental notions to the extreme with 20 minute plus songs, extended instrumental sections and ambitious lyrics. The Lyrics for "Thick As a Brick" were written by twelve year old boy named Gerald Bustock. I remember telling one of my friends this and he replied "What kind of twelve year old kid writes like that?" I really have trouble working out what exactly the concept of "Thick As a Brick" is about. There's something about wise men, people going to war, comic book characters and various other things. I suppose it is just a comical album full of strange, quirky music and concepts which perhaps certain people would understand.

The music itself is amazing and there are several tunes which just get stuck in your head and what ever you do they just can't get rid of them! Luckily the tunes are good, not crappy pop songs you'd hear on the radio(these days), these "Thick As A Brick" tunes consist of wonderful band interplay with either the guitar or flute taking the limelight. These certain melodies are repeated several times, usually with a vocal section separating them but man are they amazing! The 40 minutes the album runs for is pure bliss, everything is perfect about "Thick As A Brick." I'm out of things to say really, lets just say it goes up with stuff like 'Close to the Edge' as the very best progressive music around. I'm gonna keep this review short.

1.Thick as a Brick pt1 (5/5) 2.Thick as a Brick pt2 (5/5) Total = 10 divided by 2 Number of songs) = 5 = 5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

The remaster of "Thick As A Brick" comes with a Jethro Tull interview in which they speak of certain aspects of the creation of "Thick As A Brick", interesting stuff. It also comes with an 11 live version of "Thick As A Brick." I'd recommend "Thick As A Brick" to absolutely everyone, it is essential to every prog fan and is one of the very best. GET IT!

Report this review (#89735)
Posted Friday, September 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Why this album is at #4 or 5 of the greatest prog albums of all time according to this site completely baffles me. This album is much less a prog album than your typical classic rock song horribly overextended. The first 5 or so minutes are pure gold, with the acustic guitar, flute, and Anderson's catchy folk singing. After that, sadly, it all goes downhill. Then your in for 35-40 minutes of hard rock drone with little variation. I find the whole experience terribly boring. There is only one other good part of the album, and that is a pretty good strings section towards the middle of Part 2. All in all, a complete waste of time. Buy Tull's greatest hits to get the radio edit of Thick as a Brick, buy this album for the newspaper that comes in the sleeve but nothing more.
Report this review (#93208)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars To me, one of the most appealing things about Jethro Tull is the way they take a variety of instuments that seem like they would be awkward together and make them sound as if they were meant to be together. Before hearing Tull's work, I would have never thought that the variety of instruments they use would be a feasible combination on one album (much less one song) without the band seeming to lack identy or the results being a muddled mess. I would have certainly been wrong. This album is a brilliant feat of creativity and originally, which, from its intense electric guitar to its folk guitar and flute, is exceptionally imagined, written, and performed. It is a perfect example of Jethro Tull's style (and is a fantastic work besides) which I find fitting of the highest recommmendations to any prog enthusiast.

P.S. It seems that some people on here find the repitition of themes to be redundant; I feel that it adds an extra element of depth to the song, a way of making the it seem more like a single complete work. If each section was meant to sound entirely different from each other, they would have broken the ablum up into seperate songs. I imagine a song of this length without a bit of repetition would seem disorganized, with the various tunes seeming less purposeful; but that's just my opinion.

Report this review (#93253)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#93591)
Posted Friday, October 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thick As A Brick is quite a good album. The music shows Jethro Tull at their peak. Of course the guitar and flute are still in top order, but the real kicker is teh organ. Nothing is better than a great Hammond sound (see Deep Purple for all the proof you need.) But I would not go so far as to call this album an "Essential album of progressive music" Somehow, I never seem to make it all the way to the end of the album. I guess it's one of those things where a little Jethro Tull goes a long way, and a 43 minute long Jethro Tull song is just a little too much for me. So this album gets a 4/5.
Report this review (#95262)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Reading the reviews above I don't conceive how many people would call this one "boring" and then praise Close To The Edge. Surely, Thick As A Brick is repetitive, but Close To The Edge also falls short of ideas after a while and you get about 6 or 7 minutes of pure piano rambling without much direction, seemingly just stretching the song so that they could compete with the rest of the "prog" scene.

Don't get me wrong, Yes has a lot of musicianship and they can surely arrange great harmonies, but they also tend to drag some of their songs beyond measure.

Now to the actual review: I give it 5 stars, because quite frankly, whilst A Passion Play has grown on me a bit more, this one is a bit better in terms of arrangements, and you could actually listen to more themes than on APP plus the synths are not all over the place (if there are synths at all). On the other hand, this one has Anderson's marvelous vocals a bit drowned with naive production; or perhaps it's just his singing in this album that's not particularly good.

But this is surely a masterpiece, a bit flawed but, hell, Selling England By The Pound has "More Fool Me", thus I think it's a draw between the two, despite the musical contrasts.

Report this review (#96156)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A genial one. No other words. This record is probably along with Aqualung the compositional peak offered to us by the fool gremlin of progressive rock Ian Anderson. So fool of catchy and everlasting melodies and refrains, dreamy moments, more aggressive passages, and the usual beautiful folk atmospheres suggested by the omnipresents flute and acoustic guitar. So full of joy and damn good music, simply beautiful.
Report this review (#99380)
Posted Friday, November 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the top five albums of all time!

Tull was entering a two year period where they would put out their two best works, Thick as a Brick, and A Passion Play.

Ian Anderson was at the top of his game, and he wrote amazing, seamless flowing lyrics and incredible arrangements.

The range of emotions in this album are amazing, the flute will make you cry, the harmonies will cause you to jump for joy, the keyboard playing will leave you dumfounded, and at the end of side two you will be in a labotomized state for an hour or two.

What makes this even more mind blowing and unbelievable was that it was mostly recorded live in the studio. The immense amount of energy is clearly evident in every band members performance, the various sections of the epic are so beautifully executed and joined together its ridiculous.

As you can see, I'm having a hard time describing the greatness of this album, it needs to be heard by every human old enough to comprehend music. ESSENTIAL.

Report this review (#101415)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What else to write that hadn't been said already about this "mother of all concept albums"? It had been just a stunning work by JT and reading through the faked "St. Cleve Chronicle" being full of subtle hints to the lyrics alone is a big fun. The band's approach to album concepts and themes was always quite different from the one of other seminal Prog bands, not that much based on epics, history or fantasy. Thus "Little Milton's" poem this album here is based on can hardly be compared to concepts of other big works from that era though the topic hadn't been that far way from the one of "The Wall" released seven years after. Just with the difference that Floyd chose a very serious approach whereas Tull did it in a more ironical, tongue-in-cheek way, much in the spirit of Monthy Python. The lyrics are rather confusing if reading through them and much had been written between the lines. As far as I've got them it's all about critics on the mainstream society, its hypocrisy and its attitude to go "rather for the average than the exceptional". Taking his fictitious prodigy as an example Anderson was expressing his big concern about youth and in particular highly talented kids and their chances in a society where business comes before artistry. The music composed for this great masterpiece emphasizes very well the lyrics covering multiple genres like folk, jazz, classical and hard-edged psychedelic rock. Despite its complexity and being structured in two side-long tracks this record is surprisingly quite easily accessible and it's rather enjoyable than tedious to listen to it in one session. There aren't any obvious lengths but many highlights instead and the musicianship presented by all band members is just to be called brilliant. Finally I can just confirm previous reviews in saying that TaaB is certainly a masterpiece of progressive music and one of the definite must-have albums in any Prog collection!!
Report this review (#102563)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Clearly a masterpiece of progressive rock. Even if Jethro tull is classified here as a Prog/Folk album - and I understand why, in a some way- I do believe it is more than that.

I started to like (love in some cases ?) progressive music BECAUSE I was first a fan of Jethro Tull. And if, within the broad "prog" category, I like very different styles, from Jazz to Metal including symphonic or neo-prog, in fact this is a Jethro Tull (Ian Anderson ?) influence.

You can find almost all of this in one album: Thick as a Brick.

I didn't understand when I first arrive on this site why JTull was classified as "Prog/folk". Listening to other bands, I understand why, but for the creativity, the independance to any movement and change over the time, you can find almost all the styles you'd like in their discography (well... not all the styles, of course but you know what I mean). This is the main characteristics of this band and explains why you have diffrent sub-goups of fans...

Anyway if there is one album to choose in the discography of JTull "Thick as a Brick" is one of the best...

But there are so many good ones, depending on what you like most, that can only identify the very best of the best: - "Heavy Horses" or "Songs from the Wood" for the "Folk" part, - "Minstrel in the Gallery" for a new category - "Folk and Heavy", - "The Broadsword and the Beast", "Stormwatch for a more "heavy - elctronic" wave, - "A Passion Play" being the dark side of "Thick as a Brick", - "Warchild" the most "baroque" and creative album,... - And I am not speaking about the most famous one: "Aqualung" or earlier ones such as "Stand Up", which contains diamonds, such as "A new Day yesteray" or "We Used to Know", not speaking of the famous "Bourée".

They started in 1968, and they evolved, inspired by new trends but always with their own "touch". with the effect that you always recognized a JTull album.

Report this review (#104053)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "And the poet lifts his pen, while the soldier sheaths his sword"

The first time I heard this concept album from Jethro Tull, my first thought was "wow!" The album is designed to look like a newspaper focused around the fictional eight year old Gerald Bostock, and the entirety of the tracks make up a poem supposedly written by Bostock. The concept of the poem is a young boy's trials of becoming an adult. From being forced to stop dreaming to no longer believing in heroes, the poem is a tantalizing display of childhood's finale.

The album contains only two tracks-Thick As A Brick Side 1 and 2, that are really the same song. The original LP was one song, just split up onto the two sides. The music is absolutely breathtaking, from Anderson's playful flute to both Anderson's and Barre's guitar. Evan's piano, and yes, harpsichord rounds it off to make an intelligent, well put together, example of magnificent music. Not only just thought provoking, Thick As A Brick is possibly one of the best albums ever produced.

In conclusion, Jethro Tull's virtuoso masterpiece is an absolute essential of progressive rock.

Report this review (#105650)
Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a wonderful piece of music : almost fourty-four minutes of the greatest music we all love. Ian though will tell that it took them more time to create the cover than the actual music !

I guess it must have been one of the longest track at the time of release. Still, in some live renditions they will extend it even more (I got hold of a live verson of "Thick" in Japan - Tokyo NHK Hall, August 23rd, 1974 : it last for over sixty-eight minutes). Ian will say that during the first show of this tour, the band performed rather poorly. They were actualy petrified to perform "the thing" on stage.

I guess that we have to start with side one to describe this masterpiece. So, here we go.

This wonder starts like a gentle folkish tune. Subtle and nice : the theme of the album that we'll hear several time throughout the track is introduced. Then, the listener is brought all of a sudden into a quite rocking number in which the band (not only Ian) shows all its skills. Fluting of course coming shortly afterwards. This track is truely fabulous because :

It is a complex song due to the constant change of theme (more to come shortly), complex lyrics as well.

It is accessible due to its melodious passages.

It is a mother of prog due to those countless great instrumental parts.

How the band managed to go through such a piece and deliver is a miracle (IMO).

The whole of side one is a pure marvel : no weak nor boring moments, no exaggerated extravaganza. Very few long pieces of music in rock history have reached this level. I would say it is on par with (hold on) : "Echoes", "Shine On You (all parts), "Supper's Readdy", "Close", "The Revealing" and a little known jewel from the wonderful Italian band La Masscheria Di Cerra "Il Viaggio Nell' Oceano Capovolto" (both parts) on the album "Il Grande Labirinto".

B-side of the original album is somewhat weaker, I must admit. The start, specially : a bit of a drum solo, some weird noises... for just a bit over four minutes (that's only 10 % of the track, right) ? Onwards, we almost reach the level of part one. Maybe less accessible, more tortured but great.

I purchased the remastered CD edition. There are two additional bonuses which are IMO really worth. The first one is an edited live version of "Thick" : it was recorded at the Madison Square Garden Concert (in 1987). You might say : how is this possible ! What a crime ! I would say : yes and no. Yes because to reduce this masterpiece to a twelve minutes song is a bit of a massacre and no because they performed the very best part of it, making this "medley" a great, although condensed version of the Mother song.

The second bonus consists of an interview telling us a bit the "behind the scene" story of the recording of "Thick". It lasts for about seventeen minutes. Of course, I do not listen to it quite often but like for the remastered one for "Aqualung", the first time I discover the story, I was quite interested (but you should know by now that I like details). So, once in a very while I listen to it again (as now for the purpose of this review).

We will learn that they were scared to s h i t in playing this song live : hell ! How could they achieved this one without forgetting a piece ? They did not know at the time than "Thick" would be a concept album. It should only be another Tull album like "Aqualung" (for Ian, this was not a concept album : "Just a bunch of songs" or "Benefit" ...(not too bad a reference...).

At the end of the day, Ian will admit that yes, "Thick" WAS a concept album (but very British oriented : humour like the Monty Python which was not always understood abroad). They rehearsed for about TWO weeks the whole bunch of "Thick" and eight days of recording were enough to produce this pearl of rock music. When you compare this to the endless months that some actual bands need to produce an album, I think it is interesting to put this into perspective.

The album went Nr. 1 in the US. In 1972, "Thick" was voted number three album of the year by the Melody Maker poll. Ian topping the ranking of the category "Misc Instrument" ahead of Keith Emerson.

If you ever want to buy, without doubt, do grab the remastered version.

I have listened to this album countless imes. For the purpose of this review I have listened to it another four times within two days. The experience is always as wonderful as ever. It's the kind of album you can spin on regularly without being bored : I guess that this is the true trade mark of a masterpiece. Which kind of rating can I use ? Five stars.

Report this review (#108065)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars No, Ian. You can make me feel, and you can make me think as well.

Listening can be real joy and pleasure sometimes. That's the case when I am listening to "Thick As A Brick". This album is not 100 % coherent, homogeneous or structured or flawless, but doesn't make it less worth. Well, I guess I have to start with the weakest parts and links. Okay; on side B there are few moments that could be described us unnecessary, such are brief drum solos (with mellow flute melody layered upon) and those short drum solos (with spoken words behind) are breaking the continuous float of the entire album, even more than unavoidable ending of vinyl's sides (which is actually done quite nicely). But these are all minor omissions because the album is focused all the time, and simply gorgeous and spectacular at the same time.

After a constant re-listening of this album, I started tracing parts where band recorded particular pieces of the epic, gluing them together in a studio. Or maybe that's just my imagination.

The weakest instrument on the record is undoubtedly bass guitar, but Ian wrote the lines that would fit perfectly into the music - therefore this piece is not pretentious. Or, to be more precise, it IS pretentious in a good way, but it's not overfilled with useless virtuosity or unnecessary showmanship. A perfect dosage of everything was one of the keys why this album gained stardom status.

This is Tull's music at its best, Ian's acoustic guitar and flute are beautiful, used on the right places, not terribly complicated but cleverly composed. John Evan's finest moment is here; most expressive Hammond work, epic, mellow, rumbling and whispering when necessary. Beautiful, carefully chosen tone. Only Dave Stewart in his finest moments in NATIONAL HEALTH and KHAN is on a same level, considering the sound palette.

Barre is untypical here, he showed his other side here and surprised us all. Some outstanding work, most notably multi-layered guitar solo in the first climax (somewhere in the middle of the A side).

Drumming is also perfect, the way which crazy Barlow fills the 5/4 tempo is one fine example; like a rolling drum-set monster joined with an alarm-clocks stampedo!

All the musicians themselves are great, but the music in general is much more than sum of it's parts, again. That is unique, essential "Tullness" which we all love. It's all spiced up with studio tricks - the band started using studio as a powerful tool and another musical instrument somewhere during recording of the "Benefit" album, and this is the peak.

Sound production, overall mix and dynamics are excellent, even the trivial echo and reverb tricks are enjoyable to listen to. For the example, the A side ends with a guitar chord with heavily gained echo through highly emphasized high pass filter, leaving only hiss of noise after a few reflections, while the other noise source (hiss again) - the sound of the wind is cross-faded with echo. Brilliant. The B-side opens in a same way, and starts with repeated theme of, edit #2 (I think), but not exactly the same; the melody is almost identical, the arrangements are unintelligible, but the bands is actually playing one bar more in the tempo; the tempo changed from 5/4 to 12/8 almost being unnoticed by a listener. The album is full of these brilliant details that are not so visible at the beginning.

Although the majority of people consider JETHRO TULL as a prog-folk band, this album is clearly symphonic (with a solid amount of folk tailored in), and is also worth mentioning those few seconds of string quartet near the end of the album. At first I taught that was unnecessary, but after years of listening (and some observation) I think it's essential; it's a very brief part, and it's a counterpoint of the album not musical-wise like in a baroque music, but more idea-wise. We must not forget the Ian's ability to write very short yet extremely successful pieces, most notably on "Aqualung" but the ultra-brief and orchestrated miniature "Grace" that will appear on "Minstrel In The Gallery" three years later is also worth mentioning; and in conclusion this short piece of orchestrated music inside the album-long epic is really a statement of contrast, launching all together with other ingredients this album into the constellation of most daring masterpieces that will continue to grow on you and provide you pleasurable new discoveries every time you play it for the years to come.

Report this review (#108336)
Posted Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 2002 Ian Anderson introduced Thick As A Brick in the Jethro Tull's shows mentioning the different modes to reffer that kind of music. The critics create Art Rock, Prog Rock, Symphonic Rock, Prog Folk, etc. Anderson didn't know what label matches with Jethro Tull music, but he proclaim aloud that in the seventies prog rock groups made "concept albums". All we know that the idea of concept album born with Beatles' Sgt. Pepper, but was not concreted in it. But in the seventies several groups made it. Thick as a Brick is the best. This was another of the albums that broke me in two, in four, in eight parts, trying to really hear all the lines of music, all the different musical ideas that grow along the work. An excelent Martin Barre on guitar and the genius of Anderson. You can hear another albums of Jethro Tull, exfellents like this, but Thick as a Brick is an enchanted universe of music, poetry and creation.
Report this review (#113226)
Posted Thursday, February 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the commercial success of Aqualung, Ian Anderson found himself dogged by the belief that the record was a concept album, as side two dealt with the difference between God and religion. Anderson decided he would write the mother of all concept pieces to shut the press (and the fans) up. The result was Thick as a Brick, and album consisting of one song broken up over the two sides of the LP. The album concentrates on an epic poem written by a young English boy named Gerald Bostock who receives the nickname "Little Milton." The poem deals with adolescence and growing up, and it becomes a main part of the lyrics. Then, the album tells how the critical praise he has received is stripped away when literary judges discover that the prepubescent boy has an adult lover.

The album mocks the pretentiousness of the concept albums prevalent in prog, but it in turn became one of the greatest concept albums of all time. Anderson and co. add a distinct symphonic influence to their folk sound, but Anderson still dominates with his flute. Flautists must own this record as well as most of the Tull catalogue, but anyone who can control their ADD long enough for a 43 minute song will be rewarded with one of the wittiest and subtlest albums you'll ever hear.

Report this review (#114082)
Posted Friday, March 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is time to unleash my opinion of this album on you unsuspecting readers. You will probably expect some anecdote (there is one) or something totally in contrast with most reviews that will make this one stand out from the other 300 reviews of this album. Well I am here to tell you that you are wrong. Thick As A Brick is a masterpiece just as most people say it is. It deserves this 5 star rating. And now I will mercilessly waste your time as I explain why, in great detail.

But first the anecdote I promised. The first time I listened to this was not at 3 am or was I not expecting something. I was sitting in my house listening to a Jethro Tull compilation (to my great joy my dad encouraged me to listen to this band and he bought the compilation). I was thoroughly enjoying the album when this song came on. It surprised me. I liked it a lot. I enjoyed it thoroughly. You all may be wondering why this is shocking. It is because I was listening to a 3 minute version. Yes a very short version of Thick As A Brick that cannot do this song (the whole 2 sides of the album is one song) any justice at all. Needless to say the next day I approached my friend (a proghead - thank goodness!) and started to tell him of this great band I discovered and this amazing song Thick As A Brick. What I got next was hurtful and did scare me from listening to the album. I was told that I could not enjoy Jethro Tull if the song I knew as Thick As A Brick was only 3 minutes long instead of 40 minutes. I thought Jethro Tull just repeated the three minutes for way too long on the album and chose to ignore it. For about 3 years, I continued in my folly and decided to ignore Jethro Tull. Until I heard mention that this was the "mother of all concept albums". I found it and decided to give it a listen, no harm would come out of it, or so I thought.

(This is the point in the anecdote where you go off and do something else while I take a breather and soon I get to the point of this little story)

I came home that day form the record shop eager to play this and hear what it actually sounds like. For the 40 minutes of Thick As A Brick I did not move. I was ecstatic. It was sheer brilliance pouring form the speakers. Not brilliance (as stated in my other reviews) that Rush is a brilliant band and you should all listen to them no matter what other people say, but as in Ian Anderson is a genius for writing the "mother of all concept albums".

Now for the next 2 paragraphs I will begin to explain what that brilliance is.

First and foremost, the music. Folk-y, rock-y, and all around groovy. The music alone can keep your attention for the whole 40 minutes. First it begins with a great melody on acoustic guitar with catchy flute tunes and piano tunes. The band comes in strong with electrifying electric guitar, rhythmic bass, groovy percussion, and awesome organ playing. A perfect mixture of music. There is a similar riff throughout the whole album but it never gets old, because of all the variations put on it. The musical passages are long and engaging. They even mix it up a bit just to add some variation (it needs no such thing in my opinion). Solos are taken and gladly received.

Second, the lyrics. They are unbelievable. I encourage you to read the lyrics. They are very imaginative and have great imagery. There is a bit of repetition, but it is so far between that you cannot help but be glad to listen again. Many verses are written to fill this album with not only good music but catchy lyrics. The lyrics aren't just thoughts and rhyming lines put together to please the audience. This is a story the lines and verses are connected as seen by this example "And the poet lifts his pen while the soldier sheaths his sword" which is followed by (sometime later) "And the poet sheaths his pen while the soldier lifts his sword." The brilliance shines throughout the whole album.

There is a remastered version of Thick As A Brick. You are probably wondering why, after hearing this great album, why you need some bonus tracks to listen to. Well the bonus tracks are not needless outtakes or alternate studio versions. First there is a 10 minute version of Thick As A Brick live. Now you might say this is a needless copy of the song that is only a quarter of the actual length. But it is important to hear the band play one of their best known songs live. The energy put behind this version is, I must say, a bit more enthusiastic than the studio version. Also there is a 16 minute interview with Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond. This is the important part of the bonus tracks. The interview lets the listeners get a glimpse into what was happening in the studio at that time and a few stories from concerts. A gem in finding out more about the band known as Jethro Tull.

Now for a quick recap of all the stuff I have been writing (this is the important part). The music is very well thought out and played to perfection. The lyrics are funny (in a satirical sort of way) and pure genius. It has everything that merits it as a masterpiece and deserves the praise it gets. 5/5 stars

Report this review (#114291)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Of course this album is a five star, a well crafted album length suite, Jethro Tull really show what they are capable of here, John Evans really shines on the keys. This album is not pretentious because JT succeed in making a convincing piece of music. Highly enjoyable virtuoso rock, that will appeal to fans of all styles of prog, except perhaps those who only enjoy Krautrock.Mostly a fun light hearted whimsical feel to this album, makes it worthy of many repeated listens over a course of many years. Also this album was highly influential to a lot of prog acts in particular Gentle Giant. A must have for all prog fans
Report this review (#114619)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jethro Tull's finest work. And most likely the best prog rock album ever done. The album has a perfect construction and the musicians demonstrate not only their capacities in their individual instruments but their capacity to work as a group. I give it five stars becauser there is not a 6 stars category: the best album ever done.
Report this review (#115856)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably my second favourite album of all time, absolutely timeless classic, tull's best album, a masterpiece of progressive music. Ian anderson has created a piece of music that has all the bases covered, it can appeal to a wide range of people, it contains fantastic musicianship, it contains interesting and clever lyrics, it's funny, incorporates a good range of musical styles and concepts and is just fun - not only that but the packaging is first rate and contributes to the album significantly.

For those who don't know the album is about a boy's poem for a writing contest and how he is disqualified as can be read on the newspaper article on the front cover of the album. The song starts off innocent enough staying close to tull's folk roots with some beautiful flute then at roughly the 3 minute mark we're treated to a wonderfully energetic and dynamic jam where everyone shines, anderson's lyrics come to the fore, john evans and martin barre offer equally brilliant melodies - indeed a trend on the whole album while barrie barlow holds everything together brilliantly on skins along with jeffery hammond on bass. Make no mistake the musicianship on this record is top notch. And so the song presses on going from lyrics sections to jams without ever being boring.

My highlights on the album would have to be the end sections of both halves with andersons trademark witty lyrics and also about the 7 minute mark on the second part where it delves into a darker area with some fantastic acoustic guitar work and trilled flute.

Overall a fantastic album where pretty much everything is done right, this is recommended to any prog fan, it is one of the shining moments of progressive music and is always a great listen it's so rich and full that it will take a long long time to get stale if it ever does.

Report this review (#117217)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The ultimate one-song album.

Thick as a brick was my second meeting with Jethro Tull, and it blew me away. I have listen to it often for many years and I still havent got bored of it.

Thick As A Brick" is Jethro Tull in top form, so tight and complex as if the band itself is one single entity. JT went over the prog deep end with this album, embracing the prog sound with magnificent results. The music itself is very folky at parts reminiscent of Aqualung, but it goes far beyond the simpler folk tracks of that album, using a lot of classical influences.

Ian Anderson's voice, and especially on this album, pulls you in...vocalists rarely reach the dramatic or charismatic level that Ian Anderson is on, not to mention his excellent flute.It's even better because each musician here gets a chance to shine, and of course there are top-notch players here, Barre's great lead guitar, Barlow's energetic grooves, Hammond's spidery basslines, and Evan's organs switch and blend beautifully, weaving through intense and beautiful melodies throughout the entire piece

Everything about this record is perfect, from the concept to the music and the accompanying visual realisation.

A truly essential album to any prog fans collection.

Report this review (#118208)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Everything good you've heard about this album is true. You've either listened to this record dozens of times or you're fourteen; if the latter, grab your dad's copy now.

Why is it so good? Because it is an exemplar of what made progressive rock such an important part of music's development. Outstanding compositional values, quirky humour, intelligent anti-establishment lyrics, superior production, passion and emotion, an overarching concept, attention to detail and even great artwork are all parts of progressive sensibilties. The late 1960s and early 1970s will always be the core of progressive rock because the music was part of societal progression, both leading change and reflecting it, in a way it has not been since. Just as the 1980s was a complacent decade, the late 60s - early 70s was an experimental time: what do we do with our new-won permissiveness? How do we break down the remaining barriers? The heart of this period is captured here in JETHRO TULL'S 'Thick as a Brick'.

The title is the only unprepossessing thing about the album. Opening with an acoustic guitar and IAN ANDERSON'S distinctive voice, we are led through a complex journey of melody and rhythm as a young man seeks to explore his place in society. There is no filler here - even the jam at the 7 1/2 minute mark provides a necessary separation between mirror-image verses. Bass, drums, flute, keyboards and vocals all work together to provide a clear focus for the listener. Side 1, the stronger of the two sides (which is like saying Atlas is stronger than Hercules), comes to a most satisfying conclusion as the hero searches for a comic-book character to come to his aid amidst a blaze of swirling organ and guitar stabs.

Side 2 takes a short diversion into avant-garde, stream-of-consciousness musings, then returns with a vengeance 'in the clear white circles of morning wonder'. 'Do you believe in the day?' Stellar. Music should soar like this. I sometimes find myself wondering what sort of record this would have been had it been packaged as separate songs: I suspect nowhere near as powerful. The only awkward moment of the album comes as the band rushes to reprise the main theme, reintroduced without subtlety and in a rush (as though they realised they were runing out of vinyl).

So. Humour (check out the best album packaging in the history of music: the 12-page St Cleve Chronicle, outlining the conceit behind the record), great tunes magnificently played, and all the other elements of progressive rock put together in an unforgettable album. Had I been involved in producing something as magnificent as this, I would feel my life well spent. Yet JETHRO TULL were humble about their achievement. Witness the faux-review on Page 7 of the St Cleve Chronicle: 'a fine disc which, though possessing many faults should do well enough.'

Well enough for me, thanks.

Report this review (#118488)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
5 stars (Thick as a Brick Pt. 5+)

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Okay, here’s this guy, he seems to review exclusively Ian Anderson byproducts, and he’s giving five stars to Thick as a Brick. I wonder if the review is going to be written something like this...”


Well...if you want to stop reading now, go ahead. That’s pretty much all I’m going to say, only without the caps and the spelling (for the most part). I mean, what else can I say about this album that hasn’t been said? Thick as a Brick is my current best bet for greatest prog album ever; it sums up everything that is good about prog rock, about music, about life. Okay, at least everything that is good about prog. Thick contains the epic scale, ghostly beauty, and progressive weirdness that can be found throughout the genre, and STILL be good. So Thick is less an album...and more a force of nature. “Aha,” say you, “Whisty, you’ve gone mad with power!” Uh, what power?

But wait! What if I told you that Thick as a Brick wasn’t prog at all! THICK AS A BRICK ISN’T PROG (that’s to catch the attention of the people who stopped reading when I told them to)! How could I say something like that? Well, remember that Thick is a joke. It’s Ian’s backlash at the critics that he never liked anyway, who had the gall to believe that Aqualung was a concept album! Ha! So the Tullers set out to create an album that was the concept album of concept albums, on purpose. Complex music, mind-boggling lyrics (it's about...what, the death of childhood? The whole father son/man is born/where's Biggles stuff? Hey, it's as good a guess as anyone else's), an album that contains only one song. One really, REALLY long song. And it’s all a joke. Written by Gerald “Little Milton” Bostock, child prodigy. Yep.

We start with an unforgettable opening, dubbed “Thick as a Brick,” a prime candidate for best movement of the Thick as a Brick suite. It’s a downbeat folksy ballad with descending verse and the twisty chorus, but I love the lyrics: “And the love that I feel is just so far away.” Damn. That Bostock kid is a pretty good poet for an eight year old.

This shifts flawlessly into “See Now a Son is Born,” is a wrathful rocker (the lyrics are still firmly tongue in cheek). Barre attacks the melody with angry riffage, but this steadily turns into the cold, vaguely psychedelic “Poet and the Painter,” another good candidate for best movement. It’s one of those rare times (in fact, outside of the odd King Crimson tune, only time) a song both rocks and is truly beautiful. A painful flute build from Ian and some equally painful soloing from Martin. Cant' you just see them English seashores? I can.

There’s a little buildup, with John Evan showing off the new moog device. I should mention that Thick is really sandwiched together by two forces, and one is John. The other is Jeffrey, and that really comes out in “I’ve Come Down from the Upper Class,” a violent folksy...jig. Yep. It’s an Elizabethan march, complete with pounding organ and some of the best flute on the album (it’s sort of a fan favorite; I can see why). Jeffrey plays all kinds of neat tricks with his bass in it, it’s great.

Another quick break, this one a reprise of the opening movement, done with lullaby-like care. This turns into “Where the Hell Was Biggles,” another decent shot at best movement. It’s a sort of...I’m not sure what it is. It’s a sort of symphonic keyboard/orchestral duel, with a fantastically cold bridge. Those lyrics always get me: “The other kids have just backed out and put you first in line.” You just have to hear it.

Side one ends with orchestrals that dissolve into hard guitar/organ interplay. It’s a final enough stop, but you know something else is coming. And so it does; side one spills perfectly into side two, which opens with windy sound effects, lilting flute lines and a reprise of “See Now a Son is Born.” This also contains a drum solo and some spoken parts, but don’t fret! The drum solo, courtesy newcomer Barrie Barlow, is energetic and backed by the rest of the band (get that!), and the spoken parts, courtesy one Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, are hilarious.

“The Lord of the Hills” (my title), echoes back to the opening theme, an energetic, acoustic bit. It’s somewhat more upbeat, but it foreshadows a dark instrumental break. Said break transforms into “Do You Believe in the Day,” complete with gorgeous, soaring vocals. It starts out acoustic, but midway ascends with angry organ and guitar parts.

This gradually builds into “Let Me Help You to Pick Up Your Dead,” a fast paced baroque rocker, with the emphasis cast once again upon flute and John’s toys. Blazing instrumental parts abound, and eventually turns one more time into a stately reprise of “Where the Hell Was Biggles.” Then the band and the orchestra start playing faster and harder until they all fall away in the wake of Ian’s acoustic strumming, finishing the album the way it started.

So, what are we left with? An album in which nothing is wasted: all the song parts are brilliant, and all the instrumental breaks are engaging and inspired (unlike SOME band’s classic epics that are repetitive and boring, right Rick?). An album in which everyone, everyone, plays his guts out, over and over again. It’s like the bible of Tull. It’s more diverse than some bands are in their entire careers, and consistently good within and throughout. Still, I wouldn’t recommend you read the bible cover to cover without a little commentary, and neither do I recommend Thick (or any sidelong epic) as your first listen.

Now, some people say that the first side significantly outweighs the second. And, uh, well, they’re right. Sort of. The first side is the most perfect twenty minutes in music history (or at least, it’s damn good for a single song). The second side is a little weaker, but so little you shouldn’t hardly notice. Besides, all that trying to find the best movement stuff? It’s bull. Thick CAN function on a smaller song level, but really, it’s one complete unit, and to disgrace part of it is to disgrace it all.

So, why isn’t Thick prog you ask again (after all, I read though your review to get back to that, didn’t I Mr. The Whistler?). Well, answer me this: what is Ween’s album The Mollusk (which I consider a modern cousin of Thick in more than one way)? Is it a total spoof, or is it homage? In truth, I suppose it’s a little of both. And I realize that’s the gayest copout answer I could possibly give, but I mean it. Thick is complex, bombastic and, well, THICK, but it’s still a joke. It’s also a damn good joke. In fact, it’s the greatest joke ever written, because it manages to parody and idealize, and at the same time, be just as good as every other complex, bombastic progressive project before and since its creation. An essential masterpiece of the genre. Get it. Get it today. Why haven’t you gotten it yet? Don’t you love me and/or Ian anymore? Think of the children. Think of “Little Milton.”

(So, what of the “good albums with bad bonuses” curse? It’s gone! Holy crap, if the fact that the greatest album ever has good bonuses on the remaster isn’t proof enough that God loves you, I don’t know what is. There are two tracks: the first is a live version of “Thick,” taken from the Madison Square Gardens show. Great intro from Ian, and arguably the best secondary version of the song, where they play about half of the first side. Martin even improves the overall guitar work, granting the song more energy on stage (I love how "Poet and the Painter" becomes an epic trade off of the tune between him and Ian, John, whoever). And none of the epic feel is lost thanks to John's sturdy keyboard backbone. Ian is brilliant, just like every live show, God bless ‘im. Some guy shouts “yeah” really loud halfway though, God bless him too. The second track? An interview, but unlike the Aqualung interview, it’s consistently good! Equally informative and amusing, Ian preaches (“natty codpiece”), Martin complains (“Let’s go for a run”) and Jeffrey barely gets a word in, but when he can, he recants the good and mostly bad times making and touring the album (“John’s rabbit head”). The greatest album ever just got greater; if you weren’t quite psychologically won over by the album alone, with the bonuses, it’s NESSECARY as a prog rock landmark. Get it. Again.)

Report this review (#120165)
Posted Monday, April 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Easily their best album, TAAB has got all the things I love about music, all rolled up into a perfect stew. I cannot think of anything that weakens this album in any way. The song flows from soft, medieval folk to heavy, medieval jazzrock so perfectly! I'll never get bored of this album and I still get chills every time I hear it. The only TULL album that even came close to this masterpiece was 'A Passion Play', but it was way behind. This is the proggiest that they ever got. Excellent!! 5 stars without question.
Report this review (#124553)
Posted Sunday, June 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While I'm not the world's biggest Tull fan I recognize this album as a truly great piece of music. It is an undeniable statement that is a Tull fan favorite and justifiably so.

TAAB is 40-plus minutes of exemplary, exciting rock and roll courtesy of Anderson, Barre, and Barlow. Furious and intertwining electric guitar, flute, and vocal are accented by superb percussion and occasional piano. Everything is thoughtfully arranged and clear sounding. The lyrics feature some biting and humorous social commentary by Anderson, never one to hold back his feelings. The album holds up well with the other great albums by classic bands that came out in the first half of the 1970s. I think it sounds a bit less dated than some of those other classics.

If you are new to the Tull you really can't go wrong starting here. I have the 25th anniversary edition which is nice because it has an interview with Ian about the album as well as a bonus live excerpt from Thick recorded back in 1978.

Report this review (#125977)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best concept album ever made.

Let's face that perfection doesn't exist. not even in prog. There are just things close enough to perfection. In this case, this release deserves a place in the list of those kind of things. Truly amazing! Superb! Magnificent!!!

Now, let's see why... A concept album, if it's good, is way over any common album... but if it's mediocry or bad, it could become terrible... Moreover, the main objective of all band that composes a concept album is to assemble correctly the different pieces that complete the whole album. Well, this disc fits perfectly with it: it's divided in two parts, but it's really one loooong song, a concept one, but it doesn't mean that it's repetitive or boring because of repeating melodies all time..... All time? The most repeated melody is the second movement ("See there! A son is born..."): three times. Is that too many for a concept album? I don't think so, and surely most of progheads agree with me. In fact, the few low reviews are because of this fact: the repetitive melodies, and I do insist: it's a deceit. This is an important point that I've already made clear.

A second point is, as I mentioned before, the perfect (well, say Almost perfect) cohesion, coherence and assemblage of the different pieces and movements, an esential thing to be considered in a concept album composition. I cannot explain beyond this idea; the rest, you gotta get over yourself, it's the only way to get into this CD and finally understand why this is the most beloved and accomplished prog release ever made.

Well..... the lyrics are also a very strong point. They are emotive and poetic; Ian Anderson (or Gerald Bostock, hehehe) at his best as a lyricist, or better said, as a truly poet. The musicianship are superb, including the new drumster, Barriemore Barlow: his work is outstanding too.

Well prog fellowship, get it and enjoy it. Five stars!

Report this review (#127656)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars An awesome album. It's one track, so you run out of things to say when talking about them. I think it was a little too ambitious. Not that I can't get through it and love it all the time, but I think it could have been one side. The whole b-side isn't that great in comparison except for the celestial strings part - that was utter genious. It makes listening to the whole b-side that much more worth it. Truly great.

Otherwise I can't even think of the sections that much. I'm sure they exist, but I've listened to the album a whole lot and still cannot do it without investigation. Hooray for a Scots' contribution to prog, though.

Report this review (#128155)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I bought this album the day before it was suppose to be released in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It became then and remains now one of my all time favorite albums. I don't have much to add to what previous reviewers have said except to say that I find "Thick as a Brick" to be as amazing and relevant today as it was in 1972.

If you are not familiar with this true masterpiece you should try it. Definitely 5 stars!

As a side note, I saw them do this in concert (10/26/1972) at Bowling Green University in Ohio. It was amazing!!!

Report this review (#129044)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's perfect in every sense, lyrical (it's a acid critic to the society, to the politics and talk about of the ideals of the youth -revolution, hope of change- and when grou up the ideals dissapiers and come the frustration and the faithless of change), musical (i think this album is very symphonic, of course folk, hard rock, and too long, but who cares? if this album was of two hours i don't care i listen too) This record is the best of Tull, by arrangements, musical, lyrical, etc. But yes it's my favourite (okay, like the all albums of Jethro) Who cares? People thinks this album is very repetitive, a little bit yes. But is perfect, this is the first best formation of tull, the second is from Aqualung whit Clive Bunker in the drums. If you have make a long trip, in you discman or ipod load this album, for 43 minutes and 44 seconds you can entertain you
Report this review (#129511)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a labor of love, no question. The newspaper clip cover is no joke, its as cool as it looks. The music is very personal and heartfelt, you really feel emotion when listening to it. I know this album is perfection, considering ive never read and sang along with an entire album and then done it all over again, went to bed cause it was too late, and woke up the next morning wanting another encore. The story is fantastic, the progressive music is fantastic, the flute is absolute perfection. This was an album made for its fans old and new, and was built to last like a great timeless movie. Whether or not you even think you could see yourself listening to Prog-Folk, your are going to go out and get this album. No questions, your just going to do it. Thank the rest of us later.
Report this review (#130462)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars And where the hell was Biggles, when you needed him last Saturday . . . . . ? That's a damn good question too! I don't know why, but it's my favorite line of the song. While I've only had this album for two years, it instantly impressed me as a master work of prog art. The only version of this that I had ever heard was the radio mix. I thought it was good, a piece of classic rock, but it didn't bowl me over as the full album does. With the thousands of 5-star reviews on this site (a.k.a. "Star Wars"), there is no question that Thick As A Brick is truly in the stratosphere, in a rareified group of 5 to 10 records that can arguably be called one of the greatest prog rock albums of all time. As I write this review, it is currently at the top of the heap here, ahead of Close to the Edge, Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound, and The Single Factor (hard to believe!) I've never been a big Tull fan, though I always respected their musicianship. Tull-head or not, this is pure gold, one of the best of the best. Gerald Bostock is a genius. FIVE FIVE FIVE FIVE FIVE STARS STARS STARS STARS STARS
Report this review (#130604)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can't agree with the ones who say this album is horrible. The melodies are outstanding and innovative, and the line-up (that includes also keyboards - unusual in Jethro Tull) makes this album a real gem, and the most fascinating album the band ever recorded. I listened to this LP nearly a thousand times and he still doesn't manage to bore me. It is fundamental in every music collection, and deserves a total 5, with a position in the first ten of this site. (PS: let grow also "In the court..." and "Pawn Hearts", who have still a low rating)
Report this review (#131541)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is when I lost patience with Jethro Tull. This was 10 minutes of superb music crammed into a 43 minute album. It's repetitive, increasingly annoying, and pointless. The lyrics are banal and obtuse (quite a feat to be both at the same time). yes, I understand that it's an ironic statement by Ian Anderson, a satirical reply to critics who thought Aqualung was a concept album. But really, a more concise 10 minute track on the next album would've been more appropriate Ian! In any case, about seven or eight of the Aqualung tracked can be loosely connected, so there is some concept thing going eh?? He took the joke to even greater heights (or depths) with Passion Play (a 1 star album if ever there was one) when he realised that he's managed to fool an awful lot of the record-buying public that a one-track album was a good idea. So he lost his sense of humour in the face of Łsd, as is so often the case. So, I give the extra star for those first 10 minutes, but really, Ian, you'd already proved you could do so much better...
Report this review (#131973)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars All (almost) prog music is summarized in this album. This is not a folk album, but it has folk taste, and jazz, and blues, and sometihing that makes categories unusable: prog. Please discover this album (if necessary) which begins with a voice and a guitar and soon let's you discover surprizing and melodic evolution, with some more rock parts, and... others... Don't wait for a change of rythym, melody, atmosphere. They will come, naturally, by the harmony: a natural switch. For those who are expecting more, it is difficult to get rid of this album: every time you listen to it, you discover something (after a few years, it might be something you had forgotten, but you can't easily be tired: after 6 months, you'll be back to it as a new one, just a bit familiar...). Who can you define a masterpiece. As Ian Anderson explained himself: it was a change. Agualung had been considered as a "concept" album, and They wanted to show a "reac "conceptc album".c They wrote it little by little, with no more than a editorial line. With talent, improvisation and consistency; almost not influenced by its time (70's, as most of the "better" ones). It is still perfect tioday...
Report this review (#133555)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

THICK AS A BRICK is another cornerstone of the JETHRO TULL . Like everybody band back then, it was ''trendy'' to come up with concept albums and long suites. JETHRO TULL would not be immune of these desires of ''grandeur''. But they succeed perfectly with this recording.

This is not much i can add as it seems this is the most beloved album here on PA. So what makes it great?? First of all, this is the most progressive LP ever JETHRO TULL recorded with the next one PASSION PLAY. The sound is diverse, there are so many time changes, it's difficult to count them!! You have folk music, you get classical music, some great BARRE guitar sounding -as usually-. This is instropective, then it goes wild, a new twist is always on the way when you don't expect it!

What makes it also more progressive is the definitely noticeable presence of the keyboards of JOHN EVAN, mainly the hammond organ that can be heard throughout the album.I have never heard an organ solo before in a JETHRO TULL album. There is even the sound of a moog, imagine that!. The bassist JEFFREY HAMMOND-HAMMOND is doing quite well as he plays a lot of groovy lines. But MARTIN BARRE will never be considered as a prog guitarist; he rocks and he rocks well; just listen to his solos; he plays with fury, passion, energy. He is not looking to play the nice sounding note; He is here to rock!

One more time, we have a change in the line-up as the original drummer CLIVE BUNKER is replaced by BARRYEMORE BARLOW. Have you ever noticed the names of some JTULL members, as they sound very different from your regular guy?? BARRYEMORE BARLOWE and HAMMOND-HAMMOND , more ''strange'' names in the future. Sounds very old traditional Britain !

THICK AS A BRICK is a very nice piece of music, the whole 43mns of it.All what you want from a prog standpoint is here, the vocals of IAN ANDERSON are more powerful than ever, the musicianship is tight , great organ, great guitar,,,,but! this is not an album i listen to often. I don't now why as i am listening more to other JETHRO TULL releases -less loved generally- such as STORMWATCH or TOTRNR. Don't ask me why, that's just me, i guess!!

PS: the LP cover was great; like a newspaper; too bad my copy got destroyed ! The CD looks horrible compared to it! 4 STARS!

Report this review (#133809)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In response to music critics' insistence on branding "Aqualung" as a concept piece, Ian Anderson & Co. set out to create a good- natured lampoon of concept albums and "serious" groups like Yes and King Crimson in general. But something went awry on the way to completing their absurd farce. They produced an undisputed masterpiece of progressive rock. With only a sketchy blueprint to follow as they put this LP together under the gun and by the seat of their pants, they began throwing random ideas into the collaborative pot right and left. The difference was that they were absolutely brilliant ideas. Not to mention the fact that drummer Clive Bunker had left and was replaced by the extremely talented Barriemore Barlow. His superior technique injected a confidence into the band that obviously inspired them to reach beyond themselves and what they thought they were capable of.

Starting with one of the most memorable melodies in rock history, Jethro Tull pulls you into the exhilarating world of "Thick as a Brick" like a strong undertow that you are incapable of resisting. As if to warn the casual, ill-prepared listener that this won't be anything like "Cross-Eyed Mary" or such, the first words sung are "Really don't mind if you sit this one out/my words but a whisper, your deafness a shout/I may make you feel but I can't make you think/your sperm's in the gutter, your love's in the sink." Not your typical rock & roll lyrics, to be sure. In fact, the words are as surreal and difficult to comprehend as James Joyce on a binge but fit perfectly in this complex composition. There are three major themes that recur in ingenious forms throughout the album. The first one I just mentioned, followed by the second, a harder-edged rock/jazz riff where Ian's vocal floats overhead. It's also here that John Evans' fluid Hammond organ supplies a broader dimension to the sound. The third motif is a pseudo military march feel that allows Anderson's sprightly flute to amaze. A very controlled but spirited jam follows, kept in check by the efficient rhythm section of Barlow on drums and the steady Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond on bass. There's an almost classical segment next that swirls around your head like a swarm of butterflies as the organ, piano and flute cleverly intertwine. Evans provides a stunning organ break as they continue to redefine the march theme without ever becoming redundant. Somehow they effortlessly return to the original melody and proceed to perform fantastic variations on it. Ian's multiple flute tracks are wonderful. Part one ends with punchy accents and an arresting, dynamic fade out.

Part II starts with a psychedelic take on the previous closing pattern before busting into the furious rock/jazz riff once again. Showing that this project is indeed a total group endeavor, Barriemore gets to shine brightly as he performs one of the most tasteful drum solos ever recorded. With melodic episodes interspersed over his ride things never get boring or tiresome. Next they drop into a sort of free-fall improvisation with random voices popping in and out before re-introducing the first theme in yet another imaginative variation. A quieter segment follows that has an almost hymn-like reverence that evolves into a somewhat mysterious-sounding march where John's room-filling Hammond organ makes its welcome presence known again. This mind- boggling work of art never lets up for a moment as they segue into a very intricate, abstruse yet thrilling section complete with vocals that is darn near indescribable. It is sublime. To wrap things up neatly they revive both the march and the rock/jazz riff before delicately reprising the intriguing original theme that leads gracefully to the ideal terminus of "And your wise men don't know how it feels/to be thick as a brick." Sheer magnificence.

And, as if the immaculately remastered studio recording wasn't enough, they throw in an energetic concert performance from Madison Square Garden in 1978 to give a different perspective. Mind you, it's only an 11:47 snippet of Part I, but it is very refreshing and I only wish some other groups' reissues were done in the same way. Yes, for example, includes rough studio run- throughs and single edits that are only worth one or two listens at most. A live take would be much more enjoyable and relevant.

The cherry on the sundae is an interview with Ian, Jeffrey and guitarist Martin Barre in which they discuss this landmark project. You'd think a world famous band riding on the crest of their biggest success to date would be living the ritzy rock star lifestyle but their description of the dingy, dirty basement where they formulated and rehearsed most of this album dispels any false illusion of opulence in just a few sentences. It makes "Thick as a Brick" even more awe-inspiring when you hear about the less-than- favorable conditions it was created in. They also discuss the horrid food at the greasy spoon nearby, the scary challenge of initially playing the entire thing on stage, the Monty Python mindset they employed for the elaborate album cover and other humorous anecdotes. Again, this is the kind of packaging that makes a reissue truly remarkable and elevates the worth of this CD to indispensable status. What a treat.

The end result is Jethro Tull at their very best and a glorious example of unselfish ensemble cooperation and coordination of stellar musical brainstorming. Its overall tightness is exemplary, especially in an age where guide tracks and tempo-correction software was non-existent and the ever-changing pace had to be regulated solely by the drummer. The true irony is that what they thought would be a bit of silly fun turned out to be their first #1 LP and we proggers are the fortunate beneficiaries for all time to come. Any fan of quality, genuine progressive rock should have this in their collection and I highly recommend this reissue in particular. This album defines the word "masterpiece."

Report this review (#133850)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permalink

Laughter is one of the many things that separate man from beast. Throughout the ages its therapeutic worth has been attested by medicine men and all kinds of healers. Laughter is the best medicine, so they say. It's good for the body and for the soul. In older times it was said to give courage to men so they could face fearlessly the greatest of perils. From Erasmus of Rotterdam to Umberto Eco, great scholars of yesterday and today have praised it and put humour to use themselves, bringing joy and delight to their readers. Many were the heroes who got through their provations with the finnest wit and humour, from Ulysses to Sousa de Macedo. But there is more than just "written" humour. After all, there is nothing better to evoke laughter than hearing a good joke. Especially if it's full of hidden meanings and ends up criticising our way of being. Thus the latin motto ridendo castigat mores - to correct morals through laughter. The expression, some say coined by Moličre, has for centuries been the motto of all those who choose wit and jest to expose the obtuse morality or simple lack of it in their surrounding world. At first used to describe the style of some playwrights, both previous and posterior to the French comedian, it was later applied to a whole new array of jokesters whose masterly use of satire allowed them to cast joyous hilarity on the eagerly aware listeners.

Woody Allen remains one of the masters of that trade. His stand-up years were especially prolific in that matter, as one of my favourite jokes from him can attest. It is the (in)famous "Moose Story", where after a succession of incredible (and belly-ache hilarious) events, mostly all of them making fun of contemporary customs or timeless idiocies, a Jewish couple end up permanent members of the very exclusive New York Athletic Club, without being invited or even having the club aware of their presence. Woody ends, referring to the Club, with a sound "And the joke's on them, 'cause it's restricted." That's all I'm going to tell you about that joke, for it is meant to be heard from its author, not read in a simple progressive rock review done by a mere scribbler. There is, however, another joke I would like to talk to you about. You all know the story: genius musician and talented band decide to show the critics a two-finger salute, by creating one of the greatest examples of sustained satire known to man, in the shape of a 45 minutes progressive rock album. Complete with cover - a lot of work was put into this amazing apparatus. 12 pages of sham news, adds and events, all filled with delightful tongue-in-cheek humour and utter nonsense. A hard work (according to the boys from the band, it took longer to make than the record itself) that culminates in the most brilliant piece of cover art ever made, with a clear nod to Monty Python.

The music, however, is pure Jethro Tull - a great array of acoustic ballads and heavy folk-rock tunes jumbled together in a single piece, being, however, much more keyboard dominated than previous albums where flute and guitar held rule. Yet one of the great hazards of epics is the flow of the song. Jethro Tull have no such problem. The entire piece, throughout its many inner variations flows beautifully. Side 1 is by far the best known part, with the famous 3-minute-acoustic-opener-turned-radio-single. Oh, but it is so much more than that! It is followed by a jump towards a heavier and faster-paced sound after that, giving way to some great hard-rockin' soloing from Evans and Barre, and great, almost martial percussion. Ian gets his turn to blow some of his jazzy flute into the works. Again a softer passage, vocals over church organ. More guitar work by Barre, a very strong presence throughout Side 1 (much stronger live, though), a spotlight he shares with keyboardist John Evans. The song just keeps on flowing, switching between softer and heavier bits, subtle fade-outs followed by loud sonic bursts. An especially famous and amusing section occurs halfway through minute twelve: the crescendo initiated by the keyboard, then complemented by the remaining instruments, turning into a small violin led jig, with some more flute jam. After such a folksy passage, what should we expect? At this point, we have no idea, but Ian opts for a lullaby (awe!!!). Don't worry, soon enough the folksy-rocky-gutsy melody is back, holding up the joints of Side 1, just before fading away into wind (literally), bringing the first part to an end. Despite all the success of Side 1, better composed and built together, I have a great cherish for the less tighter Side 2, which begins with trumpet sound being carried by the wind, introducing an alternative take on the first heavy section of Side 1, through some great jamming, especially by drummer Barriemore Barlow and keyboard wizard John Evans. It then reverts, like a musical mirror effect, to the same opening acoustic melody opening Side 1. After a gentler keyboard driven passage, we get to my favourite sections of the song - the slower, beautifully vocalized and instrumentaly accompanied Do you believe in the day? , and the following instrumental part, where we finally get to hear Martin Barre in Side 2. Afterwards, there is space for some more fast-paced improvisation with great flute playing and even harpsichord, and some more of Ian's singing (greatly improved since Aqualung!). The song finally ends in a cacophony of excerpts of the album jumbled up with some symphonic arrangements that suddenly fade, and all we hear towards the very end is the end of the very first acoustic section, bidding us farewell with the immortal words, So you ride yourselves over the fields and/ you make all your animal deals and/ your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick.. Magical.

The thing is, a joke is only a joke when the people you are telling it too know it's a joke. In Ian Anderson's case, he forgot to mention it. And so a lot of people took him seriously at the time, actually thinking poor Gerald Bostock a real person (having him credited not only in the cover, but on the vinyl record as well, didn't help either). With Thick As A Brick, Ian tried to be funny - and succeeded. He created the "mother of all concepts albums", in a manouvre to ridicule critics and fans. But in then end, the joke's was on him, because it actually turned out to be a real masterpiece of progressive rock.

Report this review (#134627)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm sure the ever-so-redundant "nothing more can be said that already has" reviews are wearing thin, but honestly, the best things that could be possibly said about this album in a review have already preceded mine. So, why do I waste my time writing a few words about one of my top ten favorite albums? Why NOT waste my time writing a few words about one of my top ten favorite albums? :D

I picked this one up -- blindly -- from an obscure, little record store in Bellingham, WA a few years back. I hadn't heard much by the TULL boys besides what I had heard on our local Classic Rock radio station, but based on the abundance of five-star reviews I had already seen on the Archives for this record, I figured my $15 would be well-spent -- and, boy, was it.

What surprised me the most, especially during the first spin, was the solidity and tightness of the instrumentation, from all members. Every musician is at top form here, even being virtuosic with multiple instruments (Violins, flutes, etc.)! I was in absolute awe. Even the dudes who game me Living In The Past and Aqualung could pull off an extremely energetic and freakishly complex piece of The melodies, compositions, musicianship, and vocals are flawless on this one -- it's an absolute masterpiece.

Like I promised, I'll cut this review short -- there really isn't anything else I can say without being too redundant, so I'll leave you with this: if you're a Progressive Rock fan and haven't heard this, you're not a Progressive Rock fan. If you're a JETHRO TULL fan and haven't purchased this and spun it a hundred times, you fail.

Report this review (#136902)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first album, and therefore my introduction to Jethro Tull, and WOW what a way to start. Judging by the reviews of the other albums, the others are no where near as good as this, so others will no doubt be disappointing as I explore the rest of their catalogue. The concept of a one song album is certainly very progressive, and is very well executed.

Tull manage to effortlessly meld folk and prog rock elements here, with some great flute sections but also good guitar solos, strong basslines and good mix of light/heavy sections but also vocal and instrumental. The vocals are excellent, as is all the musicianship. There are some catchy hooks, and I love the acoustic playing in the opening.

Due to the lenght of the piece, it does drag in a couple of parts, and some elements are a bit repetitive. However, these do not bring the album down to anything less than masterpiece status.

Five Stars.

Report this review (#141361)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ian Anderson is known to have ridiculed the critics' frequent use of certain labels in order to describe the music of JETHRO TULL, including the very terms "progressive rock" and "concept album". He was allegedly so mad at the press pronouncing their previous album "Aqualung" a conceptual work, so that he decided to deliberately make a "concept album" to satisfy the public, as a parody on the then popular YES or EL&P. But, wow - what a parody that was!

"Thick As A Brick" is an exceptionally devised and produced musical work that can most closely be tagged as rock with serious symphonic structure. Although not entirely digestible in one sitting - I usually have problems to maintain attention around the middle of the side 2 - the album is an ultimate classic progressive rock record that was hardly ever beaten. Although I will not give full 5 stars due to personal sensation that the album is overloaded and saturated with excessive musical themes and repetitions, do not be distracted - it is the masterpiece!


P.A. RATING: 4/5

Report this review (#141535)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
5 stars Thick As A Brick is undoubtedly the greatest and most musically complex album released by Jethro Tull to date.

The album is an exceptional piece of music from the first note to last. Each member performs at his fullest and is given a good amount of time to solo (except there's no bass solo, however, it still runs circles around the playing of most others). The story's concept (based on a poem by an author I cannot recall at the moment) is actually very amusing. Tull's lyrics are always witty, which I find as an added bonus to great music.

Now the music here ranges from the strange folk to the insane progressive. It's quite an interesting mixture that Jethro Tull seems to pull off much better than anyone else. If you don't know this already, the album is one 40 minute song. You're probably thinking "[%*!#] it, I ain't listening to a 40 freakin' minute song!", but I guarantee you won't be disappointed! This is 40 minutes of pure ecstasy. The band seems to just jam endlessly and it gives me so much joy that even after 40 minutes I don't want it to end. It's musically complex and quite fun! Truly a masterpiece of music.

Report this review (#142438)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars So has Biggles ever turned up?

Ian Anderson is without a doubt an extremely talented musician. His presence is overwhelming on most everything that Jethro Tull does, but really stands out on Thick As A Brick. For those of you who like his style (of music), I think it's safe to say that you will adore this album. Even for those who don't necessarily care for the way Anderson utilizes his talents (like me), this album is intriguing enough to please the ear.

This album consists of one long epic, divided into two parts for LP production purposes. Most people tend to prefer side 1 and I wonder if it's not because of the large amount of repetition that occurs which seems to bog down side 2 a bit. I find the music very unique, with a good mix of acoustic and electric guitar mixed in with solid percussion and Anderson's flute which comes and goes throughout the entire album. While I recognize the significance of this album in the progressive genre, I cannot give it masterpiece status as much of the music does repeat itself over and over again over the album's 40 minutes. However, I will not hesitate to strongly recommend this album as it clearly is a worthy addition to any prog collection.

Report this review (#143419)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Few progressive rock albums, even some of the best, are complete bliss to listen to from start to finish upon one's first listen. This was the first Jethro Tull album I'd listened to at all, mainly from the recommendation of my parents, neither of which is anything of a progressive listener. This is THE prog-folk album, Jethro Tull's greatest achievement, and there's not much I can say that you could read repeated a thousand times in past reviews. But it's worth mentioning that it was really what launched Jethro Tull into the world of progressive music, as just about everything that describes the sub-genre is in this album. Ironically this is also one of their most popular albums, it was so well written with such a quality production that it established the band as a total anomaly in commercial respects... I mean, how popular would you expect a progressive folk album to be, even in that time period? Nonetheless, everything - and I mean EVERYTHING about this album transcends even standard progressive music, the lyrics, the solos, compositional structures, even the intricate album cover. This is without a doubt any prog-fan's must have album.
Report this review (#144925)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would say, "Where is the weakest part of this song?" This is, just a tremendous song. Every minutes in this song make me awake strained almost 44 minutes.

"Really don't mind if you sit this one out." was an unforgettable phrase that I hear in this song. The phrase comes after a harmonious guitar riffs. After this part (I called it Edit Part #1, which starts from "Really don't mind..." till "... and say it's a shame"), the tension was raisen. Our ears attacked by so many strong-harmonious sounds that arranged by those geniouses. In around minute 20-23, we can feel the transition between Thick as a Brick part 1 and 2. In part 2, we can hear at least two progressive beat transition in minute 25:45 and 40:44. We can see the transition was genious. After the last transition one, the song backwards into the first edit part (yeah, I called it so) and your wise man don't know how it feels to thick as a brick.

Well, this is overall top-rated album. Maybe 10/5 rate one. The music was unquestionable, the lyrics' brilliant, and the concept... I even never thought would create a fictional lyricist. Awesome, Mr. Ian!

Report this review (#145697)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars By far the best Jethro Tull album. This album is a progressive rock masterpiece. It's heaviness is really what attracts me to it the most. I love the way it starts out and ends but my only problem, and it is a minor one, with it is that it gets a little boring in the middle. When I first started listening to it I didn't like it because I couldn't get past the boring middle. Once I got past that and listened to it start to finish I really appreciated it. In comparison to the other Tull albums I would say this is the best, much better than A Passion Play.
Report this review (#146436)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10 Masterpiece

Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that this is my favorite Tull album, one of the best albums ever, and overall a complete masterpiece of pure genius. This, I forget, I guess because it, along with many others, is an album I have heard so many times and have become so accustomed to it's greatness. Well, there you have it though, this album is the pinnacle of Tull. Anderson is at his prime I would say, and the music is more melodic and enriched than ever before. This album is a staple in prog music, it doesn't sound like much else, completely original, and pure masterwork. This was one of the first Tull albums I had listened to, and it really made me a hardcore fanatic of this classic tull sound. Everything great about this album was hopefuly said on this page somewhere, but one thing is always unique to this album: You will have your very own personal connection with it, I swear on my life. This is just one of those classics alongside the greats with Genesis, YES, Moody Blues, Camel etc.


Report this review (#146949)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good, I agree with other reviewers that this album has been overrated. I fail to see why it is so popular. In my opinion, a whole load of classic Tull albums deserve four or five stars (e.g. STAND UP, BENEFIT, A PASSION PLAY, MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY and even WAR CHILD), but THICK AS A BRICK sounds far too repetitious.

All the best bits of this album are included in the 'condensed' version on the excellent live-album BURSTING OUT. When I listen to the original THICK AS A BRICK itself, I invariably get bored. One special reason for this may be that I discovered BRICK three or four years after A PASSION PLAY, which is similar in structure. Although A PASSION PLAY lacks the kind of hymn-like main melody which is BRICK's main strength, the later album sounds more colourful, thanks to its varied instrumentation. Apart from guitar-organ-flute- bass-drums, A PASSION PLAY has saxophone on it, glockenspiel and a whole arsenal of quirky synthesizers. No wonder that The Tangent have expressed (on their website) great affection for A PASSION PLAY - but not for THICK AS A BRICK!

Report this review (#147230)
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a one-of-a-kind album. The music is timeless and unique, combining old world charm with progressive ideas. Unlike some, more experimental music, there is a warmth and comforting aspect to this music. Every part flows together seamlessly, in a manner that most writers would not be able to accomplish. Movement from one part to the next is done in a very tasteful, logical way, and each part is well-written and creative. The themes come and go and return again in variations throughout the album, but never seem dull or like a simple re-hash of ideas. Sometimes when a composer attempts a long composition, they feel the need to simply string together a bunch of ideas and not put forth much effort as to how well they flow from one to the next. This tendancy is not present with this album. The instrumentation is diverse and stays interesting. The only real flaw is the sparse percussion and voices section where the album flips: it's not very well thought out. But it is understandable, because the time limitations of LPs required them do account for the flipping of sides. Other than that, I have no issues to consider taking away from its perfection. This is a masterpiece of progressive music, and a standard by which other albums should be judged.
Report this review (#147242)
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thick as a Brick has a very good reputation on here as being a very good album and you could call it that in a way I suppose. As a piece of music it's very good, very talented musicians, great tune, if it was anything else it would be 5 stars really but there is something about it I don't really like. Maybe as a review it should get higher, it's a great album, buy it, but there is something about it missing. It might be that it's a bit daunting listing to a 40 minute song but I don't think so, I can listen to Supper's Ready or Octavarium over and over. It also repeats itself a lot and can get a bit boring if you not in the right mood to listen to it. I know a lot of people will read this and think I'm an idiot as this is quite clearly a masterpiece due to all the great reviews it's got, but in my eyes it doesn't have the feeling a masterpiece should have, therefore I only give it 4 stars. It's certainly worth buying to listen to so you can make your own mind and maybe get that something so many people get which I don't. All in all I think it fits "Excellent addition to any prog music collection" quite well.
Report this review (#148489)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars How a single song can hold my attention for 40 minutes nearly baffles me, but Jethro Tull manages it in "Thick as a Brick". Every section of the song is great, and they are all linked in excellent fashion. Anderson's flute is good in TAAB, but to me it's really Barre's guitar that takes centre stage and drives the song. Throw in some quirky, Pythonesque lyrics and you've got one great album.
Report this review (#151459)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick was an apocryphal album for me. I actually only heard the album for the first time live in concert. I was a young boy who ended up at the Tull concert with my older sister's birthday party. At any rate, I was transfixed by the music, and the humour in TAAB.

The album opens up with a fantastic folk picking piece from Ian and then morphs into the electric jamming of Tull. Their syncopations and use of Organ and Mr. Barre's guitar are never more amazing than on this album. This album takes the gains made with Aqualung and then spins them out of orbit.

As Ian said, TAAB was designed to be the "Mother of all concept albums".

Because the album is one long song, one wonders if it holds together as such. I used to think that side two wandered a bit, but now when I listen to the album I believe that the second half needs to depart from the themes introduced on side one in order to make it that much sweeter when everything cycles back round for the conclusion.

The orchestration, the singing, the jamming, the drums, the sound, the album cover... Everything about Thick is top notch and unique and pushed the envelope of what "popular" music was at the time. Even progressive music had never seen such an audacious step. 1972 was a good year and Jethro Tull were the masters of dramatic music with a decidedly English bend.

Thank God for this album. It transformed my life, made my childhood bright and is perhaps one of the few albums I will ALWAYS come back to again and again...

I can't say the same for some of my old favourites.

Report this review (#151765)
Posted Monday, November 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I suppose if it hadn't been the early-70's, I might have seen this one coming. Following the commercial success of Aqualung, one expected more of the same, perhaps done bigger and better. Instead we got Thick As a Brick, Jethro Tull's greatest achievement. Give them credit: this was a huge risk, and somehow it managed to reach #1 in the U.S. (though something tells me many of those who bought it never sat through the album start to finish!).

Given that it consists of essentially one long song, it's difficult to review; one can't easily point out this or that great song. So let's just say the band had never so masterfully blended acoustic and electric, fast and slow, loud and soft. The keyboards were for the first time fully integrated and a are driving force in the music. The themes and melodies that drift in and out of each 'section' are some of Tull's most beautiful. The segues between the sections are generally seamless. Thirty five years later, I still enjoy sitting down and listening to TAAB in its entirety.

I can generally find some fault with any Tull release, but TAAB is five-star all the way, not just because it's Tull's finest moment, but because it fits comfortably and rightfully on the shelf with all the other great prog albums of the era, or any era.

Report this review (#151984)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jethro Tull. Thick as a Brick. Ian Anderson. STRANGE BRITISH STAGE ANTICS. These words are well known with in the world of progressive rock as describing some of the greatest music ever to come out of Great Britain. Jethro Tull. Officially classified as Prog-Folk, I think they invented their own sub genre of prog, and that genre is somewhat of a mix of folk, symphonic, heavy, and sentimental. Their albums evoke images of Great Britain as it once was, and a world in which the many characters of Anderson's imagination rove freely, having adventures and growing up and all those good things. this style touches me deeply, its very personal, as Anderson sings about his own life, or one very similar to his own. The other band members combine the perfect mix of organ, acoustic guitars, piano, bells, bass, violin, orchestrations, all of it, to make this lush, beautiful sound like no one had ever heard before.

Anyways, enough about Tull. on to the Brick!. I know there has been enough said on both ends of the spectrum here to provide any new listener with more than enough of an idea of what this album is like, but I will add a little of my own taste. The first half is of course the more well known and more oftenly played on the radio. The mood is sort of an egotistical one, with lines like, "I've come down from the upper class to mend your rotten ways." the protagonist is a teenager at this point and full of himself, even looking down on his own father. Overall, side one has some amazing soloing by Barre and Evans, and Anderson adds some tasteful mandolin and violin, and of course flute, filling the sound out. There are many themes it flows through seamlessly, showing the boy growing into a man. the outro is certainly unsettling.

Side 2 jumps right into to be nearly as avante guarde as the outro of side 1. as opposed to the soft beginning of side 1, side 2 blasts in with heavy riffing and a massive drum solo from Barlow. The general mood of this side is more lamenting, sorrowful, and regretting past actions. the somber reflections on God do more to help this mood. There is a theme about halfway through that I absolutely love as it sounds like Anderson is pouring his heart into singing it, with some epic chord progressions. the musicianship keeps up on this side, with instrumental interludes becoming almost impenetrably convoluted. And of course, the ending, as the protagonist is on his deathbed, he remembers what he was taught as a child, and how Thick as a Brick he really turned out to be. I'm not sure if im interpreting these lyrics right, but I'm just calling what I see in them.

Overall, a masterpiece of prog, possibly my favorite album of all time, standing right up there next to Selling England by the Pound and Red. Anderson and Co. really did a number on their critics with this one.

Report this review (#153641)
Posted Sunday, December 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow wow wooow Thick as a brick is my favourite Jethro Tull Album, i love it. I find the lyrics to be awesome(good job little milton hahaha) and they are so wonderfully brought forward by Ian. Great Flute solos and the organ parts are fantastic. The heavy parts are so good that I could dance the night away. Some splendid guitar work by Martin. Thick as a brick has earned its high ranking on prog archives one. Oh Yeah!
Report this review (#155069)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I feel like the radio version of this song kind of spoiled me for this album. I mean the song was ok and pleasant and everything, but based on it I would never have bought this record. That is until I got into progressive music and saw that this was in most peoples top ten. I now bow to the brick, it is indeed thick. I say that after spending a week listening to it with fresh ears. I now see what all the fuss is about. It's kind of cool that this record was Anderson's response to critics who kept calling "Aqualung" a concept album. So he went out to make a spoof on concept albums. I have to say Ian Anderson is one of the most talented and humerous people in the prog world. I just read he is going to be honoured by the queen, I wonder if he'll be present for it. Haha. He is so anti-establishment, and there is a lot of that in this album, often brought out in a funny way. Just read the newspaper that originally came with it to see that. Or the newspaper articles in the liner notes if you have the cd.

It starts off with what I used to hear on the radio. Anderson's vocals, acoustic guitar and flute leading the way. Piano and bass add to the sound after a minute. This all changes 3 minutes in.Let the adventure really begin. It starts much more aggressive. Organ and bass are prominant. Mood and tempo continue to shift. Vocals return after 6 minutes. Some nice guitar 7 1/2 minutes in that rise to a climax before 9 minutes. The organ is great 11 minutes in, becoming very GENESIS-like. Love that passage. Another change 16 1/2 minutes in.The vocals a minute later are full of energy and confidence. This is such a pleasure to listen to, it's so catchy and well played. Some nice organ late. Side one is near perfect in my opinion.

Side two takes a while to get going but when it does we are treated to an uptempo melody with some fantastic drumming. The drum solos are a bit much though, but check out the brief organ 3 minutes in. It's like the song is stalled until after 4 minutes when flute, acoustic guitar and vocals arrive. One of my favourite sections on the whole album is the darker passage that arrives 7 minutes in. For 6 minutes the solemn vocals and then organ just moves me emotionally. It then brightens 13 minutes in as it becomes faster paced with flute and drums leading the way. I really like the section 16 1/2 minutes in with vocals. A theme from side one is repeated 2 minutes later. Some orchestration. After 20 minutes the intro from side one is repeated. Great way to end it all.

It would be redundant to recommend this one. I'm sure you have it already.

Report this review (#157091)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the best record from one of my favorite bands. I start listening to Jethro Tull with their awesome incredible album Aqualung, which i think it's another prog masterpiece and also write a review. Then the natural step is going for Thick as a Brick which i know is a very respected album in progressive community, but then i think żHow could Jethro Tull top an awesome album like Aqualung? żis that possible? i didn't think so until i spin fro the very first time Thick as a Brick.

The first impression i remember was ża nearly 45 minute song? that's crazy ! I am a musician and at that time i've never heard such a long track. The largest song i've ever heard was something from GYBE! or Little Tragedies. I know Jethro Tull uses repetition of passages rarely so this is not going to be just repeteition and repetition and repetition, hell no.

After all my toughts before i listen the album i was ready to be amazed. The guitar arpeggio, the voice, the flute, the xilophone all at the beggining just fit perfect. The melody of the voice is something i've never forget in my life and even if i hit my head i've never forget the di didi di diIIi part, it's just the best melody that i've ever listen. Well let's continue with the song itself: after the astonishing beggining the rest of the song flows naturally, the structure is amazing and the modal changes are incredible, Jethro Tull never goes with the obvious way.

The lyrics are a little bit confuse and sometimes i lose the way. I've read an analysis of the lyrics and it was extremely good. Then i finally cath all the meaning of the song and know that it was nearly a parody of all conceptuals records released. This guys are pure geniuses and this album is their finest job, after listening to Thick as a Brick, Jethro Tull inmediately go on my top 10 even my top 5 of all time bands i love.

It's impossible to describe with words all the job and pure progressive music tha's in here. You really have to listen this album if you consider yourself an apassionate of progressive music. So , that's up to you, my friend.

Report this review (#160609)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Thick as a Brick is probably one of Jethro Tull's most widely known and loved albums here on PA. As far as I go, though, it overstays its welcome, usually seeming to drag on as I near the end of the album. As far as the style of the album goes, I was (and still am) pretty excited. The instrumentation of progressive folk albums can be hit or miss with me, and for the most part it's hit on this one. Not too many synthesizers, a focus on acoustic guitar much of the time, etc. The style of the song is in general good as well, but as I said it starts to bore me near the end of the first half or through the second half. Overall, I think it's a good album, but not great, deserving of a 3-star rating. The packaging of the album is fun, with the newspaper insert.
Report this review (#161289)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars


What can i tell yu about this Masterpiece . Sooo, igot my 1st vinyl record in 1972 , & i don't know what to say about , my English language was poor , i really liked the music ( specially when he said THE POET & THE PAINTER CASTING SHADOWS IN THE WATER AS THE SUN PLAYS ON THE INFANTRY RETURNING FROM THE SEA) I real;ly knew it's a good poem , buttt , Ihave to know more about the little Milton & about the giant Ian , Sooooo, it was 1972 ----- In 1974 , unfortunately i had to be a pilot , So i discovered the meaning of the lyrics , Now to tell the truth more than 25.000 lebanese knows about this record (i meant in the 70's) So my problem was the language , but now (THANKS TO PROGARCHIEVES) I felt free to ngive my opinion about (Ian Anderson in general) when i 1st met dharma for one in 1970 ,,,,,,,,,,,, my last review for Jethro Tull was ( A ) but i was really impressed by Dot . Com BBBBut all DVD's are poor & i believe that IAN was'nt generous with his band , but , he was a selfish to do his best videos with strangers (sorry for the term )

Report this review (#162755)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is it - the archetypical prog album by Tull. This is the league Genesis (with P.G.) and Yes play in (when it comes to prog. Otherwise I think Ian Anderson outdoes them both on non-prog terms).

In my earlier days I was more impressed by Aqualung (a very good album of course) but re-listening to the CD version of The Brick yesterday (bought it only yesterday; didn't give the vinyl a spin for years!) I came to understand why people are so much impressed. The themes are so strong they bridge the 36 years since its release with ease. Although some ideas return in the second part and one might get the impression there weren't enough of them to do without repetitions it's a delight they are coming up once more. Having crafted this monster it's understandable IA was frustated with Passion Play.

I can do without the bonus live version from Madison Square Garden. It's the same version as on Bursting Out only less produced. Finally there is the 16 minute interview giving us some trivia on the making of The Brick and the touring.

If I were after shocking you I'd rate it 1 star - but it's 5 of course.

Report this review (#162955)
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars This was my introduction to Jethro Tull's sound and it was a love at first sight (...or a listen).

Every since listening to Thick As A Brick I've been desperately searching through the rest of the band's catalog to assure myself that this just wasn't one of those rare magical album releases. So far only Aqualung managed to come close to this staggering album and after purchasing another three Jethro Tull albums I gave up the search of another masterpiece of equal caliber. It's still a mystery to me how a band like this could make such a risky decision that in result payed off so well. Maybe it was the spirit of the early '70s rock movement or just the raw genius of Anderson/Barre?

The composition is divided in many sections where my favorite comes towards the 7th minute of part 1 that I call Master Of The House and it starts with the lyrics: "The Poet and the painter casting shadows on the water...". There are of course many more great moments here that increase with each new revisit of this great album. So no matter how you approach it, at the end of the day, it's the total result that really counts and this one reaches quite high in my book.

***** star songs: Thick As A Brick (part I) (22:45)

**** star songs: Thick As A Brick (part II) (21:05)

Total Rating: 4,52

Report this review (#163762)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This really is as good as it was set up to be. Despite Anderson's apparent distaste for concept albums he does an excellent job of crafting one. I bought this hoping it would be good because I didn't enjoy Aqualung very much except for a few select tracks, and it took a while but I have come to love its quirky symphonic folk sound. The cover is a trip and one can sit and read it for as long as the song takes (I'm referring to the record version) and the acoustic guitar playing is very tasteful and seems to have improved from the previous album. I do believe this is a 5 star album and I would find it in many peoples best interests to give this one a shot.
Report this review (#164659)
Posted Saturday, March 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another one that goes without saying, but of course I have to say something. Basically what we have here is a very well-weaved piece that takes up both sides of a vinyl record. One can only assume that this hadn't been done yet (at the time). While such a bold move can be quite risky, Jethro Tull execute this piece with considerable ease, both in comosition and performance. It is unbelievably fluent, and very tight. While I can get really frustrated with King Crimson, as an example, among other important 70s prog bands, for sounding sloppy or too raw on some of their important records, it is not true of Jethro Tull, and they're the ones playing 40+ minute pieces! So, in short, as far as the musical material goes, it is filled with wonderful melodies, some catchy, some mildly funny, some serious, etc, awesome instrumental passages including some great flute work by Ian, and some very solid lyrics. I also think the packaging with great, what with the newspaper theme throughout the liner notes.

Thick as a Brick is one of the greatest records of all-time, and as far as Tull's releases go, its only rival is its successor, A Passion Play, though that one still is not quite as good. I own more Tull records than the two I have mentioned, but I will admit I never listen to any of the other ones. Every time I'm in the mood for Tull, I look at my collection: I see Aqualung, and I see Minstrel in the Gallery, but why would I pick one of those, when I also see those two masterpieces in between? That would be like eating Qdoba when I could go an extra block or two or three (I could go on...) down the road to eat Chipotle. Not everyone will know what I mean when I say that, but I like to promote the glory of Chipotle when I have the opportunity.

Report this review (#165779)
Posted Saturday, April 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm still waiting for the hook with this release from one of Prog's most celebrated acts. Maybe it's my taste in Prog, but this release fails to yield anything memorable enough to make it a must have. I listen to some other Tull more regularly. The most redeeming quality of this release is the length of the two tunes and the melody of the short beginning interlude, prior to the abrupt change. Don't get me wrong, the Prog Rock effort is true to form, but when the album is over and you've found that you've forced yourself to listen to it, it doesn't leave the best memory. This release, IMO, is good, but not essential, by the ratings system here. I'd keep some other Tull releases in higher regard.
Report this review (#168504)
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album deserves a place in the history books for demonstrating the absolute opposite of the word : 'abysmal'.

I see that it's the ProgArchives no. 1 album of all time, and I'd like to tear it to shreds, just for the fun of it and out of principle, but I just can't; This album is the best thing ever, it makes me glad to be alive. Well, not only that, but still.

I don't see the point of trying to describe the music, this has been done competently in a large number of reviews here. Anyway, I couldn't, even if I tried.

One angle I'd like to go into here though, is the lyrics. Now, I make a point of never listening to any lyrics, for some reason it spoils it for me. I like to listen to the vocals for the sound, and often enough I succeed, expect when something particularly obnoxious comes along, then it can spoil the most fantastic music for me, and jolts me out of my enjoyment. Yes is a borderline case.

Well, I do like to know what an album is about, I try to get hold of a synopsis from somewhere, if possible, but that's about it.

But this album (and a number of others by Jethro Tull) is one of the rare exceptions, where I actively go out of my way to find out what the lyrics, which I mostly avoid like the plague, are all about.

Firstly, I think it's got something to do with Ian Anderson's voice. It seems to convey such an extraordinary amount of humour and cheerfulness, that it becomes irresistible to me. The tongue-in- cheek play on words is quite amazing, I feel he's taking the p. most of the time.

Secondly, the lyrics to Thick As A Brick manage to tread such a careful balance between story-telling and incomprehensibility, that I'm intrigued and amazed at how good really well crafted lyrics, delivered fittingly, can actually be. Shame I don't get to hear that a lot.

So, in effect I mean that this album represents not only music of the very highest standard without de- railing anywhere at all, the lyrics fit in so well that they seem to develop a life both inside and outside the music.

ProgArchives number one spot well deserved. I wonder if it will ever get topped.

Report this review (#168603)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars He may not mind, but you shouldn't sit this one out

Thick As A Brick is always touted as one of the top prog albums of all time. Deservingly so, because if this album were the benchmark that any other album had to reach to be considered ''Essential" we all might not have too much music in our collections. It seems that something just clicked with this album. Everything came together in the most convenient of ways for Anderson and co.

Apparently the idea for the album arose after Ian Anderson read bundles of press for the Aqualung album stating that it was a concept album, something that he had not intended. It was at this point that he decided to actually make a concept album - The concept: a spoof on concept albums. With the sleeve depicting a British newspaper stating that a child had to have his poem withdrawn from a contest because of it's content has had a lot of people actually believe the made up story over the years, thinking that the ''Little Milton'' was a real person who wrote the song that the band would play. Not so, of course, but it's still a wonderful concept.

The song is a satirical look at society as Tull often does, and of course, a dissection of it right here and now would be terribly redundant. What does matter though is that the lyrics are written wonderfully, and the old masters of satirical poetry would be proud. The music is also excellently performed. Anderson's floating flute driving behind the heavy guitars which comes it at all the right moments to drive the song if ever it were to get boring during it's 45-minute duration.

An album with little to no flaws, even if Part 2 gets off to a comparatively slow start, this is certainly one for every collection. Few may find something to not like about it. As another review so appropriately stated: ''.I now bow down to the Brick, for it is indeed Thick''. Saying anymore about the album would be reaching into redundancy, this one gets a blazing 5 stars.

Report this review (#169177)
Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album deserves five stars because it opens your muscial perception and your mind into a progressive dimension, even if you're not used to uneasy listenings, uneven rhythms and complex songwriting: Thick As A Brick, both suites, combines all these features with magnificent melodies, especially as for the acoustic arpeggio part, repeatedly proposed throughout the album. No weak parts are featured in this album. Ian Anderson proves to be a real genius, also for the styrical and poetical lyrics he has written and for the fake story of the disqualified wonder child Gerald Bostock, defined as 'Little Milton' on the cover of the album (the famous newspaper cover on the LP version). All musicians are in great shape, with Martin Barre providing heavy guitar-laden riffs, John Evan(s) providing magnificent Hammond organ parts and the solid rhythmical section by Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond on bass and Barriemore Barlow, who plays an incredible drum solo part on the initial part of suite n°2. Ian Anderson does the rest, with his enchanted flute and his magical acoustic guitar, as well as his beatiful voice. The magniloquent orchestration by Dave (today Dee) Palmer is yet another strong element, creating dream atmospheres throughout the whole album. Perfection is close to be reached on Thick as a Brick. This is the most popular progressive album ever: no wonder! It's love at first... listening!
Report this review (#169954)
Posted Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't consider Thick as a Brick to be Jethro Tull's finest hour, which may come to a suprise to some, seeing as at the time of this writing, this album is rated as the highest, the #1 album on the site. Obviously, I consider it to be overrated, and I much prefer to listen to Aqualung, Songs of the Wood, and probably even Heavy Horses. That being said, I still recommend this album to anyone, especially to those getting interested in Jethro Tull. Furthermore, I would say that this album is essential for any prog rock fan. I certainly can get into this album, but it's single song approach makes the album feel too cohesive, and not diverse enough, for my most particular tastes. Regardless, it's entertaining, but I stop just short of calling it a masterpiece.
Report this review (#170764)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I don't know what else I can add to what is already said. You know the history Ian Anderson's reaction to the critics that called Aqualung a concept album decided to make the mother of all concepts by creating a complete hoax. Anderson went so far as to create a newspaper of the cover complete with a bawdy "connect the numbers" drawing. The whole thing is very Monty Pythonish. The lyrics are roughly a satirical look at English Society in general.

The music is far better thankfully creating as Ian Anderson said some very sophisticated music, for it's time. As the entire piece is one song split into two parts because of the album side restriction the song conveys many different moods and feels sometimes reprising different passages from the first part in the second part. The music is dramatic, folksy, rocking, jazzy and bluesy throughout the piece. It is the high point for Tull and this particular band. The players are all in top form with John Evans, Martin Barre, Barrymore Barlow and Jeffery Hammond-Hammond all in great form. Ian's flute and vocals are never better and it all blends into one big package that soars. I really have never grown tired of this Masterpiece and it has stood the test of time.

From the best era of Jethro Tull we have the best album and a complete classic example of what was Progressive Rock. 5 Stars

Report this review (#172602)
Posted Friday, May 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars BEYOND HUMAN COMPREHENSION. Words can't do this album justice. Sheer genius. I just can't understand how they put these monster compositions together. Better yet as Ian said on the special edition, it's crazy what adrenaline can do especially when you're Jethro Tull playing these songs live.

In terms of the album itself, you just need to listen to it. The songs are extremely long but they obviously all work. These guys do an amazing job at blending all styles of music without sounding stupid. A definite must for any prog fan or someone who wants to know what real music/musicians is/are all about.



Report this review (#172912)
Posted Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Your sperm's in the gutter. Your loves in the sink. I have listen to a lot of the 'prog top cd' since January 2008. I have come to the conclusion that Jethro Tull has but one prog cd, this one Thick as a Brick. My fav groups are Genesis and Yes. Tull sweeps all other prog music with this album. It is diverse, interseting, long (which is my benchmark for prog), musically difficult to play. Ian Anderson has pushed the boundaries when it comes to music. I would have loved to have seen this album playted live. I get errogenously excited whenever I here that flute playing. Wow can you beat htis
Report this review (#176425)
Posted Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Back in 1972 Jethro Tull style changed if compared with their earlier efforts. Not only because the band decided to record a concept album including one epic song (in two pieces). Their style changed mainly because the band departured from the blues and turned into experimental prog rock with of course a bit of folk elements. There's kind of difference between Jethro Tull and other progressive rock heroes of that era. While music remains totally serious lyrics are put in some ironic manner, kind of absurd... whatever. If I can compare with my favorite artists of those times, while in Emerson Lake & Palmer lyrics were not as important as music in Van Der Graaf Generator there was a lot of idividual poetry in Jethro Tull lyrics play main role. It's still sort of poetry but more social done in that journalistic manner. And look at the cover... yeah it's about controversial poem written by kid named Gerald Bostock (of course it was Ian's joke but people often asked him much later who's Geralnd Bostock). Album sleeve includes full newspaper (CD project isn't complete unfortunatelly) and there are funny, bizarre articles written by Ian Anderson and Jeffrey Hammond (with additional help from John Evan). It's not something that we should take seriously and the same goes to the lyrics. It's still hard to say what's all about and Ian said in many interviews it was just a piece of satire on English tradictional society without a deeper meaning. Sort Of Monty Python's concept. And we should take it this way without thinking on the hidden meaning. Let's talk about music then. It's complete, professional art rock work almost without improvising. That's good because something I've never liked in King Crimson for example was that improvisation. Thick As A Brick is a solid work where virtuosity meets great conceptual thought. Just listen to those bass ostinatos in the first part of this epos. It's pretty hard rock feeling in that. Martin Barre plays good but not doing long solos. In first part he played a very memorable short solo which I think is outstanding. John Evan has his moments in second 'I call it a funeral part' when he proves that Hammond organ could still be very useful those days (even though it wasn't something that stood the test of time). The master of ceremony is of course leader Ian Anderson. His usual flute passages lead us from theme to theme and his clear acoustic folk guitar work it still Jethro trademark. His voice, as before, a bit nosy and fits perfectly with that ironical lyrics. Although Ian probably hated it he was true punk rock pioneer with his way of singing. Nevermind. Thick As A Brick is a true masterpiece. An album without a weak moment and one of my favorite albums of all time. It would be the best if not....if not the next Tull record. We should talk about that later...
Report this review (#176595)
Posted Saturday, July 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well here we go ...

Is this good, well hell yes! Simply one of the must haves. I'm not a fan of the whole album by any stretch of the imagination but the opening couple of minutes attains a level that so few albums even aspire to that it has to be an essential part of any self respecting prog collection.

I don't reckon this should be, by any means, the greatest prog album (which the charts indicate) I cannot however fail to give this 5 stars as it is without doubt one of the essential prog masterpieces (I prefer Hidria, Tool, Ozrics and Magma inter alia)

Lyrics are witty and effortlessly challenging. The opening is what undergraduate poser guitarist wannabes wish they could play: it's easy to go on, but since this is an album any remotely self-respecting prog-head should listen to .. i leave the rest to your own devices,

simply essential ... although it may not be your cup of tea

Report this review (#176876)
Posted Monday, July 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars "I really don't mind if you sit this one out"

With each and every new album from 1968's This Was to 1972's Thick As A Brick, Jethro Tull moved forward. Even the rate was constantly increasing and with the previous Aqualung they had made a very big leap forward already. But an even bigger leap was made here with this brilliant album. As most people who visit this site already know, Thick As A Brick is one of the most popular and well-respected progressive Rock albums of all time and deservedly so. This album really belongs up there with Yes' Close To The Edge and Genesis' Selling England By The Pound.

The whole album consists of only one long song divided up into two parts. The ability to keep a song as long as that interesting throughout its running time is really impressive, even if I would say that it tends to drag slightly towards the end of the first part. I can't help to wonder what this song would have been like if the CD was invented back then. I mean if they would not have been forced to divide it up into two parts, but could present it as one long piece. Then, I guess, it could have been one or two minutes shorter. Still, this album is an absolute masterpiece of progressive music.

A true must-have!

Report this review (#177286)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The last thing this essential album needs is yet ANOTHER review on this site! But, I love this album so much that I cannot resist presenting a few of my observations and feelings about it. It would take me weeks to write a proper review - such are my deep feelings and thoughts conccerning TAAB. So, I apologize if I'm unable to be more concise and clear, but hopefuly I'll get some of my points across. If not, you can label me as thick as a brick, or as dumb as a crumb (when discussing this album with people in the past, I've found that a lot of US residents aren't familiar with the UK meaning of the word 'thick' which is synonymous with unintelligent or 'not the sharpest crayon in the box').

It's widely reported that this album is Ian's parodic volley to the claims that 'Aqualung' was a concept album, so consider this - the album comes wrapped like a serving of fish and chips in the one thing society throws away every day, a newspaper, something to be consumed and disposed of. HA! That symbolic metaphor has always slayed me, even moreso 36 years on, since this work of art has already proved to have strong lasting power.

Now, let's also consider this - if 'Aqualung' was supposedly not a concept album, and 'Thick As A Brick' is clearly a concept album (regardless of whether it's meant as a parody of the genre), the two are so similar in their lyrical themes that Ian (purposely?) contradicts himself by making TAAB an outright justification that, indeed, Aqualung WAS a concept album. At the risk of making this a double review of both albums, I submit the following idea - side 1 of 'Aqualung' focuses on the downtrodden and the outsiders either looking for or in need of salvation (a la mode and a cup of tea), while side 2 focuses on the salvation offered by organized religion in contrast to the salvation of a true spirituality. A line from 'Wind Up' states ''I'd rather look around me, compose a better song, 'cause that's the honest measure of my worth''. On TAAB, Ian seems to be saying that THIS is the song he's speaking of with the line ''Let me make you a present of song''. Couple this idea to another line from TAAB - ''Let me sing of the losers who lie in the street as the last bus goes by. That sure sounds like he's speaking of the homeless Aqualung to me, and I can't help but feel that both albums belong together - I could stretch it to even include 'A Passion Play' to form something that's more triptych than trilogy (with Aqualung as the center panel), but I'm trying to stay focused on TAAB. So, in keeping with the scattered layout of my review, I'll refer back to the title track of 'Aqualung', which is in fact three songs rolled into one (a 'concept song'? heh!), and similarly, 'Thick As A Brick' is also three songs rolled into one (could this possibly be why he really doesn't mind if you sit this one out? - wink wink nudge nudge? - ha!), divided by two sides, and who knows - everything probably all adds up to pi anyway.

Next, let's look closely at the content of the 'newspaper' - it's intensely self-referential, which on the surface seems to have nothing to do with anything at all, just a bunch of nonsensical made-up characters, but the deeper you delve into it's own little world, the more it seems to be about the whole great wide world. Gerald Bostock (HA!), the 'poet'/'child prodigy' is front page news where he is nicknamed ''Little Milton'', which I see as a reference to Milton/Paradise Lost as well as Little Milton the blues singer, both social-commentators in their own way. The song is supposed to be based on his poem, which is printed in full in the newspaper, which also contains of a review of the album, which is based on the poem, which contains names that are also mentioned in the news articles. Pop (culture) will eat itself indeed.

Musically, the album also follows this theme of the cycle of consuming to disposing, and it regurgitates and recycles itself seamlessly. Not to be rude, but those that only hear repetition are really missing the point. It's one of those things that's incredibly complex and super-simple at the same time. And isn't that an element that qualifies certain art as 'profound'?? This album is beyond 5 stars, in fact it is one of the greatest artistic expressions of the human condition ever created, right up there with the Bible - which coincidentally was being reprinted in the 20th century in a 'layman-friendly' version, where the words were simplified for those that couldn't get with all the begats and thees and thous not to mention - eth at the end of every other word - the paperback cover looked quite like the cover of 'Thick As A Brick' with it's newsprint-style and it was even retitled as TODAY'S NEWS/The Living Word. Have I gone too far?? (hee hee) - ehh, you can take my review with a grain of salt or ignore it completely as the ravings of a loon - either way, this album stirs me up, provokes my mind to stimulate things I might not have thought about otherwise. That the album is soaked in a rich sense of humor is just icing on the cake. I've been listening to it consistently since I first bought it 28 years ago and it remains as fresh as tomorrow's newspaper.

Report this review (#178276)
Posted Sunday, July 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Five stars, but, but, but, but...... It may be an essential one, a must-have, but only for the folk progressive era. For me, it's my opinion, it doesn't cover much of the progressive overall characteristics that would contain an essential prog album.

In other hand, you'll love it at its first listening, proof that it is an really general album, you know, for everyone.

For the rest, a great album with the crazy flute of Ian Anderson, once again, but this time, it's the best piece of Jethro Tull. However, It doesn't really mean that, musically, it surpasses other great work of their own like Aqualung or This Was. These albums are of same stature, exept Thick As A Brick is way more original, intense, powerful and interesting.

After all of this, an essential is an essential, so here is your ***** on 5 stars, champs!

Report this review (#179601)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Thick as a Brick is the fifth studio album from Jethro Tull. Jethro Tull was one of the first prog related bands I ever heard and as a consequence I have a special relationship with the band. My brother had these three albums: Stand Up, Aqualung and Songs From the Wood and for many years they were the only Jethro Tull albums I listened to. There came a time in my life when I began collecting progressive rock albums in a systematic way and of course I also purchased the full discography from Jethro Tull along the way. It was first then I realized how many different albums and different styles Jethro Tull has done in their career. I always thought they were a great band but now I found that they were unique and outstanding. Thich as a Brick came as a surprise for me. I had never heard of the album before ( I was a young teenager at the time, I hope I´m forgiven) and the idea of one song ( in two parts) filling up the playing time of a whole album was very new to me. I played this album to bits and it soon became my favorite from Jethro Tull and it still ranks among my alltime favorite progressive rock albums.

The music on Thick as a Brick is progressive rock with a folky touch. Ian Anderson´s flute playing is beautiful and challenging. But the flute only occurs occasionally. There are other features on the album that are even more remarkable like the acoustic guitar playing, the strong and varied rythm section and the organ from John Evans. The lyrics are great and humerous. The composition is not extremely complex but definitely progressive and varied. The song is quite obviously made up of many smaller songs and put together afterwards which is not my favorite long song style. As opposed to many other long songs this concept works brilliantly on Thick as a Brick though.

The musicianship is excellent on the album and it finally seemed that Jethro Tull had found a stabile lineup ( not for long though).

The production is very good and everything is clear in the mix.

This is one of the few classic progressive rock albums that everyone has at least listened to once and everyone has an opinion about. Personally I greatly enjoy this album and it´s a deserved 5 star album in my book. It´s not a completely perfect album but it has it´s own charm and it´s unique. I´d say this is one of the best places to start if you´re curious about progressive rock. I know it was for me.

Report this review (#181624)
Posted Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars There isn't much to say about this album that haven't already be said by many other reviewers here and elsewhere. Thick As A Brick is surely Jethro Tull's most progressie work to date. Well, A passion Play is too, but I think they were far more successful with TAAB than Passion... The band was very tigh, Ian Anderson was at his creative peak and did they deliver a fantastic piece of music! I must say I've always loved a lot of JT's tunes, but I'm not really fond of their whole albums. Thick As A Brick is an exception, since I loved the music as a whole (and, besides, there is really one track in the whole album, but many segments are way too different, they could be seen as tunes of their own too). Production here is quite better than previous releases. The cover is another classic and quite a novelty at the time, very interesting.

I think I should then write a big, detalied review about this album, since it is a favorite. But I really think there is not a lot to coment. Just hear it a few times and see why this one of the best prog records of rock's history. if you are fluent in english (specially british english, with its dry humor and wit) you'll like this CD even more. A classic album and a must have for any prog fan. Five stars.

Report this review (#182891)
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must say, this is it.

There are a lot of popular prog albums around. But there's this thing about most popular prog albums, and that's that they're popular with mostly just prog fans. Thick as a Brick is the album, I've found, to perfectly unite the common listeners and the music nerds into one group. Something about this album resonates with almost everyone who listens to it. Almost everywhere I've looked, it's topping lists of the best prog albums of all time still. Clearly, something aligned for the band with this release, but I'm afraid it never aligned anywhere near this well at any other point in their career. Still, for a high point of a band history, pretty much every other band has done worse than Jethro Tull.

As far as a concept album goes, it's more or less standard fare. The idea of the 45 minute song is a fun one, though I and most others have gotten used to it being divided into two pieces. Nevertheless, those two tracks turn the previous albums' tendencies towards rock into straight progressive rock with a lot of folk thrown in there. The shift is dramatic if the music is surveyed chronologically. Muddy electric guitars suddenly become crisp acoustic ones, the flute becomes an undisputed lead instrument, and the keyboards suddenly have a much higher place in the band's pecking order. Also, as evidenced by the two wonderfully long solos in the beginning of the second part, the drumming is mighty impressive.

I can't even say that everything's already been said about this album without accidentally quoting a dozen other reviews, anyways. This is looked at much more thoroughly by others more qualified to do so, but I still feel like adding my voice to the choir here and saying, yes, this album is undeniably a classic. Buy it now.

And that's my advice. If you like progressive music at all--it doesn't matter if your a big neo-prog fan or if you are into technical death metal--this release is completely essential.

Report this review (#184363)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Rating number 501 - well, here we go.

'Thick as a Brick' is a bonafide masterpiece - it is Jethro Tull's magnum opus, the best thing the band has done.

The one long track that spans 2 vinyl sides begins with the subtle flute and story telling vocals of Ian Anderson. The newspaper style liner notes give us the insight to what it is all about holding the key to the true meaning of the album. I adore concept albums so I will once again indulge here. The concept centres on Gerald Bostock who wrote a poem called er....... Thick as a Brick, funnily enough. He did this to win a contest sponsored by a mock organisation called the Society for Literary Advancement and Gestation (yes, that's right.... SLAG). The result of Gerald reading his vision over the BBC radio culminates in his disqualification and he is declared as in desperate need for psychiatric therapy.

Is this Anderson's stab at the prog movement itself where lyrics were becoming more surreal, following from the psychedelia of the late 60s? In any case, the story continues to follow the progress of poor troubled Gerald as the band 'Jethro Tull' have put his poem to music and presented rather strange album. Anderson has stated in an interview that he is trying to capture the alienation and dehumanisation of a young child surrounded by bureaucratic do- gooders who rob them of childhood innocence. In this he attacks the English public school system in the same as way as Pink Floyd (The Wall), and to a lesser extent early Genesis. Thick as a Brick attacks conformity head on and the suppression of autonomy or individualism.

Within this framework is an incredible mixture of serene acoustic passages, juxtaposed with monster rock riffs and scintillating flute as only Anderson can play. The album should be listened to in its entirety to appreciate the intricate structure and heavy multi-layered instrumentation. It is better than 'Passion Play' that tends to get bogged down in its conceptualisation and complexity. Instead 'Brick' is a masterpiece of musical virtuosity and outstanding lyrical content. It is quintessential Jethro Tull and never disappoints even on the 20th listen.

One of the best prog albums of all time.

Report this review (#185179)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I often wonder, are there bands and albums you should stay away from because they are not meant for you ? Personally I believe that and if it's true then this album and probably also band is a good example in my case. I never in my life had a certain feel for Jethro Tull, their music passed me by without really catching my interest. And that's not because it's bad or poor, not at all. It's just that it's not for me, I can't even explain why but it's a plain fact. I even think that if this album hadn't been our no.1 of all time I wouldn't have bought it (or if it would have been full price because this was for sale when I bought it).

But of course when it is no.1 I think it is a duty for a prog reviewer to at least give it a try and give your opinion about it. And in this case it's not even a matter of having not much with Jethro Tull that is the point here, it's more a matter of having not much with Prog Folk that is my problem. And also there I don't really know why. Because it's a sympathetic and pleasant genre of prog. Not much wrong with it, but it just doesn't trigger me in the right direction.

Now about this album, well in fact half of the story is already told now because the above mentioned is mainly what it's all about but the three Thick as a Brick tracks are good epics and that's the best description I can think of. It's no more and no less than that and of course the wondering why so many people are obviously enchanted or impressed by it. Is it because of childhood memories ? Or other sentimental reasons ? I can understand why people like this but a masterpiece ??? Sorry I can't hear it not even if I put my personal taste aside and try to be objective. Also then I conclude: a good piece of music and that's it. I really believe in our all time list no.2/6 are better and of those I can see the masterpiece status but not this no.1.

In the end the most enjoyable part of the disc is the interview that is really interesting even for a non fan like me. Of course it will not change the ultimate rating which can only be 3 stars for me.

Report this review (#186118)
Posted Friday, October 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars For my first review I choose my favourite album of all time THICK AS A BRICK. There have been so many well thought out and insightful reviews of this album already, so I'll keep this one brief, as there's not much I can add to all that's come before me.

All band members are at the top of their game. Ian Anderson's vocals are probably the best they've ever been, or ever were to be. Side one is virtually many musical highlights...the whole piece flies by in a matter of minutes. Side two is slightly inferior, particularly during the first four minutes (my only slight gripe with the album).

Throughout, there are wondeful (albeit brief) bursts of Hammond organ, the drumming is top notch, and Anderson's flute constantly weaves it's magic.

This album was one of my first forays into the world of progressive rock music - I was introduced to Tull by a colleague at school - and liking this type of music in the early 80s almost made me a social outcast with my friends (in the age of Adam & The Ants / New Romanticism). The album stands the test of time for me, and whilst I strive nowadays to listen to as much new music as I can, I always return to this masterpiece at regular intervals, to remind me where my adventure began.

A great album, and one of a very small number of 5 star ratings I will be awarding.

Report this review (#186349)
Posted Sunday, October 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can now say that Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" is a definite Prog Masterpiece. But, I will admit that this revelation only came recently. I was just a casual fan of Ian Anderson's music while growing up, having only "M.U. - the Best of Jethro Tull" on vinyl. I did like the music on that album very much, and later bought "Aqualung" on compact disc. Those were the only two albums I had by Tull for many years until I began exploring progressive rock further in just the past five years. Thick as a Brick (TaaB) kept showing up on many music fans top progressive rock picks that I was researching on the web. Therefore, it wasn't much of a surprise when I discovered the ProgArchives and TaaB was at the top of their list.

Since almost everyone, it seemed, was recommending this album as such an outstanding example of 70's era "progressive rock", I decided to go ahead and give it try. Now, I had heard parts of TaaB. There is a short "edit" of TaaB on the M.U. Best of album. On first listen I realized this wasn't the most accessible album I had ever listened to, and wasn't that impressed at first. There is a lot of music being played on this thing, and it can be a little over-whelming at times. But, after a few more listens, I began to really appreciate it for the music it contained. I already knew its status as a ground-breaking piece of work, with a song that basically plays non-stop across two sides of an album. Most people would imagine this as an unattainable feat. Surely this thing must begin to repeat itself and become boring. Surprisingly, No. In fact, this piece of music is so long and so complex, that it seems like with each listen you will hear something new or at least pay more attention to one part or another as your mind tries to "soak it all in".

Report this review (#187877)
Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is seen by many as the Tull's finest moment, and I have trouble arguing with that. The concept, the lyrics, and the music are all perfectly crafted and really elucidate what creating truly progressive music is all about.

A masterpiece.

1. Thick as a Brick (Part 1)- Opening with a famous acoustic part accompanied by the signature sound of Ian Anderson's flute, this song certainly is one amazing ride. Anderson's amazing, well-crafted lyrics are sung with proficiency and emotion all throughout and I'd say that these are easily some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. Not only that, but the music is fantastic. The whole song is one large concept to these ears and every aspect of the music fits in nicely. The musicianship is exceptional, the composing even better, and this is easily a masterpiece of early 1970s music. Flawless. 10+/10

2. Thick as a Brick (Part 2)- This continues right where Part 1 left off, and is no exception to the amazing attributes of the first. It is quite odd actually looking at both parts separately because I'm so accustomed to it being one song, but they do have their differences. The music in this part is less accessible in some segments and has a different feel. The lyrics are still up to their standard of excellence and so is the music. I can't really complain, though I think overall this part isn't without flaw, but still definitely deserves 10 out of 10 because it is so creative, innovative, and well-mastered. 10/10

This piece of Jethro Tull's unique blend of hard rock, folk, and prog really is something that should be heard by everyone and is one of the founding cornerstones of the progressive movement.

Your collection wouldn't be quite right without this one!

Report this review (#191137)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars My first experience with this epic album came in the form of a taste- all I knew of this music was the initial three minutes, a worthy but extreme truncation to fit part of this album on the compilation, The Very Best of Jethro Tull (having included the album in total would have made that title much more accurate, but would not have made it quite as marketable, I suspect). The recurring themes of this two-part epic fail to become stale, and they can easily implant themselves on the memories of their hearers. With only a few exceptions (mostly in part two), the composition flows together easily from one motif to the next. The unmistakable (and often snide) vocal technique of Ian Anderson continually breathe life into the composition, and his flute work gives the whole intricate piece that distinctive Jethro Tull flavor. The lyrics are complex and chock full of cultural references, not the least of which is the Boy Scout handbook. Even the artwork was more than art- it was a humorous satire of English life with enough content to keep one reading for quite a while. I also enjoy the irony that the lampoon of extended progressive rock music has become one of the most heralded examples of it.

"Thick as a Brick (Part One)" It all starts with that iconic acoustic guitar part, Ian Anderson's distinct voice, and his signature flute. The first three minutes are not easily forgotten, and the vocal melody bounces up and down, like rapid waves. After three minutes, though, the soft honeymoon is over, and the progressive folk textures that pervaded the beginning give way to much heavier rock. A wild organ and guitar solo are performed over a walking, nay, jumping bass line. The transition five minutes in is slightly weak, in my opinion, but the well-orchestrated music that follows more than compensates. Six minutes in, Anderson gives a fantastic vocal performance, singing one of the most important themes of this piece. Two crunchy guitars solo over each other, with flourishes of flute and organ scattered throughout, before Anderson repeats the earlier theme over a stark piano at first while the rest of Jethro Tull comes in. The organ, flute, and bass play together in a short polyphonic segment before Anderson begins singing the next part. Later, the organ is as strong as ever, occasionally giving the listener a sneak preview of the musical theme that dominates the second half of the first part. Variations of this theme occur until the acoustic guitar introduction sneaks into the composition. Soon enough, the final motif (and one of the most fun) emerges. The lyrics remain first-rate but suitably obscure, and Anderson sings them with his usual sarcastic tone. The final moments of part one consist of the jarring riff used to bridge the acoustical introduction to the rest of the song. Overall, this is far stronger than part two, and stands out as the greatest accomplishment of Jethro Tull.

"Thick as a Brick (Part Two)" The second half begins with almost a minute of noise and a muffled version of the last bit of part one. The whole band then kicks in with one of the themes from before. The drummer gets in a rapid solo that has musical interludes peppered over it. There's some odd spoken word and a few inexplicable silences before the acoustic introduction from the first part favors us with yet another appearance. Six minutes in, there's something fresh, particularly some fabulous acoustic guitar work, as well as one of the greatest vocal melodies in progressive rock music, which lingers for quite some time but never overstays its welcome. For much of the following segment, there's a jarring riff played softly and then loudly several times. While it would be tempting to say that the flute takes the role of the lead instrument throughout much of the last ten minutes or so, it would be more accurate to note that the wind instrument follows the rest of the band tightly, rarely deviating. The fun vocal section from the end of the first part finds its way into the end of this part, only the instrumentation is a tad grittier. Instead of the raucous section used to close the first part, a string section followed by a terse but lively organ solo give way to a reprise of the chorus used in the very beginning of the album. Anderson chuckles, and the forty-plus minute opus ends.

Report this review (#192256)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good album by Jethro Tull, but Thick as a Brick combines very much things I don't like in music. If I have to give more than 3.5 stars, I just shan't do this. Of course, the album contains some very good ideas, but they aren't developed so perfectly. I believe they are revealed in training manner. I mean these ideas have been collected and converted into an album. Something like a session in studio, but regretfully only one session! I highly appreciate one merit in music and it is: the harmony! I can't find enough harmony in Thick as a Brick. The album lacks of quality, because of the presence of so much repetitions. The other negative moment is fading away of the sound in such a illogical moments. The sole positive moment here is the musicianship - almost perfect, but the songwriting is average! I shall compare the album to Osanna's Palepoli. These two albums have the same structure, but I think Palepoli is better album and I gave it 4 stars. Here the case is different for me - 3.5 stars. In my opinion the most overrated album on PA site!
Report this review (#196526)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars really...

Firstly I must admit that JETHRO TULL are not among my beloved bands.However,I consider ''Thick as a brick'' a very attractive work for all prog fans.The legendary folk rock outfit was formed in Luton,UK by their main man/singer/flutist Ian Anderson.First four albums of the band,''This was'' (1968),''Stand up'' (1969), ''Benefit'' (1970) and ,of course ''Aqualung'' showed a gifted band developing a sound starting from bluesy heavy rock to a more refined version of ther early sound.However,it wasn't until 1972,when the band strongly established themsleves into the progressive rock era with ''Thick as a brick''.It was a concept rock album about a boy writing a poem regarding the trials of growing up and it consisted of just one track of about 44 min. length,split in two parts.Without leaving their heavy/bluesy roots behind,JETHRO TULL created their more sophisticated effort ever with tons of driving flutes,excellent keyboard work (on Hammond and piano),nice guitar riffs,a rhythm section in amazing form and of course the characteristic vocals of Anderson dominating their sound.The album is full of changing tempos,rhythms,moods and atmospheres,not a boring minute in here and ''Thick as a brick'' should certainly be part of any serious rock fan's collection!A nice concept work by a legend of rock music.

Report this review (#197215)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars For long all I heard from Jethro were a few songs that were played by my friends in our radioshow....Locomotive Breath, Bouree etc...But I never developed the need or the desire to listen anything more. What I heard was always sounding to folky to me....and I decide to pass it....Friends went to Jethro concerts and came home absolutely raving about it and hailing it as brilliant..Still I passed it and invested my time otherwise.

Not untill recently I deciede to give it another go. The first one that I picked up was Thick As A Brick..and I must say that it indeed had all you can hope for from a Classical prog album. Enormous musicianship, energy, epics and great organ playing. Not to mention the flute of Ian. Its so bad that Thick in its entirelty is not played anymore.

Second stop will be Aqualung.

Report this review (#199033)
Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick was the highest-rated album on ProgArchives for a while, but there were several evidences (for example the PA Ultimate Album List) which confuted that it was the best prog album in the eyes of reviewers. Then...why was it the #1 so long? The solution is (besides it had only a very little advantage), that TaaB is unequivocally a masterpiece, but for some reason not as dividing and controversial as the other greats (Close to the Edge, Selling England by the Pound) are. There's something in this album what makes it beloved by most of the people, perhaps the catchyness of the melodies and the instrumentation, which is really fantastic.

There's only one song split into Part I and II. I listened to them for a while in the bad order, because I mistagged my files on my computer. I just realized it on the day of my review, but I really think that this false order makes no difference in the enjoyment level.

Part I starts as an ordinary folk rock song, then the Tull landmarks join in. The building up is almost perfect, and at 6:10 the main motif comes...MAJESTIC! Especially its later variants will be breathtaking, but this prepaires us to the following ones well.

The first few minutes of Part II are surprising, they are like the band were looking for ideas and just jamming around...but then the real movement starts and the energy lasts until the end of the album.

All in one, a great album, nevertheless not the best of prog.

Report this review (#200075)
Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many critics wrongly called Aqualung by Jethro Tull a concept album. Frontman Ian Anderson thought These chumps think Aqualung was a concept album? We'll show them a concept album. Thus, Thick As A Brick was born. The vast majority of the prog world was, and still is, beyond happy that Mr. Anderson had such an attitude. The album is split into two parts of the same song: the first being an upbeat mixture of folk and hard rock while the second is more sedate and darker. There are a few themes echoed throughout the album that provide the perfect amount of continuity without being at all repetitive. There's not much original to be said about this album but I figured I'd put my two cents in anyway.

Part 1 starts out with some calming yet upbeat acoustic guitar for a few measures before Ian Anderson begins his light singing of truly poetic lyrics. The rest of the band joins in due time maintaining a musically jolly atmosphere while the contrasting lyrics bite with a subtle bitter tongue. The music becomes a bit harder with the bassline leading the way after about 3 minutes. It maintains this heavy sound throughout the rest of the song with a few exceptions. This song is highly accessible and an absolute masterpiece. Part 2 is darker and more somber compared to Part 1 and, for the first two thirds of the song, it's a rather slow tempo (though far from boring mind you!). A brief spurt of energy comes in around the 15 minute mark then the song becomes rather hard-hitting, before finishing the off the last minute with a slowed down version of the opening of Part 1.

Technically speaking, there's nothing too difficult in this album but that doesn't matter one bit as the compositional skills and the interplay between various instruments are beyond superb. I recommend trying to find a copy of the vinyl with all the album artwork still intact because The St. Cleve Chronicle, a mock newspaper that comes with the album, is full of daring, outrageous and hilarious articles. I absolutely recommend Thick As A Brick to anyone with an interest in prog or even 70s rock.

Report this review (#200122)
Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a brick. Love it a lot. Wanna play your guitar or flute like Ian Anderson? you don't have to. But, if you hear this album, then you will play your flute or your guitar!

I heard Rory Gallagher made his role good in this long song. Well, of course, he would have to. And he serves Tull pretty well. Barrymore Barlow and Jeffery Hammond-Hammond; where do these men go? John Evans, and Martin Barre, we'll find them near Tull's arena. Keith Emerson; don't tell me about him. There was a part which I like most (one of the best part, in my mind). While Emerson joined his organ with all of personnel's tools, it sounds like a full cinema sound just play along right in my ears.

Well. this is a horrible damn marvelous album. Conceptional. Though, I think, it's to long enough (I didn't mean to say it's a kind of dull. No, I didn't) and so, it's just like, an express train. But, a non-stop musical view. A poetry as a lyric. A damn good poetry, full of impact, that made by a kid!

I always thought I had a band, a progressive rock band, that will always play poetries as a lyric, and build a long chapterized music within. Like Tull (or any band else) did in Thick As A Brick.

Report this review (#200894)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh yes, this album brilliant is. Fourty-three minutes and fourty-four seconds of superior composition lyrically and song structuralalaly. This album is safely in my personal top 4 prog albums of all time rotation, along side CTTE, DSOTM, and ITCOTCK, but for some reason I still find it hard to express why. I know that I love this album and that it is a brilliant piece of music but the lack of any solid musical knowledge leaves me in a position of just throwing superlatives at it from the perspective of one with no particular insight. One song, 40 minutes, no lull in the action. It's constantly moving, constantly telling a tale, constantly illuminating the mind, and doing all those other things a prog masterpiece is supposed to do. Six stars being impossible, five stars will have to do.
Report this review (#201944)
Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick is an absolutely essential masterpiece of progressive rock. It is everything a concept album should be; great lyrics, recurring themes, and great instrumental performances. The entire album is one song as a way of sort of mocking the idea of a concept album. Do not worry about the length though, find a time when you have 40 minutes to listen to music and you wont want to turn it off. Normally I am not a huge fan of Jethro Tull, but this is without a doubt one of my favorite albums. It is absolutely an essential piece of progressive music, great from the first listen and an album that I doubt I will ever tire of. If you are just getting into prog and haven't heard this album, make it the next album you buy and you will not be disappointed.
Report this review (#202463)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the album where the vision of Stand Up is culminated in a truly progressive album, through and through. This album features Ian as his lyrical best and his melodies match those on Stand Up.

As for the band: for the most part, this is acoustic guitar, flute and organ driven. And Ian and John rise to the occasion admirably. Bass players also take note because Jeffrey Hammond is all over the place! This album is grounded in tremendous folk themes but then crosses over into heavy rock, jazz, and even classical themes (which is really what makes this album so fabulous). While propelled by the organ, bass and flute, Tull really throws out the kitchen sink with horns, strings and percussion galore.

Most prog fans will have this album as it is the Holy Grail of progressive rock for most, especially Tull fans. To me it demonstrates the heights an individual band can reach when all the right things come together at one moment. Great songwriting, wonderful ambitions, superb playing, an incredible album, and certainly the best thing Tull put to record.

Report this review (#208716)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've now had Thick as a Brick for over two years and listened to it countless times. Even so, I've tried to hold off reviewing it. It is with a fair amount of trepidation that I'm finally prepared to throw in my two cents (2 cents among a thousand dollars). I have to say that in spite of its faults, this is a magnificent album.

The thing that really annoys me about this album, is that it drags in the second half. The same theme is repeated too many times. Just when I feel I am about to be overcome by it though, I'm recued by the strings. I'm a sucker for that stuff. It's a tossup between that moment and the intro for the best part of the album. Whenever I am listening to Tull, those are the standards which other songs have to live up to.

I'll keep it brief. I'm sure I haven't said anything that hasn't already been said, and I'm sure I'll miss at least 2 or 3 (or many many more) typos and mess up my meanings. Thick as a Brick is an album which everyone should listen to if only once. For those of us that get it, it is an album we'll all be listening to for a very long time.

Report this review (#209772)
Posted Thursday, April 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars My words but a whisper, your deafness a SHOUT!

Prog essential masterpiece. That is the gist of this review. There are multiple sections, each with their own carried power and beauty. From the subtle solos, to the epic symphonic leaps, to the folk interludes, to the surrealist, yet perceivable lyrics, which have to be some of the best I've ever heard. Ian and crew are able to weave enchanting melody after enchanting melody in this single epic track.

Some might fault the beginning of side two, and I can't say they are incorrect in doing so, but I could never take off an entire star for a couple minutes of moderately good music (That's right, I liked it!) when everything else is so absolutely brilliant. Rocking in places, while dreaming in others, each section, with the repeated overall themes, make grand executions. An absolute progressive highlight, and one to which I shall give five stars.

Report this review (#211098)
Posted Sunday, April 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Oh, the irony of it all !

It is ironic that an album who was meant to be a spoof concept album and thereby, an attack on all concept albums, is regular voted as the best ever concept album. It is like THE POLICE's big hit "Every Breath You Take" being played in weddings. As we all know, that song was about marriage breakdown and stalking. "Thick As A Brick" is tongue-in-cheek mocking of the overblown concept album era. The artwork says it all. But even that artwork has now become an icon of our age. Oh the irony of it all !

Music wise, this album is brilliant with it's 44 minutes long piece of music. I am not going to re-invent the wheel here because far better reviewer than me has done this job already. But I find the music a blend of folk-rock, sympho rock and fusion. It is epic, it is complex and it is also catchy at the same time. Ian Anderson's vocals and flute is the signature of this album. But the guitars and the various keys are also dominant. The music ebbs and flows in a superb manner.

As previously stated, far better reviewers than I have done better reviews of this album, but I just want to add my praise and highly recommend it. This is truly a concept album and a good one. Maybe even the best one of them all. It is also an essential album in every prog rock fan's music collection.

4.75 stars.

Report this review (#213547)
Posted Sunday, May 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I first joined ProgArchives Thick as a Brick held the No. 1 spot on the reviewers list of all-time greatest Prog Albums. As a teen moving into the prog world in about 1972 (Uriah Heep's Demons and Wizards though The Beatles and Led Zeppelin had certainly warmed me up for the plunge), I found that I never seemed to be drawn to the music and phenom of Jethro Tull. Though I loved themes from A Passion Play, overall they were not a sound I gravitated to. As a matter of fact, being supremely fascinated by speedy, flashy guitar players (Page, Akkerman, McLaughlin, DiMeloa), I remember distinctly holding some disdain for Martin Barre's "mediocre" skill. But, with the 2008 resurrection of progressive rock in my world, I decided to try everything I'd missed. Thus, this review. I've now owned TaaB for almost a year. I have listened to it attentively, repeatedly, and spaced apart by weeks. While I do appreciate it much more now, I still must say that there are enough flaws and "boring" parts (Side 2's organ work and drum solo) that I could never rate this album the standard by which all other prog LPs are measured. However, Side 1 is nearly a flawless composition of group coherence and catchy melodies (even if the story is at times a bit obtuse). Anderson vocalizations are powerful, Barre's work (often double tracked) is good, and Hammond and Evans are wonderful. I must admit, however, that I like the eleven minute live from Madison Square Garden, 1978, "excerpt" on the new remastered CD better. Long enough to catch many of the highlights, short enough to let the listener move on to a variety of the group's sample pieces. Still, TaaB is, overall, a very pleasant listening experience. And, though it stands up fairly well over time, the weaknesses of Side Two cause me to offer an overall rating of a strong four.

Report this review (#215170)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thick As A Brick is an excellent album and some might even say a masterpiece, and I think it's great too, but not as great as a real prog masterpiece. I'll explain why so you guys understand, some of this album is a waste.

The first side is great and very versatile, and I enjoyed every minute of the 23 minutes the first side presents. The other side, on the other hand, is a bit of a bore, and sort of sounds like the first side re-arranged, and even copy-pasted sometimes. The 2nd side is mainly the parts of the first side (3:05 up till the end) in a new arrangement (not musically, but orderly).

Thick As A Brick is an excellent album and a great addition to any prog collection.

4/5 and a recommendation from me.

Report this review (#221535)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I sort of believe in the day...

An apex of prog rock, let alone Jethro Tull, THICK AS A BRICK is seen by many as the standard of which all prog albums are set. It's definitely a far from bad album and I might say that it's one of Jethro Tull's finest kettle of fish. However, I cannot say it is THE single best work of Tull or prog.

I much prefer the late 70's direction Jethro Tull took, one where more folk elements crept into their overall sound with SONGS FROM THE WOOD being the best example. Certainly, this isn't a weak album as ''Thick as a Brick'' the song is a finely crafted slab of work. It's filled to the brim of everything a proghead could want; spot-on instrumentation, a lengthy piece, odd timings, loads of Hammond organ and flute, witty lyrics, an overall concept, should I go on?

The one problem of having this single-song album is that it suffers from inflammation of the composition. While it does a great job on Side A of making the piece seem shorter than it is, too many times, I find bored with what's musically presented to me (on both sides). It's an egregious task just to try and take the entirety of the album in one sitting, and many times, the piece takes a bit to long to tell me where it's going.

Still, it's a fine testament to the body of Jethro Tull's work. Any prog fan needs to check this out to figure out what it is we call ''prog''. However, I will not overhype the album and refrain from giving it a masterpiece rating; you have to check out the album to see if you like, but if you're a prog fan and weighing the other collabs' ratings/reviews, it's very unlikely any prog nut will reject this one.

Report this review (#234927)
Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The side A of the album is really a perfect masterpiece and I do not think that the musicians were very ellaborating. I think the whole album was a inspiration as there are very few in the history of the humanity. Indeed, for the side B the were not so perfect, but mainly repeating the first side but introducing other rythems and some times introudcing some new melodies that are quite normal. Things the side A is pure perfection, that is, double or triple perfect, this highly compensates the side B. One can hear the album hundred of times and it resists to be burnt. Usually, one never hear the second side because it is too long. Thus five stars of course.
Report this review (#235908)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars When one has such an extensive collection as yours truly, it becomes apparent that there are few albums that come around for regular spins and I can think of none as effective as this Thick as a Brick, a trustworthy companion on countless memorable occasions going back 35 years now. Its still as poignant as ever, a jaw-dropping marvel of songwriting and musical brilliance , a classic arsenal of hyper-tight ensemble playing featuring a destructive up-front bass missile, AkAk gun drum salvos, wrenching guitar, sweeping keys, revolutionary flute adornments and Anderson's rather desolate expression of timeless lyrics ("The kettle almost boiling") . Martin Barre's fist extended solo is a masterpiece and deserves place in the Hall of Fame! (Heavy Metal category or not!), a screechingly bluesy affair that bites, scalds and shears with wanton abandon! Along with a couple of Yes, Genesis, Floyd and Crimson tracks, this is the epitome of prog music, a trendless creation of sonic genius that stood the test of time and should be a standard of any musical education, certainly as far as rock goes. All the ingredients are here, nothing amiss, nothing to criticize, a mini-prog bible of sorts. To think the events around its recording were so innocently seedy: a dirty and damp studio, a tight group of primo musicians squeezing the sponge as one, laughing, eating, drinking and carousing together, like a big dysfunctional rock family! I remember the immense impact TAAB had upon its release, every hirsute desperado flocking to the vinyl record shops, who were often unable to supply the rabid demand, as if it was some huge headline newspaper edition. (Which is why the remarkable cover still rings true as cleverness today, never reproduced quite as perfectly!). The Brick has been dissected by many thousand pundits, so I won't add anything to their often august comments. This is not essential, it's immortal. 5 stoned masons
Report this review (#237471)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars More research needed in this area, because I don't get the story. That's nothing strange, as knowing what each words means is far more easier, than understanding entire story on-fly. And it's strange, I was going to have this review given as few words justification (because most of people here gave the same rating) 5 stars, but I found myself one star bellow, which is quite strange for me.

And sinister, some albums simply fails to be seen as anything else than "masterpiece". I know, this music deserves it, even I like Aqualung more (and this does not make me newbie in genre automatically, I just like it more

I don't like ending of first part, I don't like drum solos here and few calmer parts. But that's nothing, when compared to the good sides of the rest of these "songs". Despite two tracks, two parts, I take them as collection of shorter ones, blended skillfully together. There's also some kind of theme melody, repeating over these 40 minutes few times.

4(+), as I said more research needed, because there is potential for sure, but I don't feel confident enough for giving it five, even if I "should". I want, but I'll give it as soon as I'll feel like giving it.

Report this review (#242140)
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Energetic album, contains plenty of vitality and large amounts of adrenaline, to be honest, this album doest´n get a little more on me than entertainment, it lacks drama, the album is too light, musically is faultless, the performances in compliment are just wonderful, but again has no such dramatic parts... on this album they guide others, neither more nor less ... Ian Anderson, Martin Barre and John Evans (for me the best) rise the peak of their creativity? of his art? im nuts sure... I doubt it, for me Jethro Tull has better albums, Aqualung, for example... 3 stars and a half!!!
Report this review (#245434)
Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Thick as a Brick finds Jethro Tull reborn and reinvigorated after the slightly dreary Aqualung. Seemingly without effort, they pull off one of the most accomplished prog rock albums of all time.

TaaB is quite different from anything they had ever done before. It's not the brooding blues rock of the beginnings, nor the straightforward stadium rock of Aqualung. The closest reference to previous work would be the album Benefit, but with that album's progressive leanings stretched to the maximum and with a unifying vision that is probably unsurpassed in prog history.

There's the continuous interplay between acoustic and amplified sections, between sung parts and instrumental parts, between folk, rock and improvisations, between playful ditties and dramatic hymns. And the most remarkable of all is how all these different pieces seamlessly fit together.

It is the sound of a band that plays with confidence and maturity, giving each member the opportunity to put in their best and shine throughout. They simply dash through the proceedings with an unrelenting energy and passion I have rarely heard from them. In its entire 45 minutes, there is not one weedy moment, not one transition that doesn't work.

It's not easy listening and a big chunk to bite through but ultimately rewarding. It's one of the most fascinating albums of the 70's but I can't say it has aged well on me. 4.5 stars

Report this review (#246489)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars i know 3 star are few... Thick as Brick is almost 4 star album for me...I like it really a lot but i want to highlight it's not on the same level than A Passion Play and Aqualung. This huge suite defferently than A Passion Play have too many weak moments and it's a little bit repetetive the melody is almost all the same all over the album. I am sure with the same ideas it would be better to make a suite of 20 minutes and it would be a masterpiece with no doubts, Jethro Tull pretended too much, this is the reason i gave 3 stars
Report this review (#251168)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'll just keep this short and simple...this album is one with little to no flaws to it. Outstanding effort from all the members, whether it be musically or lyrically. You really need to hear this album; it's catchy, the music is complex without a doubt, and lyrics that make you wonder what the hell Ian Anderson was trying to say. I always enjoy listening to this album and I will continue to do so, perhaps even after death! A must-have if you call yourselves proggers...AT LEAST listen to it a couple of times and then formulate your opinion.

1. "Thick as a Brick (Part 1)" - 9.5/10

2. "Thick as a Brick (Part 2)" - 8.5/10

18/2 = 90% = 5 stars, no doubt at all!

Report this review (#251991)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Jethro Tull - Thick as A Brick

* This review has been edited due to new insights.

This is the kind of progressive music that stood the test of time. Jethro was being accused of making an concept album when releasing Aqualung, so they wanted to live up to their given reputation just for the sake of it. Never would they have though at the time that they would make a masterpiece.

The album has all the known Tull elements; Flute, folky chord-progressions on acoustic guitar, some rockin' moments with electric guitar, great drums, electric organs and of course the one in a trillion vocal style of Ian Andersen. Elements of the music that aren't present on all other Tull albums are the progressive compositions, the conceptual form of the album and the refreshing use of musical themes. The album is one big track, divided due to the limitations of the vinyl record. The original cover was a fold out news paper which takes more then an hour to read. Jethro Tull later told the press the making of this newspaper took as long as the recording of the album.

Though many refer to the conceptual song-writing as the main attraction of this album, I must admit I think the strenth lies in the induvidual song parts. I'm not that blown away by the way the long compositions evolve and the theme changes aren't always that smart. Many melodies and vocal themes are very catchy and most instrumental parts show why the worlds needs a progressive genre.

The way Jehtro Tull plays progressive folk-rock is strong, but I think they were out-smarted in this field by many others (Jan Dukes de Grey, Comus, Pearls Before Swine). The problem with Tull is, I don't really like their sound too much. I miss on the authenticity and though the voice of Anderson is strong, he does sound a bit dinstanced from the music. A more cohesive sound would have made this the masterpiece I would like to have found in Thick as a Brick. It has become one of the highest rated three albums of PA and I must admit I can make a list of at least a dozen albums that I would rather have seen on that position. Still, Thick as Brick stands out as one of the better albums of the progressive folk genre and it deserves four stars.

Report this review (#254993)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the most acclaimed prog records of all time, and perennially in PA's top 10, Thick as a Brick is certainly a behemoth of an album. In a way, this is stereotypical prog- long songs (erm... song- one 43 minute song), concepts (like making fun of concept albums), winding instrumental passages, flute, and the list goes on. Anyway, the album is very solid, featuring Anderson's always great lyrics- the overall meaning is probably growing up, though there's probably much more to this. than just that. The flute that Jethro Tull has become famous for is used to great effect on TAAB, creating peaceful atmospheres where needed, in contrast to other, harder parts anchored by the other instruments- everything is played very, very well, and each instrument finds a way to the foreground at some point- on only side one, you'll find a flute solo a quarter of the way through,the acoustic guitar that begins the album, an organ solo a little more than halfway through, an many, many parts where each instrument works together with the others to make a part filled with feelings and emotion. Overall, the album is a sprawling, meaty monster- however, the album's only flaw is that it's TOO big- the one song IS 43 minutes, after all, and at points, connections or pieces are a bit weak. This is certainly a challenging listen, and not for the fain of heart- however, if you have the time and open mind to take this in, it's amazing. My rating is four stars, recommended to fans of "traditional" seventies prog, and any beginners who want to know what prog is all about- it may take a while to fully appreciate the album, but it pays back double for your efforts.
Report this review (#259467)
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Well deserving of it's place as one of the top prog albums of all time, the one and only track here (on the CD version) is also one of the greatest long-form rock song ever recorded. Moreso than just about any prog epic, this varied piece manages to flow seamlessly from movement to movement, and recalls earlier themes, with added complexity without making it sound contrived.

And while Ian Anderson's spectacular composition cannot be downplayed, and the rest of the band is astounding, the game ball for this recording should be awarded to keyboardist John Evan. His solos and his ensemble playing carries the band through some seemingly impossible segues. So much so that Martin Barre, who usually performs this role on guitar, appears to be pushed from the sonic forefront.

A nearly perfect album.

Report this review (#275274)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a masterpiece of precision and skill! Jethro Tull at their finest. I believe Tull was going through a transition of blues to folk, and this is where those two elements meet and create an amazing work of art! TAAB is in my opinion THE greatest album ever put out up to this point! All aspects of this album are so impressive, the lyrics, the musicality, the creativity. Everything on this album works and works well! Immpeccable uses of odd-time signatures and repetition of motifs to give this monster of a piece grandeur! A definite must for anyone who claims to like prog!
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Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Albums with just one song are nothing new today (even if they are rare) but when this record came out it had never been done before. After being labeled as a prog band by critics without much intention, Anderson decided to create the "mother of all concept albums", intentionally going for an insanely over-the-top idea that other bands wouldn't dare to even think of, even if it was a joke.

If this album is indeed a "joke", it's one of the most beautiful jokes I've ever heard, even if I don't think it's very funny. It's surprising how accessible it is listening to it today for a song so, so very long. You can listen to the whole thing without any wanting to go away even for a minute. The reason for this is because it's so irresistible.

But hey, you've probably heard a ton of praise for this album already, especially considering how popular it is here. If that's the case, why haven't you listened to it? And if you HAVE listened to it, why aren't you listening to it again? It just gets better every time anyway.

Report this review (#277579)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since I was a little child, music has two different scenarios: The poppy happy flat easy music and the rhythmical sonorous mindscapes painted among strings, drums, melodic keyboards, voices and golden wind breathes. The master opus from the Scottish band was not only my first contact with progressive but a universe inside imagination that cross through years lands and times leading the journey since the ears in love.

The whole album is a challenge and a wonder at the same time. Running in different times, passing scene after scene in a timeless world that could speak of magic near lawyers and jailed criminals among castles and knights.

Even when the folk base its clear, the musical energy from the whole opus itself requires different platforms and styles welded over those free spirit folk sounds. Impossible ended to listen it without feeling full of hope, love, happiness.

Sure there's nothing that hasn't been wrote about the most epic and progressive record of the band, but a little more cajolery wont' harm. Really don't mind if you sit this one out...

Since the acoustic begging the british folk comes along as a master of ceremonies eloquently guiding listeners into a magic landscape. But the rock does not wait for appears and soon, still folky, beats with rousing movements remaining the medieval power struggle among the folk chords and the blues based rock lines. An electric organ remains the listener into the very past, obscure and stirring. An acoustic leitmotif serenades the fields and runs into the court attending lawyers remembering for their childhood plays and comic heroes with joyful energy.

Then the percussion crumbles into dark ages back to the rocking power struggle claims for intoxicant attention that drifts into an acid whirlpool and quiets for a new spring folk leitmotif bridges into a dusky lament, there where the sad tunes ask the sun returns for the morrow and the dark knight arrives in the middle of the night after a devastating inglorious battle. The flute sounds like metallic tears and the organ turns the shadows darker.

The gloom of the night points to the day and the electric guitar lead the march of a new battle in a new time. A warmer summer ballad is rushing through the instruments until a last refrain summing up those joyful passages and growing among wild violin flowers in between the violent vertiginous rock slipstream.

The acoustic leitmotif soothes the atmosphere and farewell with a merry sigh.

Report this review (#288991)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This must be said the Thick As A Brick is only album from top 5 who actually deserves to be there. It maybe isn't best album ever made but it is fore sure one of the best and the best from Jethro Tull. Two times 20 minutes long song. I have heard a lot of highly praised epic songs and found that many of them are actually boring or have some other side effect like giving you headache. But no, this is not the case with Thick As A Brick. It has everything, intriguing lyrics (excellent vocal performance by Ian Anderson) , excellent complex music with lots of themes , melodies and rhythm changes. I don't know what else to say, how to describe 40 minutes long song without writhing three pages . Well I don't have time to write three pages so maybe I can only add what prog reviewer richardh wrote "I cannot think of one thing that makes this not deserving of 5 stars" and I cannot agree with him more.
Report this review (#291041)
Posted Sunday, July 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars A definite masterpiece

Here we have the most famous 1-song-album of all time. A 43 minute beast that is a mishmash of folk and pure progressive rock. It is an album that surely deserves it's position as one of the top rated albums on PA. Whether you're sitting by a campfire, going for a stroll, or just sitting down on the couch waiting for the time to pass, you can pop this album in and indulge yourself in the pure art that Jethro Tull has presented for us.

The song: Part 1 takes off right away with a great acoustic riff, some bouncy flute work, and vocals from Ian Anderson. This section goes through many moods, but is for the most part, fast pace. The entire section makes great use of beautiful flute melodies and very progressive instrumental sections. This part will keep your attention for the entirety of it as it never drags on.

Part 2 begins with one of the faster melodies heard in Part 1, then takes us into a very fast drum solo. This part can be seen as a sort of reprise of Part 1, as it doesn't contain much material that you already haven't heard. Still, this section is still a great listen and ends majestically with a beautiful string section and one final saying of the chorus. Pure bliss...


Lyrics: My personal favourite lyrical work of all time. Anderson's lyric writing style is just so unique with lines like "Really don't mind if you sit this one out / My word's but a whisper your deafness a shout" in the beginning.

The flute: The song is largely flute-based and contains some gorgeous flute melodies and some bouncy and memorable ones. Anderson really shows off his mastery of the flute in this work of art.

Musicianship: Every instrument gets it's time to shine here. The acoustic guitar delivers beautiful melodies, the drums get their long but very entertaining drum solos, and the harpsichord plays some fast paced and incredibly fun parts in the instrumental sections.

Consistency: There isn't a single disappointing moment throughout the song. There aren't many 43-minute songs that can say that.


Repetition: Part 2 does get a little repetitive at parts and sometimes when you're waiting for a new melody to be presented, you are instead shown something you've heard.

Recommended for: Fans of epics. Fans of a perfect blend of folk and pure prog.

My rating: 5 stars. Unquestionably one of the true gemstones of folk and prog in general.

Report this review (#291577)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
5 stars My thoughts on Thick as a Brick are best expressed in a metaphor:

Consider my house of classic prog-rock. Pink Floyd, Genesis, ELP, and King Crimson are the four walls, while Yes is defintely the roof. What's missing? Everything on the inside! Which is the best way I can describe this masterful album by Jethro Tull-- it is the element that makes a a house homey and not just "there".

Packed with wit, charm, ambition, energy, and style, Thick as a Brick is a classic prog present from Ian Anderson. The rock is straight-ahead and intense while the folksy elements are tongue-in-cheek, dynamic, and loads of fun. A vintage slice of classic-prog heaven.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals:5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#293718)
Posted Saturday, August 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review #1 Jethro Tull's 1972 album Thick As A Brick

First of all I think to rate an album you have to have lived in the time that the music was released. I know I have no basis for this assumption but I truly believe this statement. I was living at the time Thick As A Brick (TAAB) was released.

It is difficult to describe the impact that this album/event had on my life, other than to say it was unique and this uniqueness has never happened again...I suppose that it is why it is unique!.

TAAB is not only the music, it is the entire album, it is the cover and what is inside it, it is the ficticous town, the ficticious characters, the comedy and the mood of the time. Prog in the mainstream; number 1 album in the US in 1972 with a never before submitted 45 minute single songblending acoustic/folk, hard rock, jazz, orchestral music, avante garde but above all there was melody.

Some say prog and melody don't go together but Anderson nailed it; he was able to make TAAB melodic throughout and keep it progresssive at the same time. Anderson says he was trying to make the mother of all concept albums...and it was a joke. My personal opinion is that what Anderson said is not quite correct (read "bullsh*t"); he certainy was giving his all.

So TAAB stands out above all other albums not only for its music but for its overall life capturing essence. Can I give 6 stars for this? No? OK, We'll settle for 5.

Report this review (#296474)
Posted Saturday, August 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not a Jethro Tull fan. I like some of their stuff, but most of isn't my cup of tea. For instance, I really like their Crest of a Knave album, but I don't care much for Aqualung, an album considered a classic of not only progressive rock, but the rock genre as a whole. So what could I possibly add to an album that already has over 600 ratings on Prog Archives as of October 10, 2010? Nothing substantial I suppose, and maybe nothing really worth reading. So why am I writing a review?

The reason why is that I'm speaking for those that can't really get into Jethro Tull. And for those of you that are like me, I can only say, that if you really want to give this group a chance, buy this album. Thick as a Brick is THE album where Jethro Tull puts it all together and clearly deserves the status of "masterpiece" on this esteemed web site. It is as good as anything in Prog Archives' Top 10 albums and combines a multitude of genres into something that is uniquely Jethro Tull, including folk, acoustic, classical, symphonic prog, and heavy-edged rock, all with a strong theatrical touch.

So, for those of you that can't get into Jethro Tull (like me), you're really missing something special with this album. Now if only I could get into their other stuff more... Time will only tell.

Easily five stars!

Report this review (#303140)
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars Thick As A Brick, otherwise known as The Only Jethro Tull Album This Reviewer Ever Liked. The only other albums that even slightly tickled my earbulbs are Aqualung and Minstrel In The Gallery. Here we have the Weird Al Yankovic of prog: a whole album that is nothing but a parody of the concept albums and side-long epics of the time. Strange then that this ended up being a great example of everything GOOD about prog! This one-song album actually went to #1 on the Billboard charts. Because of that Anderson & co. decided they would do it again(hey, there's nothing better than free money). A Passion Play on the other hand is a great example of everything BAD about prog. TAAB sounds natural while APP sounds forced.

No sense in analyzing this album to death. There is almost nothing about it I would change. It still boggles my mind how these guys came up with an album full of such great music and playing, yet never did anything else that comes close. I can listen to this all the way through every day if I wanted to. Any other Tull album and there will some tracks I will want to skip. This is like a cross between what ELP and Genesis were doing at the time, but somehow better. I've always loved the line: "Your sperms in the gutter/Your love's in the sink". I have no idea what that means but it sounds great. It took a not very proggy band to make fun of prog to make one of the greatest prog albums *ever*. Funny how the universe works.

To me, a 'Best Of Jethro Tull' set would include this album, along with another disc of the best songs from their '69-'75 albums and singles. That would be all the Tull I would ever need. If you don't already have this, go get it. I'm the biggest Thick As A Brick fan-boy in the multiverse. But Jethro Tull would not even make my Top 50 Bands list. Go figure. 5 stars. If only every prog album could be this good.

Report this review (#304794)
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favorite album. PERIOD. I've explored other progressive genres over the years and found albums that were beautiful in different ways, but I can go back and listen to this album at any time and not be bored with it. This album is a concept album centered around an epic poem a young English child writes that loses a writing contest because it's not uplifting like the Christian story another child wrote. The album consists of a forty minuteish long song divide into two sections. There are many recurring themes, and there are many instrumental sections. I would love to write more about this album, but my writing is poor and detrimental to the perfection that is this album. This album is something every prog enthusiast should listen to and most certainly will enjoy.
Report this review (#306176)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars An excellent album! (not my choice to be the top of a site, but ...) If people thought that bands like Yes, Genesis among other progressive rock were ambitious when they put an epic on his albums ("Supper 's Ready), "Close to the Edge"), imagine their reaction when Jethro Tulll released an album consisting of only one song: "Thick Is A Brick. " Arguably this is a masterpiece of the progressive rock.Of the contrary many other epics, this does not tire in any of its parts-and look at the song "only" has 43 minutes! All instruments are in harmony, as each has their moment here: it creates a perfect fusion.

This is definitely an album that deserves to be heard over and over turns.No sure to hear it!

Report this review (#328450)
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a musical masterpiece and the first concept album by Jethro Tull. Thick As A Brick was inspired by a poem about a ficticious boy and has a lot to do with the trials of growing up. There are some really interesting lyrics here but for me the best thing about the album is the music.

The progression here is built around a lot of acoustic folk which is often very melodic. Of course there are rockier moments too with lots of time signatures and tempo changes. A large number of themes and sections weave around the 45 minute piece divided into 2 parts. A lot of people liken the arrangements to a classical symphony and it is the first JT album with such a symphonic touch. A lot of instruments play a part as well as the main string arrangements.

Loads of things are going on with this piece so repeated listens are bound to draw you in even more. An essential part to your collection. 5 stars for certain.

Report this review (#335380)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Prog Canon, Yes ? Masterpiece, No

Enough has been written about THICK AS A BRICK that certainly no one needs background information at this point. But I do want to render an opinion and throw my vote into the rating average. I picked this album up early in my PA career, as it was then and is now the highest rated album on the site. And I must say, that on first listen and now 50th, my opinion is pretty much the same. This is a very good album, but it's not a masterpiece and I don't even think it's Tull's best work.

I've had a Tull greatest hits album for decades and I must admit that the first piece of the the 40 minute composition that is the single version is brilliant. At 3:0 0 the electric guitars come in and from there we're on a roller coaster ride which takes us to excellent highs and lows that are still pretty darn good. But it wears me out and it doesn't hold my attention. It doesn't have an overall dramatic contour that a concept album needs. Like Ian Anderson's melodic sense, the initial movement is good but he only has so many tricks up his sleeve. Further, he shows his cards relatively early.

All the usual Tull strengths are here, great flute work, sharp lyrics, some nice classic rock jamming, and even occasionally some composed interweaving lines. There are a few sections that are prog heaven with swinging organ supporting soaring flute. But there are also guitar and drum section that are simply classic 70's rock n roll that would have been a nice part of a concert but don't do much for me in the middle of a prog concept album. I know that in fact TAAB is a parody of a concept album, but there a few Spinal Tap (parody of themselves) moments. Thud thud drum solos have no place in good music for me, and there are several thud thud moments in TAAB.

The real problem for me is that in the midst of a great song is too much filler and I get bored. The 12 minute live version that now accompanies the album is much better, and gets everything accomplished that the 40 minute version does.

I'm not silly enough to deny that this should be part of every prog fan's library. And I'm not vindictive enough to give a very strong piece of prog a 3/5 because I think so many other albums are better. But I prefer the first half of Passion Play and Aqualung to TAAB and would probably never listen to the full version if I hadn't kept thinking to myself "What am I missing?" Well after many many listens, I think I can say this album just doesn't do for me what it does for others.

Report this review (#341744)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick is in a satire of the entire development of the genre. Ian Anderson has stated that his original intent, in response to the incorrect assertion that Aqualung had been a concept album, was to create the "mother of all concept albums", but as "a bit of a spoof". So, while the fans and sundry listeners do find Thick as a Brick a conceptual piece, it is clearly a laugh up the sleeve as well. The liner notes in the form of daily newspaper articles, no less - indicate that the lyrics are authored by one 'Gerald (Little Milton) Bostock', an eight-year-old poetic prodigy, who has won first-place in a writing contest. Alas, though, there is a scandal; Gerald's work is protested; the judge's revoke Gerald's prize; and the Thick as a Brick lyrics are deemed "obscure and verbose assertions". A conceptual non-concept: that is the joke of Thick as a Brick. Tull blurs the distinction between art and comedy, between impressive aesthetic display and mockery. Especially in contrast with A Passion Play, which is foreboding and marginally disjointed, Thick as a Brick is light in its refusal to be too well-lauded. And whereas something like Van der Graaf Generator's Pawn Hearts smacks of self-consciousness and existential absorption, Thick as a Brick seems quite playful, but all the while ambitious and clever.
Report this review (#374258)
Posted Thursday, January 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Do I really need to say anything about this masterpiece? Probably not, but I think I will anyway! The first time I heard about TAAB (at least five years ago), I only knew Tull as "That band with the flute that plays 'Aqualung'". A 40+ minute song sounded so intriguing that I knew I would have to hunt the CD down. Remember, this is a time when I had no idea that the term "Progressive Rock" even existed. When I finally bought the CD (at my local BestBuy) and put it in my player I was expecting my life to change. After all, I had never listened to anything more ambitious than Dark Side of the Moon before. I pushed play and sat back. When it was all done, I felt?underwhelmed. "What was that?" I thought to myself. "Why do people speak so highly of this record? It just rambles on for what feels like forever". Obviously, I did not get it. Still, I was drawn to it. Its big words, its funny sounding arrangements, and its rejection of every musical rule I was familiar with at the time-all these factors made me listen again?and again?and again. Eventually, I was listening because I loved the music. I grew on me, it wrapped around me, and it still hasn't let go. Songs, albums, and bands come and go, but this is one record I never tire of. From Ian's passionate vocals to that huge drum solo, nothing on this record will disappoint. Finally, if it wasn't for TAAB, I would have never fallen in love with prog. For that, I cannot thank it enough.
Report this review (#394108)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, I'm new to Jethro Tull. What? Yes I'm a newbie. Why? Cuz I had been chasing my own tail for a couple of years. I'm still pretty much determined about catching it someday too. I mean my tail. I know it is there, I just can't decide its perfect location.

Now let me tell you something dear reader, if this is a rock album, one piece on album idea is not the best idea ever. You'll lose your temper at some point and it won't be "rocking" anymore, you'll need slow parts and the ones that you want to dance in such a gay way. That's the first thing this album does. Gives you cool folk melodies and some heavy rock parts and mellow parts, then you end up looking at the ceiling and say "God I feel high.". It's the friggin power of good composition, I'm telling you. Or the pots you've been hiding from your mama.

I'm trying to act like I'm not listening to these MP3 files named part1 and part2, instead I try to look at it as a whole. If I didn't I could say that there's a 90% chance that you'll like part1 better than part2. Actually it sometimes surprises me how they can have some more to say when the part1 is over. But they have.

The last thing about this is one of the best artworks I've ever seen. Creating a newspaper telling about the album and the Jethro Tull, is such a great idea and it's finely done.

And the lyrics! They're fun and cool. Talking about the society's power on your decisions I think. Saying don't trust anyone. OK Jethro but I don't trust you either.

So OK I know that most of you already gave a big shot to this album. But this review was kinda fooling around anyway. I should chase girls or something, I'm only 18.

Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, oh baby yes baby.

Report this review (#401427)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, here it is, Ian's tour de force. I still say that, in general, Anderson's 'prog' abilities were sorely lacking, but this is a MAJOR exception. It may not be the greatest prog album of all time, but it's easily in the top five, if you ask me (among ones I've heard, I mean). Ian would eventually start filling his albums with the aspects of prog rock that tend to make me fidget and squirm, but this time around he managed to fill an album almost completely with everything that I love about prog rock.

Funnily enough, the album was largely created as a parody of prog rock. As on Aqualung, Ian creates the appearance of a concept (this time, it seems to be about the way people are forced to take upon certain societal roles against their wishes and despite their youthful promise that they would be different than their parents), but if anything, that mocking tone helps give the album a sense of levity that wouldn't always be around later. But really, I care about this album not because of a concept, but because the music is flabbergastingly stupendous.

Before you feel nervous about listening to such an album (a one-track, 45-minute album), though, you need to know a few things. First of all, it isn't really one song. Rather, it consists of a number of great 'normal' songs, albeit sometimes not completely fleshed out with "proper" beginnings and endings, connected to each other with instrumental passages instead of having pauses between them, with a few reprises throughout as needed. If you want, think of this as the Abbey Road suite taken to its most bombastic and technically immaculate extreme (that is, the most extreme before losing the fundamental melody strengths of the original). Some people have said (approximately) that this album is essentially just the opening theme and variations upon it, but that frankly makes me wonder if they've bothered to keep track of the other songs that pop up. There aren't that many individual song ideas on this, granted, but there are certainly enough; any album that can freely shuffle war marches, differently-styled bombastic acoustic ballads and unconventional organ-driven 'rockers' (among other things) with the ease that this album does is going to get a thumbs up from me.

Since (naturally) this isn't an album one can easily dissect into individual sections for analysis, I'd instead like to focus on some of the aspects that really grab my interest and respect. The first thing I really love about this album is how, through the entire first half and most of the second, it never feels like it's just sitting there fiddling its diddle, treading water or killing time until it's time for another 'main' theme. Every song has instrumental and vocal hooks out the wazoo, and when the band engages in a lengthy instrumental passage, it makes that passage wild and crazy and (as far as I'm concerned) incapable of sounding boring. There is an exception to this, of course; near the beginning of the second side there's an overlong drum solo (which, granted, is both very fast and very loud, but is still a generic drum solo), as well as a blotch of Zappa-style noises, and this kinda puts a crimp on the immaculate momentum the album has built for itself to this point. Other than that, though, everything feels justified and "in place," if you will; they even make sure to link up the start of the second half to the end of the first half (which seemed to be kinda echoing off into the distance) by dragging it back from the same distant void and acting as if the break was only an illusion. Neat!

I'm also extremely fond of the lyrics, which (a) are an awful lot of fun despite the (theoretically) serious subject matter (they really do a good job of keeping Ian in his 'mischievious little scamp' role that he could pull off so very very well) and (b) do an excellent job of repeating certain themes in just the right way, with just the right variations, to invariably hook in the listener. The "See there a son is born and we pronounce him fit to fight..."/"See there a man is born and we pronounce him fit for peace" split between side one and side two is a good example, as are the repeated allusions to our "comic paper idols" and "Where the hell was Biggles when you needed him last Saturday?" and so on.

And sheesh, I know I mentioned that the instrumental passages are great, but it really cannot be stressed enough. Evans, Barre, Anderson and Hammond-Hammond (Barrow is fine too, though he doesn't particularly stand out) sound like an insane unstoppable machine (is it really true this album was recorded in only three takes? Holy Hell!!), combining tightness and aggression of an unbelievable level with chances for each to have their moments to shine as individuals. The biggest standout is, of course, the terrific flute solo around 37 minutes in, but that's hardly the only standout.

Beyond this, I don't really know what to say. Please buy this album and appreciate what an amazing musical machine this group was in the good old days, as well as to see what prog rock is fully capable of before the pomposity overcomes the music itself.

Report this review (#410308)
Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars (This review is based on the original album without the bonus tracks.) Wow! Closing in on 1000 reviews of this Tull classic. Is it one of the classic Prog albums? No doubt. Does it deserve it's historic reputation? Yes. Is it the best Jethro Tull album? Maybe for a lot of folks, but I prefer AQUALUNG over THICK AS A BRICK. The first side of this is pure genius and I really like it. However, there seems to be a lag to my enjoyment at the beginning of side 2. Otherwise this is every bit the classic it has been hailed to be. Even with this flaw, THICK AS A BRICK deserves a 5 star rating for pure Prog groundbreakingness. 5 stars!
Report this review (#428019)
Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is possibly the best album of all time. Thick as a Brick manages to be epic and varied without being even slightly pretentious or cheesy. One song spans both sides of the LP, but you will at no point find yourself in even a brief moment of boredom. It is the ultimate example of progressive rock, and exemplifies everything that people like about the genre. The whole album feels so incredibly thought out, and flows more seamlessly from section to section than any other epic in the genre. Everyone should listen to Thick as a Brick at least once. It will not disappoint.
Report this review (#429858)
Posted Saturday, April 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A four-star review for the highest-rated album on Prog Archives is likely to sound more negative than positive. Jethro Tull's 'Thick as a Brick' has all the usual fan-boy terms thrown at it, apparently more than any other album; "Masterpiece", "Essential listening", "Pure prog bliss".... the list goes on. But I don't feel it's justified. The album is a spoof!

Granted, it is a very good spoof, good enough to be a concept-album in its own right, but still a mere piss- take of the 'Tarkus's' and 'Close to the Edges' that came before it. And those songs are much better for me. What 'Thick as a Brick' lacks is enough variation to keep it interesting; for its massive duration almost every theme is repeated several times, sometimes in a row, and all of these themes are similar in their composition.

Acoustic balladry opens the piece, and is nice. I doubt the first 3 minutes would work very well as an individual song, but the poetic lyrics help it to survive by making it obvious that it is just one small part of a much bigger concept (helped by the headline on the album cover). Then we explode into a rocking section with a 5/4 riff, characterised by flute bursts and a very Emerson solo from the Hammond Organ. Prog rock works for Jethro Tull, but how long can they keep it up for? New sections arrive that each fall into one of two categories: either this fast-paced, riff- based hard rock style, or a kind of medieval folk ditty which could be sung be a minstrel with a backing band. Some of the verses towards the latter half of side one are forgettable, and we become slightly sick of the re-used themes until saved by the pleasant march that closes this half. It's satisfying overall, but nothing extraordinary.

That would have been a nice place to stop, and wouldn't have spoiled the concept much. Tull could have packed side two with short pieces based on lesser headlines in the newspaper.... or something. The second half of 'Thick as a Brick' starts well with some themes from the first part mixed with crazy moments and drum solos. I love the track until this stops, because the new sections just drag on like the band is on depressants. Every time it comes to a point where I think "reprise main theme and end!" it just adds another verse, or another instrumental run-through of some of those overused hard riffs. Eventually the song ends, rather nicely actually, but I'm left with a discontent feeling.

If Anderson thought a little more about changing the instrumentation, then maybe this album would be more digestible for me. There is an omnipresent hammond and flute that just annoy me by the end; it would be nice if they were occasionally be replaced by synthesizers or mellotrons or electric guitar (which is underused). While other large-scale pieces from other bands often feel like 'suites' or 'journeys', this one really does just feel like "a long song". I really enjoy most of side one, and some of side two, so 30 minutes would be an optimum length for me. I did think 'Selling England by the Pound' was overrated, but perhaps not as much as this very 'okay' album!

Report this review (#432827)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a child my parents hated Jethro Tull, espeacially my mom. So most of my time as a child, I never listened to Jethro Tull, but once I started to "study" prog rock I kept seeing how important Thick as a Brick was to the genre. So I decided to listen to it. First thing, I was surprised to see how long it was, and that the album was pretty much made up of one song. I loved the song. From start to finish. I had no idea how great they were and how good of singer Ian Anderson was. Now I see why progarchives has this as being one of the best prog rock albums, it has everything that is great about prog, like long instrumental sections, concept album, great lyrics, complex music. Not that I think prog is only good if it has those things, because I don't, but still they are great parts of prog rock. This is my favorite Jethro Tull album and one of my favorite concept albums of all time.
Report this review (#462129)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Thick As A Brick' - Jethro Tull (9/10)

It comes among the greatest of ironies that an album poking fun at the pretension of the prog rock world turns out to be one of the scene's most loved masterpieces. Suffice to say, Jethro Tull received a lot of acclaim for their fourth album 'Aqualung', with many listeners overanalyzing the record, looking for things that- in Ian Anderson's opinion- weren't there to begin with. Keeping in line with the band's tongue-in-cheek personality, the fifth album and follow-up to 'Aqualung' would address these misinterpretations by delivering an overblown prog epic that pulls out every trick in the concept album canon. 'Thick As A Brick' now has a reputation that precedes it, and for good reason; with their parody of concept albums, Tull has created a very complex album musically; one that delivers an unraveling experience over many listens. Although I may not agree that it is the 'greatest prog album of all time' like some tend to claim, I cannot help but to revere and appreciate this bombastic masterpiece.

Much of the album's concept is conveyed through the album's artwork; a mock newspaper that satirizes British society, its trivial fixations, and hypocrisy. The lyrics of the two-part epic are meant to be the winning poem that an 8 year old literary genius nicknamed 'Little Milton' sent in for a contest and won, only to have the prize taken away on the grounds that his poem sought to disturb the peace. Indeed, the lyrics on 'Thick As A Brick' are quite militant, calling out things as they are, and constantly criticizing various aspects of society and the complacency of people. Unlike the sort of prog rock that Tull was satirizing here, the fairly aggressive topics are handled with humour and personality, and Ian Anderson gives a fair dose of his personality through the vocal performance, which is very nicely done. Although his voice is made a little too nasal at points during this epic, his voice works quite well for the most part, and compliments the music nicely.

Like all good epics, Jethro Tull throws ample amounts of recurring melodies, themes and whatnot into the structure of their forty minute opus, rarely feeling needlessly repetitive. The whole thing builds up and climaxes masterfully, made even more vibrant by the band's dynamic and heavy performance. Jethro Tull really surprised me by some of their complexity and heaviness towards the more active sections of 'Thick As A Brick', as I went into this expecting a much lighter folk ordeal. And indeed, there are plenty of Medieval folk moments for Anderson to croon to here, but 'Thick As A Brick' is certainly a creature of dynamic, and it makes for a listen that keeps throwing interesting things at the listener until the end. Needless to say, Tull's music on the record cannot be digested with only a few listens; upon the first listen, I found myself a little lost on the more complex parts. Believe me when I say that 'Thick As A Brick' takes many listens to sink in. It may not be a perfect record, but it takes some time before a listener becomes familiar enough with the album to see how cleverly the band has stitched these ideas together.

Is 'Thick As A Brick' the greatest prog album ever made? Once again, a resounding no, as its flaws are a little too evident even after a couple of listens to call it perfect. However, Jethro Tull does rightfully earn a place at the upper echelon of prog with this one, and make no mistake; if you are a progressive rock fan, you should make a point to set some time aside for this one.

Report this review (#471578)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is good, but not essential, IMO, so 3 stars sounds about right. This is the classic example of a song/album that has some great parts and some not-so great parts. From an ambitious standpoint, I'll give mad props to Anderson and the band for doing an album-long piece like this, especially at that point in their career, but ambition does not always equal greatness. I think Tull did it better with albums like Aqualung and Songs from the Wood.

In short, it meanders a bit too much for me, and it is a struggle for me to get through it in one sitting, unless it is background music. Lastly, it can be easily argued that this album represents both the best and worst aspects of prog rock in the 70s, so given that, I cannot give it 5 stars. 3 stars sounds about right.

Report this review (#478787)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars So, now this 'one-of-all-time-great' ! I have listened closely, once again, this special opus, and quite frankly I cannot agree with the majority. Since a lot of people here go for reviewing prog stuff that are outside their preferred 'genre', I am going for doing the same... It is that "prog-folk" is really not my cup of tea, and even one of the most acclaimed CD will not make me like the genre.

Of course, the flute of Anderson is amazing, and the atmosphere is unique. And the two parts are of unequal quality, in my view. The first is the classic, inspired, very interesting and with a lot of different impulses. The second one does not display any of the first part inspiration; it is more in the mood of all other J.Tull music. I see this as giving a score of 4 for part-one, and a score of 2 for part-two. Meaning that part-1 is an excellent addition to a prog rock collection, and that part-2 is for fans only !

I don't like at all the voice of the lead singer, and only that would avoid giving a score of 5, in my opinion. After a while, I would like him not to sing !! It disturbs me in the long distance.

It is finally a simple average on both parts : a good music... which is non-essential for me.

Report this review (#482002)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As far as parodies of progressive/underground rock go, Thick As a Brick is miles away from Zappa's classic We're Only In It For the Money. Whereas Zappa's album is bold and upfront about the comedy, Tull showed a more subtle sense of humour by producing an album consisting of just one really long, epic song - and like the best Swiftian, deadpan works of satire, it looks like an earnest attempt at prog rock rather than a parody of the genre's excesses!

Truth be told, I rather suspect that the band took a thoroughly prog direction after this album simply because they had so much fun making it. From the fake newspaper stories in the packaging, which must have been great fun to dream up, to the enormous range of instruments the group bring to bear on the album, the gang seem to have taken this as a chance to indulge themselves - but in doing so, they do make a really great composition, with top-notch instrumental work breaking up the refrain of the chorus throughout.

Of the two albums Tull made in this vein, this might be the less serious one, but I also think it's superior; the Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles might be an accurate reflection of the structure of actual medieval passion plays, but it also sucks all the momentum out of A Passion Play, which also ends up feeling rather forced - as though the band didn't really want to make another album in the same vein as Thick As a Brick, but felt that they had to following its runaway success. On Thick as a Brick, meanwhile, the joke is still a joke, and it's this playfulness which sets the album apart. The first five-star Tull studio album.

Report this review (#490034)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite Jethro Tull record. It really is a satire but is so smartly presented you wouldn't even tell. Maybe Ian was being serious with the lyrical content but presented it in a ridiculous length even by 1972 standards and the fantastic 12 page newspaper. It obviously gets an A+ in presentation but how does the music hold up. The beginning acoustic guitar intro makes you think your gonna start on a pleasant ride but the quick all band note tells you NO. Then they slowly come back in and start rocking your socks off for a few minutes before they stop for Ian to sing a little. It is a main pattern in the song. They play for a bit, Ian sings a few verses and keeps going like that. It ends just right on side 1 and then side opens up with a great build up to a great drum solo from Barriemore Barlow. I remember this quote from John Bonham about Barlow "the greatest Rock Drummer England ever produced". Then after a while the orchestra comes in which surprised me even though the tympani before hand was a hint. Overall, this album is FANTASTIC and is highly recommended to not just Prog Rock fans or JT fans. If you're a fan of Rock music definitely pick this up. 10 stars but i have to fraction it to 5. Highlights: Thick as a Brick Part 1 and 2
Report this review (#502990)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's not too hard to see why Jethro Tull's 'Thick As A Brick' is at the top of the ProgArchives top albums list, if not lingering thereabouts. This is an album of such high calibre that most progheads can agree that it is worthy of 5 stars. I am certainly of this opinion too. An album like this doesn't come around very often, and when it does, it deserves all the praise it gets.

First things first: the music. The album consists of one single track, Thick As A Brick, lasting just under 44 minutes. The music is continuous, except near the middle, where you would have had to flip the vinyl over. For my money, this is one of the best ways you can spend 44 minutes. The music is so interesting and exciting and intricate, that you can quite easily listen all the way through and not get bored. You can ponder over the curious lyrics, marvel at the virtuosity of the group, and simply rock out throughout this ambitious album. Some people have tried to fit their own meanings to the song, and it's very interesting to read their line-by-line analysis of the lyrics. It's true that the second side is not quite as good as the first, but the difference in quality is quite negligible really, and doesn't take away from the album too much. On the whole, the music is happy and uplifting, with just a few negative sections thrown in for good measure. The best thing about the music is that it never becomes cheesy or uninspired; the magic continues for the duration of the record. The band really get the best of all worlds onto this record; complicated time signatures, awesome singing, weird lyrics, brilliant solos and wonderful recurring themes abound! One of my favourite moments is near the beginning of the second side where drummer Barriemore Barlow launches into a breakneck drum solo, a first class drum solo at that!

The music by itself is enough to warrant this album 5 stars, but if you want to have the proper album experience, BUY THE VINYL EDITION! Scour eBay and all other vinyl selling websites for this album. Beg, borrow and steal until you have it! Even if the vinyl itself is scratched when you find it, you can always get the CD to listen to the music. It's not the LP that's important, but the lavish sleeve which folds out as a full 12-page newspaper, complete with fictional news stories, TV tracklistings, a crossword and even a dot-to-dot section (a naughty one at that!). Moreover, the stories on the newspaper give a completely different story not told by the lyrics: eight-year old Gerald Bostock has written a poem (Thick As A Brick) for a competition, and is disqualified from a competition for using the word G__r. The newspaper then goes on to explain how beat group Jethro Tull have decided to work with Bostock and put his words to music, making the album itself a concept within a concept. There's even a review of the album itself on page 7! The newspaper basically satirises the kind of small newspapers you'd expect to find in towns with a small population. With 12 large pages of tiny writing, you can be sure to get hours of entertainment out of this wonderful intricate sleeve design. Quite simply, it's my favourite sleeve of any album, because so much time and effort has gone into making it. If only so much effort were put into other albums, we could hear brilliant music everywhere.

While I've never been a huge fan of Jethro Tull, there can be no doubt that this album is an absolute masterpiece. A lot of hard work, musicianship, and ingenuity was put into this album, and the results show. This is a perfect album and, quite frankly, you'd be thick as a brick not to add it to your collection.

Report this review (#507609)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I know I won't be adding anything new to this review section for Thick as a Brick that hasn't already been said ten times before and ten times better. Regardless, I have listened to this for many long hours - and I've found it very enjoyable to listen to, and if nothing else I am impressed at the skill of the instrumentation and how well 40 years have passed for the album long suite and it could be fresh off the print today and still seem fanciful and new. There's not much else I've found remotely like it. Which in it's own way is a bit of a downfall - the excesses of prog rock are here, lengthy instrumentation, great vocals and that flute...well, it's an experience alright. If only the second part could hold up to the wonderful first, but that drum solo, just seems really strange and awkward, ("there's an overwhelming responsibility...", that line just doesn't sit well for me). Apart from the drag at the beginning of the second side, this would be my most favorite prog album ever, and though I respect that it paved the way for the millions of albums and bands to come, it still isn't the absolute pinnacle that many claim it to be. That said, everyone should hear this once in their lives, it is a marvelous album all the same.
Report this review (#539935)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick is without a doubt the definition of Progressive Rock. From its folky beginning with a Flute to its many complex middle sections including multiple time signature and tempo changes. It Incorporates elements of so many other musical genres. It incorporates almost a full symphony Orchestra. Some choral vocal work, complexity yet simplicity. Its deep and intellectual themes. And Not to mention its length. Oh its glorious single 42 minute track. It is hard to deny how progressive this album is.

The album starts off in sort of a folky manor. There is a simple chord progression, no electric Instruments and almost political-themed lyrics about stupidity. This all changes at about 3 minutes. Horn sections as well as multiple guitars are added. The lyrics are now themed towards growing up. The lyrics continue to speak (despite musical changes and many flute solos) of growing up until about 18 minutes in where they are themed more towards critiquing someone most likely a political or celebrity figure. Just before the 20 minute point there is an instrumental section with a complex rhythm. On Vinyl you would flip the album over to a similar rhythm and then music similar to right after the switch to electric. And lyrics similar to that part but more geared toward early adulthood. Then there is an incredible drum solo and some barely audible words. Then there are a few soundless gaps in the music. And the sound returns to exactly like the beginning and the lyrics are themed more about fitting in using war as a metaphor. Then there is a different acoustic part. The lyrics seem to describe a war and religion. Then we have another flute solo and the electric instruments come in again. The lyrics continue to describe a War or Religion or perhaps a religious war. The music changes into a very dynamic section full of many instruments and loud notes and quiet sections and possible battle music. Then the music changes back to an earlier style but slower and the emphasis on the 2 and 4. The lyrics have changed back into a critiquing a Political figure or celebrity. Finally there is a climax that alternates between a string section and electric instruments then a flute/guitar solo and then the exact same music and lyrics as the beginning. Ending in the words Thick as a Brick.

This album is great without the vinyl cover but the vinyl cover adds a lot of humour to the idea of thick as a brick. The cover reads like a newspaper and makes a lot of real world allusions. It also contains the lyrics to the song which festinate me now and will always festinate me. I can see overarching themes but it is hard to determine specifics. That is how any progressive rock song or album lyrics should leave you: An overarching theme but very few details. That is what is so great about this album. It is mysterious yet satisfies my quest for musical answers. It is both simple and complex. Isn't that how all music should be.

Report this review (#548645)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sometimes you just feel like a break from listening to, and reviewing, new music, or evaluating stuff for the site. You want to put your feet up, relax, put on a hoary old classic, and indulge yourself (and, hopefully, others) with a few well chosen words.

This evening is one such moment, and what better hoary old classic than this one, eh? So, let's skip back to the heady days of 1972, and consider the album that is considered by many to be THE epitome, and, indeed, the height, of this crazy genre we call progressive rock.

So many words have been written about this, it's hard to see what one could possibly add. The first thing to say, of course, is a fact that, to this day, many people really do not seem to appreciate. This album was deliberately designed as a send up of the entire genre that we all love so much.

Jethro Tull were a blues band, with some progressive sensibilities. When the awesome Aqualung was released, a great load of critics with beards (in those days, you were a bloke if you did rock reviews. Women still tended the sprogs and did the household tasks. Germaine Greer had not, at this time, changed the world) declared it to be the most important concept album of all time, indeed a tome that would rank one day alongside the Holy Book itself as influencing human philosophy.

All fine stuff, except that it was not, of course, any such thing. Anderson had, very cleverly, included an overarching theme about the nature of religion amongst some exceptional blues rock tracks, but it was absolutely not a concept album. So, rather typically for the rascal, he decided to give the critics what they wanted - an overblown, to hell with all good taste, concept album to defeat all concepts.

It came wrapped up in its own newspaper. This was almost as well produced as the vinyl itself. The "story", or concept, is based upon a poem written by Gerald Bostock, a boy. Except, of course, that there was no such boy, and the very title itself, Thick As A Brick, was rather old English slang for one of exceptionally limited intellect, an accusation that Anderson threw with glee at the majority of both the English rock press and, indeed, most of the blokes sat at the gigs and buying the records (again, not many women attended. Prog was almost exclusively a spotty blokey thing).

Of course, the whole thing took on a life of its own, and is regarded as the archetypal prog concept album, and, to be fair to Anderson, what he produced, although a parody, was, musically, virtually beyond reproach. Quite deliberately a symphonic suite, awash with swirling mellotron, other keys, complex rhythms, time signatures, and repetitive themes, it ironically became very quickly representative of an entire genre and way of producing music. Not to be seen on Top Of The Pops this, with The Sweet, Bolan, Bowie et al, this was the album to end all albums, and fans of "serious" music lapped it up.

In hindsight, I do not regard this as being Tull's finest hour. For me personally, this was still to come in the more folk orientated phase of the band's career. The pastoral representation of a fast disappearing Britain spoke volumes to me, certainly far more than a pastiche of a concept. In addition, the album at almost forty four minutes of a single track does make one lose attention somewhat, certainly at either end of the old vinyl sides and a rather unnecessary (if very good) set of drum solos. Cut down to the length of the version which appeared on the seminal Bursting Out live album, it would have been perfection.

As it is, I will rate it as being four stars, i.e. an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. In terms of the genre's history, it is absolutely essential. But I feel that Anderson, the rest of the band, and music historians, if all were to be utterly honest, would proclaim that musically and socially Tull had, and would have, better moments.

There you have it. Looking at the vast majority of reviews, I have written what most would consider to be blasphemy. Damn good, yes, but not damn perfect.

Report this review (#548973)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got my first exposure to Jethro Tull as a recommendation from, where someone said I should start with Jethro Tull's first album and work my way chronologically. This was when I was still getting into progressive rock. In addition, I saw on ProgArchives that Jethro Tull were one of the best prog rock bands out there. So I went out and bought their albums, starting from "This Was" all the way to "Passion Play".

When I got to "Thick as a Brick", I was blown away. But a single fact struck me immediately. This song is very lengthy, even by progressive rock standards. Despite that, it never ceases to be entertaining. I've listened to this album/song more than a couple of times now and I am still blown away by the variety, time signature changes, melody changes. It never feels repetitive.

From start to finish, this song is just beautifully composed, with soft melody of the flute here and there, acoustic guitar, piano at the beginning which goes on to more heavy stuff but then ends slowly and beautifully with Ian's great vocals. I especially like it near the 4 minute mark where the song picks up in energy and the drums are nothing short of excellent. The guitar riff at around 7:00 mark is excellent too. I really like the shift from Part 1 to Part 2 with that dramatic ending and then Part 2 picks up where Part 1 left off.

I feel I must make a point about the lyrics. I've spent a fair amount of time deciphering them but I admit, I still have no idea on what scene they are painting or what they actually mean. I can decipher parts of it but that's about it. Despite that, every word is really beautiful. I just melt when Ian sings "I see you shuffle in the courtroom with your rings upon your fingers and your downy little sidies and your silver-buckle shoes."

I thought I found the best album ever, after listening to Selling England by Genesis but "Thick as a Brick" equals it easily. A masterpiece of progressive rock. 5/5

Report this review (#565308)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick is undoubtedly a masterpiece, and not just because it is a 40 minute song. It merits the five star rating deservedly, even if some parts (to some people) may seem immature or incapable of reaching full potential. The ambition of this album combined with the sheer musicianship, abstract lyrics, psychedelic ambience, surreal touches, and classical arrangements provide a great 40 minutes of listening. Most importantly, this album lends itself well to the imagination, as any good piece of art should do. It means what you want it to.

This masterpiece begins with a 3 minute folk number with perhaps the most mesmerizing lyrics in the whole thing. This really catches your attention, and the choruses, especially during the lyrics "and you wise men...feels" are very beautiful, causing a true "feel-good" moment. Towards the end of this beautiful little section, there is a surreal chord change and an organ added to the mix. And here you know something is about to go down.

We're attacked rather abruptly by a 5/4 musical version of Alice and Wonderland, with a thumping, moving bassline, some sassy keyboards (horns?), and then an amazing organ/guitar solo. This continues on for a bit, and really, just enjoy this and let the music take you away if it hasn't by now. It ends abruptly with an acoustic recap of earlier, and then some staccatoed notes make an amazing and memorable presence. And then...some jazzy(?) stuff. Some flute, piano, and bass begin to overwhelm you. It's jazzy and medieval at the same time, you have to hear it to believe it

The album continues to turn and twist like a musical labrynth, and it really stretches your imagination. You don't even have to read the lyrics to be mesmerized, but if you really want to take it to an extreme then you must. Throughout these forty minutes, you experience some of the best folk, blues, classical, jazz, hard rock, and even metal has to offer. These tiny bursts of genre blending fits perfectly into the lyrics, the mesmerizing instrumental sections, and they never seem overdone.

You have to listen to the rest on your own and formulate your own opinion on this, but the reason why it is so easy to become absorbed in this album is why it merits five stars. There is more complex music than this, more beautiful music, more trippy music...but the way this all finds a perfect balance, retaining a certain level of fun and seriousness, it truly lends itself to you. Something you simply must have in your collection

The mind-blowingly insane-the first few guitar/organ solos. The mind-blowingly beautiful-"do you believe in the day?" The mind-blowingly unexpected-the really random string section towards the end.

Report this review (#574591)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I've always been a fan of Jethro Tull's earliest work and especially their 'Aqualung' album, but 'Thick as a Brick' never really appealed to me. This album has been reviewed and revered repeatedly over the decades, even though the self-indulgence and excess it demonstrated (and rather intentionally it seems) helped bring about the demise of the progressive rock heyday.

I personally suspect many of the people who speak in hushed and reverent tones about this album probably never even sat through several, let alone one, end-to-end playing. If you have then you know everything you need to know about the record. It's an interesting though somewhat sarcastic piece of music, written by a guy who didn't have a lot of respect for progressive rock as an art-form and whose band would to their consternation be forever associated with a genre they didn't even believe in.

At some point in the future, possible after I've reviewed everything else I find more interesting, I'll revisit 'Thick as a Brick' and see if there's something more useful I can say about it. Until then I'll just say that I think it is overrated, just as the term "overrated" is overrated. But I can't think of anything better to describe the record without wasting any more time on it, and I'm not inclined to do that.

Three stars just because it is a classic and I do like the band. Just not this record.


Report this review (#579515)
Posted Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars First I'd like to say hello and that this is my first review.The best place for me to start here would the songwriting after all we are talking about one album length track. The band very much becoming the sum of its parts with Ian Anderson floating atop conducting with his flute. The first 25 minutes of this album earn it the five star review alone. One inspired melody followed by the next as if some supernatural force is dragging the band along for the ride changing keys,tempos and time signatures with subtle ease. With so many blaring contrasts in the sound that transition so smoothly you hardly notice you've gone from folk to hard rock to renaissance dances and back around. Jethro Tull along with Genesis to me where the songsmiths of prog and used there brilliant songs to show there musician ship when needed, where some bands of the time were working on the opposite side of things(I'm not forgetting the many flute solos and one seemingly out of place drum solo on this album but those parts were never carrying the song as much as a they were a byproduct of the song.). I have to now talk about Barriemore Barlow only because it seems no one else on this site is compelled to. I feel like some of you might take this man for granite. With the deeply grooving rhythms and flair and excitement he brings to his instrument it is a key part to a large part of this album. Ill say no more go back and listen for your self. There is one major thing this album lacks, consistency for the album does drag along at times on side 2 something that I personally think next years A Passion Play seems to do a better job not doing. Not to say that A Passion Play is a better album but I do believe it to be a much more consistent album. I have and will keep recommending this to friends interested in Jethro Tull and or prog though it is one long song it is incredibly accessible and pleasing to the ears. There is no really difficult passages to get through or uninspired melodies or playing for all 40 plus mins and lets keep in mind that this album reached number one on the charts in the US. With the perspective that history has given us that seems like an impossible feat in today's world. But regardless of the decade it speaks to the music that's on the album that it can transcend the genre like all of the classics to have its ageless place in history. This album is such an eclectic blend of sounds it is rather hard to break it down in a review which i think might be some of the point of not just the album but Jethro Tull it self. So I think the best way to do any justice in a review would be to urge any readers to go out and listen to it as soon as they can so they to can be so overcome by the album that they find it hard to put into words as well.
Report this review (#588589)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incredible. Masterfully composed, wittily written, and, what is most important, so entertaining.

From the already elaborately explained newspaper-style cover to the piece itself, this album is tons of fun, never letting the listener lose interest in what is going on. As should be obvious, it consists of a single piece, an epic poem set to about forty-four minutes of continuous music (interrupted only by the limitations of the LP), but its preposterous length alone more nullifies than justifies the praise it is given.

Firstly, the poem is amazing, an excellent harsh and witty critique of social mediocrity, in rock music terms as if John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" was written by a very sinister Ray Davies and then extended to a whole page, or more simply, a work of Ian Anderson, who had firmly established himself as one of the "poets in rock 'n' roll" with this work. The newspaper packaging also deserves a mention for its "literariness" and wit, and makes the original LP even more worth getting.

Musically, this album (and Jethro Tull's vast opus in general) achieves what only two other bands in rock music have truly achieved (the hinted at being King Crimson and any band led by Frank Zappa,): dynamics. The band's ability to maintain the same intensity and precision while playing both loud and quiet is, to say the very least, formidable, and, coupled with distinctive articulation and disciplined agogics, very rarely seen in rock music (or even 70s progressive rock, for that matter). The composition itself is in F major, with mostly simpler chromatic modulations using folky modal harmonies, not going farther than c minor or D major. While admittedly not initially constructed as a whole, the themes and motifs presented, along with how they vary throughout the piece (and the aforementioned tonal construction) give a sense of coherence, ingenious at best, and not distracting at worst. This also leaves little space (in this album's case, none whatsoever) for instrumental plodding (something its successor would at times be found guilty of), making "Thick as a Brick" sound very accessible, but still rewarding after repeated listens.

All in all, an album showcasing Jethro Tull at their creative peak, with a brilliant composition and a strong and well-articulated message. Spoof or no spoof, this album epitomises all the good things about progressive rock (and the artistic approach to pop music in general). Hats off.

Report this review (#601165)
Posted Sunday, January 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars, actually.

This is close to a thrill ride of a lifetime. I like almost everything there. If you want a prog blast, but haven't heard "Thick as a Brick" yet, than what are you waiting for? Get this album before it's sold out, download it illegally, smuggle out as many copies as you can, just get the album. Perchance, prog rock has never been so loud, melodic, memorable, rich in texture, fun, insane, and full of ideas. I have never heard Martin Barre rock out so convincingly on anything other than this album. I really like the sound of the flute, the timbre of Ian Anderson's voice, and the way Anderson puts that voice of his to use. John Evan makes some of the best licks of the whole catalog of progressive rock music on the Hammond organ. Barriemore Barlow aptly backs up the band and presents some of his powerhouse drumming action on the first half of the album's second part. Don't miss the guy freaking out with Evan on their instruments in that time-range.

So, why is this a 4.5-star record? Well, I am personally not pleased with the second half of part two, where it is mostly repetition of a set of not-so-exciting musical ideas. I hope it will turn out to be different in your case. Plus, this album for some reason doesn't call me back to it even when "Close to the Edge" is still so popular with me. Maybe there isn't enough insanity? Other than that, the record is just an instant classic. Every prog listener should have this in his/her collection. This is nothing but nearly an entrance to Prog Rock Paradise.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

1. 'Thick as a Brick, pt. 1' - *****

2. 'Thick as a Brick, pt. 2' - ****

Stamp: "I like it" (not "Highly recommended" since I wouldn't recommend it as a suitable introduction to prog rock for anyone in the mainstream-music-buying horde.)

Report this review (#613964)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars One word to describe this album: GENIUS ! Thick as a brick is Jethro Tull's first conept album based on a 45 minute song. It tells the story of Gerald Bostock, a little 10 year old boy who wrote a famous poem. I think Ian Anderson is a genius. He wrote this album in a short amount of time. He is also a great flautist. The other musicians are also great. From Martin Barre's amazing guitar solos to Barriemore Barlow's drum solo in the second part, it flows well musically. And the good news is that Ian Anderson is preparing a sequel this year about the 50 year old Gerald Bostock.
Report this review (#626876)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5.0 stars

This album is simply brilliant. It is flawless in every which way. It has upbeat parts, weird time signatures, solos galore, fantastic vocals that you can even sing along to, catchy melodies, and everything else you ever wanted. It is without question one of the most impressive peaks of progressive rock. The beginning is great, and sets up the whole show. Once it gets going with an upbeat section in 10/8, you know that you're listening to what's going to be a great song. One of the most catchy melodies, for me anyway, is about 16 minutes into side one, where the lyrics start, "I see you shuffle in the courtroom....". Martin Barre does a fantastic job, and I am really upset that he is not going to be on the new sequel to the album. Jeffrey Hammon Hammond has some of the best basslines ever laid down in this one song, and it keeps the whole thing going.

My favorite things about Thick as a Brick: 1) It never seems to drag always feels fresh, no matter what... 2) It makes so much sense, especially when you factor in the genius ending....the first time I heard this album, I was wondering, "Now how are they going to possibly come up with a way to end this monster?" And they do, quite perfectly. 3) The little touches really make the song perfect, such as the piano parts about 16 minutes in and the use of percussion. 4) The melodies are insanely catchy. I will be caught humming one all day whenever I listen to this song. 5) The lyrics are pretty awesome.

This is probably one of my top ten albums of all time. I see no reason to dislike it. Utterly stunning and perfect.

Report this review (#647329)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my desert island discs. It's a complex prog joke concept album ... but to me the seriousness has always lay in the joke. When I review serious Jethro Tull I find that often the best vitriol is hidden in a jolly tune Warchild being the clearest example. So why I says this album was a hoax concept album, I personally find in the joke lies the serious.

Ok enough philosophy, the music is the best Tull produced challenging the listener yet having enough comfort points not to alienate the listener. Acoustic, heavy rock, eccentricity, comedy brilliance. Need I say more?

Report this review (#719372)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars In reviewing Thick As A Brick, I have to be mindful of a peculiar aspect. Do I review the first, powerful impression of the irresistible hook that kicks off this magnum opus? Or do I review the album proper, the whole thing and decide the rating accordingly?

There's no doubt, at least to me, that the first impression of Thick As A Brick, of in fact the first few minutes, is very appealing. It's one of the catchiest, most memorable passages of music in all prog that I have heard. It may not have quite the same effect on every listener, as the reviews evidence, but its enduring popularity does suggest that a good many are thus converted to Jethro Tull and some of these in turn to prog. They were thus the only prog rock band from that era other than Pink Floyd who enjoyed crossover appeal while ELP and Yes enjoyed tremendous popularity in an era that appreciated prog in a big way. A seemingly innocuous bit of acoustic guitar establishes an irresistible hook and, by means of re-iteration, keeps the listener hooked to the track till the very end.

Does the presence of a powerful hook necessarily indicate that it's a great composition? After all, Thick As A Brick is not a four-to-five minute long rock song to get by on a hook. It is a 45 minute sprawl. It dwarfs Echoes and Karn Evil 9 comfortably for sheer length. Prog's resident paleontologist Robert Fripp must have shuddered at the very sight of this excessive stegosaur.

And therein lies the catch. It IS in fact a 45 minute rock song, folk rock to be precise, in the true sense of the word. It is not faux classical in rock clothes or any other kind of music that attempts to imitate a sonata structure and relies on long interludes and/or linear development of melody. It is a set of witty folk rock poems joined at the ends rather adeptly with, again, rock-ish passages of music. The proverbial wall of sound is conspicuous by its absence. Sonically, it remains a rock song from start to finish.

With the result that it runs out of variations by the end. The sheer power of the hooks can mask the lack of variation for only so long. It is not so evident the first few times you listen to the track but after a while, it is rather noticeable. You are acquainted with the music very well by now and want to dig in, looking for depth. And...uh oh, it's not there! There's no great mystery here to unravel. What you see is what you get. It's unlikely you will get too bored of repeating this album, perhaps because it's too long to devote too many single sittings to. On the other hand, it doesn't really get better with persistence either, as a masterpiece ought to. It's basically the same album you heard the first time around, nothing more to see, move on.

I come back here to Echoes. Echoes starts with a simple motif which gradually snowballs into an epic of stunning ambition. This simplicity is reflected in the lyrical treatment of not only Echoes but a lot of Pink Floyd's work in general. The depth lies in the thoughts that Waters seeks to express but they are expressed through relatively simple, lucid means.

Anderson on the other hand attempts to tickle you with witty line after another. There's some commentary in there but it's a bit buried in the details, in contradistinction to the music. Actually, it's not really too cryptic, lest my words suggest as much, but I am just too busy laughing along with the lines to attentively follow the story. Thick As A Brick is entertaining while it lasts but lacks some necessary focus and direction to make a deeper impact. It's like a chaotic comedy caper in that sense.

Which brings me back to that hook. That's what Thick As A Brick is, a funny and very catchy prog rock opus. And...that is the be all and end all of all prog? Could that then be Anderson taking the piss out of the genre he takes not so subtle jabs at every now and then? For all their exalted taste and rarefied airs of seriousness, progheads cannot resist a hook either. Not even if said hook is not quite enough to sustain a 45 minuter.

Me, I am not completely convinced about that. Yes, Thick As A Brick is tons of fun while it lasts and certainly essential listening as far as prog goes. If nothing else, at least to experience a very unique dimension of prog, one that even Jethro Tull could not successfully replicate. But that's as far as I can go. If it's hooks and funny folk rock I want, I think the rock songs on Aqualung do that job just fine. Thick As A Brick is quick out of the blocks, but overstays its welcome. Four stars.

Report this review (#769342)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'll show you how to be bombast and over the top, wait this is kind of good and fun...

What could rating #1612 add to the mix, most likely not much. This is Jethro Tull's most beloved album and their most progressive (to me). It is Ian Anderson at his satirical best, to concept a pompous concept album, but then I think it backfired and he enjoyed the musical challenge.

Nothing more can be added to the musical insight that has not been discussed before here on PA. This album just blends all the elements of Folk-Rock-Classical-Minstrel-Prog extremely well. Depending on my mood, TAAB or Aqualung is/are my favorites, but I admit that I have not spent as much listening time to a lot of their other works as I have those two.

Something inside, that I can't put my finger on keeps me from pulling the trigger on masterpiece, but it is 4 plus and must be in your collection.


Report this review (#814633)
Posted Sunday, September 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE BEST PROGRESSIVE ALBUM OF ALL TIME: I really DO mind if you sit this one out!

Incredible's imagine that was to be one BLUES BAND...

Jethro Tull evolved their folk sound by combining a SYMPHONIC atmosphere, with the help of DAVID PALMER's orchestrations. And headed by Anderson flute, the rest of the band also seemed to be at the peak of his artform - until A PASSION PLAY be created.

What's most striking in this work is to see how 44 minutes of music can flow naturally without sounding dull or wordy. Besides all can be seen as a great "kickoff" for concept albums worked on a single idea - like majority successfull works of MIKE OLDFIELD on career.

PART 1 of disc is beauty cohesive and reserve the highlights of this work. It's however quite superb, even sounding affordable and enjoyable to listen. [10+/10]

PART 2 are certainly less magic but the quality persists and new themes are increased and formed a big result, before returns with the principal riff of theme of opening for the turnaround. Almost perfect! [9.8/10]

(10+ + 9.8 ) / 2 --> ~ 10, MASTERPIECE is little for this album.

Report this review (#866537)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick As A Brick (40th Anniversary Special Edition)

Thick As A Brick, first released in 1971, is a classic progressive rock recording by Jethro Tull. As the years pass its relevance and legend continue to grow. The band's founder and leader Ian Anderson has said, implied or interjected comments into conversations over the years pointing to the fact that it was not a progressive recording. As any good prog fan knows (as well as Anderson) this is indeed a progressive rock album and a widely known masterpiece of the genre.

The band's lineup for this classic slice of prog was as follows: Ian Anderson (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, violin, trumpet, and saxophone), Martin Barre (electric guitar, lute), John Evan (piano, organ, harpsichord), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass guitar, vocals), Barriemore Barlow (drums, percussion, timpani) and David (now Dee) Palmer (brass and string arrangements).

This special 40th Anniversary edition comes in a book format with plenty of information, interviews and stories about the session and it includes 1 CD, the original version of the album, and 1 DVD that offers several different formats for your listening pleasure in part one (or side one) clocking in at 22:45 and part two (or side two) ticking off at the 21:07 mark, giving us a grand total of 43:52 of pure prog pretentiousness at its very best. It was intended and is one continuous song and the band most definitely succeeded in producing one of the more popular forms of the genre. The DVD is a marvel of sound reengineered by Steven Wilson. It contains a 5.1 surround sound mix (in DTS and Dolby Digital), the new stereo mix in high resolution, and the original stereo mix in high resolution. The album was also rereleased on vinyl for all of your collectors and those that still appreciate the LP format.

I listened to every version on the DVD and "really didn't mind sitting this one out." As expected some great things come about throughout the listen. Wilson is a musical genius in every sense of the word and Ian is quite aware of this and I am sure every succeeding anniversary edition that is released will be handled by his knowing hands. He also did a splendid job with the lavish Aqualung 40th Anniversary Box Set which I also had the distinct pleasure of covering. If you watch the DVD on your computer as the music is playing or on your home theater you will see the book in front of you and the pages turning every few minutes however it is a bit easier on the eyes to read direct from the physical packaging. The book format gives full attention to the original intention of the newspaper The St. Cleve Chronicle, which adorned the cover of the original album. There are some pretty funny titles in the St. Cleve like "Fly High With Aunt Molly's Recipe" and "Council Is Wound Up." It may be the first time many listeners really paid attention to the all of text provided in the fictitious rag (including me).

TAAB never becomes monotonous, in fact it is forever in a musical flux and quite unlike anything I have ever heard. That is what makes it such a joy to take in all in one sitting. Considering the band was faced with the daunting task of trying to keep up with momentum of the brilliant and groundbreaking Aqualung, they fared quite well. This was no easy task mind you and as we know now they were able overcome any and all barriers to continuing their successful run and in the same instance their audience grew more with this very unique offering. One factor that really drove this recording along was the combination of Ian's flute and John Evan's outstanding keyboards. This does not take away anything from the rest of the accomplished musicianship however after many listens over the years and most recently every single version provided in this set, it becomes obvious that these two instruments give it the unusual and most appealing atmosphere and that classical/world influence that invited the plethora of other instruments to join in completing each passage with an expertise rarely accomplished by any other band since (Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells comes to mind).

What else can you say after a band provides a session such as this? As Ian sings "Vote superman for President" it makes you stop for a moment and wonder why he did not hold that title in 1972 after producing this amazing work. What may be even more of a spectacle is to catch Ian and his band performing the entire album live along with TAAB2. It would be an amazing show to witness.

Key Track: Thick As Brick Part 1 & 2

Report this review (#868597)
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Truly a tremendous and tumultuous landmark for music general, Thick as a Brick took progressive rock and gave it a fresh coat of paint. One of this albums strongest features is pacing. The band never drags on or overplays a melody; each section soars and leaps into the next section seamlessly. With Ian Anderson's brilliant lyrics (and not to mention some of prog's best flute playing), the album truly blends Tull's accessibility with Anderson's creative wackiness. Literally intended to be a prog rock parody, I think it's proof enough that it comes so highly rated amongst us prog rockers to how brilliant this album really is.

I need to talk about the ending, because it's one of my favorite moments in Prog rock history. The grand and epic build-up to the reprising melody ties the whole concept together, returning the listener back to the beginning and giving them a sense of utter completion. Each time I listen it gives me goosebumps and I have to stop whatever I'm doing to cope with the music.

The album sleeve is absolutely hilarious, like Monty Python meets The Onion.

Report this review (#873761)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars If there was ever a poster child for the entire prog genre, it would have to be Thick As a Brick. The album is structurally and instrumentally diverse, chock full of odd time signatures, and consists of, naturally, a single 43-minute conceptual epic. If that doesn't scream prog, then nothing does.

Musically, the band has stripped a lot of the blues influence of their previous album for a more prog rock sound with a strong hint of folk; an interesting combination indeed. All of the band members contribute wonderfully to the sound; the guitar gives a heavier edge, the drum and bass are rhythmically satisfying, and the flute is aggressive yet beautiful.

Though considered one song, the track is split into two parts on the album. I prefer part one, but both are amazing. As structurally and instrumentally complex as it is, the song still manages to hit you with an interesting melody one after another. The band does a great job of repeating the melodies throughout to give the piece a unified feeling.

For all intensive purposes, this is as flawless an album as you can get. Along with Close to the Edge and Selling England this is the bar to which all other prog albums should be compared. 10/10

Report this review (#875743)
Posted Friday, December 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I decided that my first review for this beautiful site will be for the album that has introduced me to pure prog, like it did to many others before me. For this album, I see little reasons not to give this a five star rating. I will just forget common criticism and reactions from experts and band members, stating that this would not be a real concept album, or would be created by means of a joke, and would therefore not deserve to be taken seriously. The music is great, and as a composition, this is absolutely a masterpiece. It brings all important factors from previous prog albums in an extreme form. Differences in rhythm and volume, the use of different instruments, a long silence in the middle, dark lyrics, a combination of many genres, and most of all it was maybe the longest pop-related song ever on its release.

If anyone wants to know the definition of progressive rock, this is the first thing to listen. Actually, every album of early Jethro Tull is a standard for the connection between pop/rock and prog. Just for their use of different rhythms, volume changes and lyrics, they have had that sound since Stand Up, their second album. Thick as a Brick is a mix of folk, rock, jazz and blues, all in the most progressive way. The unique thing that makes this album better than other real prog, is that it is balanced. It doesn't just throw around ideas, the different parts connect very naturally, something is extremely difficult with its progressive structures. That's the reason that even a sophisticated pop fan could like this as an album.

This is one of the few albums you will like the first time as well as the 1000th. A must-have for a good prog-fan, and both one of the best albums and one of the best songs ever.

Report this review (#875971)
Posted Saturday, December 15, 2012 | Review Permalink

A mother of all concepts albums, wraped in a newspaper, performed perfectly, instigated with humour and social critic... so, what went wrong? I mean, not with the album, Thick as a Brick is absolutely perfect, I'am refering of everything else: how do this album is not recognized as one of the most elaborated products of pop culture and art? Much of this honours lay on Pink Floyd' The Wall or even to The Woh' Tommy... but sincerely, TAAB beats them by hundred.

A full review here is impossible, as there is books and articles about TAAB. And I have read some of them through my adventure in progressive music. A whole complex, full of deep incision music reflecting both modern structures as folk and classical learnings.

The Minstrel-genius-boys-point of view is something quite unique. I believed that the levels of the concept are less mentioned - we have the level of the false concept, the spoof album; the Gerald Bostock level, of what this character has to say; and the level of the concpet as a whole, with the key phrase "We will be geared to the average rather than the exceptional" as the all explainer of the album, the Gerald Bostock and the moment Ian Anderson was perceiving.

No review can comprise this masterpiece, so, a good thing to do is punctuated the discussion:

- Consideer the music (composition) and the playing of the artists;

- Consideer the whole package as a unit and a singular production;

- Consideer the lyrics as poems;

- Consideer the levels of concepts inbricated in the messages of each individual point above and then what they mean together.

Conclusion: consideer Thick as a Brick a masterpiece.

Report this review (#897360)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars And in this corner we have Jethro Tull. This album is way up amongst the heavyweights of rock and prog rock music. A concept album put together by Anderson in response to the vibe in the music world that Aqualung was a concept album which it was not according to Anderson. He decided to put together a concept album to "show" the fans and the music critics and to parody the progressive works of the time. This album is a giant for its time as well as for today. It is full of contrasts in the music and the lyrics are a work of almost genius proportion - full of humor (in an intelligent typical Brittish vein). The musicians are all on top of their game through this masterwork. The music sits firmly in the progressive folk rock genre interspersing accoustic folk rock with agressive electric rock . I can't think of any part of the album that I don't like a great deal. A very easy album for me to rate - 5 stars, no questions or thoughts to the negative.
Report this review (#942495)
Posted Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, Jethro Tull + Hammond Organs. After the Aqualung's criticism, the album was tagged as a "concept album". Ian Anderson dislikes the tag, and Thick As A Brick was released as an Ian Anderson answer to critics: this is what he understand by a concept album. And this is brilliant.

The whole album, including music, lyrics (the poem) and sleeve is about a poem written by a little english boy Gerald Bostock, that talks about the challenges of aging. The poem was winning, but revoked because of the little boy attitude. People used to believe Gerald Bostock was a real person, and Ian Anderson signed the compositions as (Ian Anderson/Gerald Bostock). The music is totally progressive, one song divided into two sides of the LP. I really like the whole thing, and this is one of the best concept albums ever.

Report this review (#989811)
Posted Sunday, June 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though I at most times prefer A passion play, I really cannot tell them apart when it comes to describe their inner, true qualities They are prog masterpieces and are timeless, full of quirky britishness and wonderful melodies.

When composing tracks lasting over five minutes you have to calculate with the risk of the listener growing bored, at least at times. Ultimately, alas, it stands as a true test if genius writing and performing twotracks lasting over 20 minutes, WITHOUT boring the listener and making him or her feel like they've just listened to a three minute piece. That is brilliance in a nutshell.

The music ranges over blues, folk and hardrock in a torally seamless and effortless work. Everything seems to be in it's proper place. The musicianship is extraordinary, with the blues rock roots firmly in place. I guess I adore Thick as a brick by way of it's dirty, rootsy sound, hailing from when prog was still at some sort of infancy.

An extra notation must be given to the keyboard player John Evan whose wonderful, delicate and harsh stab on ye olde organ makes me shiver with delight.

Summary: Thick as a brick is without a doubt a work of gods and a true masterpiece everyone ought to have in their collection. It's like the air you breathe, you can't live without it.

Report this review (#993375)
Posted Monday, July 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick as a Brick is a masterpiece. I deeply enjoy the work put into this album, it's very complex in structure and features many exciting, but also majestic and gorgeous musical moments.

Side one introduces most of our ideas and recalls a few in its half in the process. My friend had never listened past the first two minutes until recently, because he can't stand music without drumming. Fortunately for him he listened beyond those minutes and discovered how exciting the album becomes. The group really do well as an ensemble, and even if Ian is just an okay vocalist, his voice fits very well into the music, is never overpowering, and sings the silly, yet effective-in-context lyrics. The idea, after all, was to make a concept album so over the top. A 43-minute Prog song, one that couldn't fit onto one single side of a record. The guitar/bass/drum hits at the end of the a-side fades out with wind.

Then the b-side starts with the wind and a slowed-down, ominous booming of the guitar/bass/drum hits, and then explodes back into the exciting jam section (feat. a drum solo) that doesn't last for too long. The b-side features more ballad-like moments. But the album retains relevance to itself and its concept throughout. The lyrics and instrumental aspects are great, and this album as a whole is just magnificent. Hard to not give it 5 stars.

Report this review (#993859)
Posted Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thick As A Brick from 1972 marks the start of a series of progressive rock albums from the already masters Jethro Tull, Andrson toying with this genre since Aqualung, but only now the term of prog rock is fully desearved. This is considered one of the first concept albums in prog rock history, the story behind is quite intresting aswell the music. Only two pieces here, but each one with top notch musicianship and quite original ideas. As always on a JT album the lyrics are thoughtful and going hand in hand with the music. I'm not really in the mood to make a bif review, this album is already a milestone in prog circles for almost half a century so only remains from me to give 5 stars. To me Thick as brick is in same league with their next one Passion play aswell a 5 stars album for me. An essential album in anyone collection.
Report this review (#1009751)
Posted Friday, August 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is Ian Anderson really one of this dictatorial progressive rock bands leader ? The fact remains that the paranoiac sight is here, as he seems persecuted by the criticism, this criticism of which he can't bear to hear, for example, that Aqualung is a concept album. So, Ian decide logically to counter-attack, but not like any paranoiac pettifogging. Non, because we know it, Ian's got talent. But Ian also have humour ! A little bit special humour, but really delicious. So he begins with his friends a concept album project totally spoofy of the progressive excessiveness of the time.

The music lovers will have see that the lyrics are credited by Gerald Bostock. But who is Gerald Bostock ? For know it, the best solution is to read the story on the first page of the album cover who unveiled the tenor of the famous concept. Gerald Bostock is in fact a 8 years old kid,likely brainac, premature or just talented, who just won a poetry competition but finally disqualified. The reason, it's his poem : Thick As A Brick, very critical toward the english society, so much so the first place is given at Mary Whiteyard, 12 years old, for her christian poem : He Died To Save The Little Children. Isn't scandalous ?

Of course, this is just an invention of Ian Anderson who is given him however the pain with John Evan and Jeffrey Hammond to create a real replica of a newspaper for album cover, who could have been, but that's a rumour, much longer to create than the music herself. That huge joke hides a extraordinary, and probably spoofy of the prog, musical work .

The 1972 year, is the quitessential prog year, with Close To The Edge and Foxtrot principally, but also Thick As A Brick who is a progressive spoof of prog (uh?). To ally the musical excessiveness with the conceptual excessiveness, Anderson write just one song of 40 minutes cut in two parts for the vinyl. Ian would have might cut the song in little parts but Ian wanted to piss of the world, and he success ! But Thick As A Brick is also a musical masterpiece. The music is still based on folk/hard rock style but if Aqualung was an guitar dominated album, this is not the case here. The bassist Jeffrey Hammond and the keyboardist John Evan are really important. The tunes, so laughables and simplistic, makes me wants to go in a ballroom in the depths of the UK. In this album, the musicians don't put their virtuosity in the foreground, aside the drum solo who is the only boring part of the piece. There's no long and boring interludes, no, it's moving just at the first second with baroque arpeggios of Anderson (Really don't mind if you sit this one out) when echoes his flute until the last setence (so you ride yourselves over the fields...) who closes this huge loop. Between this two times, there's moments by and by violents and hard rock (See there ! a son is born and we pronouce him fit to fight) round about three minutes, by and by heavy and symphonic (The poet and the paint casting shadows on the water) round about five minutes, by and by folk and festive (I've come down from the upper class) round about 12 minutes, by and by mystic and bewitching (The Dawn Creation of the Kings has begun) round about 8 minutes of the second part, by and by childish and fairylike (You curl your toes in fun) round about 16 minutes of the first part, just to name few... The different solos (except the drum solo) are shorts, digestibles and delicious. The best solo of Martin Barre is round about the 8 minutes (forget the overdubs). The flute of Ian Anderson are potent all the time.

There's callbacks, like any concept album, but not too much. There's an absolute coherence , from start to finish. But the essential point of the album, it's the rock ! And it's one of the best prog albums ever. Thick As A Brick is maybe not so virtuoso than Close To The Edge is, but he is also delicious. The prog is really good when he not takes himself too seriously !

Report this review (#1060329)
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Jethro Tull is a band that has not really appealed to me all that much. I don't know what it is about them, maybe it's the lyrics or the voice of Ian Anderson. That's not to say he isn't talented, he certainly knows how to write a song ... and play the flute. I'm just not the biggest Tull fan, however, I'll admit this is a great album, their best by far. What started as a satire of the excess which progressive rock music contained became one of the greatest examples of the genre.

The instrumentation is much more impressive this time around. Part Two has a fast drum solo that is always enjoyable to hear. Lyrics are plentiful on this album, and at times they are smart and witty. Both parts together make up 43 minutes, making it a very long song, if you consider it to be one continuous piece of music.

Thick As A Brick doesn't have very many faults. I'm giving this album a 4-star rating only because I don't think it holds up to other masterpieces of the genre such as Close To The Edge and Selling England By The Pound. But it deserves to be recognized for what it is, a milestone.

Report this review (#1085742)
Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first experience with Jethro Tull since hearing the track "Aqualung" long ago. I previously was not aware he produced such masterful pieces of work. This song/album represents absolute creativity and beauty in songwriting. The song takes unexpected twists and turns, yet flows nicely; interlaces previously used pieces later on in a different context; and explores the bounds of how far you can take a "single song". Bravo to Ian Anderson, and to all who were involved in producing it. I've had about a dozen listens through it by now (one month since I first discovered it), and I'm sure I'll probably listen to it another hundred at least. I've read the song (or maybe it's just the lyrics) are satirical, however the song does not come across this way to me. Just a well written epic.

This review is purely about this music, not the lyrics. While I do care about "vocals" - as in the persons voice, and how they manipulate it - I don't particularly care as much about lyrics (in any type of music.)

Report this review (#1242826)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thick as a Brick is highly hailed as Jethro Tull's masterpiece, as well as one of the greatest prog records of all time. I've never expressly enjoyed it before I came to this site, so I always dimmed the rating in my mind for it down to a three or so. Now, a while later I've decided to re-listen to it to get the full effect. And boy, my opinion has changed. Not only is this a great album, I don't hate it for being overrated like some other highly rated releases (Close to The Edge and COTCK come to mind). This gem has the best of both world and I'll tell exactly what is so great about it.

Ian Anderson, the front man as well as the flautist has sometimes been disappointing, especially on things like Aqualung where I thought his expertise was dimmed in order for crunchy guitars and powerful lyrics to head it off. On TaaB, is a very different story. Because each half is so long (approx. 22 minutes each), it gives time especially to Anderson to pump out some wonderful flurries of pipe. The first half of Thick as a Brick is what really got me. Something that I will always remember, and I know other people would feel the same, is the three minute or so long opening to the album. Gentle acoustic follows calm lyrics, along sort of the same quota that Warchild's 'Skating Away...' did with the exception of it (TaaB pt. 1) follows into a series of hard rock riffs, where the former does the opposite and leads into a variety of bouncy rhythms and light vocals. Speaking of hard rock, that's another ingredient to this mix of wonderfulness. I've always known that the band had some inkling of heavy metal although it was never fully expressed, because the band wanted to focus more on an output of folk. Something that I adore about them is this. In fact, that's the main reason why their Minstrel in the Gallery is my favorite song and album, because of that ever present feature. Not to say that being hard rock makes you good, because it doesn't. I can think of many more pieces of excrement that have gone under my radar (*cough* Puddle of Mudd *cough*). Part one to this amazing album has crunching, acoustics, vocal stability, extremely well done flute, and almost everything about it is great.

The second part, although taking place directly where the first part left off, is much different from the former. Although the musicianship is there and still outright, there's something much stranger in it. Incorporating more experimental qualities than the first part, TaaB pt. 2 actually takes a different and more folksy direction, which may be a sort of a jittery listen for some. I love it, although it's inaccessibility factor may be sort of present for a lot of the easy minded prog folks. For me, I've had to sit through Ummagumma, so I think I've adapted to really hard-to-listen-to music, and this was a breeze. So, if you liked the first part and want to listen to it with more of an artistic 'oomph', then this is great for you.

That pretty much sums up my ideas. Unlike many other 4.60 ish albums on this site, I really have to go with the general consensus. Thick as a Brick is a wonderfully bright little album, with bright undertones that positively take advantage of both your skeptic side and your casual listener side.

Report this review (#1288215)
Posted Sunday, October 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Thick as a Brick' should rate highly simply on the strength of having one of the best album covers ever designed: a fold-out newspaper complete with articles, comics, ads, crossword puzzle and a rather bawdy connect-the-dots children's game! A CD jewel case does not do justice to the album design (which is the case for many of the albums from the 60's and 70's). Furthermore, one cannot underestimate the effect 'Thick as a Brick' had on folks growing up in the 70's. It was irreverent! It was rebellious! It mentioned both blackheads and peeing oneself in the night in one line! Only in the early 70's could this album (and Tull's follow-up 'A Passion Play') be released. It had no single! It was 44 minutes of continuous music! How can we market the goddamned thing? We won't get royalties from iTunes every time someone downloads a song! Hell, there is no song to download!

The epic poem around which the music is composed was purportedly supplied by a precociously Miltonic adolescent named Gerald Bostock (an alter ego of Ian Anderson), and the lyrics, concerning the trials and travails of growing up, are slyly superb throughout. And they are very sly: according to Ian Anderson, 'Thick as a Brick' was a send-up of some of the more bloated progressive rock of the time. It is a purposely pretentious mockery, holding a jaded mirror up to Tull's pompous rock counterparts (and the band itself). Even the album cover parodies the small minds of small town journalism (including the front page which trumpets the scandal and subsequent disqualification of Gerald Bostock's poem from a literary prize). As an added layer of satire, the newspaper contains many references to the album and the album refers back to the news (Tull members were avid fans of Monty Python). The entire package succeeds magnificently. Many reviewers don't get it and take it at face value, which is even more ironic. Or moronic as the case may be.

As far as the music, it runs the prog gamut from witty folk to scathing hard rock with some of the best acoustic guitar sequences you'll hear from Ian Anderson (know more, sadly, for the flute than his exceptional guitar work). Barriemore Barlow, John Bonham's favorite drummer, sets the pace and it is often blistering, running in cadence with John Evan's masterful keys and Martin Barre's explosive electric guitar. The album is fully realized in that the concept is brilliant both lyrically and musically, and there are so few rock bands that can match the wordsmithing ability of Ian Anderson and the compositional brilliance of Tull as a band in their prime.

Thick as a Brick is one of a handful of progressive rock albums upon which all others are measured, and for good reason: it is sublime in all facets.

Report this review (#1348716)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nş 5

My first contact with 'Thick As A Brick' was in the middle of the 70's, in the school, where my friends lent me a recording of the album made on a cassette which was taken from the original vinyl disc. When I listen to the album for the first time I became truly amazed. This is a concept album with only one theme. Unfortunately it was interrupted in the middle, because as all we know in those times, the vinyl records were unable to store more information than 30 to 35 minutes, on each side of the disc. However, when we were listening to a copy of a recording on a cassette tape recorder with inferior quality, especially if it was a mono version, like mine, the sound quality was extremely poor. Although those were my conditions at the time and I had to live with them.

In my humble opinion, 'Thick As A Brick' is the best and most progressive release by Jethro Tull and it's the father of all concept albums. Probably, 'Thick As A Brick' is with 'Selling England By The Pound' of Genesis, 'Close To The Edge' of Yes and 'Wish You Were Here' of Pink Floyd, the four best progressive albums of the 70's. It's their fifth studio album and was released in 1972. It reached number 1 on the U.S.A. Billboard Pop Albums Chart. Even on Progarchives, these four albums are always in the top four of the site, as the best four prog albums ever made.

The line up on 'Thick As A Brick' is composed by a quintet and was the line up which lasted longer on Jethro Tull's life, remaining the same until 1975. It was formed by Ian Anderson (lead vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), Martin Barre (electric guitar and lute), John Evan (piano and organ), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (vocals and bass guitar) and Barriemore Barlow (drums, percussion and timpani).

The music on 'Thick As A Brick' was all composed by Anderson. It's an album with a very complex musical structure and where many musical instruments were used. Besides the use of the usual classic rock instruments, already mentioned by me, many others were used, and some of them are very uncommon in rock music, such as harpsichord, xylophone, violin, trumpet and a string section.

The concept of the album was a straight collaboration between the band and an eight years old child, who wrote a very complex poem, that talks about the challenges of to get old, for a contest. It was about a fictional kid (Gerard 'Little Milton' Bostock). In those times, and even today, many believe that Gerald Bostock is a real person. The child was disqualified because the judges considered that his poem was a little bit immoral because it talks about the sexual life of a father and son, and the problems of their relationship. So, the judges preferred to give the prize to a twelve years girl, who wrote a simple essay about the Christian ethical values entitled, 'He Died To Save The Little Children'.

Anderson picked up the child's poem and created a notable piece. The combination of both things is so original and perfect that 'Thick As A Brick' became as one of the most beloved albums by most of the progressive rock fans.

Which is most interesting and surprising is that 'Thick As A Brick' only saw the daylight, because Jethro Tull's previous studio album 'Aqualung', released in 1971. It all started with the controversy between Anderson and the critics. The Critics considered 'Aqualung' a concept album, which was firmly rejected by Anderson. In response he said if they wanted to know what is a truly concept album, they would see on Jethro Tull's next studio album.

The original LP cover was a spoof of a local newspaper with news, stories, competitions, adverts, etc. It was a mock newspaper that satirised the British society of those times and its hypocrisy. The false newspaper, with twelve pages, also included the entire lyrics of the song. References to the lyrics are scattered throughout the articles. Unfortunately, and in many cases, this cover had to be reduced or even completely suppressed because of the printing costs. Fortunately, I'm lucky to have one copy of one of those LP's versions on my vinyl disc collection.

Conclusion: 'Thick As A Brick' is an extremely ambitious and brilliant album. It combines successfully and perfectly well, hard rock, jazz, and folk with great melodies which turn the album into a truly progressive rock opus. The music on this concept album is absolutely brilliant from the first to the last minute. Every single note sounds beautifully. I've always considered it a truly masterpiece, and even now when more than forty years passed, it still sounds great and better than ever. If there are perfect works, this is one of them. If you haven't got it yet, you're losing one of the jewels of the progressive rock music. It's very easy to get into its music, and is much easier to listen to than many other progressive albums. This is an essential album for any progressive fan, and definitely, it crowns the genre of the progressive folk music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1445231)
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
5 stars We tend to forget, or perhaps ignore, that even FM rock radio in the 1970s was commercially driven, so, while TAAB was hugely successful from day one, it eventually posed more radio programming problems than it solved. By the mid 1970s, all one got to hear was a 5 minute "gut job". I remember finding it quaint at the time but it certainly didn't incite me to rush out and buy the way a self contained piece like "Benedictus", "And You and I", "In the Court of the Crimson King", :The Musical Box", "New Horizons", or "Conquistador" might have, and did. I'm not trying to downplay the role of those fine works from the full concepts behind them, but instead to reinforce how TAAB is the indivisible entity. I say this even though, or maybe because, interviews with Mr Anderson reveal that, for all its cohesiveness, TAAB in fact includes bits and pieces that had been lying about for the prior few years, somehow plucked from dusty corners and amalgamated with verve and communal spirit. They are not worthless without each other, but they stick up for each other, which is the clear sense I get about this band at this moment in time.

Apart from the extended set, the progression from "Aqualung" is remarkable; indeed the blend of acoustic and electric guitars, flutes, and organ is propelled by the concept to the extent that it makes the prior work seem like riff rock by comparison, and I do mean that kindly. Part 1 includes several themes that incorporate folk, rock and blues masterfully, and I think the folk wins out,in the best parts, chiefly "The Poet and the Painter" and "Childhood Heroes".. Part 2 does revisit the key themes of Part 1 in deliciously subtle and more direct ways, but I must especially single out the jaw dropping beauty of the ":Do You Believe in the Day" segment. The bonus material amounts to a live version of Part 1, which reveals just how "live" the original was, to the credit of all concerned, and an interview that is certainly valuable as an insight into how it all transpired.

It's hard to fairly evaluate a masterpiece 40+ years after its apparition, but I can't blame JETHRO TULL for the foibles of radio programmers and my lack of friends who were fans, or even being introduced to the band via "Bungle in the Jungle". I also seem to have reluctantly acquired the taste for Mr Anderson's voice after years of grimacing like a baby when his whir pierced a stately melody at the worst moment. Here's to Gerald Bostock from one of his thickest fans!

Report this review (#1469542)
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars In my opinion, this is a good album but not a beautiful album. Not one of the greatest in prog history. It's important, I know, for prog history, because for the first time a group produced an album with only one suite. But musically, the inspiration is not high. Melodies are not remarkable. First side: the beginnig is very good, maybe the only melody easy to remember in the hole album. But minute after minute the rhythm became too much supported or repetitive, near to math rock of Gentle Giant, and the final is compulsive. Secondo side: overexcited beginning, then acoustic melodies, then a lot of variety of arrengements; but It seems to me that the passages are forced. In the end returns the initial melody. An album without anticlimax but even without climax. Homogeneous, and with a good execution and arrengements but in some passages the music is forced. It seems to me that the great consideration depends on the fact that the whole album is composed by a suite, on both sides. A very great effort for Jethro Tull and for the progressive music, but, in my opinion, it doesn't make automatically the greatness of an album. Vote: 7,5/8. Three stars.
Report this review (#1469704)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2015 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #18

1972, what a fabulous year this was - Trilogy, Octopus, Close to the Edge, Foxtrot !
(To name just a few from the isles)
And TAAB, of course, one of my favorites from this golden era.

Global Appraisal

A concept album rich of theatrical musicality that grabs the audience with a feeling of full immersion and continuity surely never attained before in popular music and hardly thereafter by any band.

We are masterly conducted in a succession of musical ideas that go hand-by-hand with the storytelling, developing scenes and ambiances that never cease to surprise; now calm and melodious then in a while starting to rise in a crescendo that erupts in a climax, and then again taking a different turn, engaging in an unexpected sort of "free-rock" improvisation, WOW!


The composing/arranging is nothing short of genial, Mr. Anderson aged 25 did accomplish a work of art of great maturity, inspiration and innovative power which today 43 years later still constitutes one fundamental milestone.

Report this review (#1493123)
Posted Friday, November 27, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars With this album, JETHRO TULL was increasingly becoming a more Progressive Rock band in musical style. If their previous "Aqualung" album still had a more Rock music influenced side (the Side One of the album) and a more Folk / Acoustic music influenced side (the Side Two of the album), this album from 1972 has more complicated musical arrangements with the keyboards played by John Evan having a more central role. Anyway, this album is a continuous musical piece with one song titled "Thick as a Brick", divided in two parts (for the two sides of the original LP). The complicated lyrics were allegedly written by a boy called "Gerald Bostock" (being really written, like the music, by Ian Anderson). The boy's story is told in the cover, with this boy really being an invention from Anderson. So, this is a conceptual album from the band. As I wrote before, the lyrics are hard to understand, at least for me. But the music and the arrangements are very good. But I like more their next album, titled " A Passion Play". But the main musical theme of this album (maybe the first 10 minutes of the album) is the best part of this album, with Anderson's flute melody and acoustic guitar. This part was also played a lot in the radio in my city.

The cover design for this album was done to look like a newspaper. It was a very much elaborated cover design. Coincidentally, also in 1972, but some months after the release of this album, an album from JOHN LENNON and YOKO ONO, titled "Some Time in New York City", was released, and it also had a cover designed to look like a newspaper. But maybe the "Thick as a Brick" album had more success than that album. "Some Time in New York City" has been very much criticized by its musical and lyrical content, sometimes being considered as Lennon's worst album. In comparison, "Thick is a Brick" is a very much appreciated album by a lot of Prog Rock music fans. It still is, as I write this review, in Number Three in Prog Archives' s "Top Prog Albums" list.

Report this review (#1496544)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is particularly important to me. Back in the late 1990s, when I was around 10-12 years old, I would go over my one buddy's house nearly every free moment I had. Luckily for me, his father had a great taste in music which he shared with us. One particularly memorable album that he showed us was Thick as a Brick, which we deemed as "the flute song". The first several times we listened to it, we would poke fun at it. This was mostly due to its predominately featured instrument, the flute, which isn't the 'coolest' instrument, especially to a 12year old boy. As we continued to listen to the album more, my ironic liking of the album lead way to a sincere love of the album. It was around this time that I was lucky enough to be taken to see Jethro Tull with my friend and his father for my first concert experience ever, which I'm practically proud to be able to say (my wife has to say Britney Spears :P). Although my tastes in music did change during my inevitable angsty teen years, this album sowed a seed in my soul that would later blossom into my love of prog-rock.

As for the music, there is nothing new that I can say that hasn't already said better. This is absolutely an essential piece of prog-rock. 5 stars.

Report this review (#1546068)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Thick As A Brick is one of those classic albums that I've just never really felt anything for, no matter how technically good it may be.

What this album knocks out of the park is the concept. If you ever find a vinyl copy of this, I'd consider it to be worth your while to pick up if not just for the sleeve; the whole "newspaper" is pretty clever, and an amusing read. That said, I don't listen to ambitious concepts. I listen to music. So how does the music on "Thick As A Brick" stack up? Honestly, pretty well. The music on here is a lot more complex than Jethro Tull's output usually is, and is probably the first (and one of the few) albums they put out that I would actually consider to be prog. The interplay in the band is really quite something. The music, while never getting very eclectic, is certainly erratic. Time and tempo changes galore, with saxophone, flute, Hammond organ and electric guitar licks all playing off one another. I wouldn't put their playing on the same pedestal as, say, Yes or Gentle Giant, but I'd say that it probably equals what Genesis was putting out around the same time in terms of technical prowess.

Of course, what good is technique if not but a means to convey and express? Like I said, the music on here is erratic, never standing still for too long. Oddly enough, though, it doesn't seem to cover much territory. The sound of the album never seems to change too much; it's either stuck in typical folky Ian Anderson "nonny-nonny"-type balladry, with a sprawling libretto of nonsense lyrics, or it develops into one of the complex, uptempo blues rock passages that the band uses to bridge Ian's vocal vignettes. And I think that that may be my main problem with the album; there's really a lot of potential for greatness here, but "Thick As A Brick" really suffers from being just a vehicle for Ian Anderson's own ambitions. Although it's probably part of the satire, the whole album just strikes me as unapproachable on any visceral level; it seems to just be prog for prog's sake.

Perhaps if Tull took the talent on display here and applied a more authentic, human creative vision (a la "Songs From The Wood", perhaps?), then I'd be among the vast swaths of people praising this album. But as it stands, I just can't really bring myself to enjoy "Thick As A Brick". Not that it's any loss not being able to get into this album - there were dozens of prog albums being put out the same year that blew it away in ambition, technique, innovation, emotion, eclecticism, or often many of these at the same time. This just happened to be one of the more famous ones. So while I wouldn't consider "Thick As A Brick" to be a bad album, I wouldn't consider it essential by any means, and there are hundreds of albums that I'd recommend over it. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1552280)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars A joke gone correctly wrong: 8/10

I'll begin by citing Rolling Stone's commentary on THICK AS A BRICK, which I find absolutely curious: "Miffed that many critics mistook 1971's Aqualung for a concept album, Tull leader Ian Anderson decided to follow it up by parodying the entire concept-album concept. [...] It was a brilliant prank, one so seamlessly executed, in fact, that most people didn't get the joke. Not that they needed to in order to enjoy it." (from 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time)

When one meets the eerie THICK AS A BRICK and its famed lengthiness (although, honestly, it's no shocker for prog rock veterans) they might become apprehensive. For comparative purposes, we have THE DEVIL GLITCH, by CHRIS BUTLER, which is an hour long alt/pop-rock epic, which possibly has all the flaws our aforementioned "one" fears: repetitiveness and incapability to keep you focused the entire song (it is still really fun and worth checking out!). Well, if THE DEVIL GLITCH have those characteristics, then it's the perfect antithesis of THICK AS A BRICK.

The album is ever changing from mellow to ecstatic pieces; from flute-ridden solos to keyboard-guitar duos (especially the magnificent Pt. I outro); from guitar solos to vocal-drums-keyboard accompaniment. There's constant tempo and time signature changes, emphasis on the constant. Another point to compare to THE DEVIL GLITCH is the lyrically superb production. You get rich, vast, often satirical, often acid, often philosophical, often metalinguistic, often metaphorical lines. JETHRO TULL utilizes a wide array of literary features to bring a vast experience, lyrically speaking.

THICK AS A BRICK is - as many hundreds of thousands of people agree, and a few thousand attest publically through nominal reviews - a must-have of the progressive genre.

Report this review (#1684305)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Clearly the Best Tull.

This is the album when Tull became intellectual. Ian Anderson is a very bright guy, with a keen, albeit unusual, sense of humour, and from this point on would infuse each Tull album with a number of wry jokes and insights that most people wouldn't get. Lyrically, this album is presented as poem written by 8-year old Gerald Bostock which would have won a poetry contest but was disqualified. Anderson has said the album was meant as a parody of the pretentiousness of bands like ELP and Yes and their complex progressive rock epics. Yet, the lyrics were not easy to make out, and in doing so, Anderson wrote probably one of the genre's best examples of a long pretentious epic, only to be outdone in Tull's next album 'A Passion Play'! Yes, the irony. The key thing is that the music is excellent all the way through, and the lighthearted lyrics mean that while the music is so good it keeps your interest the band is not taking itself seriously. There are about 6 main themes/songs in this, but they all segue together, and the piece returns to its origins at the end. The only off-point is in the middle where the band seemingly has three false starts to a new song but then abandons it in favour of a different one (all concocted, of course). That is the only point where the musicality is interrupted, but it only lasts for half a minute. And thankfully, Anderson restrains his singing on this one, so it is not nearly as rough and annoying as on Aqualung, and indeed, this album marks the beginning of a smoother singing style for him (for all albums from this point forward). This is an album that has maintained its deep musicality over 40 years. Definitely deserves its stature in the history of progressive, and all, music. I give this 9.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale.

Report this review (#1695721)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jethro Tull's follow up to Aqualung was their first truly progressive rock album and a concept one at that. Aqualung had its progressive elements and even a loose concept per side but this time Ian Anderson and Co went the whole hog and produced what in effect was a single continuous piece of music.

Technically this album is a major achievement for the band and is far superior to their previous efforts.The album starts off quite gently with the famous acoustic introduction (the single "edit" that graces virtually every Jethro Tull compilation) before suddenly exploding into action at the three minute mark with Martin Barre's huge stabbing chords interspersed with Ian Anderson's forceful acoustic guitar strumming. It reminds me slightly of the way the band comes crashing in near the beginning of My God off the Aqualung album.

What follows is close to twenty minutes of some of the most dynamic playing ever committed to vinyl . The ever changing rhythm and tempo changes along with the interplay between Martin Barre's spirited electric guitar and Ian Anderson's flute riffing is quite exhilarating. The whole enterprise is held together by John Evan's Hammond organ.One of my favorite sections is his jaunty solo that introduces a new musical theme where Ian Anderson sings "I've come down from the upper class...".Interestingly, that theme (edit#4) is included on the Repeat Best of Volume 2 compilation. Even out of context as with the familiar introductory edit works surprisingly well as a stand alone piece of music.

Side 2 basically carries on where Side 1 left off. Original themes are reprised and a couple of new ones are introduced at the four minute mark. Overall the second side is similarly dynamic but less melodic and somewhat downbeat in comparison to the first side. There are also a few jarring moments where the band seem to enter into King Crimson free jazz territory at the three minute mark which really does not suit their style. While ultimately less memorable the second side at least ends on familiar turf with the reprise of the original theme which helps bring the whole affair to a logical conclusion.

What really stands out for me as much as the composition is the overall production . The band were really tight and the sound really gelled when they recorded this album especially with new recruit Barriemore Barlow on drums and percussion and the use of Hammond organ instead of the somewhat antiquated piano helps give the music a slicker dynamic. Thick As A Brick is one of Progressive Rock's crowning glories.

Report this review (#1719511)
Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2017 | Review Permalink

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