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Jethro Tull - Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die! CD (album) cover

TOO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL: TOO YOUNG TO DIE!

Jethro Tull

Prog Folk


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Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The title track is not bad, and the artwork on the LP jacket was entertaining, but this was a disappointing, sub-standard offering from Anderson & company. I could only force myself to listen to it a few times, and have since made no effort to buy it on CD. Happily, the notion that the band was past its creative peak was premature, because the following two years brought the masterful "Songs From the Wood" and "Heavy Horses." These essential Tull discs, though, heralded an end to an era, because, with a few uneven exceptions (notably "Broadsword" and "Crest of a Knave"), Jethro Tull would never attain such heights again.

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#16538)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
walksa@geog.u
3 stars This is an album that unfortunately does not get its due with Tull fans (as evidenced by the above reviews). Though there are some duds on it and the theme is kindof silly, most of the music on this one is actually quite good, with some good melodies and a sense of humour to boot. Sure, it is not one of Tull's mejores, but I rate it slightly higher than the humourless and virtually tuneless Minstrel, and about on par with Songs from the Wood (I am sure I will be pounced on for that one!, but I find I put this one on the turntable more than Minstrel and about as much as Wood).

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#16527)
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
1 stars Ooopsssss!!!!!!!!!! The first real blunder for J Tull . But not as bad as Under Wraps

Nothing in it for a prog fan and even the Tramp admitted that this was an ill-advised mistake in answer to the criticism from mindless weekly press as MM and NME. This is straight hard rock and the title says it all , unfortunately, because there might be some humour but in other albums it was put to good music - here it isn't. However retrospectively, this album can be seen as a sort of Blueprint for late 80's era albums such as Knave , Rock Island or Catfish Rising!!

Actually this album is not that bad (just un-inventive and ill-advised and veeeeery deceiving after such stupendous works like Bricks or TMITG) so you can easily award it another halfstar!!! But it should not be investigated unless you have explored everything else from Tull!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#16540)
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars it's one of the most underrated Tull's albums and I don't know why, because for me it's one of their best realeases. It's another concept in band's career, this time we have 10 integral music pieces but it's one story told.We have songs in many styles here, we have hard rock, blues, folk and of course ballads... go and buy it, you won't regret...

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Send comments to l-s-d (BETA) | Report this review (#16542)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Jim Garten
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Retired Admin & Razor Guru
1 stars The title was meant to be ironic, but nearly ended up as a self fulfilling prophesy; bearing in mind this was released when Tull were arguably at the height of their creative powers, this is a distinct own-goal. Weak songs, poor production - the only Tull album from the '70s I would recommend to absolute completists only.......

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Send comments to Jim Garten (BETA) | Report this review (#16543)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Honest acoustic album... This record is a rather acoustic guitar recording, sometimes there are electric guitar parts. Vocals, flute, drums, bass, a few string arrangements, rare piano but practically no keyboards. Like if you have Martin Barre and Ian ANDERSON unplugged in front of a fireplace. Folk rock prog, not flashy at all. The JETHRO TULL fan who expects complex patterns should be a bit disappointed.

One of my least favorite.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#16524)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A few critics didn't feel their toes touch bottom on this one, declaring it the deepest point in TULL's mid-career slough. And they're right in a sense, as "Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die!" is no better than "War Child", "Minstrel In The Gallery", or "A Passion Play". But wait, you say, those are some of TULL's best albums! Exactly, and you can add this to the list. Ian had traded in his minstrel's cap for a playwright's pen, creating a fictional character (Ray LOMAS) who goes from quiz show contestant to jilted lover to motorcycle martyr. The songs are largely acoustic, orchestrated in several spots (none more stunning then the theme first introduced on "Quizz Kid" and fully explored on the title track), suggestive of "Minstrel"'s "One White Duck" more than anything. The album also marked the first album without JEFFREY since "Aqualung", who was replaced by the equally talented John GLASCOCK. GLASCOCK's bass work is more pointed than Hammond's (or Hammond-Hammond if you prefer), standing in sharper relief to the rhythms of Barriemore Barlow. Against this backdrop are splashed the dry colors of Ian Anderson's acoustic guitar and Martin Barre's acrid electric guitar. John EVAN's piano is given a smaller role in the music, which makes Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll a drier drink than past albums. But if it all feels like a faded flower pressed in an old book, "Too Old" is still too good not to earn our admiration. "From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser" and "Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll, Too Young To Die" pull us right into the heart of the story, while "Crazed Institution" and "Quizz Kid" are good fun for malcontents everywhere.

There are some who will find the structured storytelling of this album presumptuous, but to me it's a welcome change from feeling my way along in the dark. Ray's resemblance to Ian Anderson is the same sort of roleplaying that he's engaged in since "Aqualung", once more adopting the persona of a sympathetic castoff. That the band is able to weave such intelligent music into the tight confines of a story is an achievement, even if it might otherwise limit the band from exploring a wider range of styles. You'd probably have to look forward to "Heavy Horses" to find a TULL album this acoustic and reserved, but there's always been a place for it on my turntable. Like "Minstrel", it's not an album I pick at, instead settling down for the whole dinner. If you've the appetite for it, it's never too late to add "Too Old" to the fold.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#16525)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
nondimenticar
3 stars Catchy riffs, "Quizz Kid" hardrocking, just short of Tull's best hardrockers, represents, Ian Anderson's "American Graffitti", the year is 1975-76, Rock 'N' Roll is in the vogue; that's the point here, walk down memory lane, nostalgia; Nice poetry, "Chequered Flag", "one lap victory roll, the gladiator's soul",

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#16544)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think this is one of the most consistents albums from JT, and I´ll tell you why. The idea of a conceptual album implies in a sense of unity, not only in the lyrics (which is rare in most bands - I just think prog lyrics are secondary in the genre), but essentially in the musicality of the whole work. Well, this album give us a lot of shorter songs, unstead of "Thick as a Brick" or even "A Passion Play". But then, this work sounds more complex and richer, because one is able to distinguish all differents melodies, rythms and moods within it, introducing themes that converge to a central idea, the dilema, that is obviously the title of the album itself, filled with irony and heavy guitars. Finally, it should be said that there are three types of JT fans. The first ones are fanatic and they like everything ever released about JT. The second ones like the epic pieces and neverending virtuosis solos ( the classic 70's style). The third group, that I seem to belong to, tends to appreciate less megalomaniacal music, specially because it mixes with more equality the popular/folk style with the prog/erudite style, which is the most difficult to reach in all kind of Art. Well, "Too old to rock 'n'roll..." represents to me this hard-to-find synthesis, and it's worthy to be added to every rock/pop/prog colletion.

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Send comments to guilherme pupo (BETA) | Report this review (#16548)
Posted Friday, August 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is the very first JETHRO TULL album in the series of remasters that I was not in awe of. The odds have it that eventually there had to be some kind of a letup or break in their endless flow of excellent albums. This was a good recording mind you, just not a real great album like all of the prior releases. There are some fine moments found on this CD, enough to give it a whirl on your stereo and add it to your collection.

Ian ANDERSON discusses in his continuing stories of how each album started and ended and how originally "Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young Too Die!" was intended for a musical about an over aged biker. The liner notes include a comic strip to tell the story. This planned event was brilliantly rock 'n' roll in concept but it never happened. Well, at least not until the album became a reality.

"Quizz Kid" has some great rockin' guitar parts courtesy of the great Martin Barre, and the title track is irresistibly catchy and classic JT in every aspect. I am sure that you have it heard at some point even if you have not collected the band's recordings over the years. The bonus tracks are not so generous on this release; there are only two, "A Small Cigar" and "Strip Cartoon." They are quite different and enjoyable as usual. One of the album's sleepers is "Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)," it is also one of the more interesting tracks musically and lyrically. It will suddenly catch you off guard. It is about racecar driving and how wonderful it is to see that flag waving and being in the winner's circle of life enjoying all the adulation whether you are dead or alive. As if to say it would not matter, even if it kills you, winning the race is the most important thing. I always enjoyed the way Anderson wittingly looks at life square in the eye and builds his stories around his feelings and thoughts. The funny thing is that it always hits home and it will be somebody's truth, if it happens to be humorous or not.

With straight As in the class of progressive rock, I would have to say that their grade was a B this time out. It was a very nice gesture on Ian's part to dedicate this remastered version of the album to their short-lived bass player John Glascock, whom died suddenly of heart failure before he had a chance to go back into the studio to record another album.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#16550)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you want to listen one of the best concept album, listen Jethro Tull album call "Too Old to Rock'n Rol: Too Young To Die. This album told old rocker, who had become too old to rock'n roll. Quality this album, both music and lyric are not different with Jethro Tull's other album. Only one different compare with other Jethro Tull album, ie accoustic dominated this album. My favourite song is Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die. This song also power of this album, where great composition was suppored with great orchestral arrangement. I put **** as my appreciation. torro-karawang-indonesia.

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Send comments to torro (BETA) | Report this review (#16551)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
igoor@noos.fr
5 stars Yes-yes, one of the most elaborated conceptual album in rock music. Very magnetic, with much of imagination and original decisions, quite interesting and well done! Not easy to dig it at first listen, but if you are not lazy nor profanus, you'll go inside necesserly. Not agree that the production is poor-it's just another way of sound. What you'll tell about modern weak & faded vocals for exemple? -Aesthetic... (...). So I find that Ian is quite at right road here. The instrumental parties are well premeditated. Some ironic aspect gives a pepper in the book story. Well, the first-class album. But not for Madonna-Jaskson-disco-hip-hop fans, - beware please, it's not your album!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#38123)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The second of their pair of albums recorded with their mobile studio in the principality of Monaco. Too Old.. was destined originally to be the soundtrack to a stage musical based on a late fifties motor cycle rocker and his living-in-the-past nostalgia for the youthful years. To replace the recently departed bass player Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, John Glascock, ex-Carmen flamenco rocker, made his debut here with Tull also providing backing vocals. To his memory is dedicated the 2002 album remaster (also Angela Allen, from Carmen, sang on this 1976 Tull'work, in particular on Crazed Institution and Big Dipper). A good album from JT, moderately different from the previous Minstrel In The Gallery, but with appreciable musical structure derivated from that its original projected destiny. Quizz Kid, Too Old To Rock,n'Roll, Too Young To Die!, Salamander, Pied Piper and The Chequered flag are my favourite songs but also the others are of a good quality. The bonus tracks are great: Strip Cartoon (single accompanying The Whistler) and the duo Anderson-Palmer in A Small Cigar.

Good album anyway, not one of their best, but not deserving the low ratings I've seen. I think that 4 stars (rounded up really) it's its right evaluation (3,5-4).

Not recommended to Tull novices.

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#44968)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an excellent album for any prog fans who enjoy ambient, mostly acoustic tunes. The concept for this "Rock Opera", an aging rocker confronting his midlife crisis, might not have been about Ian Anderson and co., but they certainly were able to express the storyline well, in which any muddy spots were cleared by the comic strip that was printed with it. With several great songs, most notalbly Quizz Kid and the title track, this is all in all quite a good disc.

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Send comments to Moody Mellow (BETA) | Report this review (#45655)
Posted Monday, September 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Gotta go with the majority on this one: this is hardly one of Tull's best albums. Stuck in the middle of an impressive string of albums, 'Too Old...' is chock full of forgettable songs, dull production, poor artwork, and even some uninspired playing. The conceptual premise seems a little silly, but it is nevertheless conveyed extremely well, thanks to Ian Anderson's lyrical wit.

The album is terribly let down by its first half. I can't recommend anything on the first side other than the dramatic acoustic-based "Salamandar" (which could've been on 'Stand Up'), but things pick up with "Big Dipper", which brings back the exciting, hardrocking Tull electricity. The title track possesses a catchy chorus melody and some superb, almost melancholy singing from Anderson. "Pied Piper" isn't all the title promises (with a title like that, it would have to be a Jethro Tull anthem, wouldn't it? But it's formulaic and flat). Things end with a theatrical fluorish in "The Chequered Flag (Dead Or Alive)", a song with a good bit of drama, but it's a little sleepy too...and on an album that could've used a bit more life, it's maybe not the best choice for a closer. This is the only '70s-era Tull studio album you can easily live without.

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Send comments to slipperman (BETA) | Report this review (#52436)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2.5 stars.

Too Old to Rock and Roll, too Young to Die gets it's share of abuse from just about everybody, and I can see why. It doesn't have any epic, particularly proggy moments, and the concept seems a bit thrown together. But I have trouble not smiling while giving it a listen. It is much more light-hearted than most of Jethro Tull's catalogue and perhaps that has a bit to do with the storyline, which follows the often-ridiculous exploits of the "last of the Old Rockers," Ray Lomas. Without going into much detail, I'll just say that the concept is enjoyable, if not quite up to par as Thick as a Brick. Too Old to Rock and Roll is not dragged down by a heavy concept, and I feel this allows the band to have little fun, though this doesn't necessarily guarantee good songs.

Most of the music on Too Old to Rock and Roll is pretty straight-forward rock with a few orchestral and acoustical folk elements mixed in. I'll admit that little of it really holds its own when set against masterpieces such as Aqualung or Thick as a Brick, but some of the tracks show genuinely sparkling moments, even if these are few and far between. Most of the album neither makes me cry out in disgust nor make me want to repeat them for hours on end.

But there a few tracks that I find little fault in at all. "Salamander" recalls "A Cold Wind to Valhalla" perhaps a little too much, but it is nevertheless a quality track. The title track jumps at times from epic, to deeply emotional with a strong backing orchestra and chorus. The same can be said for "Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)" which has one of the greatest choruses in Tull's entire repertoire.

Not much of Too Old to Rock and Roll is absolutely appalling, but "Taxi Grab" in particular, is an exception. A terrible blues song with a dirty guitar sound and a truly vile use of the harmonica, it definitely makes me cringe. Luckily, no more of Too Old to Rock and Roll deserves the skip button to the extent of that nasty song.

One should keep it mind when looking into buying Too Old to Rock and Roll that it is certainly not the shining moment in Jethro Tull's history. But it also not quite worthy of the harsh words many critics have to give it.

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Send comments to stonebeard (BETA) | Report this review (#64305)
Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
joshmbrooks@y
4 stars I was suprised to find how great this album was due to the large ammounts of negative feedback about it. Luckily, I foudn this in a used cd bin at the local store and so it was pretty cheep.

I figured it would be ok, nothing special. Then I listened to it and I found it to be just as good as albums such as Minstrel In the Gallery, Songs from the Woods, Heavy Horses, and Thick as a Brick. This is a very solid album, and the only thing i dont like about it is the one song has guitars that sond almost Cold Wind to Valhala. Aside form that, This is a great all around album, no weak songs or dragging parts.

I recommend this to any Tull fans

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#75152)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second of a pair of albums recorded with the band's mobile studio in the Mediterranean principality of Monaco, this album was recorded a few months after "Minstrel In The Gallery". Musically, the previous album is much stronger than this one as it contains compositions that sound bit flat as compared to its predecessor. Written and rehearsed in Montreux, Switzerland in a ballroom adjoining the Montreux Palace Hotel, it is destined originally to be the soundtrack to a stage musical based on a late fifties motor cycle rocker and his living-in-the past nostalgia for youthful years.

The music offered by this album resembles the Tull sounds but each song does not show a solid composition as previous albums. But it does not mean that this is a bad album. No, not at all! To replace recently departed bassist Jeffrey Hammond Hammond, John Glasscock ex-Carmen Flamenco rocker, made his debut here with Tull, providing backing vocals in addition to picking the four string. The first three tracks "Quiz Kid", "Crazed Institution", and "Salamander" demonstrate the band's sound with great acoustic guitar work. "From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser" is a mellow track with ballad style. The real killer of this album is the album title track "Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die" which blends bluesy guitar touch and some orchestration with nice vocal melody.

My CD is a remastered edition without "Copy Controlled" label with two bonus tracks: "A Small Cigar" and "Strip Cartoon". Sadly, John Glasscock was to die all too soon from complications following an operation for a congenital heart disease. I remember John at his best in those early days of his brief time with us, full of enthusiasm and zest for music and life, so it is to him that we shall dedicate this re-mastered edition of the recording. IA 2002. [CD sleeve notes]. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#75703)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to die' is a concept record about an aging rock star (suivez mon regard...), who was finally not that old but Anderson was already 10 years in business, time to look back and get nostalgic. The record has a more rootsy down to earth Rock 'n Roll touch , but misses strong songs with good melodic material.

'Quizz Kid' is a good entry, a solid rocker without much surprise so, followed by 'Crazed Institution' a midtempo rocker with typical Tull flute and organ counterpoint and some brass, but again not really breathtaking.

Now, 'Salamander' is the first interesting track,a bluesy folk ballad, reminding Bert Jansch for the guitar work with athmospheric vocals and some flute work, the track misses only a stronger melody line.

'Taxi Grab' again a solid rocker with harmonica, slide guitar and some honky tonk piano., followed by 'From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser' a folk guitar ballad with a nice orchestration, delicate E-piano a jazzy sax solo, but again no hookline and no strong melody and the same thing could be said for 'Bad-Eyed and Loveless' another bluesy folk track, that does not take off.

'Big Dipper' again a solid rocker not unlike 'Locomotive Breath' with far less breath so.

Up to now I would have given only 2 stars, but the last three tracks are excellent :

'Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die' has all ingredients that makes Tull's fame,a slow rocker with a great melody and good arrangements for string and brass! 'Pied Piper' announces already 'Songs From The Wood' a great folk ballad, withe a nice secondary theme introduced by the E-piano and at last 'The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)' another delicate theme arranged for E-piano and strings.

A Tull record with some excellent tracks but unfortunately a majority of unsignificant tracks.

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Send comments to Alucard (BETA) | Report this review (#79798)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars OOOOOPS, one of the most unpleasent albums from them. Corect me if i'm wrong but this album is 3 stars with indulgence. You have to have a good mood to listen at once. Not enterely bad, but to acustic, sounds like some irish rock ballads when you stay on a beer in a bar. If whole the album sound like Quizz kid maybe there was some stars to add to the album. The first piece along with Big dipper the best from here. Is sad for me to put 3 stars to such a band , when some works of Jethro Tull are 4 and 5 stars. The improvement take wings on the next relese Songs from the wood witch is 100% better than this one.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#84529)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If I remember correctly this was the first JT-album I've ever got listened to. It must have been 1976 or 1977, just shortly after its release. I've to admit that it sounded quite fine to me (as a 16-year old lad) that time but of course I didn't have any measure since haven't yet listened to their masterpieces like "Thick As A Brick" or "A Passion Play". Retrospectively I've to agree to the common opinion that this album had been by far their weakest one during the 70's and actually I only keep it in my collection for memorial reasons and I don't know after how many years (or decades) I've listened to it again just recently. Most of the songs were immediately easy to memorize for me what's just another good proof for their straight forward character. This goes for "Quizz Kid", "Crazed Institution", "Taxi Grab" (for sure the worst one), "Big Dipper", "Pied Piper" and the title song. Most of them are more in an acoustic vein and actually quite nice ones but really nothing spectacular. Nonetheless some as the title track and "The Chequered Flag" have a nice symphonic touch though the latter one sounds rather soppy I've to say. "From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser" (nice violin and sax play) and "Salamander" are most probably still the best ones. Overall this album is a pretty redundant one from their huge discography and worth not more than 2 1 /2 stars. Just warm memories to younger years let me round up my rating generously to 3! Still fairly good but for sure not an essential addition to any collection!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#99510)
Posted Sunday, November 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The initial project was to set up a musical out of this work. Ray's story (the main character) is the one of a retired rock star who wins in a quiz show. His perception of the world is such though that he decides to commit suicide, but fails. Instead, he enters into a coma for quite some time. Finally, he recovers and by then it seemed that the the enviornment had changed : people loved his music again and younsters dressed like him.

It is of course absolutely not autobiographical (since Ian was only thirty-one at that time). About "Too Old" Ian will say, I quote : "It was to illustrate how the style of music may go out of popularity with every other fashion, but he (Ray) is determined that if he sticks to it, everything comes back around and the style will rise again".

"Quizz Kid" opens the album very nicely. Like in most concept albums, there will be a theme that will come back later on in the album (in this particular case in the title track). This intro lasts for about one minute then the song starts little by little to accelerate and to rock quite frankly. It is one of the best song : I quite like this mix of acoustic and electric, almost hard rocking tune.

"Crazed Institution" is a folk accoustic ballad : not worse than several other ones the Tull has produced in its early days. "Join the crazed institution of the stars. Be the man that you think (know) you really are".

The accoustic intro for "Salamander" is very nice, (it reminds me at time "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" from Led Zep (III) but less powerful. A very good track, definitely. "Taxi Grab" is a heavy blues oriented song. Quite dispensible.

"From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser" is a very slow paced accoustic song full of emotion and very melodious. A romantic piece of moment to bring you relaxation and tranquility. I really like this song a lot.

"Bad-Eyed 'N' Loveless" is the second bluesy song of the album, and like the first one it would have been better to skip this one from the track list (but I guess they had nothing else to propose). It is very similar to what the Tull produced in their debut album "This Was". Below average, really. "Big Dipper" is a more classic Tull song : good rythm, tempo changes. A bit more complex than most of the other numbers. One of the best as well.

Generally, this whole work lacks in great moments (those ones will be very scarce on this effort). This was a deception for me.

The title track is the best of the album. The video clip for it was quite fun. The orchestra, though, is a bit too invading (useless I would say). "Pied Piper" is a fresh, countryside (?) track (whatever this may mean) but again, strings are toooooo much (this feeling was already noticed on the album "War Child").

The closing number "The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)" is another very nice folk- accoustic song. Beautiful melody, good violin : it is a bit similar to the previous "From a Dead Beat...". Very good way to close the album.

The remastered version contains two bonus tracks of which "A Small Cigar" highlights Ian 's crystal clear voice. A great vocal effort and a very pleasant song (this shows that they wanted indeed to make a musical out of it. It is very typical of these types of projects). "Strip Cartoon" is a bit similar to "Pied Piper" and could have fit on the original album.

"Too Old ..." is definitely not a Tull masterpice (I would say five out of ten). I will round it up to three stars for the remastered version.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#108149)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars (Too Old for a 3.5)

So...what was the greatest joint project of misters I. Anderson and D. Palmer? Was it "Sweet Dream?" "Rainbow Blues?" That awkward moment they shared in the men's bathroom of the Marquee Club? Nope, it was "Elegy." But a close second is probably Too Old to Rock 'n Roll, Too Young to Die. This is the album where most diehard Tullers say words to the effect of, "It's a weak effort," or, "It's really not that good." Well, I have something to say too.

First off, it's not fair to take a little album that's maybe not as directly strong as some other albums, and label it the weakest album of the decade. And secondly, IT'S WARCHILD! WARCHILD IS THE WEAKEST ALBUM OF THE 70'S! IT'S WAR-GAH! (sounds of a struggle)

Sorry about that. Honestly though, I don't see why the album takes the beating it does. Some say that it's not as artsy as previous efforts. Uh, okay, but you do realize that it's a rock OPERA, right? At least, it's a play or something. It seems to be about some old rocker who wore his hair too long. He also looks a lot like Ian (or maybe Aqualung!). Just read the title to get some idea of the social commentary; and that name alone should earn some respect for the album. Who else would be gutsy enough to make an album called that? Not even Emerson, Lake and Palmer, I tells ya! Only the Who would have had such a self-destructive sense of fun.

Others say it's too rock 'n rolly, not enough of that sweet, sweet Tull sound. I dunno. There's plenty of flute in it, right? We diehards are supposed to love that. Okay, there's a fair dose of straight rock, but there's also blues rock, jazz ballads and medieval acoustics. And of course, everything has an orchestral backing; not just tasteful string arrangements, but a full blown orchestra. Horns 'n crap (making this the truest "symphonic rock" record since Days of Future Passed). Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, it's the old familiar "Tull sound."

Now, the one thing that really does drag down the rating is the feel. This album lacks energy (it always seemed to me). Why? I can't say. Maybe it's because it's not a REAL Tull album per se, since it's more like a soundtrack to the stage play. But I suspect that it's more due to the recent departure of one Jeffery Hammond-Hammond, whose stunning basslines are forever missed. So is his out of control humor, and I think the band suffers.

Anyway, the songs. We start out strong with the goofy rocker "Quizz Kid." As well as not being spelled correctly, it has a great little opening, with foreshadowing of the title tune and medieval percussion (later used on "Weathercock").

"Crazed Institution" is an equally goofy rocker, which nevertheless has a stately sounding chorus (dig the organ). Both tracks happen to be fairly lush. "Salamander," on the other hand, is a fast, all acoustic number, equally good. Sounds a bit like the opening to "Cold Wind to Valhalla," played for speed rather than atmosphere. It has a great flute driven instrumental ending.

But my two favorite songs are the next pair. "Taxi Grab," which used to be my absolute favorite, digs all the way back to the psycho-blooz of This Was. It's loud (best guitar on the album), it's good fun, and the orchestra meshes with the band perfectly. But the crown jewel is "From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser." It's a slow, quiet ballad with beautiful undertones, mostly via the violin (not to mention the late nite sax via the David Palmer). It's not quite as good as "Skating Away," but it's that same simple, sad vibe.

Now, it's a bad sign when the second side opens with "Bad-Eyed and Loveless," a dull ballad foreshadowing things like "White Innocence" in more than name. Oh well, at least it's short.

Still, nothing on the second side quite lives up to the first. "Big Dipper" is a kinda filler rock number, the only song that really deserves any of the ire flung at the album (in the conceptually sense, it's not particularly annoying or anything. In fact, I rather like the vocals on that one). The title tune, which I won't bother to keep spelling out, is a little overlong for me. Time has brought out the upsides to it though. It's got a fairly pained, depressing riff that's kinda cool. It's a little over the top what with the orchestration, but that saves the song from being really sad (particularly the boogie- woogie bit, that reverts back to that bombastic riff). And I just used "kinda" twice in a paragraph.

Anyway, the last two songs provide a pleasant exit from the album. "Pied Piper" is an acoustic flavored rocker with a great opening and eerie chorus. As for the orchestral ballad "The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)," the presentation is, once again, a little too over the top for my tastes, but the tune itself is gorgeous.

So, the album flows well. The musicianship is tight and professional, if not outstanding. Almost everything on it is good, if not "jump outta yer seat rock-a-tude" good. And it's not as samey as it seems. It's just that the band is missing something (Uh...Jeffrey? I'm just sayin'!), so you have to dig a little to get the meat inside it. But, come on! This is progressive music! If you didn't have to dig a little, you'd be insulted!

(Now, as is often with the case of albums I like a lot but can't quite give the higher rating to, I make it up with the remaster! Surely Too Olde will be no different, right? Uh, not quite. The acoustic "A Small Cigar" is amusing lyrically (actually, quite amusing), but a little lackluster in its delivery, perhaps because it's a little longer than your standard "Cheap Day Return" fair. But the, utterly charming rocker "Strip Cartoon" is toe tappin' fun, in a blatting organ/string quartet sorta way. Unfortunately, I can't raise the rating for one song. Sorry Too Olde diehard fans...oh, wait, you don't exist...)

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#114123)
Posted Saturday, March 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not really a bad album as such, but you have to like it to appreciate it, and i don't particularly like it.

The main thing I miss on this album is Jeffrey Hamond Hamond Hammond, always loved his bass playing and often his playing was a highlight for me, another thing is a little repititiveness that I encounter, coppying elements from earlier albums, and when expanding in new territory they never reach for the stars but stay in safe territory.

Not really much to say about the album really, generally it's pretty soft, focussing on accoustic guitars and folkish melody's, often reminiscent of songs like Wond'ring Aloud, and assorted earlier Tull songs.

Not all bad, but basically only Tull Fans will enjoy this album really, if not such a fan, steer clear until you are.

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Send comments to tuxon (BETA) | Report this review (#123034)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars THE GREAT MALIGNED JETHRO TULL ALBUM!

This is the album critics and some fans like to put down as the first misstep in the JETHRO TULL collection. I have some news for you. It ain't!!! This is a WONDERFUL album, WONDERFUL music to my ears since the first day i bought it back then in 1976. I never got tired of it, loves ALL 10 featured songs .And quite frankly, i never understood the constant beating this album is getting, even from some JT fans.

I have to admit, even if i am a JETHRO TULL fan, i am not your regular next door fan. I barely listen these days to AQUALUNG, TAAB or great acknowledged JT releases such as SONGS FROM THE WOOD. The 4 albums that get a constant listening in my audio-system are this one, STORMWATCH, BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST and TIME WAS. Don't call a mental institution yet, please but frankly who can listen one more time to LOCOMOTIVE BREATH??

The sound of TOO OLD TO ROCK N ROLL is more streamlined than its predecessors, not too many prog elements in it. But i never really considered JETHRO TULL as a pure prog band. This is a band that put some prog elements in its music the same way they use classical or jazz music or old folkloric british traditional sounds. We have usually the nice acoustic songs, sweet ballads and some hard rockers. There are no suite, not too many time changes, no mayhem.

Maybe this is the polished sound and straight compositions that put some fans off,but one thing for sure , all the songs are great! You find a few hard rockers like QUIZZ KID, TAXI GRAB or BIG DIPPER with MARTIN BARRE at the helmet who plays on his turf. I never considered as a prog guitarist, he is more than that, he can play everything, but he is definitely a rocker, and a mean one at that! he loves his riffs and he loves them hard!

What is not to love with the beautiful acoustic piece SALAMANDER with its long guitar intro until the haunting voice of ANDERSON enters? magical! and what about the title track?TOO OLD TO RnR? A great guitar theme, a gorgeous memorable melody and wonderful string arrangements from once again DAVID PALMER! a real treat!!

And don't get me started on those magnificent ballads!! Just listen to FROM A DEAD BEATand the CHEQUERED FLAG!! simply gorgeous, nice melodies , lush arrangements and goosebumps guaranteed (at least for me). IAN ANDERSON can be so moving sometimes, especially on the last track. Listen also to PIED PIPER; a typical JT song half medieval sounding, half acoustic with a wonderful vocal performance from IAN.

There are 2 bonus tracks added to the new remastered CD version, but what a pair, especially the acoustic A SMALL CIGAR which might feature maybe, the best ANDERSON vocal prowess ...ever!!!amazing!

No this is not a complicated album!What you're getting are simple straighforward rock songs , lush ballads and some typical ANDERSON acoustic stuff, but you know what!! Music doesn't have necessarily to be complicated in order to be good. There are good songs on this album, ALL of them, all with melodies you can remember and whistle when walking outside. Always a pleasure for me to listen to this album, and believe me, i don't feel guilty about it.

4 STARS!

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#134706)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!" is a horrible title. The cover is awful, too. The concept (the story line, if there's any) could be fine, but it smells a little bit pathetic.

And the music is great.

Not as good as Tull's finest moments,though. That places "Too Old..." in the crowd with 95% of music of this planet, which is not as good as Tull's finest moments.

Okay, it's obvious: I like Tull a lot. Therefore, may expectations were set v e r y high for an album from the 70's by The Tramp. And I was not disappointed at all. Which makes this album - great.

This is not the sweetest cake for an average Tull listener; the majority of JETHRO TULL fans are (I might be very wrong here) progressive rock fans and therefore they were probably disappointed with this one to some extent - there are no musical bravurosities or some hand-scratching complexities. On the other hand, who else is fan of Tull? A now gray-haired rockers, the crowd who loved (and still loves) basic rock 'n' roll, THE ROLLING STONES, mainstream rock of the seventies, THE EAGLES, AMERICA, you name it. For that kind of crowd this album is too soft and introspective. (Please note that these, very much improvised observations of mine are very limited, formulaic, and I dare say narrow-minded, but perhaps I'm not wrong in the overall picture.) I remember my best friend's father saying that his generation and him (born in the early 50's) never like DAVID BOWIE too much because he was too "soft"..oh well.

Who could appreciate this album then? A fans of NICK DRAKE perhaps? But I am generalising too much now; every individual taste is a very complex thing, as we all know.

What I'm trying to figure out is - why this album is so maligned? It contains that essential "tullness" that all Tull fans love (I guess). It's quite folky, not in a vein of some other Tull albums, there's no Bert Jansch or John Renbourn, nor jigs. No. But Ian's voice is here, still untouched, witty lyrics, and some great guitar moments. And much more.

There is not a single weak song that I can point out. All right, the title song, but not because the song itself is bad, it's simply overplayed (in my history of musical listening) with various compilations and live records. I still think this studio version is the best so far. And the promo video is funny.

This is a MATURE album. The sound inclines towards mainstream rock/AOR (of the seventies) which is not bad thing at all, and yet all the songs are carrying that instantly recognisable Anderson's signature (I'm not talking about his voic and flute here).

Melodies are gorgeous. "Salamander" contains the same acoustic guitar background as "Cold Wind To Valhalla" and you know what? It doesn't bother me at all. This one works great. In a different way, but great. Haters will probably accuse "Taxi Grab" and "Quizz Kid" as being hermetic - but they're excellent songs, just not adventurous as we are get used to expect from Tull. "Pied Pipier" is brilliant, with a touch of Celtic. "The Chequered Flag" is probably one of the most beautiful songs from the band's catalogue, and that's something. For orientation, try to imagine LED ZEPPELIN's "The Rain Song" that is even more dreamy and autumny.

This is not a prog album. To the hell with that. This is simply music, music filled with emotions, and music that evokes emotions in me while I'm singing along my crappy stereo cassette player in my car. It deserves very high rating; it's only curse is that we know better from Tull. Everything, as I stated on the beginning, the cover, the horrible title implies that this is a sub-par product from the band. Well, it is not.

Four star from this sentimental fool.

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Send comments to clarke2001 (BETA) | Report this review (#145785)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars Being the last of the shaky trio of albums in the middle of the '70s (War Child, Minstrel In The Gallery and this one), this is a release that leaves a lot to be desired. As I yet have to find a truly bad Jethro Tull album, this is the closest I've come so far. 'Identity crisis' could be an apt title for it. Perhaps not for the band, but at least for Ian Anderson. The general feeling you get from listening to it is lack of focus, songs that lacks ideas and just pure dullness.

One of the main reasons for me loving Tull is a defining tension and a touch of jester-like madness that seems to unite all the different periods and incantations of the band. None of that is present here. Just something tired and watered-down, uninspired and bland.

The arrangements are mostly acoustic, with a lot of orchestral touches that unfortunately don't add much. Musically, Too Old is mostly a blues/rock (and hints of the folk very present in the past and future of the band's work) album without energy, and one without surprises. Standard structures and mid-tempo ad nauseam. A mostly contemplative Ian taking care of the vocals, a mostly quietly noodling Martin Barre. It doesn't sound like much of a treat, right? And no, it isn't.

But somehow they get away with it, as nothing is offensive or appalling. Perhaps the safe ground Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young Too Die! offered was a key in gathering the energy and inspiration necessary for the next bunch of masterly albums in the vast discography. The melodies are all very nice, sometimes catchy, and I often have this album playing in the background while busy with something else. The additions of orchestra, piano and a surprisingly understated flute is just what you need to be stimulated and relaxed enough to get through those everyday routines.

Another transitional album from the boys. Unfortunately this is the lesser of the lesser. 2 stars.

//LinusW

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Send comments to LinusW (BETA) | Report this review (#168415)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars That rock opera that didn't really work

And I'm sure the title didn't help. Although we all know how unfortunate the title was, given the times and the punk bands calling all the old prog greats ''dinosaur bands''. But the title has nothing to do with the music, of course. Well, maybe not, but it does seem to describe the music pretty well. The album is often described as the most acoustic Tull album and that isn't far from wrong, but it does have a lot of electrics on it still. This is a much heavier album than I expected when I first picked it up after reading a lot of reviews for it, somewhat lighter than Tull would become in later years, but fairly familiar to WarChild in terms of sound and general heaviness.

Unfortunately it's the Too Old... part of the title which shines through the most. Don't call shenanigans on me just yet though! I'm very much aware that the boys were still quite young at the time of recording this album, but it seems like they were much older. Maybe it was pressure from the surrounding music industry but the album, on the whole, sounds like the band is rather tired and worn out. Not to say that the album is 'lackluster' but it does sound a lot less energetic than the Tull we're used to in this era of their music. Not much of the songs standout among each other because they're not wildly different from one song to the next. I suppose this may have been the intention a bit since it is a rock opera dealing with one story. Not that I care to get into that in this review, but I'll say that the story does add a bit to the enjoyment of the album rather than detracting from it.

However, all bad things said, this is still a good album. A couple of the songs that do really stand out are a couple of very good Tull tunes indeed. Take for example the strong acoustic Salamander which smells quite strongly of Cold Wind To Valhalla in it's delivery. Not a bad thing of course, since that was a fantastic song and following it loosely is quite nice. The opening Quiz Kid is also quite strong and heavy with a lot of bombast left to boot. The title track, Too Old To Rock 'N Roll: Too Young To Die, is a great tune from the band exemplifying why a soft chorus can work well in a more hard rocking song.

Other songs on the album are alright as well, ranging from hard rock to soft acoustic. A nice bit of harmonica on the often unappreciated Taxi Grab makes for some fun times and a hard rocker. The softer songs unfortunately don't have quite as good a fit on here with songs like From A Deadbeat To An Old Greaser and Bad-Eyed And Loveless acting as more emotional moments that perhaps don't play out quite as effectively as they could have. A touch on the quiet and melancholic side than seems to suit the mood of the album - which judging by the comic on the inner sleeve and the manly fist pump on the outer should play off as more of a fun and album ridiculous concept. Which it is, in a good way - most of the time.

This album is good. It's fun at times and slow at others but that really shouldn't stop the die hard Tull fans who will enjoy this on quite a bit. As for everyone else, it's not essential, but it's worth the listen. If you liked WarChild you'll likely enjoy this one, but if you're looking for another Thick As A Brick then you should look elsewhere. Luckily Tull would really pick up their game after this one, and this one is going to walk away with 2.5 taxis grabbed out of 5. Not bad, but not as amazing as the other stuff we know from this group.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#173870)
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Right album, wrong timing...

I´ve always thought that if Too Old To... was released an year after, it would receive much more praising than the year before. If it reached the stores at the time of the punk rock movement, it certainly would find a more inviting musical enviroment for this kind of simpler music. A bit like Pink Floyd´s very well placed Animals.

Not that this album is fantastic. The mixing is poor, at least it was originally poor (I don´t know if the remastered version was perfect, but surely it could not be worse). The songs are not that great if you compare with their marvelous earlier works like Thick As A Brick or Aqualung, but it is not bad either. Only different. It has some fine melodies and an interesting story. And the original LP artwork and cartoons were excellent!

Not a good album for starters, but if you have all the classics and want to know this other side of the band (more rockier and less elaborated than prog folk), you should give it a try. Rating: between 2 and 2,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#174289)
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Too old for Thick As A Brick, too young for Stormwatch

With the exception of the excellent Minstrel In The Gallery, I sometimes feel inclined to say that the post-Thick As A Brick, pre-Heavy Horses period (roughly 1973 to 1977) is a relatively weak period in Jethro Tull's long and impressive career. A better way to put it is perhaps to say that the band's generally very strong 70's output had two major peaks, the first peak was with Aqualung and Thick As A Brick in the early 70's, and the second peak was with Heavy Horses and Stormwatch in the late 70's (with Minstrel In The Gallery constituting a minor peak between the two major peaks). In between the peaks, there are some generally good, but relatively weaker albums like A Passion Play, War Child, and the present one. 1977's Songs From The Wood showed a lot of promise and indicated that Jethro Tull were once again on the rise, but on this 1976 album they still produced some good, but less memorable material. Also, while Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses, and Stormwatch would further and develop the band's sound, the present album does not take things anywhere beyond what they had already done in the past. As such, Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die! is a somewhat backward-looking album presented by a temporarily stagnant Jethro Tull. They even reverted to the good old harmonica-infected Blues Rock on a couple of songs here - a style they had (wisely!) abandoned in the late 60's.

I still prefer the present album over the uneven War Child and also over the early Blues Rock albums from the 60's, but compared to greats such as Thick As A Brick, Stormwatch, and the previous Minstrel In The Gallery, this is rather lame. The only stand out track is the title track, but even that one pales in comparison with the best songs from other 70's albums. The rest of the tracks are pleasant enough but, as I said, not too memorable. I have given this album several chances and it did grow on me somewhat over time, but it is not more than merely good which seems to be the general consensus regarding this album.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177291)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars In mid 70's Ian Anderson wanted to do a movie. First attempt was Warchild (failed) and the second was Too Old To Rock and Roll Too Young To Die (and failed again). Too Old To Rock And Roll turned into a musical that was shown on TV and it was performance based on this album. I don't get why some people dislike this release. Maybe the production isn't so good but songs are not bad really. Too Old To Rock And Roll is a concept album but this time only lyrics play that role. Putting this short, it's a story about old rocker who is living in the past and one day he decides to kill himself riding his bike. But he survives being in coma for some time then awakes and it seems like 'old fashioned' times are back. Musically this album has many flavours. Quizz Kid is good hard rock song. Really strong kick in ass. Crazed Institution a bit lighter but still rock. I think Ian had still many good ideas to write an album that was different from his previous releases. But of course it's still Jethro Tull style. Just put in some loose way. Taxi Grab is blues rock song. Let me see the first blues since Aqualung album? I really like this one but it's not the only one blues songs on this release. Bad Eyed and Loveless is bluesy as well. From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser is kind of ballad with saxophone part and it's pretty good. Big Dipper is a little hard rock tune (yeah!) and Pied Piper is filled with that typical Tull's folk magic. It's not far from what band did on the next album. That's why I think people who dislike this release in fact dislike this story. Cos musically it's still Jethro Tull. I love this Pied Piper tune. Pure folk. Too Old To Rock And Roll To Young To Die... mighty rock song with orchestral arrangement. It's beautiful, a bit sad and bombastic. "The old Rocker wore his hair too long, wore his trouser cuffs too tight. Unfashionable to the end drank his ale too light". This fragment also opened whole album (first verses of Quizz Kid) so it's familiar and we know we listen to concept album even though you won't link musically parts like Salamander and Taxi Grab. It's something completely different. The Chequered Flag closes this album. Good song for the end. A little monumental and subtle. I really like this release. Maybe not the best JT album but still good enough for 4 stars.

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Send comments to LSDisease (BETA) | Report this review (#212268)
Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Firstly conceived by Ian Anderson as a rock-opera set in the mould of a Broadway musical, "Too Old To Rock'n'Roll, Too Young To Die" ended up eventually as yet another Jethro Tull rock stravaganza with a visual extension amply based on theatrics and humor. In the end, after the sort of ultra-dynamic show that the band engaged in from the "Thick As a Brick" days onward, it was business as usual for the JT boys. The thing that becomes more evident from listening to this album is that the band (now incorporating bassist John Glascock as new member) has consciously moved a tad away from the featured art-rock standards that had shaped their albums after 1970, and now the dominant song structures and arrangements become more akin to grandiose pop-rock and mainstream hard rock than to anything related to the sophisticated realms of progressive rock. As much as it is partially valid for many JT fans to look down upon this album because of that, the ultimate fact remains that the material is well accomplished, properly embellished with string and brass arrangements according to the album's original concept, and what's more important, it showcases one more time the individual talents of each musician. One uncommon thing is the subdued role assumed by John Evan, restricting himself to grand and electric pianos - his arsenal doesn't include any input on organ or synthesizer (or accordion or whatever); what's more, his interventions are recurrently melded into the orchestral washes when not relatively buried under Barre's guitar riffs and solos. All things considered, the "TOTRNR" album is not a departure from the essential JT sound but a momentary refurbishment that has to be understood and perceived with a certain knowledge of Anderson's artistic goal for that particular moment. Now, let's go to the tracklist itself. 'Whizz Kid' sets the starting point for the album with its catchy rocking drive, preceded by a brief prelude that anticipates a min motif from the title track. A convenient tempo shift into a solemn section brings an inspired variation before the last chorus. 'Crazed Institution' follows a similar mood of rocking catchiness and effective drive, although with a major presence of orchestral ornaments and a bit less energy. 'Salamander' sounds like a younger sister of the acoustic fractions of 'Cold Wind To Valhalla'; this is not the only "Minstrel in teh Gallery" connection, since the other acoustic ballad 'Bad Eyed and Loveless' bears a similar feel to that lovely ballad entitled 'Requiem', only with a more pronounced cynicism. 'Taxi Grab' and 'Big Dipper' are more related to the sort of partially constrained hard rock pieces that we find in albums such as "Benefit" and "Aqualung", although here they sound more polished due to the album?s overall framework. 'From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser' manages to reveal that vulnerable side of Mr. Anderson quite candidly, providing some crepuscular moods in perfect accord with the decadent characters portrayed in the lyrics: I wonder if Anderson and David Palmer couldn't come up with more powerful arrangements for this track, but the idea of introducing a melancholic sax solo in the interlude fits nicely. My own personal imagination of more powerful arrangements comes from how much I enjoy the album's closer 'The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)', one of the most beautiful ballads ever penned by Ian Anderson - its epic Broadway style wrapping is tastefully accomplished, something that some may regard as corny but I consider just moving. My other two favorite tracks from this album are the namesake song and 'Pied Piper'. 'Too Old To Rock?n?Roll, Too Young To Die' is simply a stunning song: Barre's licks are memorable, Palmer's arrangements are solidly elegant and the overall feel is seamlessly coherent. 'Pied Piper' is the most "typically Tullish" song in the album, with a well-ordained combination of acoustic folk-rock and Celtic colors: after all, this album was made between the "Minstrel" and the "Wood" albums, so one song or two had to reflect the band's era, right? Those who have the CD version with bonus tracks are in for a treat: these two bonuses are greater than most of the originally listed songs. 'A Small Cigar' is a touching acoustic ballad in which Evan's featured piano eventually manages to solidify the overall ambience. 'Strip Cartoon' is related to 'Pied Piper', and while not being as brilliant, it sure would have significantly influenced in the album's general quality had it been included in the vinyl edition. Well, none of these tracks was, but still "TOTRNR, TYTD" remains a very good album by JT, not a letdown, not a mediocre opus, just a very good rock album by a band that usually transcends the boundaries of what is expected from rock (and folk and blues, etc...).

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#216498)
Posted Monday, May 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I believe this album to have been unrightfully bashed from time to time.

Sure, it's not the strongest of Tull albums, but it's not bad either. Just different. When you come to think of it, no other album in Tull's catalogue sound like this offering. The album is quite mellow, with a few more rocking tracks. A lot of acoustic guitar, some orchestral arrangements, a little less flute than normally. This is also the last album where Ian's voice is top notch. It would soon become a bit more rough.

There are a number of songs on this album that are quite bland and uninteresting, and makes the album a bit boring. These unfortunately make the album hard to listen all through, which you really should do since it's supposed to be a musical, and that it contains a story. On the plus side, some of the songs on this album is really 5 star efforts. Not because of their originality, but beacause they are simply wonderful melodies. These include the title track, Pied Piper and Dead or Alive. Other nice tracks are Crazed Institution and Salamander. The remastered version also includes the songs, A Small Cigar and Strip Cartoon. Both are quite lovely, and are a nice addition to the album, although not fitting into the storyline. A Small Cigar has one of my all time favourite Ian Anderson lyrics.

3.5 stars to this album. Rounded down to 3.

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Send comments to Malex (BETA) | Report this review (#218011)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!' is not the best album of Jethro Tull. Maybe 'Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!' is one of the more Rock albums by Tull!

Certainly with 'Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!' Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson give birth to a good Rock album with excellent Folk arrangements, not hard and, at the same time, not melodic, looking carefully at the POP even though with Hard Rock songs! The power of this album (and the magic of this album) is all in my sentence. But sure 'Too Old To Rock'n'Roll: Too Young To Die!' is not a simple transition from the album between Prog and Heavy Folk Rock to pure Rock. Because proper the elaborates (and not invadent) Folk arrangements are the winning element. Element that allowed the songs to be aging extreme well with a true traditional Prog soul. And if you listen to in attentive way this album (I love title track, for example) you will understand what I meant.

In this album can be felt all the magic and the desire to play with poetry which is always Ian Anderson and the other musicians involved. 'Too Old To Rock'n'Roll: Too Young To Die!' is a work of a mature band and a sincere album. Certainly not for Tull's newbies but certainly in pure Tull tradition.

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Send comments to 1967/ 1976 (BETA) | Report this review (#221869)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Oh my dear goddess, this is way too underrated (and I even do know why). Yes, having good cover is nice, but I love this (as I am fond of comic a little bit). I even like the title, which brings up the question of mortality (favourite line of my father). And story ? Not so worse than in case of "Thick as a Brick", right ?

Perfect example of prog folk, mature, very playful and offering far more than you can get on first listen. Maybe someone can be awed by presence of so much of symphonic (literally, there's an orchestra). And if you are amongst these who managed to see Too Old To R'n'R, Too Young To Die as musical video, count yourself lucky. It's a very good one, presenting whole record. Musically, this one is one of the best singles from JT I've witnessed. Uncompromisingly truthful, so sad and emotional, still concluding in man's victory over mortality.

As somebody pointed out on forum, this is not like old JT work. It's different, but this doesn't necessarily means bad. This is opposite of bad (actually, opposite of worst), because maybe it's not best at all (I like Aqualung more), but can be rated next to these, really.

5(-) of course, Ian's voice (which I admire a lot) helps this lot, but this can apply to their every record. This is underdog, hated, or at least overlooked by most, but for few of us there, it is masterpiece. It should be.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#250766)
Posted Sunday, November 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After ignoring this album for a good 20 years, I wasn't all that disappointed when I gave it a try a few years ago. Basically it suffers from the typical ultra-dry sound and weary performance that also Aqualung and Minstrel suffered from, but some songs are actually reasonably good. Laidback and acoustic but more intense then I had expected.

Well let's not get carried away, this does not compare to any of their first 6 albums, but maligned as it is, I can't see why this would be worse then War Child or Minstrel. Quizz Kid opens nicely. It's an innocent and unobtrusive little track at first, but it has good melodies, it is very playful and inspired. Crazed Institution is a regular Tull song, not very remarkable but on par with the weaker songs on Aqualung.

Salamander is really enjoyable though, great acoustic guitar from Anderson and with some nice dramatic twists in Anderson's vocal melodies. Taxi Grab doesn't grab me at all though, I'll take the next cab thank you.

From A Dead Beat is mellow song with a slight melancholic mood. Again, not bad at all. Bad-Eyed even registers as a true great one, short as it is, it has nevertheless a very inspired vocal and is a gripping moment overall. The title track is quite fun as well, similar to songs like Skating Away and War Child. The two closing tracks end the album in suitable fashion.

In short, good moments aplenty, but they don't add up to anything above 3 stars. Still, I would advise to listen with an open mind and who knows, after just a few spins, this album might charm you as well.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#253570)
Posted Monday, November 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars I must admit. When this album was first released, I was one of those who bought it, listened to it a few times, and filed it away in the record collection, rarely to listen to it again. Maybe my tasets have matured, but while it's dtill not one of my favorites, I do enjoy listening to it once in a while.

There are some very good songs on this album (although none are five star material to me). The title track, Crazed Institution, Big Dipper and Quizz Kid all spark my interest. On the flip side, From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser and The Chequered Flag (Dead Or Alive) are about as maudlin as any Tull songs.

And if Ian Anderson didn't want people to think he wrote the concept album about himself, pehaps he should have instructed the artist who drew the comic strip in the sleeve to not make it look like him.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#275622)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I became very intrigued by this album after hearing the magnificent title-track on a Jethro Tull compilation disc. But a few minutes of research adviced me against picking up the entire album for my collection. It was only a few years later, in 2004, that I once again fell in love with the track after seeing the even more impressive music video! There was just no way I could avoid this purchase now and so I became a proud owner of my very own copy of Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!

My initial response to what I heard wasn't all that enthusiastic. Fortunately there were quite a few strong moments that kept up my ambition to dig deeper and so this material slowly but steadily began to grow on me. My journey with this album began at the level only slightly above A Passion Play but only a few spins later revealed qualities that took it beyond War Child bringing it almost to the same level as Stand Up! This means that Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die! doesn't really reach to the realms occupied by Aqualung and Thick As A Brick but considering my critical approach to their music anything rated 3 star or above is still well worth investigating!

The weakest moments of this album come in the shape of Taxi Grab, which is just dull, and Bad-Eyed And Loveless that puts Jethro Tull a few steps back in their development by offering a pure blues number. Luckily the title-track, Quizz Kid and the very impressive two-track outro makes up for those drops in quality making this release a mix bag covered with sparkle dust!

***** star songs: Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die (5:42)

**** star songs: Quizz Kid (5:10) Crazed Institution (4:48) From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser (4:08) Pied Piper (4:35) The Chequered Flag (Dead Or Alive) (5:24)

*** star songs: Salamander (2:52) Big Dipper (3:38)

** star songs: Taxi Grab (3:56) Bad-Eyed And Loveless (2:12)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#287084)
Posted Friday, June 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album, while flawed, is not as bad as some would have you believe! There are some moments of inspiration that make you remember that this is the band that recorded Thick as a brick and Passion play, but these are quite few. I do like the title track, but it does tend to feel a bit to long and the same is true for a lot of the other songs which start out alright but get very repetitive. Crazed institution is one of these and so is Taxi Grab. Salamander is probably the best tune here.

The story that runs through the album is quite interesting and it's done with a bit of humour as it's supposed to be autobiographical. Some of their critics thought they had reached their peak and were now 'Too old to rock an roll'. And looking back on it, I guess they already had reached their peak because after this their album would never again be quite as good as the ones that had gone before. So maybe they weren't to too old in a physical sense (Ian was still only 28 when this was recorded) but just in a metaphorical one if that makes sense?

I'd just like to point out that the band were still to reach their peak in a live context and the following years were some of their best touring days (as can be seen on the live DVD of the Madison Square Garden gig in 1978).

You shouldn't get this until you've got at least all the albums that came before it because it might put you off buying more JT albums which wouldn't be good at all.

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Send comments to Tull Freak 94 (BETA) | Report this review (#290844)
Posted Sunday, July 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another controversial album by JT. Where Warchild and Minstrel held up, this album indeeds strays into newer territory. Perhaps too early for more widely accepted albums like Songs from The Wood and Heavy Horses. The irony is times were a-changing yet those albums defied the whole punk scene revolution and held up well. Yes too early before notable damning of progressive music and listeners expected much more." Quiz Kid" is largely the usual JT formula. " Salamander" is a great song not disimilar to Roy Harper ( Also on Prog Folk) and a collaborator with Ian Anderson too. Lovely rythm and flute exchanges. Some nice jazzy sax on " From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser", unfortunately the lyrics don't convince too well and are arguably slanderous. The well known title track is definitely one of the highlights. Overall a good album. The only down side it is very hard to take too seriously becuase of the lyrics which constantly smack of Ian Anderson take the p*ss. Still a worthwhile three star rating.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#295235)
Posted Thursday, August 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is NOT a bad album! It may not be AQUALUNG of THICK AS A BRICK, but I enjoy it much more than the weak WARCHILD or the confusing PASSION PLAY. It has some great rocking tracks such as "Quiz Kid", and "Big Dipper", as well as the classic bluesy rip-snortin' "Taxi Grab". Also solid tracks are "Crazed Institution", "From a Deadbeat to an Old Greaser", "Big Dipper", and "Chequered Flag". For myself, the only stinkers on here are "Salamander" which is "Cold Wind to Valhalla" part 2, and "Bad Eyed and Loveless" which sinks like a boring stone. Ugly cover? Yep. Weak story? Yep. But the songs are what matters, and this album holds together very well. A good 4 star effort before Ian took on some more serious folk rock with the next few albums. (The remaster seems to have much better sound than the original and has 2 extra acceptbale songs, good but nothing too special).

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#296176)
Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a very good album with a nice intelligent concept, originally intended to be a rock musical. Many reviewers on this site don't appreciate this one much. I think it's because the music is not progressive enough. This album is much like "War Child" in the same respect (which I happen to think is a great album). Here, the band were again exploring some new ideas.

It all kicks off with the folk rocker "Quizz Kid" followed by "Crazed Institution" which are very good songs. One personal favourite is the quaint acoustic "Salamander". There's some bluesy flavour with "Taxi Grab". The music then turns a lot more laid back for a while with a couple of acoustic tracks."From A Deadbead To An Old Greaser" has the same dreamy, snoozy feel as "Requiem" or "White Duck On Your Wall" from the previous album. The sax touches here are quite lovely. "Bad Eyed And Loveless" is another great track with a slight bluesy feel. The following tracks are fairly average but all decent enough. One last highlight though is "The Chequered Flag" which closes the record perfectly.

Although this is not among my absolute favourite JT albums, I've always quite liked it. It's a bit tricky to come up with a rating. I'd say that it's not only good, but very good. I think that means three and a half stars. "Songs From The Wood" was to come after this, which is one of my all time favourites.

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#383556)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars About the only thing positive I can say about this album is the album cover. As a huge Tull fan this was the first major dissappointment for me from Tull. This is the Tull album that I have listened to the least but every so often I pull it out and dust it off from my record selves hoping that I will hear something new and different that I may have missed the first few times. But, sadly this album does not sound any better after all these years. Unless your a huge Tull fan like myself and need to hear every Tull album for yourself, I would definitely say you can pass on this album.

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Send comments to By--Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#402409)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die - 1976 (3.2/5) 10 ? Best Song: Too Old to?etc. Wow, one on side I'll piss off the critics who say Minstrel was a damn flop, and then I'll turn around and piss off the stalwart fans that seem to think Too Old to Rock and Roll is some massive turgid eruption of worthlessness. Are they that bent on disagreeing? Well, both critics and fans alike seem to hold an enmity for Too Old. I can see why. It was originally intended to be some sort of concept album that was shelved in favor of releasing a standard collection of tunes with the toaster leavin's of the concept hanging on as frail remnants. Truth is, though, I quite dig the remnants, sure I do. It's not as consistent or as powerful as Minstrel, but the melody that hides behind 'Quizz Kid' and rules the title track is golden to my ears. This is, however, where the band takes the melodic sense out of the equation, applies baseline jamming into a set of rhythms, then slaps on the melodic sense later on. There's less overt rocking out, too. The guitars thrive on their gothic, medieval flair. I like that Flair, he won the championship belt like 15 times, dude. 'Taxi Grab' has a firm electric hop, but like most of the songs, it rides on the groove, not the front-end melody, and too often do they tend to suck the life out of the record in favor of letting Ian Anderson's singing have the right-of-way. I'm alright with that, I truly am. I just wish more time was spent on refining the hooks ? damn that album a year bull[&*!#].

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#441645)
Posted Monday, May 02, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Tull's Eurovision album.

Seriously, the first thing I thought of when I heard the string- dominated slow-paced schlager which is the title track was the aforementioned pop song contest (The Chequered Flag manages to sound even more schlager-y). I must mention that I like pre-80s Eurovision (everyone has their guilty pleasures), so this is not a problem for me, but I'm guessing that it could put off many fans expecting some very 'progressive' sounds on this album, as there are almost none. The problems I have with the album, though, are neither the orchestrations (the occasional cheesiness of which actually fits the songs and the concept well) nor Ian's (already) decaying voice (also kind of contributing to the 'beat-up rocker' image of the main character), but the overall lack of inspiration in the songs presented. There are some quirky ideas, but they are overcome by the overall musical numbness. The production is 'War Child'-ish (with tape-delayed vocals throughout the album), which is also not a good thing at all. This albums' strong points, as is the case with the majority of Tull albums, are the witty, sardonic lyrics and the instrumental performance (despite there is almost no flute on this album, even less than on 'War Child'!), the latter being pretty wasted on the aforementioned general unimaginativeness of the songs ('Salamander', for example, features some wild acoustic guitar work from Ian, but the tune is just an inferior rework of 'Cold Wind To Valhalla' from 'Minstrel in the Gallery'). The songs I enjoy are the title track and 'Taxi Grab', with its quirky 'broken' blues feeling (and some harmonica!).

Similarly to what I said in my 'War Child' review, two stars, as fans will bother to look for those few interesting moments which make this album worth. I'd also recommend tracking down the (pre-recorded in the studio and mimed) staging of the album from early 1976, featured in the TV show 'Supersonic' (if not for anything else, then just for seeing Ian Anderson singing the title track with a beer mug in his hand).

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Send comments to Ludjak (BETA) | Report this review (#526896)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Like War Child before it, Too Old to Rock isn't an outright incompetent album - it just suffers from a scarcity of ideas and a feeling that the band are just blindly going through the motions. Those who particularly miss the more straight-ahead folk-rock of the group's early days might get some enjoyment out of some of the material here, but not as much if they just relistened to Stand Up or Benefit, and coming after as inventive and playful an album as Minstrel In the Gallery it's a major disappointment. The performances on the album sound subdued and unenthusiastic to my ears, suggesting that the band were taking at least the first part of the album title to heart.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#548182)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars What do I think of this album - well - "Quiz Kid" - starts off in a kind of a 60's pop music way before it fleshes out a bit. It's a take on the television quiz show thing with the usual Anderson sarcasm and humor. "Crazed Institution" - a sarcastic lyrical take on stardom - the music itself is just ok for me. "Salamander" - a folky acoustic rock track which is pretty good. "Taxi Grab" - a straight out rocker about if you can't find a taxi grab one anyway if the opportunity arises. Nothing profound here but pleasant. "From a Dead Beat to an old Greaser" - kind of reminds me of the BG's 1st of May - Tull does pure pop music - not too bad though. "Bad-eyed and Loveless" - a bit of bluesy quirky fluff. I love the lyrics. "Big Dipper" - Tull enter Zappa territory? Another quirky rocking number. "Too old to Rock 'n' Roll : Too young to Die" - starts off like a rock band playing Chopin although it quickly turns into a slow rocker. "Pied Piper" - another quirky Anderson humor track - by this time I'm almost ready to take the album off in that although I love Anderson humor it's real music that I want to hear. "The Chequered Flag" - at this point I'm getting bored out of my skull but in order to complete this I have to continue - why, oh why? "A small Cigar" - I laugh out loud at this track. Did the Monty Python crowd write the lyrics here? "Strip Cartoon" - a pleasant enough track.

I can't say that I like this album at all. Jethro Tull does stand up comedy? or Jethro Tull goes pop? The whole thing is just way too fluffy for me. This was planned to be a Rock Opera as I have it but I wouldn't have liked it as such either. I apologise to those who do enjoy the album out there but to me it's a 2 star offering.

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Send comments to sukmytoe (BETA) | Report this review (#942676)
Posted Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another great concept and plotline by Jethro Tull. But this time, the music didn't hit the right point. The music of the album is boring. The album is about Ray Lomas, an old rockstar that tried suicide with his motorcycle because of the society changes. But the suicide attempt fails, and when he woke up from a lenghty coma, he found himself in a different generation, where his style of dress and music are popular again. And the advanced medicine restored him as a twenty years boy, and a rock n roll star again. I think it's a fine story. But the music is weak. Some good passages, but it doesn't deserve a better rating.

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Send comments to VOTOMS (BETA) | Report this review (#990607)
Posted Monday, July 01, 2013 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars You can't judge a book by its cover or a car by its color but I think we're all guilty of doing that very thing from time to time. I know I am and this album is a case in point. I was a big fan of Jethro Tull in the early days from "This Was" through "Benefit" but our relationship has been rocky ever since. In '75 I was gradually getting over what I still consider a sellout move on their part, "Aqualung." (The childish grudge I nurtured over it deprived me of knowing first hand the brilliance of "TAAB" and the sublime quirkiness of "Passion Play" for decades. A pity.) But due to the passage of time and the interesting cover illustration that adorned "Minstrel in the Gallery," I bought that record on blind faith but was once again disappointed by the uneven music it contained. The irony is that the following year I deemed the brazen cartoon image on the front of "Too Old to Rock & Roll, Too Young to Die" so off-putting that I never even entertained the thought of purchasing the record. It wasn't until 37 years had come and gone before I got around to listening to the album. I expected to justify my shunning of it but, as this group often does, they surprised me when I least expected to be surprised. I like this record! A lot! It might behoove you to note that I'm not always in sync with my fellow reviewers regarding Jethro Tull discs. "Aqualung" and "Minstrel" are rated much higher than I have them while some that others don't cotton to at all I consider among their best. (For instance, I found "J-Tull Dot Com" intriguing while the heralded release that followed this LP, "Songs from the Wood," put me to sleep.) What I'm saying is that while I stand behind my opinions there's a good chance you'll disagree with my assessments and think I've lost a marble or three. You could be right. So there. You've been warned.

"Too Old" was the first record made with their new bassist John Glascock and his enlistment seems to have given them a shot in the arm. (Jeffrey Hammond had traded in his long neck for a paint brush and retired to the countryside.) Sometimes change is a good thing and, in this instance, John added a spark to the entourage while settling in nicely with his pal in the rhythm section, the underrated drummer Barriemore Barlow. TOTRRTYTD is a concept album but the story line is so vague it doesn't really matter in the by and by. From what I can tell the plot centers around a fictitious musician named Ray Lomas who was a teen idol in the 50s but faded into oblivion. After winning a ton of coins on a TV game show he finds that having all that cash still doesn't make him happy so he tries to off himself. He fails and ends up in a coma instead. Years later he reawakens and, due to advances in plastic surgery and the fact that he kept all his nostalgic clothes, he's able to relive his glory years as a rock & roll idol. The message is that what goes around comes around and it's déjŕ vu all over again and again. Like I said, it's a weak script but it proves inconsequential. Ian Anderson, who wrote all the tunes, claims it wasn't about him in any way, shape or form but I suspect that he injected some of his own fears of the future if only subconsciously.

The opener, "Quizz Kid" sports a folksy yet invigorating intro that escalates into something even stronger thanks to Martin Barre's bold guitar riff and power chords. The song also benefits from a clever combination of different beat patterns and a comprehendible vocal melody line from Ian. The impression I get is that they were intentionally revisiting their progressive roots this time around and, for whatever reason, I find the music to be much less pretentious and forced than what I found on "Minstrel." The next cut is "Crazed Institution," a great song that demonstrates they still had an adventurous spirit and it's a throwback, if you will, to the prog attitude they grabbed me with on "Stand Up." I find the array of instruments from Anderson's flute to David Palmer's saxophone to John Evans' piano that bounce in and out of the number engaging. I also enjoyed Ian's snarky line that goes "You can ring a crown of roses around your cranium/Live and die upon your cross of platinum." They follow that with another terrific song, "Salamander." The spirited and deftly performed acoustic guitar work is fascinating and I admire how they were willing to let the singing be secondary to the impact of the music. This one reminds me of why I can never bring myself to give up on Jethro Tull. Despite their faults they always have the ability to make me smile when they get it right.

"Taxi Grab" is one of those tunes that could've gone south quite easily. Often when these guys try to get "heavy" they misplace their originality but here they stay the course and maintain a respectful edge by backing it up with Anderson's raspy harmonica and some cool slide guitar from Martin. The trick ending is a gas, too. "From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser" is a highlight. Admittedly it has an unlikely title for a pretty ballad augmented by a string quartet but it they make it work. David's flat, undecorated sax adds a noble character to the track. "Bad-Eyed 'n' Loveless" is short and sweet but very effective. Its naked aura featuring only a bluesy acoustic guitar and gritty vocal is arresting. "She's a warm fart at Christmas/She's a breath of champagne on a sparkling night," Ian croons with a wink. I also recommend indulging in "Big Dipper." The playfulness that epitomized their work in the late 60s abounds in this song and it makes for a delightful listen. I admire how Barlow's drums stay on the outside of being ordinary or predictable without the groove losing its momentum. The title cut is next and, while it unashamedly steals its melody from "Quizz Kid," they add a more forceful dimension to the theme that sets it apart. Palmer's punchy orchestral score is stirring and the band's brief foray into a straight-ahead rock beat is witty and well-placed. I like Anderson's nod to former rockers when he sings, "And some of them own little sports cars/and meet at the tennis club do's/for drinks on a Sunday, work on Monday/they've thrown away their blue suede shoes." However, the band slips a notch on "Pied Piper." I don't care at all for the first minute or so but then it improves slightly when other sounds enter and embellish the droll melody as well as they can. They end with "The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)." It has an unexpected beginning sequence where Evans' Rhodes piano and light strings establish a mellow atmosphere that floats around this unobtrusive ballad. In addition, it exudes a slight ELO aroma that, since I'm a fan of that ensemble, I find it pleasing to the ear.

I can't help but feel like a dunce for missing out on the quaint elegance embodied in "Too Old to Rock & Roll, Too Young to Die" but Jethro Tull has to bear at least half the blame due to their inconsistent nature. When it came out in May of '76 I found the cover too garish to warrant further investigation and, since the radio only played the title song sparingly and nothing else from the LP, I chalked it up to probably being another letdown from Ian and the boys and left it at that. More fool me. I'm just glad I got around to giving this album a fair shake because it just goes to show that I can't always trust my instincts. Especially when it comes to this eclectic bunch. Just ignore the cover. 3.8 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#1066744)
Posted Saturday, October 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Adorned with a dreadful album cover and sporting one successful single that has been played too often on the radio, Jethro Tull sunk to some depths with "Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die". It was based on a failed stage musical about a greaser who wanted to be a rock star and Anderson swears its not supposed to be him yet the cover art is definitely in his likeness. This fictitious failed 50s teen hearththrob is Ray Lomas, who wins a fortune on a quiz show but finds that money can't buy happiness. After a failed suicide attempt he awakens from a coma and indulges in extreme plastic surgery to be reborn into the rockstar lifestyle; a never ending cycle.

The title track spells this storyline out and is well known but is not enough to give this album any real credibility. The concept is muddled and hard to decipher unless you read up in it. The best songs are found early, namely the rollicking catchy 'Quizz Kid', 'Crazed Institution', acoustic driven 'Salamander' and blues guitar heaviness on 'Taxi Grab'.

After this the album becomes a mediocre affair, outside of the title single. 'From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser' is interminably dull and morbid. 'Bad-Eyed and Loveless' is okay, as is 'Big Dipper' but 'Pied Piper' is forgettable and tries too hard to capture old Tull magic of the whimsical pastoral years, yet fails in its attempt. 'The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)' is a terrible closing track and sends me to sleep.

So there you have it, some decent tracks and some not worth hearing, but that's the fault of the record producers who wanted an album out quickly to house the mega title single that rocketed up the charts. It was released in a rush and sounds like it, with enough filler material to sink a battleship. This is the non-progressive Tull album we didn't want to hear, but its salvageable thanks to a few good songs amidst the mediocrity.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#1203595)
Posted Wednesday, July 02, 2014 | Review Permalink

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