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Jethro Tull

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Jethro Tull Catfish Rising album cover
2.64 | 501 ratings | 28 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. This Is Not Love (3:57)
2. Occasional Demons (3:50)
3. Roll Yer Own (4:26)
4. Rocks on the Road (5:33)
5. Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall (5:23)
6. Thinking Round Corners (3:32)
7. Still Loving You Tonight (4:32)
8. Doctor to My Disease (4:35)
9. Like a Tall Thin Girl (3:38)
10. White Innocence (7:54)
11. Sleeping with the Dog (4:26)
12. Gold-Tipped Boots, Black Jacket and Tie (3:42)
13. When Jesus Came to Play (5:03)

Total Time 60:31

Bonus Tracks on 2006 EMI remaster:
14. Night in the Wilderness (4:05)
15. Jump Start (live) (7:48) *

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / vocals, flute, acoustic & electric mandolin, electric & acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, harmonica, keyboards, producer
- Martin Barre / electric guitar
- David Pegg / electric & acoustic basses
- Doane Perry / drums

- Andy Giddings / keyboards (1,4,8)
- Foss Paterson / keyboards (10)
- John "Rabbit" Bundrick / keyboards (11)
- Matt Pegg / bass (1,4,7)
- Scott Hunter / drums (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Jim Gibson with Geoff Halpin (logo) and John Pasche (design)

CD Chrysalis ‎- CCD 1886 (1991, UK)
CD EMI - 3709772 (2006, Europe) Remastered by Peter Mew w/ 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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JETHRO TULL Catfish Rising ratings distribution

(501 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (28%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

JETHRO TULL Catfish Rising reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Knave part III or Island part II, but in even less inventive. All three albums of this relatively stable era, and it sorts of define the sound of the classic Tull sound of the late-80's and early ?90's and none are that bad indeed, but none will rise to their top 10 albums. With a simplistic (but nice) artwork and a fairly stable line-up, CR is probably the least interesting of that trilogy, and it will also be their last album for a few years, until Tull will rebound in 96 with the much-better inspired Roots to Branches album.

Of the three albums in the present "trilogy", CR is probably the weakest, because this line-up had reached its sell-by date, and this can be viewed as Tull's most blues-rockiest album of them all (even if in itself, it's not a flaw) and this despite from a bunch of folk songs on its track list. Overall, conventional song structures and conventional songs, wordy (and over-present) lyrics, unsurprising instrumentation, uninspired lyrics seem to be the run-of-th-mill of this album, making it the "parent pauvre" of the trilogy

But if the songs are not strong in the songwriting sense, as the Tramp seems content to put out this flute-sprinkled would-be hard-rock, the album can also be honest and entertaining for non-demanding or not too fussy fans. This trilogy (COAK, RI and this one) is more convincing than their late70's-early 80's era (A until UW), but by no mean is it any inventive, or even less so innovative. The best description I can give of the music would be: a safe and conservative hard blues rock. The flute interventions, I find, have become scarce (but still present), compared to the orgiastic albums of the classic early-70's era!

A bunch of rather short songs fill up the album's first art, often trying to expand Tull's usual musical spectrum, but generally ending up reinforcing the impression of Tull's then-limitations in terms of songwriting and innovation. Even the one longer track (nearing 8-minutes) White innocence, fails to develop the much-awaited musical interplay and succession of chords that Tull fans are in right to expect from their albums. Retrospectively, I think Anderson was relying a lot on Martin Barre's guitar sound to fill-up much of the spectrum of CR.

BTW, not having invested in buying the album proper (I borrowed and rented it), I've not heard the remaster's bonus tracks either, one of them being a live version of the previous album's song? but in itself, is that not highlighting just of short on ideas the group was at the time. Despite the newer albums' increased time lengths, gone are the days where there were some seven of eight tracks too much for their annual albums. To me this Tull album trilogy sounds like business-as-usual: let's do another album although we have nothing new or really interesting to say.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Money for nothing?

Although this album dates from 1991, it is one of Tull's most recent albums. By this time, their days of being a folk progressive rock band were behind them, their albums consisting of short tracks with much simpler structures. Indeed, it seems unlikely that they will ever make another "Thick as a brick" or indeed "A passion play", and we must assume their days as a prog band are behind them forever.

What we have here then is an album which often sounds similar to DIRE STRAITS. The opening track, "This is not love", which was released as a single, only needs Mark Knopfler's voice in front of the distinctive guitar sound to complete the transformation. The similarities continue on "Occasional demons", which is also lyrically similar to Dire Straits "Money for nothing". It refers to "apartments with appliances and CD", and "We're gonna leave your stereo but we'll have your soul for tea" ("Money for nothing and your chicks for free??!").

All this may seem a bit unfair, especially as it is good to see Tull exploring different styles and sounds. Anderson's flute for example is used much more sparingly here than on most Tull albums. While (for me at least) the Dire Strait's similarity is undeniable, there's no question of plagiarism or even "borrowing". Anderson's vocals are as distinctive as ever, and the music has variety while retaining a strong emphasis on melody.

Of the other tracks, while "Sparrow on the schoolyard wall" again continues the Dire Straits sound, "Thinking round corners" is delightfully different with unique vocals. "Still loving you tonight" is a softer piece, with some excellent guitar work. Here, there are similarities both in the title, and the track itself with Thin Lizzy's "Still in love with you".

Anderson of course dominates the album, writing all the tracks, and even providing the recording studio. "Catfish rising" is a pleasant album of well written and performed songs, but don't look far anything particularly "progressive".

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I bought this CD as a teenager when the album was originally released, as this band was suggested to me when I started to search progressive rock bands inspirited by Yes, Genesis and so on. The pretty covers helped me to do the purchase decision, but sadly I was a bit disappointed of the music. Though the album quality isn't very poor, the overall musical style isn't very innovative here in my opinion. As the album title suggests, this album returns to the band's delta blues influence origins, which were more strongly present at the beginning of their career. But instead of my own favored 1960's tones, the supporting musical context relies on hard-rock influences.. "This Is Not Love" opens with AC/DC resembling riffs, blended occasionally with flutes and keyboards. Melodies and verses are good but not very innovative. The instrumental passages sound like the good old Jethro Tull though, but this stuff is nothing when compared to their heyday recordings. The first song ends to a distasteful double bass drum run, which is faded out, and I don't recall ever heard as poor solution to end a song like this. "Occasional Demons" and "Sparrow on The Schoolyard Wall" sound bit like the music on the last album of Dire Straits. Then "Roll Yer Own", "Rocks on The Road", "Gold-Tipped Boots, Black Jacket and Tie" and "When Jesus Came To Play" have some acoustic guitars bringing memories of their earlier recordings, these being quite good basic rock songs. "Thinking Round Corners" has the classic flute rhythms, sound and artistic style of this band crowning this song as one of the album highlights. "Still Loving You Tonight" is a slow blues ballad with distasteful sounding keyboards, resembling some kind of AOR tune. "Doctor To My Disease" is a straightforward hard-rocker, but "Like A Tall Thin Girl" returns luckily to the bluesy regions, which work best in my opinion here. "White Innocence" is quite long as it runs nearly eight minutes. This tune has nearly all elements found from the other tracks of the album; A ballad verse, hard-rock riffs and acoustic blues runs, so it's actually quite interesting song, one of the best along with "Thinking Round Corners". "Sleeping with The Dog" is left to the gutter along with the other bluesy songs, not having acoustic guitars though, nor being very interesting.

This album could be recommended for the fans of blues and hard-rock music along with the fanatic followers of Jethro Tull. If the listener is into this kind of stuff, this should be a good purchase, as it is produced quite well.

Review by Bob Greece
1 stars To balance my 4 and 5 star Jethro Tull reviews, I'll review this album! The 1 star rating is my advice that this is a Jethro Tull album to keep well clear of. After the hard rock brilliance of Crest of a Knave and the reasonable follow up Rock Island, we get Catfish Rising. The problem I have with this album is that it's difficult to tell that there's a whole band there playing. The album is mainly vocal with some light background instrumentals. This Is Not Love is a reasonably catchy tune but there's just so much on this album that seems like filler. The lyrics on the album are sometimes interesting but I feel that this is an album where lyrical content was considered more important than musical content.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "this is not love."

In December 1990, Jethro Tull started recording a set of new songs. Anderson had been working on several acoustic oriented songs, based on mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars, rather than on the keyboards, that had dominated the previous Rock Island and Crest Of A Knave. Anderson's aim was to write and record a set of entertaining, light-hearted songs, with lots of humour and warmth. Acoustic instruments were more suitable to obtain this than the synthesised sounds. The result was a set of rustic and direct songs with an overall BLUESY mood. The catfish is an image applied by many black American country blues singers and the Mississippi Delta is a natural environment for catfish. Perhaps "rising" could be an allusion to the fact that the blues influence in Tull's music is once again "rising" after 1968 This Was. The songs were recorded by the nucleus of Jethro Tull in those days: Anderson, Pegg, Perry and Barre and 3 different keyboard players: John Bundrick, Foss Paterson and ANDREW GIDDINGS, who would join Tull one year later when Martin Allcock was dismissed. On three tracks Matt Pegg took up the bass work for his dad Dave, who was unable to participate due to his involvement with Fairport Convention at the time. Apart from the 13 songs on this album 5 more were recorded: "Night In The Wilderness" (good one) which was released on the "This Is Not Love"-single and "Truck Stop Runner", "Rosa On The Factory Floor", "Piece Of Cake", "Silver River Turning", released on 1993 Nightcap. This album can be considered as a good, yet not at all a remarkable one. This Is Not Love is a good hard guitar played track. This is the traditional opener in all JT hard rock trilogy: in Crest Of A Knave: Steel Monkey; in Rock Island: Kissing Willie. Roll Yer Own is a strange one.humoristic one both lyrically and musically! Rocks On The Road is one of the best here. Lyrically speaking, this song is a very dark and sad one. On stage Anderson ironically introduced this song by saying it was about a travelling salesman. And of course it is, though we must not forget that in a sense he himself is a kind of travelling salesman, bringing music and merchandise to audiences, hopping from country to country.

Other remarkable pieces are Doctor To My Disease, Occasional Demons, Still Loving You Tonight.

It's self evident: this 1991 album is NOT at the same level of the previous one. Maybe the opener title track is a revealer!!

Review by daveconn
2 stars This is a discussion that takes place among the stalwarts who don't leave their seats when the film is over: which is best among Crest and the rest. For example, I'd rank Crest at the top (naturally), followed by Roots, Rock and Rising. Many fans would invert those last three, citing that the folk/metal strains of Catfish reek of rock credibility. I won't argue that Tull has an authentic energy all its own, but most of these songs slip through the net when you try to bring them onto the boat of recollection. "This Is Not Love" repeats the earlier exercise of "Kissing Willie," and in fact Ian Anderson seems to have grown more leering and lecherous since then. When he sings on "Like A Tall Thin Girl" that "She looked good enough to eat / (And I mean eat)," you can't help by squirm a little at the thought. And I'm not sure that the mandolin and the electric guitar deserve the same weight in the same song, which often happens here. As much as the exotic folk arrangements presage the middle eastern experiment Roots To Branches, Catfish lacks anything as compelling as "This Free Will." Musically, Catfish is more adventurous than Rock Island, though again nothing in net measures up to "Ears of Tin" or "Another Christmas Song." Wordy, dirty, wounded and severe, Catfish Rising is that great, greasy machine belching hot air in the tundra ("Something's On The Move"), that rusted ferry cresting over black waters ("The Whaler's Dues"), the Tull that steamrolls you with its heavy designs. And that's fine for a time, but it's the artful dodging in the music that I miss. "Sparrow On The Schoolyard Wall" and "Still Loving You Tonight" contain enough of the old magic, and I may warm up to both of them in time, but it hasn't happened yet. On the heavier side, "This Is Not Love" and "Rocks On The Road" are solid numbers (both get a nice makeover on the live A Little Light Music). If you find yourself revisiting Rock Island more than most, catch Catfish Rising too. Otherwise, this is one of the last Tull albums you need to own.
Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Being a veteran fan of the Tull, I have to say that this album is weaker than its predecessors ("Crest" or "Rock Islands"). The major influence in this effort is the blues one (which is not my cup of tea).

The opener is almost hard rock standard : heavy bass and very strong guitar attack. Ian's singing performance is also forced IMO. "Occasional Demons" is a blues-rock without a lot of feeling in which some similarities with Dire Straits in the vocal parts can be noticed. "Roll Yer Own" is a pretty weird and useless blues song.

"Rocks on the Road" is one of the few of them : more complex and structured. This rock tune is above average (which is not too difficult here, I admit). Short, but good guitar break at the end of the song. Still, the bluesy background is obvious.

"Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall" is also a solid hard rock style number : heavy bass and good drumming. The duo guitar/flute works pretty well. It is a catchy song. Not a great one, but OK.

"Thinking Round Corners" features some good fluting but does not reach the highs (again this bluesy groove...). Another blues with "Still Loving You Tonight" with some beautiful guitar breaks, it is a very melodious song and can be considered as a highlight.

"Doctor to My Disease" brings us back to the good Tull songs : it rocks, it rolls, it has a strong melody with great flute breaks. Considering the overall weakness of this album, this one is a pleasant surprise and one of the few highlights (two in a row) !

"Like A Tall Thin Girl" has an Indian (food) flavour. Ian seems to be really found of Indian food. On their official web-site, there is a whole section dedicated to this, with Ian advising on what you should get (or not get) in the Indian restaurants flourishing in the UK ! : "I dont care to eat out in smart restaurants, I'd rather do a vindaloo : take away is what I want".

The next song "White Innocence" is again a Dire Straits type one : I am slowly getting bored of this. If I want to listen to Knopfler, I spin "Communiqué", "Tunnel Of Love" , "Sultans..." etc. But I do not expect the Tull to do so. Too much is too much.

The last three songs are rather similar to the rest of the album : repetitive and bluesy. It is the second album in a row that could be titled "Dire Straits revisited by Jethro Tull". It is their more blues oriented album since "This Was". For die-hard fans only. Two stars.

Review by The Whistler
3 stars If the heavy Met-Tull period existed for any reason, any reason at all, it was to create this monster. Honestly, on the one hand, I don't see why this album is all that different from Crest or Rock Island. But on the other hand, if I hadn't started with this thing, I would not be capable of liking Crest and Rock as much as I do. You see, on the surface, this is just another metal-fest-west, but at it's heart, there's so much more. And her name is desperate energy!

Compare the opening tracks of these albums. Which do you honestly prefer: "Steel Monkey" with its dorky keyboards? "Kissing Willie" with its cheesy riff? Or "This Is Not Love," possibly the best thing to come out of this period, and easily the best track on the album, with its steady drum attack and the band playing like they actually want to play? This is the first time they've been energetic since Under Wraps!

"This Is Not Love" is a desperate rocker about good ole lost love, and it has a memorable, unassisted flute solo! When was the last time that happened? "Black Sunday?" "Occasional Demons" is the mandolin based rocker that "Kissing Willie" could never have been. It's got a terrifying flute solo, and some Satanic lyrics! Does that make it the most metal song ever? Of course, it's impossible to judge something like that...but yes, yes it does.

"Roll Your Own" is a folksy jam band number that's pleasant, but lasts maybe a little too long. Was the repetitive coda really necessary? Maybe not. However, "Rocks on the Road" makes it all up. A masterpiece of progressive blues, it takes a stand as the only mini-epic from the heavy met-Tull period I can actually get behind. Some of the depressing delivery is almost on par with the likes of "Cheap Day Return" in terms of pure emotion! When was the last time THAT happened? "Under Wraps #2?" And dig that jazzy instrumental mid-section, which almost gets upbeat. Almost. Ha! Ian thinks he's so clever.

"Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall" is a mid-tempo folksy rocker that is nothing more than pleasant filler. "Thinking Round Corners" is amazing though, a really weird song with terrifying vocal delivery (and equally terrifying guitar soloing). This, and the "Flute Solo Improvisation," have me convinced Uncle Ian is possessed (and let's not forget that "Witch's Promise" video).

"Still Loving You Tonight" starts with a truly heartfelt opening, but as soon as we hit the chorus, we're hit with a wall of cheese. Too bad, it sounded promising. "Doctor to my Disease" is the last of the heavy numbers, and, just like the others, it's not bad. It manages to be catchy without being totally stupid. Just stupid enough. "Like a Tall Thin Girl" is a kinda throwaway-ish Indian flavored piece, but at this late stage in Tull's career, it's practically cool! We haven't heard this crap since "Fatman," and I love "Fatman!"

But then the worst thing imaginable happens. I mean that in all honesty. "White Innocence" sounds...EXACTLY like "Budapest." How much does it sound like "Budapest?" When I saw Ian live, and he started playing "Budapest," I thought he was playing "White Innocence." I hadn't heard "Budapest" before, but I didn't go, "Oh, what's that new song?" I went, "Oh! White Innocence." This IS "Budapest," just without the violin. And that song sucked. But at least it was original. This is not. Skip it.

"Sleeping With the Dogs" is a decent enough bloozy piece (better than "Seamus," in theory at least), with some amusing flutework. Hard not to love the doggy noises. "Gold Tipped Boots, Black Jacket and Tie" is an energetic folk piece, that's not bad at all. Toe-tappin' with plenty o' folksy soloing. And "When Jesus Came to Play" is a folksy, bloozy bit of nonsense that, uh, well, it ends the album (interesting lyrics though). Wow. What a long, strange trip it's been.

So what's right with this record? Plenty. The lineup seems to be stabilizing. The keyboardist Ian relies on the most is Andy Giddings, easily my favorite post-Evan dude. Doane Perry is the new drummer, which is not the best thing in my books. He's not quite as annoying as he was in "training" on the past few albums, but he still likes to remind you from time to time how inadequate he is with a sudden burst of "technique."

Unfortunately, the bass playing is getting a little loose. Not that it's bad, it's just that Dave (who really mellowed out during the met-Tull period, so I likes him now) spends half his time washing his hair. But he turns the reins over to his son, who I actually don't mind one bit. Better than his dad? time.

The instrumentation is also great. Way more flutes 'n guitars than dorky synths. And the mandolin is used like a real instrument! Sometimes on Rock Island, I got the sense that Ian was plucking that thing just to show us he could play it. Here, it feels like a necessary component to the whole. Marty's guitar work is even better. He plays so much angrier than before (fitting the downbeat mood of the album perfectly) that I can't even call this stuff radio metal!

And finally...the songs are great! That's important. There are a couple of bad pieces on this thing, but as a whole, it's a pleasant experience. But therein lies the problem too.

I can't rate this any higher (despite my love of the album) because a little too much of it feels like filler. Which is totally unnecessary when you consider that the thing is over and hour long. I think Ian was abusing the CD format a little too much (I hate CDs, by the way). I mean, "Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall" and "When Jesus Came to Play" are both decent songs, but do they really have to be here? Probably not.

But, if you to trim out some mistakes, snip out some filler, and kick out "White Innocence," boom! The rating would magically go up to a four. "This is not Love" proves that Tull can still play heavy, and "Rocks on the Road" is proves that Tull can still be proggy, and both are classics of the neo-Tull setlist, you can't argue with that (just check out how they were "re-tooled" for Little Light Music).

Alright, alright, so it IS a nostalgia piece. But come on! What nostalgia. This record brings back old memories of flute 'n organ rock, folk, blues, "Fatman" AND "Budapest!" How's that for thorough?

(Considering the fair amount of spare material from the Catfish period, I state that, once again, this is a sign of a healthy band. Or a healthy Ian ego, I don't know. But there's only two tracks, both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we miss out on such wondrous little ditties as "Truck Stop Runner," but then again, one of my problems with the CD was length, so, I think it's probably for the best. The "album title track" we missed out on, "Night in the Wilderness" is my favorite of the bonuses. It's a catchy (and hilarious) blooz rocker that's not quite "This is Not Love," but still WAY better than anything off Rock Island. The live version of "Jump Start" is not bad. The lineup is kind of interesting. Who's that on drums? Mostly the four-by-four banging, but occasionally something cool. And is the keyboard really necessary? Oh well, concentrate on Barre's violent solo, and you'll be fine (although, can someone explain the extended ending, or the "heavy metal crew?" The significance is lost on the audio audience). But, uh, no change in overall rating.)

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

CATFISH RISING followed ROCK ISLAND 2 years later and there is a sense of deja-vu when i listen to this album. It follows the same pattern started with CREST OF A KNAVE with some straight hard rock tunes mixed with some old classical sounding TULL songs. There are really no bad songs on this album, a few great ones but overall , a sense of sameness prevails at the end of this recording.

A lot of comparisons have been made with DIRE STRAITS since CREST OF A KNAVE but it's very evident on CATFISH. I don't know if this was intentional but the moody songs carry a lot of DIRE STRAITS resemblances, first with the vocal delivery of IAN ANDERSON, noticeable on songs like ROCKS ON THE ROAD or WHITE INNOCENCE.

This is an album with diverse musical sounds going from Blues-rock to straight rocker like the ''hit'' THIS IS NOT LOVE'' or the not so remarkable DOCTOR TO MY DISEASE reminding me of the beginning of ROCK ISLAND to beautiful ballads such as STILL LOVING YOU TONIGHT- my fave on this album with its great guitar melodic lines. The acoustic traditional Tull sound is present as well on THINKING ROUND CORNERS which sounds like coming from the SONG FROM THE WOODS sessions or LIKE A TALL THIN GIRL with mandolin and all that stuff.

WHITE INNOCENCE drags a little bit too long and sounds definitelly too much DIRE STRAITS for my taste. SLEEPING WITH THE DOG brings you back to....TIME WAS from 1968, a real blues once again sung , sadly,with the MARK KNOPFLER tone. The album ends up with 2 OK songs GOLD TIPPED BOOTS and WHEN JESUS CAME TO PLAY, nothing great sure not to make any JT future best-of. Once again, that's not bad but lack any originality.

I am glad and relieved when this album ends because even if the musical aspects of the music come from different horizons, the IAN ANDERSON vocal deliveries on those songs makes you feel you are listening to the same melody (or lack of) all the way to the end. The band is good as usual, Dave PEGG is now the longest standing bassist in the band. Jethro TULL even becomes a family business as his son MATT PEGG takes over his father on some songs.

CATFISH RISING is not a bad album, but neither a must-have for a JETHRO TULL fan. This is a good album, but drowned by too much monotony throughout it to make it great!. 2.5 stars to......


Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars Of all the Tull albums I have this is the one I like the least. Right off the bat with “This is not Love” Martin Barre kicks the record off with a guitar riff that sounds like it belongs on a Foreigner album. This is not a promising first impression.

Also, I discovered the band through ‘Warchild’ like most midwestern American kids; yep – “Bungle in the Jungle”, and frankly after fifteen years of listening to them by the time this one came out I was getting a little bored with Anderson’s vocals and would have liked it if he’d have yielded the mic to some comely young lass or something. His perverted lecher’s ranting was really cool on ‘Aqualung’ and inspiring on ‘Thick as a Brick’, but on this and most of the other 80s/90s albums he just sounds like he’s being a control-freak with the band’s artistic direction (which of course he was).

Many of these tracks are ones Anderson is almost solely responsible for, and most of them are rather uninspired and perfunctory: “Roll Yer Own”, “Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall”, “Like a Tall Thin Girl”, the really stupid “Thinking Round Corners”, and what seems to have been a misguided attempt at a hit single with “Doctor to My Disease”. None of these rise to the bar the band should have set for themselves after their awesome early career, but in fact they seem to have mailed in most of what was released between 1983 and 1993. This album was both the last of that era, and rock bottom for them (although I kind of wish ‘Rock Island’ had been rock bottom because I could have worked that into a clever play on words).

The two tracks that keep this album from being a complete flop are the throwback “White Innocence” and the lyrically clever “When Jesus Came to Play”. Otherwise I’d have given this thing a single star without much thought.

But those two salvage some dignity for the record, although I’m fairly certain not too many people who are familiar with Jethro Tull and with this album will argue when I say that ‘Catfish Rising’ will really only be of interest to fans and hard-core collectors for the most part. And that is the definition of a two star album.


Review by b_olariu
3 stars Last album of the trilogy

Catfish rising from 1991 has the same structure and manner of composing, with the previous two albums, Crest of knave and Rock island, that's why i said is like a trilogy Anderson made, but of course not a real one, only because they look the same to each other. So the music on this album is pleasent but rather dull and short in ideas, i prefer Crest of knave, and i guess the best from late '80's early '90's albums. Anderson in some places is toying with hard rock or sometimes sounds like Dire Straits, just check out the pieces This Is Not Love or Still Loving You Tonight the rest are in the same manner, not realy bad but nothing special either, nothing make put this record on and on in my CD player like the '70's stuff. For example Roll Yer Own is the worst piece ever JT ever created, belive me, is a total disater, sounds like is from Too old to r'n'r too young too die, same greasy atmosphere in a irish pub. All in all i might say a good album, but not realy un etertainer like Crest of a knave. 2.5 rounded to 3, while is still a pleasent album , i think is must be considered, at least for me, the worst Tull album after Under wraps.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars The American Jethro Tull album

Out of all of the many Jethro Tull albums, Catfish Rising is my least favoured one. As Ian himself says in the liner notes to the CD, this is the most Blues-influenced album since 1968's This Was and that "almost a total lack of Folk and Classical stylings exist on this work". I don't understand why some people seem to think that this is a continuation of the previous two albums. To my ears, this is a completely different kettle of fish. What strikes me is just how American this album sounds. I don't much like American Blues Rock, I must say. There is less keyboards, and even less flute for that matter, on this album. The progressive song structures are not anywhere here and the inspiration is absent too.

Under Wraps was a weak album, but it was at least trying out something new. This music is just plain, dull, middle-of-the-road, old man's mid-tempo Blues Rock. A few years later the band would return with the excellent and very different Roots To Branches. Catfish Rising is definitely one to pass by

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In order not to bring my fond memories of the great band that Jethro Tull once was below freezing point, I stopped paying attention to them after Heavy Horses. I have heard snippets of every album they made since but again and again my disappointment grew larger.

This Rising Catfish is a symptomatic. While it tries to recapture some of the 70's form and chemistry of the band, the weak song writing, the lack of heart, the indifferent performance and some of its AOR tendencies make it a very uninspiring listen. Jethro Tull has really become a band living in the past, applying the recipes of yore but missing the flash of genius that made them so special. An album like Catfish Rising is something a Jethro Tull fan quickly wants to forget.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars I enjoy this album immensely. I actually like it more than either Crest Of A Knave or Rock Island, the two albums that preceded it. On those, the band, despite Ian Anderson's vocal problems, was trying, with some success, especially on Crest, to recapture the hard rocking, somewhat prog format that made them one of the biggest acts of the seventies.

Here, the band has matured, and pared down the sound to a mostly folk and blues format. And as such it succeeds. This is an aging band (as Anderson points out on their next release A Little Light Music - what does that make them now, almost 20 years past that album?), and this album suits Andersons vocals, and Barre's toned down (was someone listening to a lot of Dire Straits?) guitar playing.

Anderson's lyrics are as good as ever. I particularly like Rocks On The Road and Thinking Round Corners. Even the tongue in cheek When Jesus Came To Play is fun on this album.

If I were to rate this solely for enjoyment, I'd give it four stars. For lack of prog, in this site it only rates three.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars There are good things about this album, I'd even go as far as to say there's nothing wrong with it. But even the most open-minded and ever faithful Jethro Tull fan will likely find a discernible lack of inspiration here.

That said, Catfish Rising - the third of what many followers consider a distinct period for the band during the late 80s along with Crest of a Knave and Rock Island - is a fair distance from their lowest point. The best thing is probably the gorgeous production that rivals Knave for clarity and fullness. And there are some rather good pennings from Ian Anderson including bar-bouncing and catchy 'This is Not Love' with faint mockings of Charlie & Craig Reid, cynical 'Occasional Demons', and 'Rocks on the Road' containing more than just the dull bluesrock approach it takes. But two-note wonders as 'Roll yer Own' or 'Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall' seem to be little more than the bump&grind these veterans could do in their sleep. Bizarre bluegrass send-up 'Thinking Round Corners' is a clean miss but 'Still Loving You Tonight' is melodious and rather nice with a crying Latin guitar, and 'Doctor to My Disease' is fair with attractive harmonies from Marty and a crisp flute. Anderson blows the dust from his mandolin for 'Like a Tall Thin Girl', the forgettable 'White Innocence' is kept alive by a wide midsection, blues chug of 'Sleeping With the Dog' recalls this group's first two records, as does kelpie's jig 'Gold Tipped Boots,Black Jacket and Tie' and very funny 'When Jesus Came to Play'.

As stated, ain't nothing wrong here, but there isn't a whole lot right about it either. Anderson makes no bones about the nature of these songs and suggests this was the last time he'd write such a straightforward rock record. I think that's probably wise, as the band never stopped rocking, it's just they've come way too far from those distant roots to make such a return necessary. Sometimes you can't go home again.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The 90's beckoned and Jethro Tull responded in a slightly more positive fashion with Catfish Rising. In many respects, this, Rock Island and Crest were three albums that can't helped be lumped together and branded mediocre. Of the three CR is definitely the strongest so an optimistic moment for Tull enthusiasts. There is more energy and verve here than it's predecessors, maybe because the boys were trying harder, or simply that they were enjoying themselves again. I enjoy the opener " This is not Love" which incidentally was the single. Budapest part 2 aka " White Innocence" is another Dire Straits influenced affair but more pleasing on the ear. It must be complete coincidence that a musician of Barre's stature sounds so similar to Knopfler or just the era. We will never know. Anyhow more constructive crtiticism here and a good album at best.
Review by GruvanDahlman
3 stars This was actually my first Tull experience. Buying it on cassette in a small, countryside shop in '91, I was pleasantly christened in the river of Jethro and has been a great believer ever since. Back then I thought the album to be a really great one but now, after years of devotion to the band itself, I find it to be a good but by no stretch of the word essential part of any collection.

"This is not love" and "Occasional demons" are great openers and still find a favourable listener in me with it's dark, hard rocking and sinister sound. The rest of the tracks are pleasant but not that memorable but when you've listened to the classic stuff I recommend you inspect this one, while you're at it. It is a collection of songs, some greater than others, with a rootsy hard rock feel to it, smelling of the spices of Jethro Tull. While it's not a classic, it is a worthy album.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Another rock-heavy album from Jethro Tull from the early 90s. As I listen to this one, I like to compare it to "Crest of a Knave" which was also rock-heavy, but done very well with a good mix of progressive rock still present. I consider that album one of their best, while this particular album is quite a mixed bag with hardly any progressiveness at all. It was obviously created in an attempt to update the sound of the band and gain a younger audience. So, as most reviewers here have already noted, this makes this album suffer. But, there is some good here too and that's what I want to talk about.

We're off to a bad double-whammy start with "This is not Love" and "Occasional Demons" as these are both throwaway attempts at straightforward rock and these tracks are not memorable at all. "Roll Your Own" is a fun song and quite enjoyable with more of an acoustic rock sound. "Rocks on the Road" returns to mediocrity for the most part, but has a great instrumental break in the middle that saves it. "Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall" has some good lyrics but is otherwise just straightforward rock, nothing special. "Thinking Round Corners" is an attempt to make the folky rock sound of JT contemporary. It has an Irish lilt to it, but it only sounds silly and is a poor attempt. "Still Loving You Tonight" is a highlight with a nice bluesy sound that I love and a nice Spanish/blues guitar instrumental break in the middle and at the end. "Doctor to My Disease" is another throwaway track, pure pop/rock drivel. "Like a Tall This Girl" is an okay sounding folk rock song. "White Innocence" is the longest track with a light progressiveness to it, but it sounds like they took several of the songs from the "Crest of a Knave" album, rearranged them and threw them together. The result is good but it's nothing new. "Sleeping with the Dog" is another great bluesy track that I like. (Funny how this album is supposed to be a return to the blues but there are only 2 blues sounding songs here.) "Gold Tipped Boots" is a great hard acoustic song that I like. For the bonus tracks, "Night in the Wilderness" is just another straightforward rock song that no one would have missed, and "Jump Start" is a live and extended version of a song from "Crest of a Knave" which is good, but kind of pointless since it isn't changed much from the original track.

So, like I said, it's a mixed bag. I don't consider it an album to completely ignore, but it's nothing special either. I end up liking about half of it and hating half of it. I do not agree with the reviewers here that compare this to anything by Dire Straits, because DS is much better than this and I don't find that it sounds like DS at all. The only song that JT has made that I can imaging Mark Knopfler singing is "She Said She Was a Dancer" from "Crest of a Knave".

So, even though "Crest of a Knave" is also a standard-rock heavy album, it is so much better than this, it has more variety, more progressiveness, better written songs and sounds more like JT than like commercial pressure. Like I said, there are hardly any (if any at all) prog elements in this album. It just isn't challenging enough. You can make a rock record without many prog elements and still make it challenging. "Crest of a Knave" worked, but "Catfish Rising" does not. It's too inconsistent. There are some great tracks here, but it is not essential overall. 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

2 stars 1991 saw the release of yet another unimpressive hard rock album, Catfish Rising, though at least Jethro Tull switched a few things up. Gone are Anderson's synthesizers. Instead, a handful of studio musicians were brought aboard to provide piano and organ. Catfish Rising also features the most overt ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903243) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Surprisingly good album for this time period, one of their stronger later albums. Starts off with a couple somewhat generic rockers, but then gets much more interesting. More acoustic than expected (lots of mandolin), and more diverse. Very Bluesy, from bluesy acoustic numbers to slow blues to blues ... (read more)

Report this review (#2879419) | Posted by BBKron | Monday, January 30, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Nothing spectacular of course, but rather easily likable album. Some reviewers put this one in a line with Crest and Rock Island. I don't think so. Those two are infected with dreadful Dire Straits sound, while here we have some sort of bluesy folk rock which is much more to my taste. The flute ... (read more)

Report this review (#2545526) | Posted by Artik | Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Well, if you deem "Rock Island" a disappointment, I'm really curious of your opinion on this one. I don't think there is much sense in reviewing "Catfish Rising" track-by-track. Most of them share the same story, which is: oversized collection of tired, half-baked tunes with no progression or shr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2081076) | Posted by thief | Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Jethro Tull in the nineties. This album is not good. What the hell Ian Anderson was doing there? It sounds a folk Dire Straits. It's a folk rockin' pop. But some highlights saves the day, and makes the album better than its predecessor Rock Island, which was a true waste of time and money f ... (read more)

Report this review (#991862) | Posted by VOTOMS | Thursday, July 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Well what do we have here? I was kind of hoping to find the old Tull hiding in the album sleeve. "This is not Love" - almost had me looking at te cover to see if there weren't bearded gents wearing mirror shades on it somewhere. KInd of like a ZZ Top and Springsteen get together with Anderson / ... (read more)

Report this review (#943048) | Posted by sukmytoe | Friday, April 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I have this and rarely listen to it. Maybe once a year? The songs on this album and the sound as well is similar to Rock Island but less memorable. It is almost as if Ian ANderson is going thru the motions here. There is little that catches interest here for me except This is Not Love, Tall Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#273784) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars As the opening track title indicates "This is Not Love" and that says it all about this release from Jethro Tull a band I have followed since Aqualung was released some twenty years prior. Love it "no", like it "yeah" but it could have been a lot better. For starters the production seems to ... (read more)

Report this review (#119757) | Posted by madgo2 | Wednesday, April 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When artists such as Jethro Tull get to the latter stages of their careers, it must be difficult to produce the "wow!" factor in their music, certainly in the eyes of long-standing fans whose favourite moments may be from a couple of decades previously. However, it does occasionally happen tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#95982) | Posted by alextorres | Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Catfish rising is one of those albums you listen to and nod your head...and then you forget it exists until you accidentally find it and go "oh yeah, that was okay..pretty good at best" The problem here is the pace, yet the songs are entertaining. It is slow and maybe if the album h ... (read more)

Report this review (#46438) | Posted by soundspectrum | Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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