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Jethro Tull - Songs From The Wood - 40th Anniversary Edition - The Country Set CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull

Prog Folk

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5 stars First off, this is no ordinary reissue. Besides having the original album receive an incredible Steven Wilson re-mix, CD1 also includes 8 "associated recordings." Some of those recordings are unedited alternate versions of the originals. Newly revived, they become quintessential Jethro Tull.

The most jaw-dropping of those associated recordings on CD1 is Track 10, "Old Aces Die Hard." It will blow away any longtime Tull fan. Previously unreleased and recorded in '76/77, it is an amalgam of what would become "Dark Ages" and "Living In These Hard Times" intersecting with "A Passion Play" and the "Chateau D'isaster Tapes." At nearly 9 minutes, it feels like a whole new Tull mini-album that after repeated listens, only gets better. A true prog rock gem, "OADH" is a soft, loud, rocky, acoustic, weirdly complex and abstract thrill ride of 70s Jethro Tull. Seriously GREAT vintage Tull.

That track is followed by another previously unreleased original version of "Working John, Working Joe" with energy and instrumentation that totally eclipses the rather subdued version that eventually appeared on the "A" album.

And if the CD re-mix of SFTW and associates isn't enough, there is also a Wilson DVD surround sound re-mix of those tracks that is sublime. Oh yes, they also throw in the best songs from SFTW in their original Quad format and 4.0 surround. Why not?

But wait, there is more. 2 CDs worth of the full 1977 SFTW tour concert -- 112 minutes of the best live recording of JT that I have heard...a front row seat with Tull in their performance prime.

There is also a DVD of that same concert...great audio and video quality that is better than expected given the age of the original. Thank you Jakko Jakszyk for that production miracle!

A very cool, hard-cover 96 page booklet accompanies the 5 pieces of media, containing stories, lyrics, interviews, anecdotes, etc. Very professionally produced.

Five stars for this well engineered slice of prog rock history!

Report this review (#1736594)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yet another 5 star Tull set. Sounds great. I like the Horses set slightly more but both are full of strong tracks with excellent sound. Old aces is a pretty good addition. Great midsection and cool verses. The chorus isn't all that great but I would have liked this to be on the album to break up the overload of acoustic and give it a bit of grunt. The Whistler, fire at midnight, cup of wonder are my faves. Hunting girl sounds a bit better than it did before. Wilson really cleans up the snare and the bass sounds great. Another 5 star release from the best band we've ever heard. I'd rank this set about 4th or 5th in the series. Probably just behind A set from 1980
Report this review (#2285875)
Posted Friday, December 6, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars The lavish 40th anniversary edition boxed set of Songs From the Wood includes the now customary Steven Wilson spring cleaning of the original album and associated tracks, plus a reconstructed version of the Capital Center concert in Maryland in November 1977. (Multi-track tapes of the first four songs were missing, so a little massaging was done to restore these to the set from tapes of a gig some weeks later.)

The live material hails from late in the Songs From the Wood tour - when much of Heavy Horses had already been recorded and it just needed some embellishments and mixing - so by this point the band are well and truly attuned to the material, integrating it into a string of Tull classics which take in an impressive span of their career - with every album from Stand Up onwards represented in some fashion. I primarily like these Tull boxed sets for the live shows they offer (I haven't bothered with the ones which don't include a live gig), and the Songs From the Wood one is no exception.

Report this review (#2538392)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | Review Permalink

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