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AQUALUNG

Jethro Tull

Prog Folk


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Jethro Tull Aqualung album cover
4.32 | 1708 ratings | 150 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aqualung (6:31)
2. Cross-Eyed Mary (4:09)
3. Cheap Day Return (1:23)
4. Mother Goose (3:52)
5. Wond'ring Aloud (1:56)
6. Up To Me (3:18)
7. My God (7:10)
8. Hymn 43 (3:18)
9. Slipstream (1:13)
10. Locomotive Breath (4:25)
11. Wind-Up (5:42)

Total Time: 42:57

Bonus tracks on 25th Anniversary edition (1998):

12. Lick Your Fingers Clean (2:46)
13. Wind Up [Quad Version] (5:23)
14. Excerpts from the Ian Anderson Interview (13:58)
15. Songs for Jeffrey (2:51)
16. Fat Man (2:56)
17. Bouree (3:57)

Lyrics

Search JETHRO TULL Aqualung lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / flute,acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals
- Martin Barre / electric guitar, descant recorder
- Clive Bunker /drums, percussion
- John Evan / piano, organ, mellotron
- Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond / bass, alto recorder, backing vocals

Releases information

LP Chrysalis CHR1044 (1971)
CD Chrysalis 5401 (1998, 25th Anniversary edition)
CD Chrysalis Records (USA) 95401 (1999)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tsevir Leirbag for the last updates
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A Passion Play (2xCD+2xDVD)A Passion Play (2xCD+2xDVD)
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JETHRO TULL Aqualung ratings distribution


4.32
(1708 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
54%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
34%
Good, but non-essential (10%)
10%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

JETHRO TULL Aqualung reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
5 stars One of the cornerstone on which Tull built its cathedral, this album sees Tull still studio-experimenting (as they did with Benefit), but on top of it, they were allowed a brand-new state of the art Island studio, that no-one was really sure how to exploit properly, least of all young musicians. This is one of the reasons why Aqualung is a flawed masterpiece: their inexperience and inaptitude at exploiting the possibilities of the then-modern technology; but in term of songwriting, the group is definitely reaching their apex. And the stunning artwork of the gatefold is so fitting to the album's propos.

Yes there are sonic dated oddities: such as that weird-voiced passage in the title track, those "stop-clicks" in Mother Goose or still yet those audible tape-splicing (different sessions) during the solo passage of My God and that weird rather unpleasant string dwindling (Slipstream) and questionable choices (sound levels-wise) in the closing Wind Up. Obviously, if Benefit had benefited ;-) from the modern studios, these "mistakes" would not have happened on this one.

Outside of the technical factors, aqualung presents the particularity of being a "conceptual" album (something the Mad Flauter would rather mystifyingly deny), presenting two themes vinyl side. Both sides would be built on similar pattern (alternating the electric and acoustic songs) and present views that alternates between personal views (clearly Cheap Day Return is Anderson's personal experience) and a general character's views which has been expressing his cynical views through the group's albums and his name is Jethro.

The first side explores the decay of morality and the impoverishing of a wider part of the population, presenting Aqualung as a semi-vicious tramp, Mary as a semi-victim and semi-willing-victim, searching for the sordid side of society, and a bunch of other "delightful" characters that makes Anderson's lyrics a pure joy for interpretation and have him indicted in the Pantheon of best prog lyricists. The second side has its own name (after the opening track) and as you my have guessed is about religion, but rather an attack on it. Yes, the Mad Flauter is obviously after those who filled his head with expectations and mislead the masses. His attacks are spiteful (if not vindictive) against the "moral mêlée" (more on that. next album ;-) supposed to show the example and lead the pack, yet miserably failing.

The music alternates between hard rock riffs and acoustic passages (both presented together in Aqualung and My God, but separately to different levels in subsequent tracks), giving excellent but too rare instrumental passages (the incredible intro on the Mellotron-laden Cross-Eyed Mary and the no-less great intro of Locomotive Breath) and somewhat similar patterns (the third track on each side is a short acoustic tune) of construction and the splendid musical drama of My God or its lyrical equivalent Mary (the mother of the son, this name is no fluke) in her street adventures from abortion to prostitution, rapes, murders and robberies.

The album has produced its fair share of classics (both radio and concert) such as My God, Cross-Eyed Mary, Locomotive Breath, Hymn 43 and the title track, but there are a few tracks right next to those which would've been highlights on other albums and are a bit over-shadowed here: the superb Mother Goose (and its cast of willing victims and potential wrongdoers and vengeful protectors of little girls or are they?) and Up To Me are separated by a good acoustic Wondering Aloud (again an Anderson thought, rather than a Jethro utterance) are both superb semi-acoustic/electric tunes which provide so much depth on that first side.

The second side holds three of the four longest tracks of the album, but does not allow for much more instrumental room (still quite significant, but.) than its predecessor. Off to an excellent start after that superb title track, and a rather hard piano-driven Hymn43, the album sort of runs out of steam with a weaker Slipstream (those weird string leading out), followed by a great jumping-on-the-religion-bandwagon Locomotive Breath (too close to Hymn's guitar riff for comfort, though) and a rather odd, forgettable (but only musically, not lyrically) Wind Up.

In terms of bonus tracks, this album is plagued by a poor selection of them, with an alternate take of the weakest track, an informative interview (but not bearing repeated listening) and a radio session of Stand Up-era tracks and a forgettable fingers track. Funny on how their best two albums (with TAAB) are loaded with inferior bonus material when most other album have worthy bonuses.

Yes, Aqualung is not perfect neither does it have the pretension, but its success would push the Mad Flauter (Ian) and its alter Ego, Jethro, to much greater things, most notably the flawless TAAB, where Jethro's spirit will work wonders both lyrically, but winning over the music as well. Meanwhile, we are stuck with this raw gem, that is Tull's most defining moment, even if it ends on a down note. Let that not deter you and jump in the game of life in Jethro's disturbing planet.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#16258) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Aqualung" isn't only a great album, it's somehow a feel of live from the early 70's. Maybe not as ambitious and essential in progressive rock terms as "Thick As A Brick", but in terms of folk prog an absolute masterpiece concept record, too. I always feel like I am travelling back in the 70's when I listen to classic tracks like "Locomotive Breath", "Cross-Eyed Mary", "Mother Gose" or the title track. Still the heavily blues influences are involved on this album, but sound more throughout perfected in combination with their fokish attitude and delivered a masterpiece for a bigger audience. "Thick As A Brick" was only for a smaller circle of listeners, because of the far more prog-ish attitude and more edged compositions, but in look on quality there isn't quite a difference, all is just more accesible on here, and also interestening for listeners of hard rock and other styles. Thank you Jethro Tull for your classic albums!

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#16252) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another memorable album, sometimes very progressive, instead in other circumstances it's characterized by a normal classic rock-music genre, but anyway it depends on the use of scales and harmonic structures as well, by the "flutist of the flutists" Jan ANDERSON!! The title track was an hit-single at that èpoque, but it is a remarkable example of classic rock;instead "Cross-Eyed Mary" and the mythical "Locomotive Breath" are out of this contest...

Make your choice! To me this album is recommended!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#16254) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 03, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is just before "Thick As A Brick", and we can already feel the influence here. The songs are not as progressive as on the next albums, rather simpler, but they deserve good attention. Rythmic piano is omnipresent, and ANDERSON's voice is young, with less of those low frequencies he developed after. Those low frequencies make his voice warm. Martin Barre plays electric and acoustic guitars. The presence of David Palmer give some symphonic influence: you can hear some classical arrangements. The flute is also more modest than we use to listen, but still very good. The song "Aqualung" is absolutely excellent, starting slowly and increasing in intensity with a wonderful guitar solo.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#16256) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004

Review by Carl floyd fan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This one comes just before the classic thick as a brick and you can see that this cd is leading up to it....still, it seems Ian and Co. are holding back a little for the better things to come. This pales in comparisson to Thick as a Brick but don't get me wrong, it is a very good cd! Make this your second Tull purchase!

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Posted Monday, April 19, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Aqualung" explodes like "Jesus Christ Superstar" sitting on a keg of dynamite, here starring Ian Anderson as our self-appointed conscience. Not everyone wanted to be preached to by a rock star, however, and the album found TULL losing some of their original fans even as they attracted new ones. The light and dark tones of "Benefit" are put into sharper relief this time by alternating disarming acoustic songs with a theosophical din of diabolical intent. The addition of JEFFREY Hammond-Hammond on bass (yes, the very same "JEFFREY" chronicled on their earlier albums) doesn't change the sound of TULL much, nor does the full-time addition of JOHN EVAN, who gets buried in the band's sonic onslaught most of the time. The blurring of IAN ANDERSON the performer and "Aqualung" the character may be alarming to some, but wasn't it just a natural outcropping of the rock opera movement? Music fans proved they were interested in the persona as much as the player, and ANDERSON gave them something to think about: a composite sketch of a demigod drawn from Jesus, Loki, and Merlin among others. Of course, no album could stand up to that sort of scrutiny, so take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. It's just that songs like "Aqualung", "Cross-Eyed Mary, "Hymn #43" and "Locomotive Breath" are such epic clashes of morality and reality that "Aqualung" assumes the scale of a Greek tragedy. The acoustic breaks are sometimes no more than lovely little bits of fluff ("Cheap Day Return", "Wond'ring Aloud") and sometimes a mortal analysis of the world around us ("Mother Goose", "Wind-Up"). Yet I won't proffer an explanation of "Aqualung".

The album clearly takes umbrage with institutionalized religion and reintroduces the "Aqualung" character on "Cross-Eyed Mary", but it's hard to say what it all means. (Unlike musicals, which are designed to juggle different players, rock bands just don't have a closet full of characters at their disposal.) "Aqualung" is a great leap from songwriter to storyteller, though some felt Tull slipped too far into the fabled woods for the inscrutable Brick and Passion. Me, I'd say this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between music and one man's illimitable fancy.

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Posted Friday, April 30, 2004

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's a concept album without narrative conceit, a classic rock album with many layers of philosophical depth. Dirty urban imagery and ancient pastoral glimpses, blues-rock grit and folk whimsy, bitter social critique and tender domestic odes; so many contradictions and yet such a complete and seamless, almost effortless musical execution. If JETHRO TULL hadn't recorded any other albums afterwards, this album could have easily been seen as a fitting culmination; luckily for us, that wasn't the case, but even on its own merits, "Aqualung" is a fully realized, flawless experience.

Maybe decades of rock refinement have colored my impressions, but every time I listen to this album I'm struck with how uniquely they aproached composition. For instance, you can count on one hand the number of times Clive Bunker uses anything like a standard rock rhythm, and the typical verse/ chorus/ bridge structure is always subtly subverted. Even when Martin Barre plays identifiable blues- rock leads, it's barely resembles anything Hendrix or the Yardbirds alumni brought to the musical table. Anderson's vision and energy motivates the tracks; this is not meandering experimentation, this is a thoroughly developed and immediate sound.

I'm pretty stingy with the five stars, even when I'm totally in love with an album. "Aqualung" deserves every bit of the masterpiece rating, achieving accesibility without sacrificing an inch of originality or musicianship. Though other JETHRO TULL albums may be personal favorites, this one is a unique and thoroughly well-developed statement without a millisecond of wasted space or unneccesary embellishment. The hard edge was as heavy as anything in music at the time, but the range is far wider than that; the beautiful, reflective pastoral qualities and insightful social criticism are but the most obvious indications of the band's flexibility. Between the ragged immediacy of the preceding releases and the more polished and deliberate recordings that followed, "Aqualung" is the perfect balance.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#16286) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 19, 2004

Review by penguindf12
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Should be 4.5 stars, really.

Wonderful! My Dad bought this after I got "Thick as a Brick," so I gave it a few listens... The "Aqualung" song is a classic. It chronicles the lowest of life in society, a reject in all his disgusting pitifulness. Then "Cross-Eyed Mary" slips in afterward, a great hard rock tune about a schoolgirl prostitute (!). Next is the short piece "Cheap Day Return," a great classic guitar song about a trip Anderson took to see his dad in the hospital. The song "Mother Goose" is my favorite of the classic guitar pieces on the album: this one is the longest, as well. "Wond'ring Aloud" is a simple love song, and "Up to Me" is a nice flute/guitar song about the common man and his ignorance and lack of responsibility. This first half of the album is generally about the lower part of society.

Then "My God" enters like a BLACK SABBATH song. It sounds like one, too. It is a blues song for God, as he has been "locked in his golden cage" by those who try to define him in simple terms. "Hymn 43" is blues for Jesus, and the "gory glory seekers who'd use his name in death." The song "Slipstream" serves as an interlude classic guitar piece which tells about death as a peaceful way out of the "mess" (modern society). "Locomotive Breath" is an awesome song, an instant classic. It is also about death, with a rushing train as the metaphor for life. Then "Wind Up", uh, winds up the album by essentially comparing the lowly poor class with the hypocrisy of the upper, and saying effectively that the former is better and more worthy of saving than the latter (though both are equal in the eyes of God.).

I personally like "thick as a brick" more than this album, but this one is still very good. Essential to any classic rock lover, and not just limited to prog fans.

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Send comments to penguindf12 (BETA) | Report this review (#16289) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I can see that this album is very respected by the reviewers of this website, so maybe this album deserves the 5 star rating, but for me this album deserves 3 stars, because I prefer "Benefit" more than this album. The Side One of the old L.P. was titled "Aqualung" and the Side Two was titled "My God". I prefer the lyrics and the music of the Side One tracks. Side Two has interesting lyrics, but it`s more "quiet" in comparison. In the song called "My God" there is a very good flute solo and a very good arrangement done with Ian Anderson`s vocals. The cover design is very good, too.

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Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the album in which JT started to show their ever-developing musical ambitions with a touch of grandeur that, until the "Benefit" album's release, could only be glimpsed at occasionally. Coincidentally with the entry of new bassist and long-time friend Jeffrey Hammond (from now on, Hammond-Hammond) and the reaffirmation of John Evan as the band's keyboardist, Anderson created the "Aqualung" repertoire and the fivesome arranged and performed it with a bigger dose of energy and enthusiasm, and a refurbished sense of purpose. While not being a concept-album strictly speaking [and Ian Anderson sees himself obliged to state it in interviews over and over again], there is a recurrent concern toward the darkest side of religion and the lower side of social classes: Anderson, as a lyricist, has now matured into a poetic state, not unlike other brilliant wordsmiths such as Sinfield, Peart or Hammill. The opening namesake track is one of the most popular JT tunes ever, and it includes one of the most prototypical Barre solos ever. 'Cross-Eyed Mary' and 'Locomotive Breath' are other numbers that have passed the test of time and still nowadays are undisputed Tull classics - they are catchy and full of fiery flute ornaments and attractive guitar riffs, while keeping themselves far out of the habitual boundaries of vulgar rock. The progressive factor is most developed in the mini-epic 'My God', an anti-clerical manifesto whose climatic peak in met in the angry flute solo contained in the interlude: the parody church chorale (courtesy of Hammond- Hammond's multi-layered chants) that joins the last part of Anderson's flute solo adds some more fuel to the passionate disappointment towards hypocrisy and thoughtless formalism of religion-based morality. The same message is conveyed straight away by the more aggressive (both instrumentally and lyrically) 'Hymn 43' and the closure 'Wind Up'. The latter is the second longest track in the album: not build under the same epic drive of 'My God', it certainly shows the band exploring their penchant for combining folk and rock and expanding it to a more complex level. The folk thing is more crystalline in 'Mother Goose', whose captivating nuances result from the effective interplaying between acoustic guitar and dual recorders. The three brief acoustic ballads serve as moments of momentary relief among the general display of energy and sophistication: my fave one among all of them has got to be 'Wond'ring Aloud', in no small degree due to the amazing string arrangements that embellish the song, taking it from 'simply nice' up to a majestic level. This is an excellent album indeed, comprising much of the splendour that will be more developed in many of JT's following albums.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#16302) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album has some very exceptional songs in it, but also some duller tunes which sadly drop the fifth star from it. This is still a very recommendable classic rock album, and the material is more like an artistic classic rock, there are no symphonic or similar elements present here. But this was the trade this band mastered in my opinion better that the epics! The A-side of the LP is wonderful, but I never got so much into the second side. This is not due to it's anti-religious themes though. Well, maybe I should try to check it out again someday (if I just had the time!). Covers are marvelous, and it was a nice act from the band to do an album themed of the outcasts of the society.

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Posted Friday, April 01, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Waiting for the promised new 2005 Aqualung-Live CD, I've decided now it's time to write about this MEMORABLE MASTERPIECE (oh!, don't worry, I'm not intending to suggest a special 6 stars rating cathegory or similar.). The fact is that truly this is an immortal opus. The greatness is both in the electric guitar of Martin Barre and in the (predominant) acoustic guitar of Ian Anderson. This is the last album for the drummer Clive Bunker (the next year replaced by Barriemore Barlow, my Tull's preferite drummer of all time!!) and the first album for the bass player Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, who was well known by the JT's fans because of the three songs that Ian had dedicated to him before (in order: 1968-A Song For Jeffrey; 1969-Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square; 1970-For Micheal Collins, Jeffrey And Me).

Cover Art: long bearded tramp painted in predominating green tempera colour.Ian Anderson, of course!! This is his legendary long coat I've seen him with, performing A Song For Jeffrey in the Rolling Stone Rock'n'Roll Circus (1968).

Aqualung: nothing to say in particular. All is just completely said! But what about the highest pleasure to listen to auch acclaimed and equilibrated song? P.S. Ironically, the best known song from Jethro Tull is one of the fews which are not flute-played!! I hope this is nothing more than a coincidence.(I like flute' sound very much). Ah! Words of the song by Jennie, the first Ian's wife.

Cross-Eyed-Mary: And what could be the better thing that the Good Lord would reserve to that tramp..? This is a classic Tull piece in a strong rock vein.so strong and classic rock that the iron Maiden played a famous cover of it changing the fluted-part into their baroque (and remarkable) running electric guitar!

Cheap Day Return: a nice short acoustic one in which Ian narrates when he went to visit his old father into hospital and the title track is derived from the name of the train ticket.

Mother Goose: beautiful acoustic oriented song with some enchanting electric guitar by "Monsieur Le Barre" in the second part. These last two pieces are findable in the recent live JT 2002 album Living With The Past (very good album!). It was also performed live in their splendid italian concert in Mantua (in the garden of the Gonzaga's "Palazzo Te" - Gonzaga was an important and rich dukes' family) the 16 july.

Wond'ring Aloud: another splendid track in acoustic guitar and piano (great John Evan!). In the Living In The Past album (1972) you can find another longer version of this one moderately and differently arranged (with also different lyrics) named Wond'ring Again.

Up To Me: mythic piece with that famous laughed-intro (rarely played in the live concerts, but played in the last Italian concert in Mantua.

My God: the real sure progressive piece in this album, with a great increasing acoustic arpeggio in the first part, great electric guitar parts and a memorable choral intermezzo. This song opens the second half of the album wich was concepted to be the summa of the Ian's opinions in God and religion.

Hymn 43: stunning electric played track which was also released as a single (also this was rarely live played!).

Slipstream: within Cheap Day Return this is the second of the two little (short) acoustic gems of the album...it shivers me each time I listen to it!

Locomotive Breath: the second historic immortal song after Aqualung! Great piano introduction by Mr. John Evan and sudden start of an explosive Barre's guitar!

Wind-Up: the third forgotten song in the live shows. "When I Was Young." so starts the filtered voice of Ian. The song is divided in two symmetrical parts of which the first begins in an acoustic slow guitar, the second in similarly slow piano.what an incredible song!!!

Final rating: 5 stars? of course!!!!

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#45063) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Review by el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Yes, very nice, but not very proggish. I guess they had not developed the proggish side of the band yet. Thats OK, this album still is very good...but not a masterpiece. Yes, the whole album has a very nice feeling and there is no bad or weak song...but still its not a 5 star album. I like the way the album is kind of separeted in two, one side its the Aqualung album and the other the Christian hypocrecy, nice! Best songs: Aqualung, Crossed eye Mary, Up to me, My God ( this must be, along with Aqualung the most "important" track of the album ), Hymn 43, Locomothive Breath and Wind up. In the remastered version there is a bonus interview to Ian, were he says that Aqualung is not that big thing for him...hehehe, just so you know

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Posted Thursday, September 01, 2005

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A classic album in Rock History!! And somewhat of a conceptual album. Combining rock, folk, and prog elements was a good idea. The result is my 2nd favourite album from the band, and their most accessible one. It is no wonder how many of the songs here are heard on the radio, and the number of albums sold. I will not review the short acoustic pieces, since they only are there to connect the big songs together and they would not sound impressive on their own. These songs are essential to the album though, and are very pretty.

"Aqualung" begins the album and it is a classic rock song that is often heard on the radio, despite its moderately long length. IT has a powerful 6-note guitar riff, folk-rock sections, great solos ... This song, like 'Minister in a Gallery' combines all elements of the band. This song is superior though. "Cross-Eyed Mary" is a good hard rock short song with memorable riffs. Mother Goose is a melodic folky tune with very good melodies and guitar lines. Up To Me has an outstanding flute/guitar unison riff. My God is the epic of the album, and it is pure progressive rock with a very dark and angry tone. It begins as a faint acoustic theme that will eventually increase in volume and depth until the them is played with an electric guitar and a desperate loud flute lick is played. Later, AN AMAZING IMPOSSIBLY FAST FLUTE SOLO is played with male angry choirs in the background. The main theme and verses are heard after Ian Impresses listener with his flute. Hymn 43 is an agressive track with yet another good riff and nice piano playing behind the guitar. Locomotive Breath starts with nice soft piano and builds up into one of the most known guitar-driven rhythms of Prog Rock. There is another flute solo in this outstanding hard rock song.

1. Aqualung (9.5/10) 2. Cross-Eyed Mary (8/10) 3. Cheap Day Return (7/10) 4. Mother Goose (8/10) 5. Wond'ring Aloud (8/10) 6. Up To Me (7/10) 7. My God (9/10) 8. Hymn 43 (7.5/10) 9. Slipstream (7/10) 10. Locomotive Breath (9/10) 11. Wind-Up (8/10)

My Rating : B+

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#45521) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 04, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars To me the wonderful watercolour painting looks like Ian Anderson down the drain (I agree with JT freak Andrea), is this the Freudian nightmare of the typical upper-middle class: once well-educated and predestinated to belong to the happy few in the UK and now a sick and lost, TBC suffering tramp? It could have been a cynical, typical poshy British joke from Ian Anderson! Anyway, this is JT their finest hour delivering a captivating blend of several styles. Most of the compositions alternates between blues, rock and folk, topped by splendid electric guitar work from Martin Barre and powerful flute play and strong, very distinctive vocals (with that cynical undertone) from Ian Anderson. Other tracks have a more progressive rock sound.

"Aqualung": great changing climates (folky, swinging, R&R), strong omnipresent piano play, powerful vocals and in the second part a strong build-up, harder-edged guitar solo.

"My God": a compelling composition that starts with fine acoustic guitar, then piano and cynical vocals, culminating in a slow rhythm with propulsive electric guitar riffs, fiery guitar runs and swirling flute play. The cynical vocals and lyrics are splendid!

"Locomotive Breath": the intro features a classical, jazzy inspired piano intro, then a catchy rhythm with swirling flute, fiery electric guitar and swing piano. And another powerful appearance by Ian Anderson on vocals.

This album from Jethro Tull is a perfect one for a discussion about progressive rock. BUT IT REMAINS AN ESSENTIAL MASTERPIECE!

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Posted Thursday, September 08, 2005

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The album that thrusted Tull onto the airwaves, especially in the US. Any cover band worth their merit has to, or at least, try to cover 'Aqualung'. It's a mother of a song, heavy, plodding, an impossible song to dance to. But man oh man those lyrics. In fact, the main draw for me is the mighty pen of Mr. Ian Anderson, and here is some of his most biting work, and for/against religion no less. I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow review of the disc, since its been done ad neaseum. But like Hughes review, I tend to enjoy the songs least played, ('Mother Goose', 'Slipstream', 'Wind-up'). The disc I own is the 25th anniversary edition with extra tracks and an interview with Ian. The only reason I give this album less than five stars is the muddy sound. Some day I might pick up the re-mastered version, but for now I'll settle for this. To sum up, it's not overtly prog, it still has the bluesy balls like previous albums, but you can see how they are beginning to stretch out to more fertile regions. Hard, rocking, flute-driven masterpiece.

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Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars What to say about an album that contains an anthem and at least 3 other songs that can be rated as classics? Not so much, only to experience and enjoy.

"Aqualung", the album is really a splendid piece of contemporary music breaking the borders of labels and styles; this work helped - and helped too much to set the guidelines for what we today call prog-rock or simply prog.

The anthem, 'Aqualung', the song, is a timeless composition where changes in time and signature are marvelous; everything functions at its best in this music - and one can catch a glimpse of Anderson's elf-like face while performing this song.

The classics: 'Locomotive breath', the beginning is illusory, this is not a piano suite but a raw and dense rock; 'Cross-eyed Mary', an explosive combination of flute and piano supported by great guitar backing, and the singing is nervous, provocative; 'Hymn 43', again the piano and again the voice is crude, almost rude, nearly barbarous.

Other songs are average or better but I have a special care for the short and agreeable 'Cheap day return', pastoral and bucolic, contrasting with the powerful 'Aqualung' and its strong companion 'Cross-eyed Mary'.

This album is really a MASTERPIECE. Total: 5.

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Posted Friday, January 06, 2006

Review by Eclipse
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Overrated album! If "My God" and the title track are supposed to be the highlights in this album, i have to admit that i don't share this view. The opening song is perhaps their most famous work, but IMO it is very dry musically and doesn't work for me. While "My God" has "an awesome flute solo", an even more awesome flute solo can be found on Thick As A Brick, and the rest of the song is as dry as the opening one. For me, the good songs are the short ones here, since they show some actual emotion and passion which apparently is lacking on the rest of the disc. I admit the concept on the album is good, and IAN ANDERSON is a very smart lyricist, but musically this album doesn't give the "big punch" necessary to appreciate the concept and lyrics as well.

Credits go for the album cover which, in my opinion, together with the concept, are the only things that worked here.

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Send comments to Eclipse (BETA) | Report this review (#63782) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 08, 2006

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A masterpiece of classic prog!

This is a masterpiece of prog rock album that has now become a legendary one. It's a pity of you claim yourself as a prog lover but you don't have this album in your collection because this one is a must have. With their debut album full of blues influence, this album is more of a rocker with variations of styles and tempo. It was not hard for hard rockers to accept this album because it contains heavy guitar riffs which resemble typical hard rock music. Of course, you would hear a lot of flute-work throughout the album - that's has become the trademark of Tull's music.

The album opener and title track "Aqualung" has colored my childhood when this song was popularized by my illegal (oops!) radio station. It's relative accessible rocker with typical guitar riffs of hard rock combined with drums, unique vocal line and acoustic guitar as rhythm section. I remember that this track was my brother Jokky's favorite song because he always played this song everyday. I got used to it because he regularly played it and the first impression I got about this song was especially the "distant" vocal sound during chorus where the acoustic guitar rhythm accompanies. The song is very dynamic and it represents prog nature because it offers tempo and style changes throughout the stream of the song. "Aqualung my friend - don't you start away uneasy .." is a memorable lyrical part that I cannot forget since the first time I listened to it until now (Oh boy . 35 years have passed .!!).

"Cross-Eyed Marry" is another great track with soaring flute and piano during opening followed with energetic music. Again, I like when the vocal enters especially with the guitar riffs that accompany the vocal. Great! "Cheap Day Return" offers great acoustic guitar fills and melody. "Mother Ghoose" maintains the same acoustic guitar style that accompanies unique vocal line. "Wondering Aloud" is a nice ballad with heavy voval line and articulate acoustic guitar fills. "Up To Me" is another favorite of mine especially it has a unique laughs at the start of the track followed with powerful acoustic guitar fills, flute and unique vocal line "Take you to the cinema ..". It's a wonderfully crafted track that characterizes the music of Tull.

"My God" has a powerful melody and great acoustic guitar part at the opening. It's my favorite Tull's track as well. The music flows naturally with ambient vocal at the opening, moving up into an energetic style with drum beats and guitar riffs. I always repeat this track whenever I play this album like what I'm doing now. The combined work of flute and electric guitar is really excellent. The flute solo in the middle of the track is terrific! "He is inside you and me. So lean upon him gently ..".

"Hymn 43" is another great rocker with powerful riffs and good combination of piano and flute works. "Slipstream" is another nice ballad. "Locomotive Breath" is the band's legendary track with great piano solo opening followed with great electric guitar touch that brings the music into a dynamic style.

My CD is a Special Edition 25th Anniversary with luxurious and colored booklet and very nice CD case. I don't regret at all spending money to purchase this CD. The music is a masterpiece; the production and sonic quality are top notch! Highly recommended to all of you claim as prog lovers! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Friday, April 21, 2006

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Quite simply put, this is one of my favourite records of all time - one of those I know practically by heart, one I've never got tired of listening to. While some have questioned its progressiveness, and others seem to think it is a bit overrated (oh, no, not that word again!), to my mind it still represents one of the best examples of what was great about music in the Seventies - fantastic cover art, intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics, fearless blending of genres, even on-stage theatrics. Even though all these things still exist in some measure, there was an innocence to it that seems to be sadly lacking in today's corporate music world, where images are created on purpose and nothing is left to chance anymore.

While its status as a fully-fledged concept album is debatable (though it seems indeed to be built, however loosely, around a sortof concept - that is, criticism of the role of organised religion in modern society), "Aqualung" shows Anderson at its biting, lyrical best. His voice (not classically beautiful in the way of a Lake or a Sinclair, but highly expressive and always effective in its delivery) snarls and soothes in turn - as the album's musical content strikes the right balance between acoustic, folk-flavoured moments and fiery, hard-rocking numbers, enhanced by Martin Barre's aggressive guitar. Actually, "hard rock" is probably the most suitable definition for the album's overall sound. Barre, more restrained on the band's previous albums (where he was still the new boy), here pulls out all the stops and delivers some of the most incendiary solos in the history of prog - notably the one on "Aqualung", a real showstopper, allegedly done in one take in the presence of Jimmy Page. The contrast with Anderson's wistful, delicate acoustic playing on songs like "Cheap Day Return" and folk-rock masterpiece "Mother Goose" (also featuring nice flute parts ) is really one of the album's strenghts.

With so many reviews written before mine, I feel a track-by-track analysis to be quite superfluous. The standouts, though, are nothing short of superb - starting with the title-track, which veers from the crushingly heavy opening riff (one of the most immediately recognisable in the history of rock) to the melancholy, acoustic part in which Ian, at his most heartwrenching, bleakly illustrates the reality of the titular tramp's squalid life, to the galloping instrumental middle section and Barre's blistering solo, before the reprise of the initial theme. A masterpiece of songwriting if ever there was one. "Cross-Eyed Mary", about a day in the life of a teenage hooker, is another hard-rock-flavoured number - once covered by Iron Maiden, whose bassist Steve Harris has never hidden his love for JT; while the next three tracks see the tempo slow down and the folk influences come out to play.

The real masterpiece of the album, though, and my personal favourite, comes at the beginning of what used to be Side Two. With caustic, bitter lyrics decrying the hypocrisy of organising religion and the way it demeans the true meaning of God, "My God" features some of Anderson's best, free-form flute work in the middle, and some guitar work by Barre that would not be wrong to call heavy metal. The way his guitar kicks in at the beginning of the song, after Anderson has sung "So lean upon him gently/and don't call on him to save..." literally slices the air in two. Anderson spits out his words with genuine venom, and the lyrics are among the best he's written in a career spanning almost forty years. Then, of course, we have traditional concert encore "Locomotive Breath", a driving, hauntingly heavy song with great flute and guitar work, and rock-solid rythm backing. Album closer "Wind Up", probably the most traditionally prog song on the record, is also my least favourite, in spite of the excellent lyrical content.

The recently remastered edition contains some excellent bonus tracks, including early JT classics "Fat Man" and "A Song for Jeffrey", the evergreen "Bourée", and an interview with Ian Anderson himself reminiscing about the way the album came about. "Aqualung" is one of those records that get better with age and never go out of date. This is essential listening for every lover of great, classic, solid-gold rock music.

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Posted Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Review by Australian
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Aqualung" is the most accessible Jethro Tull album and it is the easiest to get into and to acquire as it is, I daresay the band's most critically acclaimed album. "Aqualung" is a wonder to listen to from start to finish and it features many classic songs which include "Aqualung", "Cross-Eyed Mary", "My God" and "Locomotive Breath." "Aqualung" is the heaviest of Jethro Tull's earlier albums. But is also has many folky sections as well which makes for a very interesting listen. I will go through some of the major songs, but not all as I don't want to bore you.

The title song depicts a shabby, mysterious beggar who pops up on a few other places on the album. "Aqualung" is the best Jethro Tull song, excluding T'hick as Brick 'parts 1 and 2, in my opinion. It starts off with a harsh opening played on an overdrive guitar which sets the initial mood of the song. It then moves into a short acoustic section and then into a very lively paty which is infectious, and amazing. The solo connects with this section, which is probably the best in all Tull songs and then the opening is repeated which then closes out the song.

The next song, depicts another of society's dregs "Cross-Eyed Mary" the prostitute and the harshness in Ian Anderson's voice shows his disapproval of such people. "Cross- Eyed Mary" is another "Aqualung"-like song with a similar structure and sound, although it isn't quite as good. The next major song is "Mother Goose" which is a folk song, accented by recorders played by Martin Barre and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond as well as the trademark Ian Anderson Acoustic guitar chord progression and some electric guitar in the background.

"My God talks" explicitly of religion and of Christian Hypocrisy. It is rather true song in what it speaks of. Other than "My God" is a very good song and has a solemn mood with many minor chords spotted here and there. Locomotive Breath is another classic Jethro Tull song and it starts rather softly and builds its way up into a rock song. Aqualung was one of Jethro Tull's most successful albums and it reached number 4 in the UK and 7 in US.

With this major world-wide fan base, when the band released 'Thick as a Brick' it went to number 1 in America and 5 in England, so "Aqualung" set the stage so to say for many years to come. Anywho "Aqualung" is a major prog album and even today it is hailed as being one of the key albums in the advancement to hard rock music, although it may not be immediately apparent.

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Posted Saturday, August 12, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars JT's finest performance? I think not. This may be Anderson at his best lyrically, but besides that, I don't see the greatness that everyone else seems to find in this album. The melodies are trite and uninspiring for me. Every now and then Tull will hit their stride, but a majority of it is pretty dull. I'd like to see more progging here and less bluesing.

I'll take an example like a song like Cross Eyed Mary. It just is not really interesting, it never seems to go anywhere, it just kind of exists. Much can be said for the rest of the album, it's just kind of "there". Aqualung, My God, and Locomotive breath are the best tracks here, but even still, I feel like there is something missing. Tull would go on to write better things however, as such is the case for TaaB and A Passion Play.

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Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album had been JT's biggest selling and fans' favorite one and certainly it's a much easier accessible work than its ambitious follow-up. As far as I've read on the band's website Ian Anderson did not agree to its tag concept album given by critics considering it rather a compilation of songs. We all know that this fact triggered him to design the concept of "TaaB" which would become the "mother of all concept albums" then. Anyway the lyrics here do have some common topics like social grievance and organized religion and belong undeniably to some of his strongest ones. Musically this one's showing up very well the development of the band's (or shall I say Anderson's) capability of arranging more and more sophisticated and intricate songs. Though those ones here didn't reflect their pinnacle yet IMHO which would be the filigree composition of TaaB this record contains some of their finest work. Apart from the rock classics "Aqualung", "Locomotive Breath" and "Cross-eyed Mary" the band became famous for and being still fun to listen to after all those decades and despite massive airplay there are quite a few more great songs on here. All the compositions are very well balanced between hard rocking sections and acoustic folk-ish or classically inspired ones, a paradigm that should become a kind of trademark for their style later on. Unlike the previous one "Benefit" this is a very versatile album, more similar to "Stand Up" in some way, just more elaborate featuring nice contrasting ingredients like the Mellotron intro of the otherwise rocking "Cross-eyed Mary", the Gregorian-type of choirs in "My God" or the legendary classical beginning for "Locomotive Breath". Other highlights are for sure the few pleasant shorter acoustic pieces "Cheapday return", "Wond"ring aloud" and "Slipstream" as well as the folksy "Mother Goose" or the ballad-esque "Wind Up" with a rocking middle part.

As a conclusion I'd not (yet) consider "Aqualung" a masterpiece from them but certainly one of their finest works and an excellent addition to any collection (****1/2 really)!!

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Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Just a bunch of songs", said Ian. Yeah, right. No-one trusts him. Maybe this is not a conceptual album; maybe all the songs are linked with that magic, invisible link by sheer coincidence. Maybe the Tramp was in some sort of mood for writing songs about religion, without any intentions to delve deep into the thoughtful philosophy of human existence. I guess nobody will ever know.

Isn't it ironic that the most essential Tull song is actually without a flute? And isn't this album actually overwhelmed with lyrical irony of the author himself? Isn't it weird that the milestone of one of the best progressive bands ever is actually an album that is not so terribly progressive musical-wise?

Some of the masterpieces are inspiring, beautiful, evolving, complex, in one word - a food for the mind and soul. I'm always furious, happy, touched, astonished when I am listening any of those masterpieces - I guess it's the same with you, just pick any of your favourite records. Dozens of times I wished to compose something that beautiful myself. Dozens of times I realised that I am discovering something new, realising that the pure genius of my favourite musician(s) is just a top of the iceberg, discovering two black faces on the place where I used to see a white candle-holder just moments ago.

Well, that is not the case with "Aqualung". No. This is something else. When I place the CD into the player, that is meeting with an old friend, and I'm smiling. You are glad because your old friend is here, and you are not complaining about his or hers little imperfections. Because he/she is a human being, an entity that lives and breathes. Nature is a miracle indeed.

This is not a masterpiece. This is someone's life.

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Posted Saturday, December 30, 2006

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Aqualung is one of two masterpieces from the only prog-folk group I thoroughly enjoy, Jethro Tull. Aqualung is semi-conceptual, not in the sense of a story but the original sense where the album is built on a theme (think Zappa's Freak Out and We're Only In It For the Money). Side 1 seems to focus on hypocrisy, while Side 2 is linked lyrically as an organized attack on religion. Every track is gold, especially the venemous title track, Mother Goose, and My God are downright essential listening to fans of rebellious lyrics. Heck, these lyrics wouldn't sound too out of place on a Dead Kennedys release, though the arrangements sure would. Ian's rants against religion are some of the first put to verse. John Lennon, not to mention a host of metal bands, owe a debt to Anderson's pioneering lyrics.

While this album isn't as good as Thick as a Brick, or as progressive, it stands as one of the finest albums ever released. Side 2 is cohesive in its attack, but Side 1 proves that this is not a concept album. There is no unifying thread between the songs on Side 1, and there shouldn't be, as Ian wanted this to be a regular album. Aqualung proves that Jethro Tul is the only prog-folk band that truly knows how to rock. Barre's guitar matches the bite in Ian's vocals, and Anderson's flute is always spell-binding. New bassist Hammond shows that he is Tull's best bassist with his solid work that would only improve on the group's magnum opus. Clive Bunker seems incapable of making a predictable drum pattern; instead he crafts some of the weirdest and coolest kitwork this side of Bill Bruford.Evans is a good rythm pianist, and I don't mind that he doesn't take up the room than symphonic keyboardists like Wakeman and Emerson do. Don't get me wrong, I idolize both of them but sometimes structure is ruined by too much of a good thing.

Grade: A-

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Posted Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Aqualung was my first confrontation with the Tull. I got acquainted with it on a Belgian radio programme aired on Wednesday afternoons (school off time). I was then aged twelve and I felt in love with "Aqualung". Some people have been bored with the title track or "Locomotive Breath" because they have been so much heard. IMO, but they are ones of the greatest Tull songs ever. It is always a pleasure to listen to them again and again.

The album, of course, does not only features two songs, and "Cross-Eyed Mary" is a bloody good track. The fabulous flute intro that builds crescendo is incredible. Give me more of that kind, please ! Strong rock song. This reflects the hard side of the Tull which I like so much. On the contrary, the next track "Cheap Day Return" is a prog-folk accoustic ballad in which Barre excells in his guitar work (unfortunately just over one minute track). "Wond'ring Aloud" is quite similar : short and folkish but with a very nice melody and very subtle vocals from Ian. A nice moment. A bit mellow with the background orchestration (I never understood why Ian was so found of this, though).

"Mother Goose" has a very nice chorus flute tempo, which is so recognizable. Not a highlight but not a weak track either. "Up to Me" shows the electric side of the Tull mixed with the purest flute sound. Always a great combination.

With "My God" the Tull reaches again the masterpiece level : the subtle piano & accoustic intro lead to a heavy rock piece of music in the vein of "With You ..." from "Benefit". The instrumental section is just wonderful. Ian's flute job at his best, leading to a classical choir segment : what a great combination ! The structure is complex. It is amazing how the Tull switches between hard / heavy rock to the lightest acoustic part. This is the Tull trademark and this is how I love this band. One of their best song in their repertoire. It will already be featured in their 1970 tour (as soon as in March / April) way before the release of Aqualung. It will be a key track in those live sets.

"Hymn 43" is a great piece of hard rock music : heavy keys and bass, great drumming and strong vocals. Another great Tull moment. "Slipstream" is the third short track and probably somewhat weaker.

"Locomotive Breath" ... : what can I say about this one ? I saw the Tull live in 2001 and when they played it it was like I travelled in time, back some thirty years ago. A fabulous song. Slow intrumental intro (almost jamming session) , which builds up to a quite hard rock tune with a fabulous riff : just great man.

The closing number "Wind Up" is the fourth masterpiece of the album. Ian's emotional vocals are very powerful in this song : again a crescendo building. Acoustic intro (guitar and vocals) : very slow tempo. Then, the piano joins after one minute. The drum after another thirty-five seconds. Then, all of a sudden (around minute two), Barre switches from acoustic to electric guitar to offer us one of the most harmonious hard-rocking part of a Tull song. Absolutely brilliant. After 4'15", the listener is brought back again to square one. So, there is only one thing to do after such a great album : "Let's harmonize these lines", right ?

This is by far the best "side B" of a Tull album. FABULOUS.

The remastered version which I re-purchased in 2003, has lots of bonus tracks as well as excerpts of an interview (from 1996) in which Ian's explains the recording of the "Aqualung" (about 14 minutes). You may think that it is long and boring, but the very first time I listened to it, I really appreciated these anecdotes about his album. This is not History of mankind, but the history a great album that will deeply influence some of the mankind.

One will learn i.e. that Tull recorded this masterpiece sharing the studio with Led Zeppelin. There's a bit of confusion in the interview about which Led Zep album it was. The interviewer mention III, Ian answering that he doesn't remember. Actually, it is impossible that it was Led Zep III (it was released in October 1970, while the Tull entered the Island studio in December). The only option is that Led Zep were recording their fabulous Untitled album (another masterpiece, by the way). Dates correspond since both albums started in the studio in December 1970.

Although they had toured with Led Zep in 1969, there were some tension between the bands. While they could get along pretty well with Jimmy and Peter Grant (Led Zep's manager) the mood with Plant was not great. Ian even mentioned to Melody Maker that : "If he would write the lyrics and with their music, they could be a good little rock'n'roll band..." !

They recorded this masterpiece in about three or four weeks. Ian's says, that he did not feel they were producing a great album (sorry, Ian : you were wrong).

In terms of musical bonuses : "Lick Your Fingers Clean" is a great number. It should have deserved to be included on the original. It shows, again, the hard side of the band. Since I do not have the appropriate equipment, I can only say that this quad version of "Wind Up" is a good one. It is less achieved than the final track. The bass is more proeminent. Barre plays more in the background while here and there some keys are to be noticed. the quad version for "Wind Up" is very good.

It is quite a good surprise to have those bonus tracks being something esle than fillers for die-hard fans spending their money again. This will be typical of the Tull remastered albums. Great work. Bravo.

"Song for Jeffrey" is an alternate version. Quite average. "Fat Man" is also poor (I did not like the original very much either). "Bourée" 's alternate version is harder oriented than the original. Great rendition. The three tracks were recorded during a BBC show (in August 1968 for the former one, and in June 1969 for the latter ones).

Only one rating possible : five stars.

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Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The first side of the album deals with the poor and the social outcasts, and how society looks at them.The second side deals with the religious hypocrites who put rituals ahead of people, and religion ahead of getting closer to God. There is a connection between the two, between the man made religion, and the man made "down and outers". In the first case religion is held in high esteem and protected and spread at any cost, while the outcasts are ignored or sneered at as filth.

The first song "Aqualung" is so amazing to me. The way Ian makes us feel contempt toward this disgusting person who eyes little girls, and is such a greasy person with shabby clothes who has a chronic cough.The picture on the front of the album cover is that guy. The music that accompanies this is heavy with riffs and Ian spitting out the words in contempt. Then contrast this to the next passage where the music and vocals become sympathetic and light as the man is described as lonely, his leg is hurting bad, he goes down into a bog to try to warm his feet.This same guy is now pictured on the back of the album cover. Which way do you look at society's down and out ? This what Mr.Anderson is asking. Incredible song !

"Cross-Eyed Mary" opens with flute and mellotron and features Ian's harsh vocals.The next three songs are acoustic tracks while "Up To Me" features some scorching guitar from Martin Barre who is at his best on this record.The second half of the record starts with "My God" a dark, angry song with some excellent guitar and a great flute solo. "Hymn 43" is an uptempo tune with some beautiful piano. "Locomotive Breath" features lots of guitar and piano melodies.The vocals and flute are really good. I love the lyrics on "Wind Up" about how God isn't just there for us on Sunday only as many religious would imply by the rituals they do on that day.

I'm still not tired of hearing this album and I love the heaviness of it. 4.5 stars. I just recently got the re-mixed version that Steven Wilson did and it's a huge upgrade in sound quality over what I had.

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Posted Monday, February 05, 2007

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Oh boy. What can be said about Aqualung that cannot have been said before? I don’t know exactly, but I’ll give it a shot (or at least, I’ll blow the standard hard rock review through my personal flute). Aqualung is of course THE album that you think of when you think Jethro Tull. At least, that’s true in the “real” world, in the “proggy” world where we tend to live that’s more of a Thick as a Brick thing. Still, if you were to walk up to anyone on the street and say “Jethro Tull,” he might respond “Sit-ting on a PARK bench!” Or at least air guitar that menacing riff, which is more than some prog bands get these days (say to another person, “Van Der Graaf Generator,” and he’ll probably respond, “Don’t hurt me!”).

Now, interesting issue with Aqualung is the conceptuality of the album. Ian says it’s not a concept album, everyone else on earth says it is. Well, that shouldn’t matter; what matters is whether or not I think it’s a concept album (it’s my review after all). And I don’t...know. It’s somewhat thematic, that’s for sure. It’s about society, man’s relationship with God, and life and death (lightweight stuff), which is what gives the album its dark edge. It’s sort of set up like a concept album; the sides are titled, the cover “goes” with the album (does the picture look like Ian, or does Ian look like the picture?), and the character of Aqualung pops up here and there (and half the album is named for him). Still, I’m not sure if that’s enough to warrant a concept album (I was never clear on what does and does not warrant a concept album, but I don’t think you can have HALF a concept album). Hmm. I wonder if ‘Lung is, in fact, a bigger joke than Thick was? Ha! Bet THAT’S never been said before!

Anyway, we open with the earlier mentioned bit, “NEE-ner nee-ner NEE-nee,” a.k.a., “Sit-ting on a PARK bench.” Besides that unforgettable, angry riff, the song offers us the greatest guitar solo EVER! Or at least, one of the greatest solos ever (if you want to be a killjoy). Riff? Solo? Dude, this is, like, the greatest song ever! And it’s about a hobo! Who dies! What else could possibly open the album (not to mention blaze the way for every Tull mini-epic to come)?

“Cross Eyed Mary” is actually even better, as far as grab your pants rocker goes. The mellotron intro and ghostly flute make you think it’s going for atmosphere, but then Barre starts playing through a box and Ian’s sneering vocals hit you. It’s all so angry, it’s great.

“Cheap Day Return” is the quick, stunningly beautiful acoustic piece I mention in half my reviews (in my Foxtrot review, I compare it “Horizons,” and in my Court of the Crimson King review, I compare it to “21st Century Schizoid Man”). Jokes aside, I really mean the “stunningly beautiful” part. This is the first of a few short, acoustic songs across the album (mostly just Ian and Jeffrey), and it’s the best. It’s also Tull’s best example of effortless beauty to date, possibly ever.

This turns right into “Mother Goose,” a slightly more built up acoustic number that, well, builds over time, until the whole band’s playing. The chorus part is lovely, with Jeffrey singing along (the first singing bass player, a Tull trend that shall continue). “Wond’ring Aloud” is a milder acoustic piece, according to Ian it’s his best love song. Well, it’s not bad. I might even like it a little more than the Living in the Past outtake “Wond’ring Again.” It’s a bit shorter and simpler, and the delivery is a little colder. “Up to Me” is a sort of sing along almost ethnic rocker. ‘Lung’s “Fat Man” I guess. It’s bouncy and fun. Listen for the percussion parts and other effects under the song; Clive goes nuts.

The second side, codename My God starts with, well, “My God.” Aqualung is one of those records where it’s hard to choose a favorite number, but I nominate “My God.” It’s pretty awesome (er, I mean, “clever musically”). You think it’s going to be another acoustic number, but after a minute, it becomes a violent rocker. And then halfway through, after a bout of awesome soloing, it becomes a sort of stately gothic flute improvisation. And I didn’t even like it at first! Ha!

“Hymn 43” might be the hardest thing on the album (even if the central focus of the song is Evan's piano), with another great, chuggin’ riff. “Slipstream” is the final short acoustic number (later reincarnated (in name only) as an infamous video project). The song itself is inoffensive enough (the strings are cool), but it’s a little samey. Either way, it perfectly sets up “Locomotive Breath,” the OTHER radio favorite off the album. The song alone is good enough, but in the context of the album, it’s prefect. The band imitates a choo-choo train speeding up, and Ian sings about suicide, plus there's killer piano, cool guitar riffage, and a bloozy floot solo. These dudes were so bad ass (in a “we’re gonna imitate a choo-choo train” sorta way).

Some people have a little trouble with “Wind Up.” It’s another “you think we’re gonna be acoustical, but now we’re gonna rock” number. It’s not as good as “My God,” but it’s good enough, especially in the middle where all hell breaks loose. My problem is more with the ending of the song, where everything kind of falls off. Or maybe it’s just “winding down,” maybe I should just shut up.

So, the album’s pretty sweet (“well put together and engaging”). The only thing that stops it from getting a perfect rating is, I don’t know. Maybe a lack of variety? I mean, there’s only so many ways to do the whole loud/soft thing. Although, all things considered, it’s pretty variet-ous within itself. Maybe it’s the balance; there’s a little too much “soft” on the first side, a little too much “loud” on the second. Still, the album flows pretty evenly.

And it’s got everything in its favor besides that. The songs are all pretty much excellent. The musicianship is amazing within and throughout; new members Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond just swings his way through the record, John Evan' potential finally brought to the front of (or behind) the band, Barre has found the perfect balance between fuzzy and clean tones, Clive Bunker beats “a thousand drums and percussion” with inhuman, sometimes psychotic, zeal, and Ian’s vocals are perfectly sneering and touching. His flautistry is maybe not as technically good as it will later be, but it’s twice as manic as it’s ever been.

Yep. This really is a key album in Tuller history; it’s more inventive than This Was, louder than Stand Up and darker than Benefit. These dudes TOTALLY invented metal, aside from “Cheap Day Return” (and you know, the fact that metal had already existed for a couple of years). I’m still not sure why I can’t give it all five stars. Crap. Maybe I just should and be done with it. UGH. I hate this album, I love this album. Buy it. You’ll love it/hate it too.

(Okay, wow, SIX new songs on the Aqualung remaster. Surely this will guarantee that I’ll raise it the half-a-point mark to five that it so richly deserves, right? Most remasters with that many songs make it through sheer quantity. If only. The first two songs are Aqualung outtakes, and of these, “Lick Your Fingers Clean” is PERFECT. I mean that. If it were the album closer instead of “Wind Up,” or if it were just on the album somehow, I’d overlook EVERYHTING and give it the flawless rating. I mean it. Whatever else I might say, this song is worth the entire ticket price. It’s an earlier, far superior version of Warchild’s “Two Fingers;” it’s everything that song was only faster, more energetic and goofier (what with the backing voices (great flute too)). Unfortunately for us, there have to be those five other tracks. “Wind Up (quad version)” is, uh, different than the original. Some folks prefer it; I am not such a man. The instruments are too distant from each other and don’t mix as well, and Ian’s voice sounds whiney and tinny. Speaking of Ian, he gives an interview (“THE Ian Anderson Interview,” to be precise). It’s amusing when the minstrel talks about the hair-thin relationship between Led Zeppelin and J Tull and plastic recorders, but when he starts stressing the importance of the song “Budapest” over the album Aqualung, even I get bored. Then there are three live numbers (from...wherever): an energetic “Song For Jeffrey,” a bouncy “Fat Man,” and a very interesting “Bouree; all good, but not necessarily essential. No change in the rating.)

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Posted Saturday, March 03, 2007

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Back in the late 60s and early 70s my friends and I who played in a band together liked Jethro Tull so much that we enthusiastically performed obscure songs from "This Was," "Stand Up," and "Benefit" to usually clueless audiences. What we loved about the group was their unconventional musical attitude, their curious mix of blues, jazz and folk, and their seeming disinterest in following popular trends. I saw them in concert in 1970 and was absolutely blown away. Especially by the new song they said would be on their upcoming LP. The tune was "My God" and it sounded so good that I could hardly wait for the album to come out.

My first reaction to the opening strains of "Aqualung" was "What in blazes is this?" I had to double-check the cover to make sure it was Jethro Tull. It sounded as if they were trying to be a hard rock band all of a sudden and I was appalled. To my ears it was "plod rock." To their credit they did take the song through some tempo and style changes but then they returned to the predictable opening once again. I figured that the next one would be better but it isn't. "Cross-Eyed Mary," a song about a "poor man's rich girl" begins promisingly with flute, piano and Mellotron but then they steer right into a standard rock beat and the tune becomes no different than a handful of others that were popular at that time. "Cheap Day Return" restores some of my faith in them but it's over before you know it. "Mother Goose" is next and it's terrific Tull. (At this point in my initial listen back in '71 I was hoping that the first two songs were just an anomaly.) With excellent acoustic guitars and Ian Anderson's sprightly flute work it's what I had come to expect from them. It evokes wild, colorful imagery. "Wond'ring Aloud" is as good a love song as Ian has ever written. In it he describes the simple joys of being at home with his wife as he sings "we are our own saviors as we start both our hearts beating life into each other" and "it's only the giving that makes you what you are." With a perfect blend of acoustic guitar, piano and Mellotron it is a delight but way too short in duration. "Up To Me" follows and it, too, entertains with their unique acoustic approach. It proves that they didn't have to go plunging headlong into headbanging to peak my interest. Having been intrigued by the clever musical arrangement and the controversial subject matter when I experienced it on stage, "My God" doesn't disappoint. The words are not a rap against the Almighty, but a rant against what the "bloody Church of England" has turned Him into. The vocal with acoustic guitar intro leads to some tasteful piano from John Evan, then they turn it up with a rocking rhythm and some driving electric guitar from Martin Barre. Yes, it's rock and roll but the difference this time is that it's appropriate as it augments the biting, sarcastic lyrics. The flute section backed by what sounds like chanting monks works like a charm, too.

I couldn't agree more with the words to "Hymn 43" when Ian sings "If Jesus saves/well, he'd better save himself/from the gory glory seekers/who use his name in death." How true. However, Barre's annoying guitar clanking completely ruins the song for me. Really grates on my nerves. "Slipstream" is yet another blink-and-you'll-miss-it enjoyable tune that just doesn't last long enough. A pity. To this day I don't understand why someone didn't tell Martin to stop already with the vexatious strum-the-muted-strings effect on "Locomotive Breath." It bugs the crap out of me and negates the exciting, frantic flute solo from Anderson. "Wind Up" ends the album and it contains some of Ian's best lyrics ever when he sings to the priests "I don't believe you/you got the whole damn thing all wrong/He's not the kind/you have to wind up on Sundays." Anderson chooses to believe that the loving God of the universe is a better and vastly more compassionate person than any of us running around down here. Ian's God is far above petty human responses and emotions like wrath, jealousy, retribution and revenge. Makes sense to me. His relaxed vocal at the beginning accompanied by Evan's lone piano is a highlight of the record. Barre's electric guitar does butt into the tune but it's not quite as distracting as before and he manages to avoid subverting the song. The reprise of the simple beginning of the song brings the album to a close in a subtle and thought-provoking way.

By now you may have noticed that the most popular tracks on this landmark record (the very ones that catapulted Jethro Tull into superstar status) are the cuts that I have never cared for. I think it has something to do with my gut feeling from the very first spin that they had "sold out" and aimed those four songs directly at the casual radio listener. Obviously that opinion places me in a tiny minority of rock fans because those very tunes have become classic staples of FM radio and will probably be played just as often 50 years on. As far as I'm concerned the best songs on "Aqualung" are the ones no one ever hears and that's a crying shame. I can truly understand that the band didn't fancy the prospect of touring small auditoriums for years on end. And that by incorporating a standard and more accessible rock & roll base to their eclectic sound they could move up to filling 40,000 seat venues and get their mugs on the cover of Rolling Stone. And who could argue with that aspiration? I'm just one who thinks they were never the same afterwards.

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Posted Sunday, April 01, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If you want to know what the early 1970s were like, listen to this album.

The rebellion of the late 60s had awakened a widespread social conscience, the hotbed in which progressive rock flowered. One of the cornerstones of progressive rock, therefore, was thoughtful, anti- establishment lyrics. Not all groups employed them, but JETHRO TULL'S IAN ANDERSON certainly did. From the abject subject of the title track, through a biting analysis of class and age, to the polemic against organised religion, this collection of songs - a loose concept album, whatever its author says - was aimed at the minds of listeners as much as their hearts.

The title track certainly lays it on the line. It's hard to remember how young ANDERSON was himself when he invented this character, so powerful is his insight. Such maturity! The music is schizophrenic: heavy one moment, quiet the next, bracketing the most powerful guitar solo in the history of TULL. 'Cross Eyed Mary' introduces a second abject character, but this song (and others on the album) suffers from very poor production and editing. A pity, because in this album JETHRO TULL make the transition from (admittedly good) blues-based rock to prog-folk, and the superior tunes here are worth the best production. 'Mother Goose', for example, is as good an example of the genre as you will find. Simple, beautiful. For the lovers of TULL'S progressive albums to follow, there are hints here in 'Cheap Day Return' and 'Wond'ring Aloud' of the pastoral passages to come in 'Thick as a Brick' and 'A Passion Play'. 'Up To Me' is a drop in quality; it deserved a better arrangement; handled differently it could have been a centerpeice of the album.

The 'God Songs' on Side 2 are acerbic and brilliant. In my days in the church I used to remind myself constantly of these sentiments. 'My God' is presaged by an introductory acoustic guitar, and is carried by an outstanding vocal performance, possibly ANDERSON'S best. And the central flute passage is, of course, superb, spoiled only by the abrupt transition from rough to smooth (just before the voices join in). 'Hymn 43' ought to be in every church's hymnal under the heading 'Doses of Humility'. And I'd like to see the organist play the piano part! 'Locomotive Breath' brings in a third abject character, tying the two sides together and reminding us that the God business is about real people. Yes, it has been overplayed, but when I want to remind myself how good it really is, I imagine playing it to someone who has never heard it. 'Wind Up' is a lyrical triumph - 'In your pomp and all your glory you're a poorer man than me/as you lick the boots of death born out of fear' - but suffers terribly from odd sound levels. It is so frustrating that studio problems spoiled this record.

So, why not a masterpiece? Because I feel they let themselves down in the studio. These glorious compositions are less than they could have been, than they ought to have been. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, by all means treat this as a five-star review. For me, this doesn't quite make it, but is an essential listen nonetheless.

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Posted Monday, April 16, 2007

Review by Chus
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This might be a fan's favourite, but it doesn't seduce me as much as it used to. The main problem on this album is that to my ears this sounds a bit like Led Zeppelin with flute, there are no exciting jazzy bridges (not counting My God), no tempo nor time nor mood changes, just plain classic rock with flute; it's a heavy metal album.

My second motif is Ian's vocals: they're poisoneous and preachy, his singing sounds a bit too generic compared to his standards. He proved he could sing more maturely on A Passion Play and further albums (and that's just 2 years later). In this one he wants to sing heavily and raw, and it is quite a turnoff after a few tracks. The lyrics are somehow a bit better than those on Benefit, were they not for the ones in Wind Up: imminent and evident teenage anger.

Musicwise it's not better than Benefit, although My God manages to hold the candle, basically due to the lyrics and the middle seccion, embellished with the Russian-like chants, which is nothing like Jethro Tull had done before that.

I agree with another reviewer that the best songs on here are the short acoustic intervals, which show a better vocal delivery and sentiment. Mother Goose is another Tull classic with delightful flutes and vocal harmonies; and I already mentioned My God. Locommotive Breath begins with a great fusion between the baroque-like John Evan's piano and the entrance of Martin Barre's bluesy licks, but after a while it just doesn't do much for me; it's just another radio-friendly song.

Although it is a concept album, it's certainly not the progressive gem that everyone is practically chanting about. The real turning point for Jethro Tull's venture through progressive music would begin a year later. Here we witness the short-lived metal era of the band that would re-emerge in the late 80's. Seems that their vecinity with Led Zeppelin was indeed a bad influence (whilst I don't completely dislike LZ, Jethro Tull had other things to offer), although they didn't rip the style entirely off.

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Posted Monday, April 30, 2007

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars There are three minor problems with AQUALUNG:

(1) Its best-known songs (e.g. the title track and "Locomotive Breath") have become so familiar that this seems to detract from the original album's stature.

(2) On some of the songs (e.g. "My God") Ian Anderson distorts his voice, apparently in order to sound sarcastic. After a couple of spins, this starts to grate.

(3) The 25th anniversary edition offers the reader a superfluous interview and bonus tracks which are available elsewhere, instead of the superb AQUALUNG-related material that has (so far) only appeared on LIVING IN THE PAST. (For more details, please refer to my review of that album.)

With these remarks out of the way, let me point out that AQUALUNG is Jethro Tull at their very best, and no prog lover should be without it. To my surprise, some reviewers consider the overwhelmingly boring THICK AS A BRICK as a more "progressive" album. In my opinion, AQUALUNG packs far more punch. Not only does it contain some of Ian's most sensitive ballads (e.g. "Wondering Aloud", the prototype of much later Tull music) and some of his most irresistible folk-rock songs (such as "Mother Goose" and "Up to Me") but also, and especially, Ian would never again display the same righteous anger as on "Hymn 43" and "Wind-Up". If you were brought up in the Christian tradition, as I was, I wonder how your faith will stand up to these. It's comparatively rare for a rock band to deal so eloquently with serious themes. The eloquence even extends to the band's playing : Martin Barre's guitar solo on "Wind-up" is one of his most exciting ever.

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Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007

Review by SoundsofSeasons
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is such a rockin' album! Those who are new to Folk-Rock should absolutely start here, because this album is a blast! Not to mention some of the songs, like the title track, are rock station staples. Songs like the title track Aqualung, Cross-eyed Mary, Mother Goose, and Hymn 43 are real highlights of this album. The consistency of this album is fantastic as well, yet the songs can be enjoyed individually and you don't need a full album listen to get something out of the music. So, if you are thinking about getting into Jethro Tull or even want to try Prog-Folk for the first time, this is a great place to start. The rockin' flute, and the great harsh vocals really get to your blood flowing!

A fantastic album, too bad the production is quite bad because of the new equipment they had to adjust to. If your new to Prog- Folk look no further, you WILL enjoy this one!

A solid 4 stars! Excellent!

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Posted Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars AQUALUNG: THE JT SIGNATURE COLLECTION

This is a difficult album to comment on as there have been million of reviews already written about this album . AQUALUNG is considered as the landmark of the JETHRO TULL catalogue, and with good reason as it is excellent music. This is the album that t brought the band to mega-stardom and it is , i am sure, their biggest commercial success to this day!

AQUALUNG can be considered as some kind of concept album; not that there is a story of some kid with an overture, but the lyrics are dealing about God and religion, or better what separates God from organised religion.The LP cover was magnificent with its medieval athmosphere and gothic lettering; absolutely, one of the best cover of all rock music!!

A new bassist is in place as JEFFREY HAMMOND-HAMMOND took over GLENN CORNICK who was too much of a party-guy for the taste of IAN ANDERSON. Not that it changes anything in the JETHRO TULL sound as the role of a JT bassist is merely to be serviceable.IAN ANDERSON doesn't want a SQUIRE or a WETTON around him!!

This is definitely a more acoustic sounding album than the first 3 ones. Also the mood is more subdued than before, more introspective, surely in regard about what IAN ANDERSON is singing about. Thoughts of God and cathedrals don't match with vibrant hard rock, i guess!! MARTIN BARRE role has been drastically reduced compared with BENEFIT.

Of course, there are a few tunes with some strong guitar riffs like on AQUALUNG or MY GOD, two of the best known tracks of this album but everything is underl control; a lot of flute of course and the piano of JOHN EVAN gets a bigger presence on this recording as he has become a permanent member. The biggest hit was of course LOCOMOTIVE BREATH, the most energetic song of the album well recognizable with his piano intro. This song is to JETHRO TULL what SMOKE ON THE WATER is to DEEP PURPLE: no way, even now, that they will not play these 2 songs each and every time they are on stage.They are their flags.

One thing to add: i barely listen to AQUALUNG! This album suffers from the same disease that has strken DARK SIDE OF THE MOON! Too much radio exposure. Even now, when you turn on a classic rock station, you can be sure that you are going to listen at what time or another the title track AQUALUNG. MY GOD and of course LOCOMOTIVE BREATH! Everyday!! When it's not CROSS EYED MARY!! good, great songs but how many more times can i listen to LOCOMOTIVE BREATH. I just can't.

Yes, this is a cornerstone of ROCK music, a monument in the JETHRO TULL collection, but 4 stars will do it, not 5.

4 STARS

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Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars With Jeffrey Hammond replacing Cornick on bass and with John Evan now a full-time member on keyboards (he had already collaborated on previous albums too), a five-piece JT recorded the musical hurricane called "Aqualung". Making two timeless hard- rocking tracks (the title song and "Locomotive Breath"). They provided a sound fan base among the schoolboys and schoolgirls that helped them reach the rock stardom. But, that's not all. Behind the quite impenetrable lyrics (at least to a non-English native speaker), seemingly touching the dream-like social critique with the Tramp and other literary characters (Mother Goose et al.) on side 1, and the strong anti-religious/anti-ecclesiastical God-centered philosophy on side 2, lies one of the most remarkable rock albums of all time. Music production, arrangement, concept and performance are brilliant - with Anderson almost eating his flute out! Simply put, there is no weak moment on this album, no matter how many times you listen to it (It might be a hundereds of times that I heard "Locomotive Breath", each time discovering someting new). The only thing I never liked is that a bit watered-down acoustic number "Wind Up" is placed after the "Locomotive" to end the album on a lower note. But hell, after God being depicted as a strict father-figure judgment person who "stole the handle and the train won't stop going", at the end we get a more tolerant wise guy who patiently and peacefully said "I am not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays". Almost a Deistic/Universalist approach...

PERSONAL RATING: 4,5/5

P.A. RATING: 5/5

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Posted Saturday, September 08, 2007

Review by FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Sitting on a park bench, eying little girls with bad intent" - Aqualung is a classic hard rock album from Tull's golden period.

What more is there to be said about Aqualung?, considered by many a concept album due to the cohesiveness and the way which the songs flow into one another (Anderson would later serve up his best work Thick as a Brick to show people what a REAL concept album is) it features some great hard rocking riffs and some of Anderson's best flute work, songwriting and trademark sly humour.

The title track is my favourite song on the album, it's deceptively progressive too starting off with the amazing riff that made me a fan of Tull the very first time I heard it before moving into upbeat territory with a wailing solo from Martin Barre. My God is another fantastic Tull song beginning with some interesting acoustic guitar work lending itself to the mysterious motif to come. Possibly the highlight of the album is the flute solo break down complete with Gregorian chanting. Hymn 43 is more indicative of the hard rockin' Tull, it's very riff driven with the guitar and piano working together in great sympathy with great religiously frustrated lyrics rounding out the deal.

Aqualung is an essential album for any fan of heavier 70's prog or anyone into Prog-folk.

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Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars My feelings toward this album are so ambivalent/apathetic that I don't quite know how to conjure up a review, but I'm going to try...

Aqualung is Jethro Tull's first foray into prog-rock territory, and it seems to be that this is their most widely known and acclaimed release. The song lengths unquestionably have something to do with it, because if you look at the material on the two albums that come after this one, this has much less to offer. I'm sure if I heard this when it first came out, I would be raving about it, but such is not the case, and I have Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play to enjoy. Historically this is no doubt an important album, but my sense of history is not as sharp as my sense for good, so I don't care as much about that side of things.

This album boasts some memorable riffs and melodies to be certain: there are great flute solos, acoustic jigs (both fun and serious), vocals, lyrics, and even grungy parts. Everything you love about Jethro Tull is here, but they haven't yet amalgamated these sounds. On the band's later works, the different elements were put together, here they are mostly seperated into different songs. That's not necessarily a bad thing - I love several albums that have a similar layout - but there is something seriously synergistic about the styles being played together that is not present here.

The tracks are all good, but I find myself not getting into them very much. Again, I can attribute this to the quality of its successors, plus the quality of this recording is pretty poor. I also don't think that hard-rock style present on certain tracks suits them very well. I'm glad they got rid of it. Some people will really enjoy this, and to those who do, I direct you to the next two albums. Check them out; you may not bother with this album again. Even though this isn't a 40-minute song, I don't think it's any more accessible as a result.

In summation, this is a good record, it is an important record, but it is no longer essential.

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Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Despite a few flaws with the productions, and the fairly irritating and repetitive Mother Goose, I cannot in good conscience give an album with Locomotive Breath and Wond'ring Aloud any lesser rating. The concepts of the individual songs are in and of themselves excellent, and work excellently both in and outside the album. There are some great harder moments (particularly Locomotive Breath and Up To Me), dark, tragic, gleeful and sarcastic lyrics which never seem out of place, and acoustic pieces better than any of those on Minstrel In The Gallery. I, for some reason, don't particularly like Mother Goose and Slipstream (which seems a little weak compared to the other acoustic bits), but that doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the album as a whole. An album which lacks polish, but is only better because of it.

The bonus material's not bad, and the version of Bouree is great.

Favourite Tracks (couldn't pick one): Locomotive Breath and Wond'ring Aloud Rating: 9.5/10

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Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007

Review by jammun
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Let's put it this way: when I was a freshman in college, I don't think there was a dorm room I visited that did not have a copy of Cat Stevens' Tea For the Tillerman or Jethro Tull's Aqualung sitting next to the stereo. The album was that pervasive.

As for my review: the classic songs on Aqualung have been so overplayed over the years that I cannot remember my original response to them. I am sure it was positive, but I'm afraid the initial awe of some of these has been slowly whittled away by their now over-familiarity. Aqualung, Cross-eyed Mary, Hymn 43, and Locomotive Breath have to rank up there with Stairway to Heaven and Freebird as some of the most overplayed songs in history. Consider: these songs were so prevalent on AOR FM stations that now they are almost cloying to these ears. Not a bad recommendation at all for a newcomer to this album.

Tull had been looking for a 'sound' for a few albums and finally found it.

The heavy hitters having already been mentioned, the rest of the album doesn't measure up to that level. There are good enough songs, but the great songs set the bar perhaps a little too high.

The bonus songs are nice to have but add nothing to the excellence of the original release. I'd say this rates a very solid 4 stars. Us Tull fans were still waiting for that breakthrough album.

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Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ah, bless. How rare it is when a prog rock record becomes huge... a classic, and a bona fide smash even in the 'regular' world. Of course at the time, Aqualung was just Jethro Tull's new album. In fact the songs were, in certain ways, *less* progressive than on predecessors Stand Up and Benefit-- concise, no unnecessary parts, a cleaner, fuller production, and a now completely realized sound and approach to composition with material from Ian Anderson that insured this would not only be Tull's universal moment, but one of the greatest rock albums of its, or any, time. The record has a subtle thematic tone (the first half describing a host of sordid and greasy characters) but nothing you have to think much about, which in prog rock is a nice break indeed. And yet a warm-hearted soul can be heard beneath the hard metal here, Anderson's humanity coming through more than once.

Admittedly the title song may suffer from familiarity but it's still a barn-burner, antiqued and leathery but enduring, Anderson's Victrola pleas falling on dead ears. A rock cornerstone. The party really starts, though, with hard rocker 'Cross-eyed Mary', a tasty bit that further showed Marty Barre's riffing genius, some barroom piano from John Evan and Clive Bunker's bass drum kicks, and became an FM staple. Cobblestones at your feet and music in the streets for 'Mother Goose' with its renaissance fifes and troubadour fun, further acoustic treatments on 'Wond'ring Aloud', a cut that betrays the next Tull project, and 'Up To Me' which echoes the previous LP Benefit. The high point however is the remarkable and almost perfect 'My God', an immediate pleaser full of great licks, Anderson's flute escapades and monastery moans. Surprise hit 'Hymn 43' rocks, light and lovely 'Slipstream' next, followed by timeless classic 'Locomotive Breath' and cynical 'Wind-Up'.

The band would save the high-minded ambition for their next and greatest period but Aqualung is an eternal record, deathless, and a fundamental moment in Progressive Rock history.

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Posted Friday, December 28, 2007

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars This aqualung is suitable ...

JETHRO TULL is a folk inspired prog band and 'Aqualung' is confirming this without a doubt. The album contains a mix of heavy blues and folky acoustic driven songs with wonderful melodies and the unique voice of Ian Anderson. The title song but first of all Locomotive breath are unforgetable gems.

There's no need to emphasize that this album is recommended to be a part of every prog music collection ...

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Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars It's almost impossible not to love Jethro Tull's unique mixture of symphonic, folk, blues, jazz and just pure madness in the case of Ian Anderson. This album has got a little bit of everything and must be considered one of the quintessential Tull albums. Admittedly, Ian's voice can be a bit hard to accept for a new listener, but just give it a few spins and you'll love him. That's what I experienced. I also found the flute a little bit too intrusive in the beginning. After a while it will blend in perfectly, though.

Aqualung and Cross-eyed Mary are both very powerful, with grim imagery and lyrics and surprisingly heavy guitar from Martin Barre. The tension and the different segments in Aqualung are amazing, moving between the blasting guitar riffs and the calm piano-parts.

A necessary break then follows in the form of the acoustic Cheap Day Return, Mother Goose and Wond'ring Aloud. Delicate guitar indeed.

We're back to some quirkiness in Up to Me, with a dominating flute sound. This song always end too fast. Give us two more minutes!

My God starts out quietly, but rises in both force and grandeur until revisiting the powerful chords of Martin Barre. He then performs some nice licks until leaving room for the typical humming flute of Ian. A great passage that reaches epic heights alongside some choir chants.

Hymn 43 has a nice gospel feeling to it from time to time, between the signature guitar and a powerful piano. It feels like that's a word I use a lot, but this album is just that. Powerful.

One minute and thirteen seconds of Slipstream is slightly uninspired, but all is redeemed by what follows - Locomotive Breath. I'll just say it again: powerful, yet delicate.

Wind-Up is a nice rocking ending to this wonderful record. If you've never heard Jethro Tull this is the album to start with.

4 stars.

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Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Aqualung is Jethro Tull´s fourth album. It´s one of their most famous albums and rightly so. Stand Up was my introduction to Jethro Tull´s wonderful music, but Aqualung was one of the albums that led me into the world of progessive rock. It´s not a very progressive album though but there are tendencies here and there that caught my attention and led me on to more progressive music.

Aqualung is actually a pretty diverse album. There are several hard rocking tracks like Aqualung ( which is also slightly progressive), Cross-Eyed Mary, Hymn 43 and Locomotive Breath, but there are also folky acoustic songs like Cheap Day Return, Mother Goose and Slipstream. Up to Me is the only song that reminds me of the mood on Benefit. My God is the only song here with what I would call progressive parts. The middle part of that song could have been part of a Gentle Giant song. Really beautiful.

There are lots of flute in almost every song and Aqualung is probably Jethro Tull´s most flute heavy effort which says a lot when you know their discography. One other thing I really enjoy on Aqualung is the acoustic guitar parts that I find beautiful. The blues rock guitar parts in some of the more rocking tracks are also very good and intense. Ian Anderson´s singing is also a great pleasure to listen to. He sounds very sarcastic at times and angry or emotional in other parts of the album. He has never sounded better IMO.

The lineup from Benefit remains the same except that Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond has replaced Glenn Cornick on bass and John Evans has become a full time member of the group. The musicianship is astonishing on Aqualung. The playing is just so good.

The production isn´t the most clear production you could wish, but it suits the music perfectly and doesn´t distract you from the music.

Even though Aqualung isn´t a very progressive rock album IMO it´s still a classic rock album and an all- time favorite of mine and it´s one of those few albums I feel deserves the 5 star rating. This one is highly recommendable, but don´t expect endless noodling or complex instrumental runs, this is first and foremost a great rock album.

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Posted Saturday, May 03, 2008

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "When I was Young"

Many believe this is the definitive album from Jethro Tull. It certainly is the most popular but that is hardly a consideration to make it definitive. Ian Anderson doesn't feel it to be so and doesn't like the sound of the CD. Even that shouldn't come into play when saying this is the definitive Tull album. It certainly bears exploring deeper into the album. First the album adds much more keyboards into the works especially John Evans piano that isn't so much present on earlier albums with a slight exception to some used on Benefit. Much more acoustic guitar is employed as well so the colors that shaped the blues style are less evidence here.

The title track has been played so much on classic rock radio that it is hard to evaluate it anymore. It is a great rock song that almost plays out as a mini suite with several different parts to it. There is the blast of the guitar that leads into the first part very hard rock part that gives way to an acoustic bridge that builds back into the rock song with the memorable lines "You snatch your rattling last breaths with a deep sea diver sounds and the flowers bloom like madness in the spring" that leads into the classic guitar solo by Martin Barr.

So we see several of the things that Tull was and what was to come all rolled into this one song. Building on the dynamics of the acoustic/electric that would come to fruit on unquestionably Tull's best prog album, Thick as a Brick. Yet you still hear that little blues band sound still mixed into the fray as well. The whole album moves that way and back to the other several times. Cross Eyed Mary, Up to Me and Locomotive Breath harkens back to the blues roots. While My God and Wind Up look more to the near future of the prog band. One thing that is consistent in this period is that classic folk sound that Ian always seems to embrace with Cheap Day Return, Wondering Aloud and Slipstream fitting that style.

A good Tull album but an all time classic of prog rock and rock in general. If you think in terms of Tulls catalog from 1969 through 1977 this is certainly one of the high points. This album deserves it 5 stars proudly.

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Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars AQUALUNG is the Jethro Tull album to start with particularly if you come from the hard rock side of the music world. The album features two slightly overexposed tracks in ''Aqualung'' and ''Locomotive Breath'', both being required listening for any fan of hard rock. There's more to AQUALUNG than those hits for the progsters out there.

''My God'' is my idea of the centrepiece here; all of the dynamic swings are well orchestrated and executed brilliantly. The acoustic introduction and virtuoso flute solo in the middle alone should get the prog fan excited. A few Medieval tunes like ''Mother Goose'' and ''Up to Me'' give us some variety, although I prefer it at the hard rock points like ''Wind Up'' and ''Cross-Eyed Mary''. The few solo acoustic spots aren't bad but add nothing to the overall appeal.

There's supposedly a concept running through AQUALUNG, but I never gave enough care to figure it out. The production could have been handled better and many of the songs have trouble in the ''lasting power'' aspect. Don't get me wrong, as much as I harp on this album, it's a great starting point for anyone interested in Jethro Tull. I prefer the SONGS FROM THE WOOD era more than this though.

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Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Are your intentions honourable?

It's debatable whether "Aqualung" or "Thick as a brick" is Jethro Tull's most popular album. For me the latter is by some way the better, but for many "Aqualung" represents their finest hour. This album predates TAAB, showing a band moving away from the pop, blues and folk influences of early albums, towards a heavier and more progressive style.

Ironically, it was the general perception by the media that this was a concept album which led to Ian Anderson creating "Thick as a brick". It is easy to see why "Aqualung" might be taken to rely upon recurring themes, but Anderson maintains that this is "just a collection of songs".

The opening bars of the title track instantly signal the menacing sounds which are to follow, with Anderson quickly introducing us to a murky and distasteful underworld. The cover picture of a Fagan like Anderson (or is it and Anderson like Fagan) comes to mind as he sings of "eying little girls with bad intent". Such lyrics may have been seen as relatively prosaic in the early 1970's, but today they would cause hands to be held up in horror the world over. Incidentally, some of the lyrics were co-written by Anderson with his first wife. The song is all but devoid of the signature flute of Anderson, the dominant instrument being lead guitar. There is no doubt that "Aqualung" (the track) is one of Tull's finest accomplishments and most memorable songs.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the album is the diversity of sounds and atmospheres. Where the title track is heavy, almost metallic, the consecutive trio of "Cheap day return", "Mother goose" and "Wond'ring aloud" are light acoustic numbers of the type which Tull would increasingly come to rely upon on later albums.

Side two opens with Tull's most progressive offering up to this point. "My God" takes us on a journey through lead guitar and flute solos, while Anderson delivers some of his most poignant lyrics ever; "The bloody Church of England in chains of history requests your earthly presence at the vicarage for tea." The heavier "Hymn 43" effectively forms part two of this 10+ minute suite, the track reverting to the "Aqualung" style riff driven mood.

"Locomotive breath" is probably the most commercial track on the album, with a strong rhythm and a memorable hook.

Where I feel this album falls short when compared to the magnificent "Thick as a brick", is in consistency. It is fair to say that most of the tracks are indeed Tull classics, or at least fine Tull songs, but there is the odd gap. "Up to me" for example is a rather nondescript affair with little focus.

Overall, while I recognise this to be one of Jethro Tull's finest albums, there remain (admittedly small) parts which remind me that the band were still developing their skills. Thankfully, the next album would see everything come together magnificently, but for now this is a flawed gem.

The 25th Anniversary edition includes 6 additional tracks including excerpts from an interview with Anderson.

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Posted Friday, September 05, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album gets some very serious praise from fans, and there is good reason for this.

Finally, finally, the band gets the blend between melodic composition, progressive complexity, and rock-based intensity. All of this is evident in the famous opening title track. We are graced with six and a half minutes of shifting riffs and clever melodies. This song, however, is one of the last throwbacks to the more standard rock-oriented albums previous in the Jethro Tull discography. From there, the album moves forward, dipping more and more towards the forthcoming folk sound that will dominate their future albums, and also plugging away with much more flute work. Each of the tracks that continue on the first half of this release flow together nicely, creating the popular illusion that Aqualung is a concept album, though it is merely a collection of thematically linked songs.

The second side is stronger to my ears. Kicking it off with My God, a song notably parallel to the title track, we begin to see some of Tull's more experimental styles. In the middle of the track, we get a flute solo over some form of ecclesiastic chanting, giving it a wonderful gothic feel if only for a few seconds. The second song here, Hymn 43, is a very upbeat one with tinkling piano and a catchy vocal line (though instead of Jesus, save me I always here Jesus, hit me). The popular radio tune Locomotive Breath guns along with a further blend of their former rock and some newfangled sort of prog intent. The side closer, Wind Up, is another of my personal favorite tunes. It covers a wide range of melodies and riffs, shifting back and forth and just sort of generally confusing people.

This is a high quality release by Jethro Tull. They come into their own with this release, and they prove that they aren't just a novelty rock band with a flute. I can't say this album is mandatory for all prog fans like Thick as a Brick is, but it is up there. If you get any other Tull album aside from Thick as a Brick, make it Aqualung.

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Posted Thursday, October 02, 2008

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Finaly Jethro Tull find a way to capture all they've got best in this album named Aqualung from 1971. This is a cornerstone in prog music from all decades, remaining after almost 40 years an extremly good and timelss album, praised by many listners and musicians alike , and is a good reason for that no doubt about it. Better than the predecesor Benefit by miles, at least for me, this album is the release that made Jethro Tull big in this field, from this one on thay were at the top in prog music, being a very prolific band in the'70's releasing an album each year. About the music here, is something cross between progressive music and rock arangements, who melts togeter very well. Some of the pieces from here are real classics of music in general like Aqualung, Crossed eye Mary or Locomotive Breath, still played in most of the concerts. The master of flute Ian Aderson is the chery on the cake here, as always, but also the rest of the musicians have their share of fame no doubt. This is the last studio album where we can find Bunker on drumms, he was replace by the stunning musician and drumer Barimore Barlow. Every track is excellent, and I can't extract only one or two from the whole album, this must be listen only as a whole, oterwise you may lose the core of this unmatch release. So a big album, a timless masterpice, that for one reason or other must be in any serious collection, one of the must haves album of Jethro Tull for sure. I will give 5 stars to this treasure, along with Passion play and Songs from the wood my fav JT album ever. Recommended and essential listning by everybody intrsted in prog music, and not only for them. The cover art and the inlay of the Cd are hand in hand with the music. My Cd has some bonus tracks, an unreleased piece from the'90's , an interview with Ian Anderson and other two musicians from JT and some early recordigs of the band.

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Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008

Review by MovingPictures07
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Possibly Tull's most well-known album and a staple of classic rock. indeed, this is a very good album. But is it one of their best? Well, that's hard to say. They definitely have performed better and more innovative works (TAAB, APP, Songs from the Wood.), but this is a solid album in their catalogue that manages to elucidate a general overlook of Tull's sound.

1. Aqualung- This is probably the track that many people think of when they hear the name Jethro Tull.a well-composed track with dirty and efficient instrumental work, great lyrics and vocals by Anderson, and plenty of memorable, wonderful segments. What a song! My favorite part is the piano with Anderson's distant vocals. 9/10

2. Cross-Eyed Mary- Opening with an awesome flute part, this is another good Tull rocker with fantastic lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation. I really like how so much can be packed into one song in such a concise format particularly on this album; this song shows that exceptionally. 10/10

3. Cheap Day Return- Well-written and enjoyable acoustic song where Anderson partially discusses visiting his father in the hospital and his encounter with a nurse where she inappropriately asked for his autograph. Great tune. 9/10

4. Mother Goose- This is a heavily acoustic song with some interesting flute parts interjected. It's really another solid song, but it's not as genius as what came before it. Nonetheless, it's enjoyable, well-written, well-played, and full of Anderson's cynical and humorous lyrics. 8/10

5. Wond'ring Aloud- Another really good acoustic song, this time with some piano towards the end. I like the mood to this one and it's really pleasant to hear. 9/10

6. Up to Me- Another solid song, but like Mother Goose this one isn't absolutely perfect. I like the interplay between the instruments but the structure is a bit too simplified to warrant masterpiece status. Good piece though. 7/10

7. My God- Now here is another masterful, explorative piece. This is definitely the highlight of the album (or one of them), with an awesome acoustic opening building into a haunting riff whereupon Anderson gives out some of his best lyrics to date. The way this song is structured and performed is genius, and the flute solo that Anderson utilizes in the middle of the composition is stunning. This is Tull at their best. 10/10

8. Hymn 43- This is a really good song with some interesting keyboard playing and instrumental interplay. It's more straight-forward but has a twisted rock hymn feel to it. The lyrics again are notable and the song is heavily enjoyable. 9/10

9. Slipstream- The last of the trilogy of acoustic pieces on this album. I like them all about equally and they're all masterfully-crafted acoustic songs despite only being about a minute in length. How can a song mainly played on acoustic guitar and vocals be so great? This continues to show you how. 9/10

10. Locomotive Breath- After a soothing piano intro that almost feels a bit like a ragtime piece, this song breaks into a repetitive yet effective rocker. It goes in the same pile for me as Mother Goose and Up to Me, where the songs are still extremely good, the musicianship is notable, and everything flows exceptionally but the songs barely reach masterpiece status. The train-like rhythm of this song is effective. 8/10

11. Wind-Up- This is a controversial closer. I really like it and I think it's definitely a brave, experimental way to end this album. The lyrics continue Anderson's cynical commentary on organized religion and the story-like structure of this song works well in complement. 9/10

This is a REALLY good album with some of Anderson's best lyrics, compositions, and a great overall effort from the band that really deserves the attention that it gets. It is not quite a masterpiece, however, and Tull managed to create those in the forms of other albums that were to follow.

You still have probably heard this album; if you haven't, it is highly recommended as an excellent addition to your collection.

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Posted Monday, December 01, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Bursting out!

If Jethro Tull was a caterpillar on This Was and Stand Up, and a cocoon on Benefit, they became a butterfly with Aqualung. What I am saying is that the band took a gigantic leap forward here and produced their first great album. It remains to this day one of Jethro Tull's best albums and it has very strong material from start to finish. My God, the title track, Wind-Up, Locomotive Breath, and Cross-Eyed Mary are all timeless classics and some of these became mainstays in the bands set list. These are also the songs that rock the hardest. The shorter songs are more mellow and folky and they perfectly balance the hard rock songs making for a varied and complete album.

A classic album that even if it doesn't quite reach the progressive heights of its follower Thick As A Brick, remains an absolutely essential addition to any Prog collection

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Posted Sunday, December 28, 2008

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars Aqualung is the first Tull album I owned and it was an old beat up vinyl cover I dug out of someone's garage sale in the 70s. Immediately, as the awesome riff began of Aqualung, I knew this was a band I would be getting into big time. I adore this riff and it is one of the best in rock history. Reportedly the riff was based on Beethovens classic dadada duuuuum, dadada duuuuuuuuum. It works well enough and carries this track to infamy. Those lyrics are pure genius: "snot running down his nose, greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes... feeling like a dead duck, spitting out pieces of his broken luck". The driving erratic rock riffage is broken by an acoustic interlude "sun streaking cold the old man wanders lonely taking time the only way he knows..." and then we have the rocked up section, "do you still remember December's foggy breeze...." (I forget this part of the lyrics but I love the music) and then Martin Barre's awesome lead break screams through the mix. It is pure prog bliss and my favourite Tull track. It was all listed in the top 100 best guitar songs of all time.

The rest of the album pales in comparison but is still terrific music such as Cross Eyed Mary with its chaotic pentameter and time signature, flute and guitar - it works! Mother Goose and Hymn 43 and My God - its absolute genius. There are some strange interludes with acoustic guitar that run for less than a minute and these are mixed with great overblown tracks such as Locomotive Breath - amazing! This became a single and ripped up the charts. The album is one of the most popular Tull, and the band have played it in its entirety many times and even performed it on radio. The conceptual content of the album is complex - It all seems to be wrapped in a concept about the dangers of religion and poverty, or something, but if you just let the music wash over you, Aqualung is a most invigorating, and at times perplexing, experience. Anderson said emphatically it's not a concept album, "just a bunch of songs", but we fans know better don't we? Overblown concept albums are a Tull trademark and here it sits. The cover is an iconic enigmatic image of a dirty tramp and this became Tull's image, uncharacteristic of a rock star and everything Tull purports to be; a rock band that refuses to conform to the traditional image.

In conclusion Aqualung is as good as everybody has claimed, and of course it exists in many forms. I recommend the CD with the bonus tracks and for that matter the Aqualung Live CD is a pleasant blast of a fresh approach to the music. I simply cannot recommend this more highly - a masterpiece of prog genius.

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Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars While certainly not my favorite Jethro Tull album, Aqualung is probably one of the most commercially successful (or at least recognizable) progressive rock albums ever. Two of the songs get frequent radio airplay even today, and for the most part, the rest of the music is straightforward and easy to follow. There is a steady blend of electric guitar riffs and calm acoustic work present here, but I've always preferred the latter when it comes to this group. The acoustic guitar-centered bridges are but a glimpse at the greatness that would be Minstrel in the Gallery. For someone unfamiliar with Jethro Tull, this is probably one of the best records to start with.

"Aqualung" A staple of classic rock music, with that iconic riff, this is one of those songs that serves as a bridge between progressive rock and the radio-listening multitudes. I particularly love the acoustic-based middle section that speeds up, but the whole thing is great.

"Cross-Eyed Mary" Rising Mellotron, thumping bass and flute, joined by thudding drums bring in one of the finest rock songs on the album.

"Cheap Day Return" Gentle acoustic guitar makes for an absolutely brilliant, if terse piece.

"Mother Goose" Probably my favorite song on the album, this one has great acoustic guitar and an amazing but simple flute riff.

"Wond'ring Aloud" I love these little acoustic bridges Ian Anderson comes up with.

"Up to Me" Having a great acoustic riff and an interesting vocal melody, this song fits right in with the rest. The middle section is somewhat different, gentler, and rather mischievous.

"My God" Here's the worst track on the album, mainly because the guitar is so much louder than it needs to be, and because the composition is not nearly as strong the previous songs. The piece is very disjointed, featuring a strange flute "solo" spot with a lot of voices behind it. The song drags, maintaining that repetitive riff, and exists as one of Jethro Tull's weakest moments.

"Hymn 43" A sudden song with a simple piano-based chord progression, this one is fairly good, but not very memorable to me. It also has a good electric guitar riff.

"Slipstream" Here's one more acoustic bridge, and another breath of fresh air.

"Locomotive Breath" The other classic rock hit on the album, and perhaps Jethro Tull's most recognizable song, begins with a piano and electric guitar introduction before getting into the song proper. It boasts a great chord progression and a "breathtaking" flute solo (it sounds like Anderson is suffocating trying to play it).

"Wind Up" A quiet track (at least at first), this has some of Anderson's most cynical words when it comes to religion. It is one of the better tracks, I feel, even if it runs on a bit longer than it really needs to.

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Posted Friday, May 29, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars "Aqualung" starts with uncompromising guitar riff which is now rated (by my and other people) as one of the greatest riffs in history of rock music. "Sitting on a park bench...", first I though it's story about some sleazy park guy, who tries his dirty tricks on girls, but then it turned to be about his loneliness instead. Quite heavy part indeed, one can get false feeling about genre of this album, but soon after, from 1:03-2:13, then part which will make you head-bang (at least a little bit) for sure, wild acoustic guitar accompanies something so unique in prog folk genre, Ian Anderson's Voice (capital letter intended). It's something so special, that I rate him amongst the best in (rock music) history. Basically, just his vocal and folky guitar to make me happy, but we're on PA, aren't we. But fortunately, other parts of music works as well.

This is repeated instantly in "Cross-Eyed Mary" (hello real life Mary, sitting beside me), with even basic instruments used (with addition of piano and Voice somehow emulates many things), wide variety of styles, joined together by one thing, wild tempo. And of course, another thing, IA's trademark instrument, flute. Or should I say furious flute, same as everything he touches ? Then, stream of songs in similar, prog folk theme continues. Lyrics are mostly British folklore influences (I suppose), or other, medieval sounding words .Continues until

"My God" comes. Which comes with first criticism of religion (third one is Wind Up). I don't see much inside this topic, but his arguments seems solid and truth. 3:26- to about 5:00, FF (furious flute) solo takes the place. Probably the greatest flute moment I've ever heard, performed with such virtuosity and energy, that you can almost feel his passion (for play). And imagine how he's standing on one leg, when live version was performed. "Hymn 43" continues in breaking-worship-myth as second one from god trilogy, full of tongue in cheek lyrics (again, it's how I feel them, my personal opinion). Quite aggressive song though, even Aqualung is first shocker, this one is just gravedigger of emotions. Don't take me bad, it's good song, but after Aqualung, I was ready for everything here. "Locomotive Breath" starts as something very bluesy, every sounds here, piano, scratching guitar, pace of song, everything indicates blues rock. Of course, Jethro Tull, masters of deceiving comes with their unique sound, after this blues intro. So called song on which you can put your hat on. No, this song won't slow down, because it's dragger of this record. And we're now ready for

"Wind Up" closes original trilogy. Although not believer (no way), I admit that if to believe, then for your own way of doing it, not "wind it up on Sundays" as he correctly mentioned. Really beautiful melody, in intro part (first two minutes) and also in later in more rocking part (last four minutes). My favourite section to be honest. From bonus part of remastered version, one that caught my attention is surprisingly this "Interview" part. He has such calm voice. So this saying about how he's wild on stage and shy guy in reality. Other songs are good, two goes in a way of first prog folk section, then different version of Wind Up, whistling Boureé and "A Song For Jeffrey" different version.

Five stars for such prog folk monument, where there's no weak piece.

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Posted Monday, August 31, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Aqualung is generally regarded as one of Tull's best albums. Well, I don't buy it. There certainly is some good music here but more then half of it consists of weak, plain rock songs. Worst of all, the few moments that are enjoyable are brought down by the production, done very dry and sparse, which has made the album age badly, like many other early 70's classic rock albums.

To start, there's the performance. This album is the first Tull album that sounds as if the band couldn't be brought to display any kind of enthusiasm for the song material. It sounds as if they were constantly holding back, never daring to push their limits and put in some fresh ideas.

The reason for this is obviously the song material. While Aqualung and My God are strong classic Tull tracks, the rest of the album is a big let-down. I fail to see how a fan of prog rock can find anything to enjoy in the uninspired hard rock of Cross-Eyed Mary and Locomotive Breath or in the unaccomplished balladry that fills the remainder of the album.

Because of its historic relevance I will still grant it 3 stars. With only two relevant songs, my personal appreciation is far below that.

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Posted Sunday, September 06, 2009

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Jethro Tull - Aqualung

This is by the majority of fans seen as the best Jethro Tull album and it became a classic rock album with hits in the charts. From a progressive point of view it's qualities are overshadowed by the more progressive Thick as A Brick and some other albums that followed. Still this is a classic album for the rock genre with a lot of memorable great songs. It is also the first Tull album with clear folk compositions an less psychedelic influences. From this album I would like to mention the great emotional impact of My God.

There is actually little I have to say about this album. It's a good collection of tracks that are recorded very nice. Still it's current rating represents it's poplar qualities more then it's progressive quality. That's why I give it three stars, though it's an important classic rock album and a big step forward for the band.

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Posted Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Review by JLocke
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A review for the poor old sods . . .

I don't usually do reviews of this type anymore because I realized quite early in my reviewing career here that so much has already been said about these classic prog 'staples', my opinion thrown on top of the daily-growing pile of opinions isn't going to do much to sway a potential newcomer's decision. However, after reviewing several lesser-known albums from lesser-known artists, it's always fun to return to the familiar now and again. In this particular case, I felt the need to review Jethro Tull's ''Aqualung'' because it's one of the handful of great records that first sparked my interest in advanced music. Had it not been for these albums in particular, I may not be where I am today in my musical journey. In fact, I may not even be a musician. So I owe it to these classic artists and their influences to pay my respects.

''Aqualung'' was the first Jethro Tull record I ever heard, and still remains my most personally beloved. Is it Tull's best? probably not, and from a realistic standpoint, I'm not even sure I can rate it a full five stars, as much as I would want to. I was actually ready to sing its praises to the Nth degree just yesterday, but after speaking with one of my colleagues, he made me realize that my personal love for this record may be clouding my judgment. So I slept on it. Today, after giving it some careful thought, I have come to realize two things:

1) As much as I love this piece of classic prog-rock, the album does start to run out of steam toward its end, and I would be giving it too high a mark at the full five rating.

2) No Jethro Tull record has ever held my interest from beginning to end.

Perhaps it is simply because I still need to mature more in my musical tastes, but despite how great a Jethro Tull outing may be (of which there are many), none of them have been able to keep me completely engaged for their whole length. I promised myself early on when I first started investing time in this website that I would limit my five-star reviews only for the records that impressed me the absolute strongest. Some bands have released more than one album that has done so, but as of now, Jethro Tull has not. I would like to think albums like ''Aqualung'', ''Thick As A Brick'' and even ''Roots To Branches'' (One of J-Tull's most grossly underrated works) are all around the same caliber, and they all seem to be the best the band has to offer.

But just because a band's best possible efforts are in my collection, it does not mean I absolutely must rate them all five stars. Four stars for me don't mean an album ISN'T 'essential' per se; that rating simply means that while the record is among the band in particular's best work, it doesn't reach the same heights for me that it may for others, and that is absolutely a personal thing. I now believe five-star ratings should be reserved for the albums that speak to me the most on a personal level, and as such you will most likely see much less five-star scores coming from me from now on.

Right, now that I have explained my intentions, here, let's get to the review. it will be shorter than most, but as I said, so much has already been said about this record, I will merely explain what it means to me on a personal level, then move on.

The album's first track is also the title track, and among many circles, the most well-known track. It has a very wonderful chorus section, catchy, electric guitar-driven verses, and of course the graphic, appalling description on Aqualung, the subject of the first half of this album, many say. I'm still on the fence as whether or not this truly IS a concept album. Ian Anderson apparently claims that it isn't, but the connection between the tracks lyrically and musically suggest otherwise. Either way, this character (a bum living off the street, watching the crowd and having bad intentions) seems to be the subject of the first few tracks, intentionally connected or not, and tis is one hell of a starting place. Much more heavy rock-oriented than folk, and not particularly 'prog', it still gets the job done and straps the listener in for the wild ride to come. ''You poor old sod, you see it's only me''.

'Cross-Eyed Mary' seems to be yet another tale involving the Aqualung character, though he takes somewhat of a backseat here. Ian Anderson's signature flute makes its first appearance on this song, and along with it enters the first truly 'prog-folk' elements. It's a great song, and absolutely strengthens the album as a whole.

'Cheap Day Return' is the first time in which I can understand why Anderson doesn't consider this a concept record. This song has absolutely nothing to do with the Aqualung story. In fact, It's apparently a personal tale of when Anderson himself was traveling, on his way to see his terminally ill father. This is also a very nice track. Also quite short; the second-shortest song on the whole album. Though it doesn't need to be any longer. It's just some lovely acoustic guitar work accompanied by Anderson's tender, folk- style singing. This is more like a bridge between songs rather than a full-fledged song in and of itself.

The most fun-loving track on the record, 'Mother Goose', was a personal favorite of mine when I was a kid, and it still stands out as one of the better entries. Not much else to really say about this one . . . just listen for yourself, and you'll enjoy it.

Once again, a short, acoustic bridge section in 'Wond'ring Aloud'. Very beautiful track that also has some nice piano and strings coming in near the short track's end. I didn't fully appreciate this song until i got older, but now find it quite enjoyable. It certainly shouldn't be skipped when listening to ''Aqualung'' in full.

'Up To Me' is truly a Rock 'n' Roll / Folk hybrid. The flute rocks out just as much as the electric guitar does, and and twice as energetic at times. It's not all energy, though, as a softer middle section comes in to tame it. Actually a song that I honestly feel could have a been a little bit longer. Too short for such a cool track. Still a decent length, however.

Alright, so Side B begins, and the apparent 'theme' of this side (if there even is one!) is all about how organized religion has stifled many people's spiritual growth and help the church higher that God himself. Some people this this song is speaking out against the big guy upstairs, but those people obviously weren't paying attention to the lyrics. It's quite clear what Anderson is talking about, here. This may possibly be my favorite song on the album. It's powerful, has a very generous length (longest track on the record, clocking in at just over seven minutes), and has the best instrumentation out of all the tracks. The flute solo at the song's center is reason enough to love this mighty track, but so much more is there, as well. Just go listen to it! It's brilliant.

'Hymn 43' is very southern gospel music meets R&B. The piano work is really groovy, and Ian Anderson's singing style here makes him sound as if he could have come out of the heart of Louisiana, rather than Fife, Scotland, where the frontman was actually born. He definitely knows how to play the parts with his voice. Anyway, this is a great track too, although by this point if you're a first-time listener, the last track may have worn you out already.

'Slipstream' is the final acoustic interlude on the record, and wow, is this beautiful! I love how the strings bow and ebb at the end. Very unusual and . . . well . . . prog!

'Locomotive Breath' has one of the more interesting intros. The piano begins playing something that sounds very classically- influenced, then quickly shifts into ragtime, finally ending up in Jazz land. Wonderful. The rest of the instruments don't really come in until around the 1:22 mark, and when they do, I would expect more of that same freshness that began with the piano, but honestly, by this point, i feel the album has begun to run out of steam. This particular locomotive's breath is far from hot, and I think this is actually one of the weaker tracks the album has to offer, despite the cool-as-hell beginning. Still better than most music that was happening at the time, but by Tull standards, not as strong, in my opinion.

Okay. The last song on the record. It's really good. Great, even. Again, that southern vibe is quite prevalent, and once again Anderson is taking swings at religion. The lyrics are once again brilliant, and the music is up to par with the rest of the album's output. It starts out very soft, melodic and peaceful, then soon kicks into high gear with that trademark rockin' folk style that only Anderson and crew could pull off. It makes for a fabulous ending to a very fabulous album.

For the most part, this is an album you should not be without if you are a fan of this type of music. i would say having it in your collection is strongly encouraged, if not 'essential'. Like I said, this is a four-star album, if I am just honest with myself. As much as I love it, I do not listen to it as often as I do my typical five-star records. Having said that, I would indeed think you quite out of your mind to NOT buy this album. It's quite popular, even among non-prog listeners, and is available at nearly every store that sells music, so if you haven't picked this one up already, you really should. I just don't find it as 'essential' as others, perhaps. It's still worth owning, though.

Happy listening.

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Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars This is one of the true classic albums, not just of progressive rock, but rock in general. Besides having truly interesting, and some fine experimental music, the lyrics are some of the most brilliant ever recorded. And Ian Anderson credits his first wife, Jennie, for the lyrics of the band's most famous song.

The music flows perfectly from song to song, and the lyrics seem to flow as well. But my favorite part of the album is side 2, where Anderson provides a scathing critcism of organized religion, and the hypocrites who use religion as a method of power. In Hymn 43 he writes "If Jesus saves, then he'd better save himself from the gory glory seekers who use his name in death." Who could deny that after more than thirty years the lyric are still relevant? And while some say that the set of songs are a statement of atheism, I disagree. While it's not necessarily Christianity, there is a spiritualism in "He is the god of nothing -- if that's all that you can see. You are the god of everything -- He's inside you and me." Even a devout atheist like me can be moved by such lyrics.

This is an album everyone should own (even my teenaged son loves it).

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Posted Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Review by thehallway
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An excellent milestone in the climb up the progressive mountain (not just for Tull but in music generally). 'Aqualung' is full of delightfully dark lyrical imagery, hard-edged chordy rock, whimsical acoustic dabblings, and plenty of husky impulse flute.

Jethro Tull are new to me but this album is obviously the topic of much discussion; it's hard to miss it. Some say it's a concept album. Some say it's simply an album with concepts. I'd rather take the latter view because it gives it more scope for a better review. If 'Aqualung' was a concept album it wouldn't be a very good one (too inconsistent). Regarded as a normal rock album with some recurring themes, the album is much stronger, and certainly more progressive. What I like is the flow: There are two extended highlights, the famous title track with it's pyramid structure and jagged opening chords. And the overlooked 'My God', with a similar construction allowing for solo-extension in a live setting (it might not be overlooked actually, I don't really know enough about the band to say). These both introduce the two sides of the album, a good start. Then there are a few straighter rock songs with respectable riffs, and a couple of softer pieces which are developed nicely. On top of this, and what really makes the album flow, are the little acoustic interludes that split up the meatier tracks. They aren't incredible compositions but they fit so well, in a way that wouldn't work within the symphonic style of some other prog bands. This means that 'Aqualung' works better as a whole album rather than in terms of individual songs, but at least the filler is only filler in a structural sense; there's no specifically BAD music. I also must mention here that I'm loving the jazz piano that introduces 'Locomotive Breath'. What a nice touch.

I'd like to point out, because I'm surprised no one else has yet, that I find some of the later parts of this album sound a little (don't shoot me) "punk"-esque. Not explicitly and of course more musically, but the bare elements are there in the chordal structures, and I do remember Johnny Rotten of the 'Sex Pistols' stating a Tull influence. Just a thought....

This album is perhaps as overrated as it is misunderstood, but no one can deny it's place in the prog hall of fame because of the great riffs, themes, solos and jams it has to offer. Only a few minor issues from me; the songs aren't as prog as I first thought, Anderson's singing is ametuer, and the flute is a little too omnipresent.

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Posted Saturday, April 24, 2010

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars With the release of Aqualung the band had finally completed their transition from the blues based rock band to a mix between (hard) rock and folk rock. This album is also famous for being labeled as a concept album, ever since its release, to a discontent of Ian Anderson who claims that he never intended it to be as such. Whether this is really the case or not might be debatable, at least we can all agree that Aqualung was an important title in Jethro Tull's discography.

Personally I tend to divide the album into three sections where the first and last 10 minutes of the album consists of much edgier, almost hard rock, material while the middle section is mainly Prog Folk. Considering that there are already more than 120 written reviews of this album before mine, I'll skip the track-by-track description in favor of summarizing that the material here is top-notch making for a great album experience that, to me, is only overshadowed by the even greater achievement that the band showed with their next release. This doesn't really play in favor of this album since whenever I decide to listen to a Jethro Tull album my first choice always falls on Thick As A Brick meaning that Aqualung hasn't been played as much in my household. This is a phenomenon that most bands with only a handful of excellent recordings suffer from with me.

In conclusion I can only summarize that Aqualung is a great album by Jethro Tull and it's a real pity that there aren't many more where that came from. If you've only heard the title track and are unsure if you want to give this album a shot then I can assure that you are hesitating in vain. This is an essential album for fans of Prog Folk and an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Aqualung (6:31) Cross-Eyed Mary (4:09) Locomotive Breath (4:25) Wind-Up (5:42)

**** star songs: Cheap Day Return (1:23) Mother Goose (3:52) Wond'ring Aloud (1:56) Up To Me (3:18) My God (7:10) Hymn 43 (3:18) Slipstream (1:13)

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Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Prog-rock? Classic-rock? Does it matter? With "Aqualung, Jethro Tull does plenty to please fans of both, with driving, energetic rock tunes intermixed with thoughtful and ambitious compositions.

The title track opens with an irresistable and legendary guitar riff, starting off one of the all-time great classic rock FM standards. A great guitar solo, chorus, intriguing lyrics, and dynamics all make this the winning track on the album, but things are almost as good in the follow up "Cross Eyed Mary", which features some great flute by Anderson. The middle of the album shifts gears considerably, giving us a series of folksy ballads highlighting the groups acoustic playing and sensativity. Anderson's vocals on these tracks are great, as is the organic feel to the performances and songwriting. The prog returns with the organ and mellotron heavy "My God"-- also featuring excellent flute solos. The closing tracks, the jamming "Locomotive Breath" and passionate "Wind-Up", are a winning pair, putting a nice close on an enjoyable album.

My only complaint is that the material book-ended by the excellent start and close of Aqualung feel very rushed, almost to the point of being incomplete. While overall these songs are quite good, they are practically a teaser to what the band is really capable of.

While not ambitious or powerful enough to warrant 5-star status in my book, Aqualung's style does a lot to charm the listener into a wide range of moods, and definitely earns its place in any rock lover's library.

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

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Posted Friday, July 09, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Tull's best selling album, going to #4 in the UK and #7 in the US. The last album with drummer Clive Bunker and the first with bassist Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and keyboardist John Evan. Dave (later Dee) Palmer does the orchestrations here as he (later she) would do on other Tull albums before joining as a keyboardist in 1976. The orchestra parts are most noticeable on "Slipstream".

The title track is now a classic and features a fantastic riff. I like the effect on the vocals during the acoustic section. Nice contrast between the hard rock and the more folky and jazzy middle section. Great guitar solo from Martin Barre. "Cross-Eyed Mary" is my favourite Tull song. Some Mellotron here. Great instrumental build up at the beginning. Always loved how the flute solo gets followed by a short guitar solo. Great ending. "Mother Goose" is a good folky song. Nice subtle use of electric guitar over halfway. "Up To Me" is a good folky blues-rocker.

Aqualung was not a concept album. It being labeled such lead Ian Anderson to come up with TAAB. But the original side two seems to be about religion, specifically criticism of religion. After an opening section with acoustic guitar, piano and vocals, "My God" has later the full band coming in a slow-paced hard rock vein. Flute solo in the middle with some choir-like vocals. "Hymn 43" is a good early 1970s style rock song. Not very proggy though.

"Locomotive Breath" is another highlight and after the title track, is the most well known song from the album. Great opening with piano. Love what the bass is doing during the main part of the song; it's mixed in a way that makes it stand out for some reason. "Wind Up" starts out folky and poppy but then turns into a rocker. Goes back to the folk-pop part at the end.

This is a great classic rock album from the 1970s, but Tull made at least three more proggy albums. It would be hard to imagine that the group who made this album would come up with Thick As A Brick next. Aqualung was recorded at the same studios where Led Zeppelin did their popular fourth album. For whatever reason, Tull couldn't make this sound as good. One of the biggest problems with this album is the sound which could have been a lot better. Not extremely proggy but extremely good. I give this 3.5 rounded it up to 4 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Although I can't quite give it the five-star endorsement most of the other reviewers and raters have - there's just a few too many super-brief acoustic filler tracks, and the album slumps a little in the middle. But then again, that slump is from "excellent" to merely "good". Not, in any way, a concept album - the character sketches of the first side aren't really linked to the theological musings of the second, and both sides have several songs that don't fit those themes even slightly - but still a big step forward for Tull, with John Evan joining as a full member (and his keys play a major role in firming up the band's new sound). Not the band's absolute masterpiece, but a very strong beginning to their fully-prog era.

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Posted Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It´s not easy to write a review on such legendary album. The fact that hundreds of other people here in PA have left their remarks about the album already doesn´t help much either. However, before anyone start to ask if I do even know this CD I decided I should give my impressions about it. Aqualung is probably Jethro Tull´s most famous and iconic album. It made a huge impact in the 70´s and it was a international success, including Brazil, my country. it was the first ever JT LP I ever heard and probably the first I saw too (at school when I was 15, I believe). However, after all these years and having recently purchased the 25th anniversary edition, I can´t say it is JT´s best. I give this honour to Thick As A Brick. However, it still an outstanding work. And a must have for any prog lover.

The strength of this CD is based primarely on three tracks: the title track, Cross-eyed Mary and Locomotive Breath. Those three are classic, first rate prog songs that should be the envy of any songwriter. No need to comment about such well known works. They are simply perfect, breathtaking tunes and I just can´t get enough of those. More than three decades later and I still hear them with much pleasure. However, the remaining stuff on the album is hardly in the same level. Mother Goose is a nice acoustic piece with funny lyrics and My God has some interesting musical experiments that are a bit unsual for the JT style of the time. It´s quite progressive, but not necessarily good or too pleasant. The anti-christian lyrics sound a bit forced and naive by today´s standards. The music is not really that good to make us forget the words to appreciate them just for the melodies. But they are not bad either. It was the first labum to feature John Evan as a permantent member and he does add a lot of textures with his excellent keyboard playing.

The recording production was not the best and even Ian Anderson admits that. The 1998 remastered did very little improvement as far as I can say. It was a major disappointment, considering some outstanding remastering work I´ve seen lately. The bonus tracks are several, but don´t really add much. Lick Your Fingers Clean is the only song that is really new to me, while the quad version of Wind Up doesn´t differ much from the original one. There is a 13 minute interview with Ian Anderson from 1996 commenting about the album (oddly enough, maybe the most interesting bonus feature here). The three last bonus tracks are from a 1998 BBC session (Song For Jeffrey, Fat Man and Bourneé) and those are only for hardcore fans.

Rating: 4 stars. Maybe 4,5 for its historical importance.

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Posted Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Even if you're a progfan there will always be bands or subgenres you more or less automatically stay away from because it somehow isn't your thing. And for me that's the case with (amongst others) Jethro Tull. I mean, I don't hate or even dislike this band, but there are just a couple of songs I really can get into in their entire discography and one of them is actually on this classic album.

And then we're talking about Locomotive Breath, the only track from Aqualung that really gets me going. To me just two other songs from this release are pretty much worthwhile and those are the title track (evergreen) and My God (flute !). But the other eight make me wonder why this album is one of the most popular prog albums ever. Not for my taste for sure. The eight shorter songs are at best nice but even that is hard to acknowledge for me to be honest. It will have something to do with Anderson's voice probably, a real love or hate kind of voice I feel.

And if the three longer (and better) songs wouldn't have been on this album I probably would have gone for just two stars. But the mentioned three give the album at least some status. And so I can bring myself to giving three but it's the best I can do. Maybe some day someone can explain to me why this album is supposed to be so great despite 8 weakish songs.

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Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review of "Aqualung" 40th Anniversary Box Set

There are two albums that defined the Jethro Tull legacy, Aqualung and Thick As A Brick. There were claims that Aqualung was a concept album to which Ian Anderson said poppycock! The album revolved around social issues that are still prevalent today. Ian and the band challenged the beliefs of church and state and even God! Oh my! Well none of that ever scared us away now did it? Why did so many people insist it was a concept album, perhaps because it sounded more prog? The music stood on its own thank you very much and it did not need any fabricated labels to make it all legitimate. Anderson has never been happy with the recording quality and finally after all these years we get to hear Aqualung in all its sonic glory as it was originally envisioned.

There are more choices for listening experiences in this set than you could possibly imagine. The Aqualung 40th Anniversary Box Set includes the following: 1 180gm Vinyl LP, 2 CDs, 1 DVD, 1 Blu-ray disc, a album sized 48 page hardback book that includes details of the albums recording sessions, engineering perspectives and stories from all the band members, lyrics of every song including some of the alternative versions and rare archive pictures. All this comes housed in a quality hard cardboard case with new artwork. When you open the gatefold vinyl LP cover there are the 4 discs that fit into pockets that cleverly match with the bodies of the two characters portrayed. The ever popular Steven Wilson was enlisted by Ian Anderson to handle the knob turning and once again he has outdone himself making his services so well known that he probably could spend the rest of his life remastering prog rock classics and put his recording career into permanent retirement. We don't want to see that happen though as Wilson has produced plenty of brilliant music of his own over the years with Porcupine Tree and several other projects and most recently released an eclectic double solo album titled Grace For Drowning.

There are some striking changes to this legendary recording that everyone should hear now, especially if you are an Aqualung or prog rock fan. Some folks may think that all this attention to one release is overkill but I must say now that after taking in this entire experience presented here that I have a completely different viewpoint now of the recording. All the engaging stories behind the album are like having your own private window into a time machine and that is an added bonus.

A few of the tracks that benefited the most from the new versions are "Aqualung", "Cross- Eyed Mary" and "Wond'ring Aloud", which showed how diverse the band could be. Speaking of variety, "From Later" is a bonus track that may surprise many folks. It is a lighthearted instrumental jazz-rock fusion track that sounds as if it could have been playing on any progressive jazz radio station in the 70's or now as a matter of fact.

Evaluating this massive set was a work in progress for over a week. I found many things to take into consideration and plenty to rant and rave about. I ran into similar problems as I did with previous remasters (e.g. King Crimson reissues, Bowie-Station to Station box) such as the New Mix-DTS 96/24 5.1 Surround version not producing any sound. DTS never works on any remaster for me so the Quad version did not work either however the 96/24 LPCM and the New Mix Dolby Surround Sound 48/24 5.1 Surround Sound versions were superlative in many instances, as was a fantastic pristine version of the Quad Dolby 48/24 4.1 which yielded similar qualities but different results for the discerning ear. On the New Mix Dolby Surround Sound 48/24 5.1 Surround version I noticed a very obvious fluctuation with volume throughout some of the songs, from sharp exciting highs to a sudden drop out of the overall sound and in the same instance I could recognize the improvements when it was holding the EQ/VU properly. I also could not get the Blu-ray disc to work properly. I saw a forum dedicated to this release where one individual said similar things and I know there is no problem with my stereo system. I think you need a system that is top notch that is only a few years old (mine is 5.1 surround sound but several years old now) so perhaps this is why I have experienced repeating problems in certain formats. And finally, one omission that made no sense at all to me was the inclusion of any video footage. With everything that went into this beautiful set I find it very disappointing. In the end I guess it depends how discerning a listener you are and what you have come to expect with all the different versions that are offered. Since I already knew the DTS was going to be a problem it did not upset me and I was able to enjoy everything else immensely and recognized all of the fantastic improvements that Wilson was able to engineer throughout each specific version. The negatives did outweigh the positives.

I heard many things I had never heard before which is what this is all about. The new stereo mix is exceptional as well and with the 14 additional tracks it certainly is an attractive set to own. What I found interesting with the 5.1 surround sound versions of the bonus tracks was that they were perfect; I heard no volume fluctuations whatsoever. The LP version is astoundingly crisp and clear and quite a treat for the ears compared to the original version. This is nothing like the 5.1 surround sound with the added instruments and other elements popping up here and there to perk up your ears and senses, yet it is a vast improvement upon what was previously available in typical vinyl releases for overall sonics and crispness.

Largely this is a very impressive set in regards to sound, packaging and extras. This is for audiophiles, collectors, JT fans and above all music fans that are interested in the process of making an album and hearing from the cast of characters who had a hand in making it all come to life. I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation for Aqualung and one that I could have never had if it were not for this amazing and revealing set. Jethro Tull 1971: Ian Anderson (lead vocals, flute), Clive Bunker (drums), Martin Barre (guitar), John Evan (piano and organ) and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass).

Key Tracks: Aqualung, Cross-Eyed Mary, Wond'ring Aloud

4.5 stars

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Posted Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars The legendary British Hard/Folk Rock band was formed in Luton in 1967, although its leader Ian Anderson (vocals, flute) originated from Blackpool.Guitarist Mick Abrahams, bassist Glenn Cornick and drummer Clive Bunker completed the original line-up, which was signed by Chrysallis.Abrahams left after the first album ''This was'' (1968), replaced by Martin Barre and this line-up recorded ''Stand up'' in 1969.Cornick was forced to exit Jethro Tull in 1970 after the release of the ''Benefit'' album due to his distant relationship with the rest of the members, Jeffrey Hammond enters the picture and keyboardist John Evan was promoted to a full-time member.Fourth album ''Aqualunq'' was recorded at Island Studios between December 70'-February 71' and was released in March, more or less a thematic work around faith and the relation between man and God.

Jethro Tull's musical roots can be found in a Heavy/Blues Rock style, which the band never actually abandoned, but through the sands of time they developed their own style combining Folk, Rock and Classical Music elements, leading to the first trully refined album of the group.''Aqualung'' stands for many as a classic of the Prog Rock genre, having a devastating power, performed through the hard guitar riffing, a nostalgic attitude due to the instant bluesy tunes, but also a strong progressive and British-styled content, characterized by Evan's interesting keyboard parts, Anderson's fiery solos and the addition of more complex themes in their music.More impressively the band did develop their new style in short but rich pieces without feeling to execute long or stretched compositions.The music on ''Aqualung'' contains balanced textures with laid-back passages, based on Anderson's poetic voice and the changing flute/acoustic guitar sections, and more emphatic moments with dense instrumental parts and a raw power, delivered via dynamic electric tunes, complicated tempo changes and in-your-face flute interventions.Still Evan is there to offer the appropriate elaborate touch with nice Hammond organ parts, pleasant piano lines and even some orchestral Mellotrons.As a result ''Aqualung'' starts its journey from the rural fields of UK, passes through the Blues Rock of the 60's and ends up in the upcoming wave of British Prog Rock, combining different levels of energy in a well-composed and nicely performed album.

Not a masterpiece in my opinion, but certainly an excellent album of energetic Prog Rock from the early-70's with great vocals and plenty of instrumental diversity.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1134517) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 20, 2014

Latest members reviews

3 stars 3.2 Stars. A crossed-eyed concept album. I have to honest in saying that JT are far from being one of my favourite Prog bands. While they have released a few amazing albums over their career (TAAB and Songs from the Wood are the first to spring to mind) a lot of their stuff sounds like normal fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1047395) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 10/10, as y'all know very well. The maximum apex possible. They have grown older enough to make such a classic album that is still played on the radio. That's Aqualung. Aqualung - 8/10 Absolutely eternal classic for the whole rock world. Cross-Eyed Mary - 8/10 Just great, as expected. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1026904) | Posted by Ethelred7 | Sunday, September 01, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Jethro Tull wasn't a very big band before this album, but it allowed them to enter mainstream popularity and would later become their highest seller. Aqualung is a not-concept album, which pretentious critics love to say otherwise, full of folksy progressive rock released at a time were folk-i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1008182) | Posted by Lord Anon | Monday, July 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After a lot of songs dedicated to him, Jeffrey finally joined the band. Aqualung is my icon of nostalgia. I can clearly remember when I was a little boy, around 5, and I have found a lost cassette tape from my daddy's friend, with an awesome tracklist. I didn't understand the meaning of ... (read more)

Report this review (#988288) | Posted by VOTOMS | Friday, June 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jethro Tull's "zenith" for me - easily beats TAAB. Some great themes appear and reappear on here (notably tramps and religion :P). Every track is an absolute masterclass in prog folk, and there's such a distinct sound on here. Starting off with "Aqualung", I was initially disappointed, but soon I ... (read more)

Report this review (#984576) | Posted by Xonty | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album starts out with one of the most recognisable tracks in rock - the brilliant "Aqualung" - ode to a "soul of the road", a hobo. This track is one of the all time greats as far as I'm concerned and with it Jethro Tull finally established themselves as an act with great importance to th ... (read more)

Report this review (#942347) | Posted by sukmytoe | Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Aqualung is an album that rests in the record stacks, iPods, and hard-drives of countless fans of rock music, prog or otherwise. Its accessibility makes it easy to appreciate for the casual listener while the uniqueness that set it so far apart from the majority of its contemporaries secured t ... (read more)

Report this review (#903909) | Posted by Neo-Romantic | Friday, February 01, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Aqualung" is the bridge between Jethro Tull's psychedelic rock/folk period and their progressive rock/folk period. This album is not yet progressive, although too artistic to call it hardrock or folkrock. I prefer the term artrock/folk like I also use for artists like David Bowie and Spooky Too ... (read more)

Report this review (#896983) | Posted by the philosopher | Monday, January 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the cornerstones of Jethro Tull's discography and long life as a band. This album is an icon and worshipped by many. The music on this album is a mix of hard edged folk rock and prog rock. The style Jethro Tull made their own. This album is the blueprint for this style. This album ta ... (read more)

Report this review (#574025) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Just amazing. Surpassing even the brilliant 'Benefit' (which, nevertheless, still remains my favourite Jethro Tull album), 'Aqualung' is like a great book; it keeps you glued to your seat from start to finish, allowing you to catch your breath with some of its acoustic numbers, before bombardi ... (read more)

Report this review (#542043) | Posted by Ludjak | Tuesday, October 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Along the road leading to prog, an old man is sitting on a park bench and watching girls. Nasty old pervert! The most famous album of the band and, in my opinion, after "Stand Up" probably the best. By some considered the first progressive album of Tull, is in fact a transitional album on the way ... (read more)

Report this review (#439994) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Thursday, April 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I was a little child, this cover frightened me as I alluded it to the bogeyman. The first chords almost confirm my initial toughs. But then, the heavy riffs, both guitar and piano, fade away and an acoustic guitar appears with a distant nasal voice weeping hopes for the spring. The title tra ... (read more)

Report this review (#432975) | Posted by AdaCalegorn | Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Sitting on a park bench eyeing little girls with bad intent.Snot is running down his nose greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes. Hey Aqualung! " This was my second foray into Jethro Tull, after the magnificent masterpiece "Thick Is A Brick. " I must admit I was a little disappointed, but this ... (read more)

Report this review (#393486) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, February 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #6 Jethro Tull's1971 album Aqualung. I am quite surprised that at the time of writing, Aqualung has only been rated by approximately 600 people on PA. I thought everyone in the world had a copy of Aqualung! I will not go on and on about this album, other than to say that this is the on ... (read more)

Report this review (#393140) | Posted by BarryGlibb | Thursday, February 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Full article first published on blogcritics.org Critics have often tried to pigeonhole the album Aqualung into one of several categories: concept album, progressive rock, folk rock, hard rock, et cetera, ad nauseam. In fact, the repeated critical mantra of 'concept album' so annoyed Tull fron ... (read more)

Report this review (#391930) | Posted by The Dark Elf | Tuesday, February 01, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great classic album. Like Ian Anderson said, this isn't a concept album (like the follow up was) but just a bunch of songs. What an excellent bunch of songs though! Overall, it's much more engaging than Benefit and although the songwriting is just as good, the music has a different feel to it. Aqu ... (read more)

Report this review (#335310) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album has some of my favourite songs, but it also can be quite boring. Here there are very strong themes like Aqualung and Locomotive Breath, but there also are some songs that can be boring as hell. The first song," aqualung", is for me the best song of the group, it's near perfection wit ... (read more)

Report this review (#301889) | Posted by Dpuerto | Sunday, October 03, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is probably Jethro Tull's most popular album for there is a lot of hits in it. I'd say it's my favorite altough it is a great record. In it there's incredible tracks like My God and Locomotive Breath wich are classics along with Aqualung, Hymn 43, Crossed Eyed Mary, etc. In fact, there's ... (read more)

Report this review (#301548) | Posted by The_Jester | Saturday, October 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hard to dispute all of the 4 and 5 star ratings for AQUALUNG. It is a great album-rock or prog. I'm sure, like myself, it was many people's introduction to the wonderful world of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. Best moments: "Aqualung", "Cross Eyed Mary", "Up to Me", "My God", "Locomotive Breath ... (read more)

Report this review (#296177) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can I say about Aqualung? It is truly a milestone, a holy shrine for progressive rock. Everything, from the music to the conceptual lyrical themes is planned down to an inch of perfection and this really shows. Any fan of rock music cannot deny the greatness of this album, for it has song ... (read more)

Report this review (#284825) | Posted by Laurelles | Friday, June 04, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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