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Jethro Tull - The Jethro Tull Christmas Album CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull

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3 stars Whilst this is not a bad album , it lacks the creative spark associated with Tull albums. As a long time fan I bought it , but I am not greatly impressed , but that might be because I am making unfair comparisons with Ians earlier output
Report this review (#23851)
Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars A wonderful Christmas gift for their fans(and anyone else looking for a different take on the holiday), this is definitely an album that will brighten anyone's holiday season... I had made a mix CD of seasonal Tull songs before, and was overjoyed to find the same picks on this album... rerecorded, some better, some not so, but all timely and refreshing... buy this, you'll find it will hold up even when Christmas is but a memory...
Report this review (#23839)
Posted Monday, December 1, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tull has blessed us, yet again, with a Christmas album that transports you staight to the English countryside, and a christmas of yore. Ian's flute playing is stunningly beautiful. The ghost of christmas present is quite proud, I'm sure.
Report this review (#23847)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars A once in a lifetime experience, a Christmas cd from the Tull boys. Santa Claus bless them for LAST MAN AT THE PARTY and FIRST SNOW ON BROOKLYN. Please give us another new one next year. Gerrit de Geus
Report this review (#23849)
Posted Friday, December 26, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Loved the cover of this release even before I knew who the band was behind the Victorian winter scene. And what a pleasant surprise to find it to be...Jethro Tull. With all the ingredients that make Tull the extraordinary band they have always been, this is, if you will, a sort of return to roots release that long time Tull fans will enjoy and new listeners should find interesting in a day and time when contemporary music sounds so wanting.
Report this review (#23843)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Now... what is this? I have no problems with a Christmas album from Ian and friends, but how many versions of Bouree do you actually need? This album must be a blessing for a Tull-fan that may have missed all the years between 1978 and till now, but for a fan that has followed Ian, Martin etc. through all those years, the whole thing lacks inspiration and is sort of... yes, uinspired and without guts. I can hear and yes, sometimes certainly feel the beauty and off course the brilliant, allmost arrogant way the group flows through these tracks, but I allways end up with a feeling of... yes and so what?

Thats all?

Yes, I know that this is a Christmas album, maybe meant to be kind, mild and played by the fireside, not meant to be a rocker, so in that way this album may very well be one of all-times best Christmas-records, but dont ever do this to me again Ian... please. Thats the way it goes when you are too old to rockn and roll but too young to die. Sorry Ian.... I think Ill put on Minstrel in The Gallery immediately.

Report this review (#23842)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was dissapointed. When I first heard that Tull was going to come out with a Christmas album I thought, "its about time" and imagined Ian and the boys would come up with some ingenious little twists on some of the old Xmas classics. But, what actually materialized was an assortment of predictable (and I should say boring) versions of some Christmas classics along with some previously recorded material mixed with a few new songs of little note. When I listen to the wonderful and clever God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman on the Bursting Out album and compare it to the Christmans album I get the impression that Ian didn't try very hard this time around.
Report this review (#23856)
Posted Friday, October 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's good for what it is...a collection of softer themed Christmas songs along with some rearranged older tunes. There is definitely nothing ground breaking here...if you're looking for something revelatory you won't find it. Just a note, if you would be nice if people reviewing albums would listen to them first!
Report this review (#23857)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars So I must tell you that generally speaking Christmas albums are not progressive, but no so with TULL's seasonal album. Here you will find nothing of what you might hear in the aisles and corridors of Wal-Mart or Zellers. Anderson and Co. have written 16 new brilliant and mostly original songs of holiday lore based around the magical flute. There are a few traditional tracks from which TULL borrow from and then completely re-arrange in their classic style. Overall this is a fairly laid back side of TULL (after all it is Christams kids!), but having said that this might be your very favourite Christmas album that you can proudly play from Aunt Mary and Grandma Ethel. Line up is Ian Anderson , Martin Barre, Doane Perry (percussion), Andrew Giddings (keys) and Jonathan Noyce (bass) to compliment the band. A superb Christmas album full of the holiday yore and a great album to have a few nogs with.
Report this review (#23858)
Posted Monday, December 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Could there be a more appropriate day than Christmas Eve to listen and review a holiday album by JETHRO TULL? This being their very first holiday recording [ever] since their first album [was released] in 1968 (This Was) makes it a real jewel for the ages, particularly for the many progressive rock enthusiast such as yours truly. [The 1991 reissue of This Was did contain "Christmas Song" as a bonus track -ed.]

I got a taste of this music this past summer at a concert in Tanglewood (Lenox, Mass.) [see review] and thought it was very entertaining with just enough classic JT sound (think of "Heavy Horses" and "Songs From The Wood") to make it interesting. "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album" has plenty of tradition sprinkled about it to qualify it as a seasonal recording, although at times I got so wrapped up in the progression of the music I forgot I was listening to the spirit of the season. That factor does not make the album loose its appeal however, as it is one of their best recordings, right up there with the many classic releases that they have given us over the past four decades.

Tracks like "Holly Herald" will get you in the mood and make you feel like you are on an old- fashioned backcountry English horse and sleigh ride whilst coming about to a sudden stop to do an Irish gig (in between a swift musical change). Those are just some of the wonderful changes the music goes through during the course of one composition, and that is exactly what makes JETHRO TULL so magnificent and this album so extraordinary. The variety and spice is plentiful in every song on this album, you can count on that.

The music is truly magical and filled with great musicianship, the kind I have come to expect from Ian ANDERSON and his band of merry men. I always feel like I can step out my world and live in enlightenment for short time thanks to this great music. Ah yes, tidings of comfort and joy came out of my speakers on this day. Merry Christmas and God bless JETHRO TULL.

Report this review (#23859)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars As I listened to this album for the first time, my main complaint was not the songwriting, the performances, or even the arrangements. It was that darned modern studio "sheen" that somehow robs so many latter-day efforts of some of their worth. Especially since most of the instrumentation is acoustic!!! The road to perfection, Ian, is sometimes not so obvious. I suspect that with all the digital editing and such, a good bit of reverb was needed to cover up the tweaking and fix-it-in-the-mixing (this coming from someone who's got over 25 years' experience in recording studios). And of course, the musicians were never all in the same studio at the same time. That said, there are still some fine songs here, and I don't even think about the fact that there's an Xmas theme. Crappy cover; maybe that was done on purpose to recall cheap, drab artwork of yore? I agree with the AMG reviewer, who said it was the best studio album by Tull in years.
Report this review (#23860)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, this is the only album i can listen with my family in chirstmas! The stuff is littlebit fusion of Jethro Tull but it's still good. I like the opening track "Birthday Card at Chirstmas" Cool fluterif and other songs have a touch of chirstmas which is actually a good thing cause what would be A Chirstmas Album without "snowflute-effect"

Cheers ya all-

Report this review (#23861)
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This CD is not your typical and smarmy, sickly-sweet corporate Christmas album. Rather, with this CD Jethro Tull have managed to capture in both verse and melody the spirit of giving, sharing, and perfunctory overindulgence that ostensibly go with the Christmas season, contrasted with the melancholy and flat-out destitution that the less-fortunate among us actually experience during this time of year. This interplay of content and style are presented against a backdrop of earthly Pagan solstice symbolism, all of which Jethro Tull have managed to integrate as a kind of ecumenical "Birthday Card at Christmas," which not incidentally is the title of the introductory track. This combination is daring and bold, if not outright brilliant, and in my estimation they have pulled it off strikingly well. These qualities clearly at hand, the time and place of airing are rendered profoundly irrelevant. Moreover, the musicianship, vocals, lyrics, production and overall execution (not to mention outstanding packaging) are commensurate with and at times exceed even Tull's impeccably high standards, showing this to be a band at the top of it's craft. Anderson's vocals, in particular, complete the album by sounding as warmly weathered as the bearded red-suit uncle himself. It's a decidedly Tull exploration of the seasonal space -- a progressive effort that starts strong and improves with subsequent listens. May it continue to play well for you during the holiday season and throughout the year.
Report this review (#39852)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ".I could cut my cold breath with a knife and taste the winter of another life."

Isn't life strange? Ian Anderson is living a new re-freshed musical life from that important 2000 solo album The Secret Language Of Birds. It's not the first time he demonstrates greatness and what is true experience if connected with an impressive musicianship and with sharp songwriting. Remember what is Roots To Branches? Remember Divinities? Have you ever heard to his new 2003 solo album titled Rupi's Dance? Jethro Tull like the good wine? It's highly probable! As guest musicians: James Duncan (Ian's son) on drums and percussion, Dave Pegg, returning to play some bass guitar and mandolin.

Delicate and rich arrangements, acoustic guitars, mandolins, perussions, accordion, flutes and piccolos, good keyboards from the always wonderful Andy Giddings. Fortunately Ian started a collaboration with Leslie Mandoki and the Sturcz String Quartet arranged by Laszlo Bencker (on First Snow On Brooklin). Jethro Tull and the strings arrangements.always been a perfect marriage!

If you like Songs From The Wood you will love this delightful Jethro Tull Christmas album. Not only for the re-arranged "old" glorious Fire At Midnight, Ring Out Solstice Bells, Weathercock, Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow, A Christmas Song, Another Christmas Song, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (stunning electric guitar by Martin) and Bourée. Particularly good is just this last, divided now in three parts, all played in different moods (classical, jazzy and traditional).it's a nice surprise to you JT's lovers!

New songs are Birthday Card At Christmas, Last Man At The Party, First Snow On Brooklin and A Winter Snowscape, one of Martin's solo album Stage Left (this is another album for you to catch!).

Other traditional tracks are proposed by Jethro Tull in a freshest temper: Holly Herald, Pavane, Greenslade, We Five Kings.

This is the only Christmas album that deserves to be bought!!!

Report this review (#48094)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
5 stars Q - What do proggers listen to at Christmas?

A - The same stuff they listen to the rest of the year.

Well that was true until Jethro Tull's Christmas album came out. This is a masterpiece of a Christmas album for proggers. The album contains:

1) New versions of Tull's Christmas songs: A Christmas Song, Another Christmas Song and Ring Out, Solstice Bells

2) Classical Christmassy tunes rearranged in the Tull style: Holly Herald, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Pavane, Greensleeved, We Five Kings and Bourée

3) New songs written just for this album: Birthday Card At Christmas, Last Man At The Party and First Snow On Brooklyn

4) New versions of some Tull songs that have a winter feel: Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow, Weathercock and Fire At Midnight

5) A new version of Winter Snowscape from Martin Barre's last solo album but this time with Ian Anderson's contribution.

What more could a progger ask from a Christmas album? The songs are really well played by the whole band. The only problem is that I only want to play Christmas albums for one month of the year so for 11 months this CD sits on the shelf. I hope that Tull come up with a non-Christmas album of the same standard so that I can play it all year round.

Report this review (#59184)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.9/5.0

Wow this is a really good Christmas album! Some of the tracks are jazzy (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen), others are clearly folks, yet the overall album sounds progressive still. This is not a masterpiece, but is a clear addition to any collection, especially at Christmas! Perfect as background music while enjoying the Holidays!

Report this review (#59341)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars friday afternoon, just finished work, a warm coffee and bailey's and this album playing . chrismas should be something enjoyable. I really enjoy this album,. the production is good the lyrics are great, bourrée is back, work is gone, xmas is in my house. The best chrismas album i ever heard.

Xmas to all the progheads in the world and all the team of progarchives, because this site is just as good as this album ;-)

Report this review (#61444)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Well it’s that time again, time to drag out the tree and throw up some decorations, and put on some yuletide cheer. For the past couple of years that tradition has included a few rounds of old Willie and the Tull Christmas album.

This is a fairly innocuous collection as Tull albums go. It won’t make Grandma blush like Aqualung (or even Rock Island) would, and the musicianship is absolutely superb. There’s some original material here like the opening track, which story goes was written for Anderson’s daughter, as well as the Anderson-sculpted versions of a number of more traditional tunes. You could certainly do worse than this for a Christmas collection.

Top tracks include the instrumental “Holly Herald” which is actually a sort of medley of several classic tunes; “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” which sounds more like a combination of a shopping mall Muzak track and a lounge act (although who every heard of a lounge act with a flute?); the undeniably Tull-like “Last Man at the Party”; and the toe-tapping and smooth “Greensleeved”. "Fire at Midnight" is a mellow, heart-warming tale of coming home after travels and enjoying the company of loved ones, and "A Winter Snowscape" makes a great backdrop while decorating the tree or sipping nog.

If you don’t have this you should probably get it, unless you don’t celebrate Christmas, in which case you might enjoy the music anyway, but may not get much into the spirit of it. A four-star affair and a great companion to the Manheim Steamroller Christmas CD you picked up at the highway truck stop, and the Burle Ives cassette your great-aunt sent you last year.

peace (on Earth and goodwill to men)

Report this review (#104195)
Posted Friday, December 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The first full folk album from the Tull. In 2003... This is Ian's present to his daughter who was born on a 25th December and whose birthday (like all the ones alike) was a bit overshadowed with the birth of "Mr. Jesus Christ" as Ian will tell.

OK, "Songs From The Woods" was also a folk album, but it was rocking as well, at times. No rock here. The Christmas mood. The marketing of the album was rather strange : to issue a "Christmas" album on September, 30th was not the brightest idea.

Since Christmas has no particular meaning for me, I cannot be overwhelmed with joy listening to this effort. Some old tracks revisited of which "Weathercock" is my fave, some traditional songs of which "Holly Herald" is the poorest one.

I quite like the opener "Birthday Card" : good rythm (it is the only of that type on this release). Very nice and speedy acoustic guitar : this song is very pleasant. I would have like to get more of these ones. This track was available as a bonus track on Ian's solo album : "Rupi's Dance".

Several intrumentals of which the jazzy "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" does not really give me a kick; "Pavane" is not too bad but it suffers from the invading orchestration. Some "cold" numbers : "Jack Frost..." a leftover from the "Broadsword" sessions and nicely re-arranged here and "First Snow in Brooklyn" which is a pleasant and tranquil song. Very melodious track with good fluting. Above average (even if the orchestration could have been skipped).

This work might appeal to some Tull fans, but not me. Do not expect anything progressive here : you won't find it. Just a bunch of songs to listen in front of the chimney fire drinking the bottle that Ian is asking to Santa Claus (but maybe that was the goal) ?

Tull did not produce any original work since 1999 with the average "Dot Com" album. On this one, only a few new titles. So the question is : will the Tull still release an original album in the future ? I hope so. Two stars for this Christmas "present".

Report this review (#110455)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album can be divided in three parts:

Part one - the new songs: Birthday Card Ct Christmas is a modern yet good piece music. Last Man At The Party is a great song, one of the most beatiful ones Ian has ever composed in the last 15 years. But First Snow On Brooklyn is instead sugary, maybe too sugary, suitable for an ordinary Christmas album but not for a Jethro Tull christmas album.

Part Two - the Chrismas Carrols rearranged: a quite pleasant part, with good arrengements, mostly jazzy. But after listening to them for ten ten times or so, you already get bored stiff.

Part Three - the old songs re-recorded: This is the weakest part of the record, beacuse Ian doesn't have the same voice he used to have during the Seventies. Songs like A Christmas Song, Jack Frost And the hooded Crow or Ring Out Solstice Bells sound rather goofy. Sometimes Ian Anderson's voice sounds even out of tune. Also, the actual band does NOT play with the same as other Jethro Tull line-ups used to.

I'm sorry to say this, because I'm a huge JT fan, but this Christmas Album, together with Under Wraps, is one of Jethro's worse records.

Report this review (#122873)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A nice comeback. We get the 90's Tull wrap with soft tones, especially on the re-working of older tunes, (Bouree, Jack Frost, etc.). Ian's voice is still not what it use to be, but his warmth is welcome on a Winter's day/night with a nice fire crackling, (the fact that I'm writing this towards the beginning of Summer does feel strange). Barre's guitar is notched down a peg or two, but Ian's flute is dominate as usual. Giddings has some nice keyboards, especially on the re-working of Bouree, yet as a whole, the band seems to be restrained a tad. There's no umph at all, except in the opening track. The traditional Christmas songs have a jazzy feel to them and it's welcome, but again it's on the soft side. Can't say that this is an album you'd want to listen to over and over, but it's a nice play around the holidays. It doesn't come close to being a classic, or even excellent, but it's good enough for a spin just to get you in a good mood, especially if it's hot and humid and you need a reminder of whats coming down the road....
Report this review (#125823)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Christmas album is a very lazy release. Some of the songs are half-assed remakes of their winter-themed classics. Others are dull arragments of traditional christmas songs. That said, it's not a bad christmas album, but it's off as much interest to Tull fans, as N'Sync christmas album is to N'Sync fans.
Report this review (#152189)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Truly a Winter Snowscape

What a great treat this CD is at any time of the year. Ian Anderson demonstrates his ability to move in and out of styles with great help from Martin Barre and the other members of the band. There is enough of the traditional sounding melodies (God Rest You Merry Gentleman) to call it a Christmas album but there are many classic Tull themes (A Christmas Song, Solstice Bells) and some surprisingly satisfying new material (Birthday Card at Christmas, First Snow in Brooklyn and Winter Snowscape).

For me this is the best Tull album since Songs Form the Woods. I love the jazz in this work something I really had never experienced with Tull before. 7 Instrumentals is also pretty unusual bet very welcome. The music set the theme for Christmas but also transcends it as well. Maybe I have mellowed as I get older but I almost prefer this type of Tull to rockin band from the Aqualung days.

Music for Christmas and beyond indeed. Most Tull fans should like this and certainly prog folk fans. 4.5 stars

Report this review (#172693)
Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Ring Out, Solstice Bells and Remove the Holly from the Ivy, Jethro Tull misses the mark.

I am a big Tull fan and love most of his albums due to their innovation and sheer audacity of producing something unique and at times outlandish, while at the same time creating incredibly complex and brilliantly played music. 'The Christmas Album' is another one of those curiosity pieces that you may want to pull out at Christmas times in order to hear the relatives exclaim 'what the heck are you playing now?' It goes against the grain of your traditional Christmas album of course and may even go against the grain for Jethro Tull fans in terms of clarity and thematic content. Sadly I am in the latter category.

I did not really take to heart what Tull was attempting to do with this album; it is a silly, nonsensical mix of traditional ideas blended with the bizarre Christmas themes that it is purporting to either make fun of or take seriously. It is a well known fact that Ian Anderson has shunned the church, especially on his 'Aqualung' classic, so why is he bothering with tracks about the traditional church such as God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen? Admittedly, there is a biting satire in all of these tunes, but it soon gets tiring and I long to rip the Cd out and listen to 'Benefit', 'Passion Play' or 'Thick as A Brick', which are among the best of Jethro Tull.

The liner notes are interesting noting that Anderson had these Christmas theme songs for a while, as all fans know, and he was asked to do a full blown Christmas theme album. But for what purpose? It doesnt really have much to offer apart from a couple of great tracks that are found elsewhere in any case in some form. There are some new tracks, Birthday Card At Christmas, Last Man At The Party, First Snow On Brooklin and A Winter Snowscape. The rest are either rehashes or mixes of Tull tracks found elsewhere so it doesnt have much to offer the hard core Tull fan.

It probably seemed like a good idea to package a Christmas album for the festive season, or make fun of Christmas. But I am afraid this is one of Tull's weakest efforts and just did not succeed on either the level of thematic content or Musical virtuosity. This is quite a lull in effort all round and Anderson seems disinterested and lacking ideas. And yet we are so used to Tull being such bright sparks when it comes to innovation. In this case the candle has been snuffed out.

Report this review (#181413)
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The harvest moon shines, the winter wheat is gathered and the turning leaves crunch at our feet for one of these legend's best offerings since 1978's 'Heavy Horses'. More than a Christmas album, it is a celebration of the season, an embrace of the bite of cold in the air and the need for all living things to reflect the equinox with a sense of joy, the crackle of a fire and a stiff shot of brandy to warm the bones and lift the spirits. Ian Anderson's flutter introduces 'Birthday Card at Christmas', Marty Barre's electric bits & pieces accentuating Anderson's acoustic guitar in a wink to the Baby Jesus. 'Holly Herald' tributes 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing', Charles Wesley's classic carol from 1739 revived with Celtic war drums and a taste for salt in the air, and two 'Christmas Songs' featuring Ian's mandolin, a concertina, the shake of bells and much sentiment.

No one brings to life the ancient sounds of the British Isles like this ageless band, and 1833's 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen' is given a cool jazz treatment topped by some heavy metal and neat little Baroque flurries. 'Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow' is a traditional folk number, Ian's baritone harmonies in top form, and the innocent and funny 'Last Man at the Party' with more Gaelic warmth is followed by a charming and strong re-recording of 'Weathercock' from the Horses period. A lovely version of Faure's 'Pavane', bittersweet memories of America in the gentle 'First Snow on Brooklyn', an upbeat 'Greensleeves', perfect 'Fire at Midnight', 'We Five Kings' puts the band in the Bethlehem desert with a bit of Marty's Spanish guitar, an obligatory 'Ring Out Solstice Bells', Bach's 'Bouree' is revisited and Barre finishes out with a steel string moment to himself.

A salutation of the special place these musicians have in music and in our hearts, Tull's Christmas Album is a beautiful record to be held close and protected from the jeers of the Grinches that surround us. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Report this review (#192903)
Posted Saturday, December 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars When you are really sick and tired of the same old dragged out, Christmas songs that play over and over every year, yes you know the ones that I mean; where does a Prog Rock fan turn? You want to be "into" the holiday gig, and music to the season is a big part of it.. but one more "Holly Jolly" tune will do you in. Quick, search your collection and TSO is good, a real change of pace, actually there are few others, but wait! Ian Anderson is riding in on his magical flute to save the season and your frame of mind! It seems like a natural progression for Tull to create a Christmas recording; it is a perfect marriage for the leaders of the Prog/Folk genre. This is the best Tull studio recording in years and you really could listen to it year round. It for sure is very polished, you can hear how smooth the over dubs are, as I am sure not all the gang was in the studio all at the same time, but this is just a plain good listen from the master himself. I love his approach to the season, as this recording captures Ian's thoughts on the season; which as of late have paralleled mine. That maybe why I connect to the recording so well, I am of UK heritage and I used to love the Christmas holiday but now it has become ho hum and a drag as I see it more as a commercial mess, whipped into a frenzy by whacked out consumers and retailers. This record pulls in that rustic British/Scottish feeling of the holidays in "Yea Olde English Countryside setting". The Tull Christmas Album brings me back to the meanings of the holiday and it really is a grand diversion. Songs like "Last man at the Party" and "Jack frost and the Hooded Crow" dig right down to the root of the season and in my opinion are Mr. Anderson at his obscure best. If you love Tull or on the fence about them, one thought cannot be denied and that is the genius and intelligence of Ian Anderson at times can be overwhelming, just the sheer output of songs, music and writing are stunning and he is grossly overlooked by the media for his talents over such a long career. This record is near perfect and a must have for the season and for any Tull fan. Even the drab cover art is magic, when you get into the songs and really check into the images that Anderson and Tull are working very hard to convey. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#255107)
Posted Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well you can add another half star at least, as for the pretty aspects of classical music and prog folk as well, in the tradition of the solo albums composed by Ian Anderson...Actually the present album is not equal for instance to "Divinities", but it's a good performance anyway; and of course it's strange that's a Jethro Tull album! The Christmas lyrics aren't so bad and the music is versatile enough...ok forget "Locomotive Breath" or "Aqualung" here, but naturally it's a Christmas Album and not a rock performance! Nevertheless the mood is right and the music gentle, sometimes in the vein of Rupi's Dance, not properly a swing album (regarding of a work dated 2003, however issued this way in the recent times), but I should say it's a kind of soft version or more "light jazzy" version of "Songs from the wood"...The instrumental numbers are always in the pretty tone of the sacred celebration of Christmas and that's coherently in accordance to such Ian's tradition, who likes to run the old path of the "classics" and without this time there's no rock music in the J.T. composition and it's not a the end it could be worth a listen, once again!
Report this review (#258496)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars The first thing this says is that Evolver likes Jethro Tull more than he hates Christmas music. Secondly, a sticker on my CD has a quote from Classic Rock Online: "If you liked Thick As A Brick & Songs From The Wood this album is for you. Have those guys ever listened to Thick As A Brick? It has nothing in common with this album, other than the two musicians who appear on both.

Rant aside, this isn't a bad album. It has the light fusion sound of more recent Tull and Ian Anderson album, and very little rock. And there are only smatterings of traditional Christmas songs, mostly jazzed up. There are bits of Hark The Herald Angels Sing in Holly Herald, the arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen that often popped up in the middle of other songs in various concerts, and a jazzy arrangement of Greensleeves. The rest are either new versions of old Tull songs, or new songs with holiday or winter themes.

It's not bad for Chr istmas music. Certainly better than any other Christmas album I've heard.

Report this review (#272365)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Finally !!!!

Christmas/The Yule tide is the music world's answer to the Gobi Desert. A place bereft of any intelligent life and where only micro organisms barely survive. Hence the many Christmas albums released by artists with as much moral integrity as you find in a micro wave oven's computer chip. Christmas albums is the Adolf Hitler's of any music collections.........

........ with one notable exception.......

This album.

Jethro Tull's Christmas Album was released in 2003 and is their final studio album.... so far. It does not have any of the usual Christmas standards anyone else has played to death and beyond. Instead, we find some intelligent and beautiful crafted songs. The best song on this album, First Snow On Brooklyn would grace any Jethro Tull album and would be worthy the inclusion in a Jethro Tull greatest hits package. The opening song Birthday Card At Christmas is also among the better Jethro Tull songs of all times. The same can also be said about the cover art work which is sentimental, but not overly sentimental.

The same can be said about the music and the sound here. It is sentimental and Christmas'sy, but not sugar sweet or sickening in any way. This album is also not out of place on an sunny afternoon in July either. Ian Andersson sings with conviction and his flutes is also excellent. The rest of the instruments are also on the same level. In short; Jethro Tull does a very impressive job with this material. This sound is unmistakeable Jethro Tull and a return to to their folk rock roots. There is no chance they would win the Grammy for best heavy metal album with this album. But this album is still full of vitality and life. The music is also very pastorial at times and full of small very clever details, hooks and melody lines. A run-of-the-mill ballad album, it ain't.

The songs are great throughout and thoroughly taken to the max by a band who has left no stones unturned in the quest to make this album. Hence; this is a very impressive album. Finally, we have got a Christmas album we can enjoy. Finally !!

4 stars

Report this review (#363543)
Posted Saturday, December 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hello, My name is Dr Ball. I was given the opportunity to watch Ian Anderson do his latest Christmas Concert at Canterbury Cathedral with that man Dick Bruceinson. (Dr Ball only jests). When I got home I listened to this album 3 times in a row whilst Mrs Ball cooked up a winter stew - what an utter festive delight! If I had not already bought all of the Ball family's christmas gifts this year, I would send them each a copy of this album!

If you have not heard this album, Dr Ball prescribes a mince pie and visitation by 3 merry apparitions.

9.2 Over and Out, Dr D Ball, M.D

Report this review (#594817)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Who else on this site could present a Christmas album quite like Jethro Tull? There is so much warmth, perfect for getting you into the festive spirit The songs are wonderfully arranged, some of them traditional covers with a creative and memorable twist such as "Holly Herald" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Sometimes hints of jazz mixed with Renaissance troubadors while still being very seasonal. But there are a few revamps on the album of old songs by Jethro Tull as well as some new ones, fitting though they are for the mood of the time of year, such as the insightful "A Christmas Song" and "Ring Out Solstice Bells". They are slightly updated and you may find that they have a nice place here. Of the re-recorded oldies, I like the version of "Bouree" the most. Very enjoyable music indeed, fans of Jethro Tull ought to have it at least, and actually it is good for anytime of year, even July! Ahem, though it might be a bit weird, the xmas period is best.
Report this review (#596375)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The weather outside is frightful, but inside it's so delightful because I've been listening to The Jethro Tull Christmas Album! 'Tis the season and all that jazz.

I should preface what I'm about to say by admitting that Jethro Tull is one of my favourite bands, but I think that The Jethro Tull Christmas Album is about as good a prog-related Christmas album as you'll ever find. It might also manage to be the best Jethro Tull album since Crest of a Knave.

While many Christmas albums are blatant cash-ins, front man Ian Anderson and crew do an excellent job mixing original Christmas themed tunes with arrangements of traditional carols and a few re-recordings of older Tull tracks that fit the season.

"Birthday Card At Christmas" starts things off with a fast-paced romp laced with excellent flute playing by Anderson. As many have said before, Anderson's skill at playing the flute only seems to increase with time. His voice also seems to be in much better shape on The Jethro Tull Christmas Album than on most latter day Tull recordings.

The energetic nature of the album continues with "Holly Herald", an instrumental track arranged by Anderson. I'm actually quite pleasantly surprised at the level of energy Tull brings to this album in general.

Next we have the re-recordings of "A Christmas Song" and "Another Christmas Song". "A Christmas Song" appears as a bonus track on the remastered edition of This Was. A live version also appears as a bonus track on Rock Island, where you can also find "Another Christmas Song". I like both tracks, but my preference would be for "A Christmas Song" and its closing refrain of "Santa, pass us that bottle, will ya?"

It's debatable over which version of "A Christmas Song" is better, but I much prefer this version of "Another Christmas Song" over the Rock Island version. The production is much better. It sounds fuller and more fleshed out.

In my opinion, the Tull version of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" is about as good as it gets and the other arrangements on the album are also excellent, including "Greensleeved" (based on "Greensleeves", naturally), Bach's "Bour�©e", Faur�©'s "Pavane" and "We Five Kings" (based on "We Three Kings", natch).

"Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow" brings us back to the Tull originals and once again, the production here brings this version leaps and bounds over the original, rather tinny recording that appears as a bonus track on The Broadsword and the Beast.

"Last Man At The Party" is an original, but once again manages to maintain the high quality of the rest of the album. While may not be directly about Christmas, it's a very festive song and really, who doesn't think about New Year's in close association with Christmas anyway?

"Weathercock" is a re-recording of the Heavy Horses track. I think the Christmas Album version compares favourably with the original, although re-recording any tracks from the Songs From The Wood/Heavy Horses era is a bit of a gamble due to the widely regarded high quality of those two albums (and there are more tracks from those albums on The Jethro Tull Christmas Album).

However, I do think Tull has given all of these re-recorded tracks their own flavour. I'm sure that few people will claim a preference for the Christmas Album versions of "Weathercock", "Fire at Midnight" or "Ring Out Solstice Bells", but Tull has handled the re-recordings with a subtlety and grace that won't upset most long time fans.

"First Snow on Brooklyn" is another fine original. This one has a bit of a sweeping, wistful feeling to it that calls to mind waking up on a dark, snowy winter's morning.

Overall, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album is quite a good album. It's a fun album. I'd highly recommend it to Tull fans, even those who have been disappointed by their output post-1979. I'd also recommend the album to anyone who has been looking for a Christmas album to listen to that has a proggy bent. While it's not quite a prog classic, this album is absolutely solid in every respect.

Highlights: The rearrangements of the classical and traditional tunes stand out for me. Especially the instrumentals tracks. "Holly Herald", "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", "Greensleeved", the extensively rearranged "Bour�©e", "Pavane" and "We Five Kings" come immediately to mind. The re-recordings of older tunes which were marred by shoddier production when they were first made also stand out, like "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow" and "Another Christmas Song". But the new originals are also quite good.

I enjoy the whole album, really, and I've continued to pull it out every Christmas since purchasing it. Check it out.

Report this review (#880261)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars Jesus Christ haven't born on december, and Jethro Tull Christmas Album too.

I really don't like christmas music. And this album is not an exception. It includes Bouree, Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow, Ring Out Solstice Bells and some old happy tunes re- worked. Yes, a folk album. Few tracks are new, like Birthday Card At Christmas and Last Man At The Party , but nothing to satisfy the fans. I do not celebrate xmas, so I listen to this album as another Jethro Tull offering, but it has no surprises, but sameness. Lacking ideas and innovation, a bad album.

Report this review (#991977)
Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars In the era of extreme over-commercialization of the Christmas holidays, it seems that everyone and their mother has capitalized on releasing a musical album that commemorates one of the world's most popular holiday seasons which every single year gets pushed harder and earlier in the hope that Santa will be kind to the stock markets. It's all gotten a little too much and with albums being released by everyone from Dolly Parton to Twisted Sister, it can be a little difficult to find that true Christmas spirit. Well, what in the world is a progressive rock lover to do? It seems that the only game in town for the longest time was the Yuletide alter ego of the progressive metal outfit Savatage when they put on their Santa hats and took on their Trans-Siberian Orchestra identity to give the world a true taste of "Jingle Bell Rock." Well, at long last in 2003 one of progressive rocks most revered cohorts came through and delivered us their own take on Christianity's most consecrated occasions. I speak of course of the great JETHRO TULL and with their final album as an official band they went out in the most interesting way by giving us THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM and bestowing upon their fans a new way to add some class to their holiday listening season when listening to "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" just won't cut it any more.

This final and fairly unique album in the band's canon is a mix of completely new material and re-recordings of previously released tracks. While most of these tracks were created for the special occasion, Ian Anderson found it appropriate to simply adapt oldies but goodies to the occasion and as a result "A Christmas Song," "Another Christmas Song," "Jack And The Hooded Crow," "Weathercock," "Fire At Midnight" and "Ring Out Solstice Bells" find themselves newly recorded and given a holiday makeover to sit side by side with the newly constructed tracks. And also on board is the long time classic "Bourée" which was given a complete identity change and now feels as it was totally created for holiday cheer in the first place. Although it was originally a Johann Sebastian Bach creation that was originally the fifth movement from "Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996," Anderson deliveries it in his famous style and by attaching an "F" to the lute part. He flautist skills shine on this one and the track is much more upbeat and contains other key arrangements.

THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM is a bit surprising in that it doesn't sound like a holiday tribute really. It sounds like a one of the laid back folkier albums such as "Songs Of The Wood" plus extra symphonic and instrumental embellishments. In addition to the standard TULL lineup there are a number of extras on board offering mandolin, violin, viola, cello, accordion and choral vocals adding a very refined frosting to the band's acoustic folk rock foundation. The tracks are as catchy as anything JT has dished out in the past and although Ian Anderson's vocals may be showing signs of being past their prime, his flautist flair has never been better as he takes on the role of melodist in chief and like a pied-piper of Christmas leads his musical assemblage to add the twists and turns of their established sound to bring it into holiday mode. While many of the tracks clearly have a wintery solstice feel to them, very few actually convey the holiday season in a blatant way other than the occasional lyrical content that clearly depicts certain aspects. There are key moments like at the beginning of "A Christmas Song" that have sleigh bells which is clearly brings Christmas to mind but they soon subside and allow the mandolin based folk track to shine.

When all is said and done, THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM sounds to me exactly like what Christmas would have been like in the English countryside long before the commercialization machine so successfully infiltrated every aspect of the holiday season. The folk rock mixed with acoustic symphonic touches very much corresponds to the wintery grey sky world as depicted by the album cover. This is the kind of album that you could rightfully put on any time of the year as it doesn't sound significantly different from the lighter and airier offerings by JT but should best be experienced with mulled wine, good friends and family as a nice supplement and more serious soundtrack to interrupt the regularly scheduled program of stale kids' songs and cheesy parodies that have outstayed their welcome for quite some time. While this will probably never achieve any top status in the JT canon, it certainly does attain a true respectful and non-commercial representation of the Christmas season and a brilliant way to end a most successful career and for the listener a most stressful year. Highly recommended for those who find themselves not digging the holiday music scene very much. This just might work for you.

Report this review (#1672007)
Posted Sunday, December 25, 2016 | Review Permalink

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