Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Jethro Tull

Prog Folk

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jethro Tull The Very Best Of Jethro Tull album cover
3.00 | 79 ratings | 13 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Boxset/Compilation, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Living In The Past (3:39)
2. Aqualung (6:35)
3. Sweet Dream (4:02)
4. The Whistler (3:28)
5. Bungle In The Jungle (3:35)
6. The Witch's Promise (3:49)
7. Locomotive Breath (4:24)
8. Steel Monkey (3:36)
9. Thick As A Brick (3:00) (Extract)
10. Bour?e (3:44)
11. Too Old To Rock'N'Roll: Too Young To Die (Edited version) (3:54)
12. Life Is A Long Song (3:16)
13. Songs From The Wood (4:51)
14. A New Day Yesterday (4:08)
15. Heavy Horses (Edited version) (3:19)
16. Broadsword (4:59)
17. Roots To Branches (5:11)
18. A Song For Jeffrey (3:17)
19. Minstrel In The Gallery (Edited version) (3:49)
20. Cheerio (1:10)

Total Time: 77:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson (flute, balalaika, mandolin, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, keyboards, vocals) plays on all tracks
- Martin Barre (electric guitar, lute) plays on all tracks except track 18
- Clive Bunker (drums, glockenspiel, percussion) plays on tracks 1 - 3, 6 - 7, 10, 14 and 18
- Glenn Cornick (bass, Hammond organ) plays on tracks 1, 3, 6, 10, 14 and 18
- John Evans (celeste, piano, organ, synthesizers) plays on tracks 2, 4 - 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 and 19
- Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass, backing vocals) plays on tracks 2, 5, 7, 9, 12 and 19
- Barriemore Barlow (drums, marimba, glockenspiel, bells, nacres, tabor) plays on tracks 4 - 5, 9, 11 - 13, 15 and 19
- David Palmer (orchestral arrangement and conducting, piano, organ, synthesizers) plays on tracks 3 - 4, 13 and 15
- John Glascock (bass, vocals) plays on tracks 4, 11, 13 and 15
- Dave Pegg (electric bass, acoustic bass) plays on tracks 8, 16 and 20
- Gerry Conway (drums, percussion) plays on tracks 16 and 20
- Peter-John Vettese (piano, synthesizer) plays on tracks 16 and 20
- Doane Perry (drums, percussion) plays on track 17
- Andy Giddings (keyboards) plays on track 17
- Mick Abrahams (electric guitar) plays on track 18

Guest musicians:
- Maddy Prior / backing vocals on track 11
- Steve Bailey / bass on track 17

Releases information

EMI #7243 5326142 9

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Rune2000 for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy JETHRO TULL The Very Best Of Jethro Tull Music

JETHRO TULL The Very Best Of Jethro Tull ratings distribution

(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

JETHRO TULL The Very Best Of Jethro Tull reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I used to listen to JETHRO TULL's LPs a lot up to 1975 and enjoyed much of the music. A few years ago I decided I should at least get one or two CDs to reacquaint myself, and my solution - sacrilege to a purist or TULL fan - was to buy "Jethro Tull - The Very Best Of" and my old favourite, "Thick As A Brick".

The first thing that struck me when I played this 20-track CD was the number of well-known tracks TULL produced over the years. I still occasionally hear 'Living In The Past', 'Locomotive Breath', 'Bungle In The Jungle' and 'Bourée' on mainstream radio, which is a lot more than can be said for most other Progressive Rock bands. I won't trot out the track list, as it's given above, but they're all excellent. The tracks on this album were re-mastered from the original tapes. However, be warned that three of them were edited to fit ('Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die', 'Heavy Horses' and 'Minstrel In The Gallery'), and 'Thick As A Brick' is faded-out at the 3-minute mark. I can sense TULL fans grimacing at this point, but the three edits do not bother me, although the fade-out of 'Thick As A Brick' is a pity for those who know the complete piece and the fact that it is a complete LP-side (two LP-sides, actually, as it would have been one long track had the media technology been available in 1972). But then, as I stated above, the other CD I bought was "Thick As A Brick", so I'm not bothered by it.

So, who should buy this CD? Well, someone such as myself who only wants a one-CD collection of the band's better-known pieces. It might also serve as a good introduction to someone who has never heard JETHRO TULL before: a tester that would help to decide whether to invest in the band's albums. And finally, it might even appeal to TULL fans wanting a single CD for the Walkman (but then real fans would have all the albums and just burn their own 'best of' compilation, I suppose). Single-CD 'best of' releases for bands with long careers - especially Prog bands, who tend to produce longer tracks - are always going to be a compromise. If you can get around that, the music on this CD is excellent, so I'm going to give it 4 stars (Excellent addition to any Prog Rock collection) despite the edits. It's nearly 78 minutes of great Progressive Rock, after all.

Review by Philrod
3 stars As the rating says, good, but non-essential. This would be a good introduction to the band, but there is no new material, plus the edited versions of three classic(Thick as A brick, Heavy Horses and Minstrel in Gallery) gives this album an unfinished taste. Too little place for all the material to cover, as some key songs are missing, such as cross-eyed mary from Aqualung, and To cry you a song from Benefit. A potent album for the casual listener who wants the hits, but for any prog fan, i would recommend you buy the albums instead.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you want me to advise which of the best compilation to chose "MU" or this album "The Very Best of Jethro Tull", I'd chose the later one. Yes, there is no "Nothing is Easy" which represents great stuff, but this compilation offers much more songs compared to the MU one. The material contained here is much recent because it covers Jethro Tull album until "" album. There is obviously good combination of the band early years by including songs like "Aqualung", "Living In The Past", "Bungle In The Jungle", "Bouree" etc. But it also contains newer material. Another important point to note also is that this compilation has "Too Old To Rock'n'Roll Too Young To Die" which I think that this is the ONLY song in the album that deserves to be appreciated and enjoyed. I don't think the other songs from the album are good ones.

Review by The Whistler
3 stars In the accompanying liner notes to this CD compilation of Tull tunes, Uncle Ian says, "I found myself mostly buying other artists' best-of albums to get the cream of the crop on one disc or, perhaps, to get a flavor of a band with whom I was only partially familiar." And therein these notes (some of Ian's funniest junk, and arguably the "best track" on this album), lies the nature of this album.

Not the first part; despite the name, Jethro Tull the Very Best is not quite what I'd call the "best of" Jethro Tull. The track listing is largely immaculate, but most of the tracks are obvious, and I would have preferred to have a little mixing up of tunes (I can hear "Aqualung" anywhere; where's "From a Deadbeat?" Where's "With You There to Help Me?" ...Where's "Dogs in the Midwinter?!?"). And did we really need to be told that I. Anderson wrote all this crap? Except "Bouree," of course...

I won't even bother to list the tracks, it should be easy enough to find 'em out yourself. Suffice to say that out of the honest to God TRACKS, liner notes aside, I reckon "The Whistler" is the most interesting choice of personal faves. But you should have seen that coming. Heh. Ahem.

There are some interesting holes in the list though. Like, "Broadsword." It was a cool enough song in its natural habitat, but in these surroundings, it seems a bit...weak. And "Steel Monkey?" Was that honestly the best track from the heavy met-Tull period we could come up with? What about anything off of Catfish Rising? Well, not ANYTHING, but you get the idea. I think it's only here so that you can go "Oh yeah, 'Locomotive Breath,' can Tull get any better? Wait, what the crap?!? 'Steel Monkey?' Oh, 'Thick as a Brick,' here we go." Faith restorer, ya know?

Alright, I admit that the flow of tracks is downright flawless. Weirdly so in fact. Who knew "Song For Jeffrey" went so well with "Minstrel?" And I really mean that; until I became very familiar with all the songs here on all the studio albums there, when I would hear them in their proper places, I'd always expect to here the next song off this album; I expect "Sweet Dream" after "Aqualung," "Too Old to Rock 'n Roll" after "Bouree," etc.

So on the plus side, you've got immaculate flow, and actually, a fair amount of diversity. Not flawless diversity though; pretty much all genres are represented (again, liner notes), but some albums are totally left in the dust. Of course, I'm not sure a retread of stuff like A or Under Wraps or (God forbid) Rock Island would have been necessary, but did we really have to overlook Benefit? Stormwatch even? And what about one live track?

One more problem with the thing is some edited versions of a couple of old favorites. I mean, in the case of "Thick as a Brick" we get the state authorized first movement, but no mention is made of this. We just know it's "Thick as a Brick."

"Too Old," "Heavy Horses" and "Minstrel" are all hacked up though. In the case of "Too Old" it's "okay;" it's done in a tasteful enough manner (like on stage). "Minstrel" is reduced to the third movement, and "Horses" is...butchered. The jigsy midsection is killed, and the introduction is gone.

I guess they figured no one would notice "Too Old," and most people who are into Tull enough to buy this would be aware of "Thick" (although I wasn't! Bastards...), but "Horses" is unforgivable. Either fix it like they did on Slipstream, or, if you can't, put on something else; that album's brilliant anyways, just choose another song! "Mouse Police" or something... If there's anything positive about these "edits," I guess it's that, when I actually heard the real "Minstrel" and "Horses," I was blown away by how totally different (and BETTER) the experience was.

So, in the end, what do we have? A bunch of good songs, some crumby ones, and some butchered ones, all set into a great flow. But, in the end, the hate I bear this album is dominated by one thing: superfluous-ness. Do you realize that almost half these things can be found on Living in the Past anyway (and, once again, all the most obvious choices)? In short, you probably don't need this. Probably. It is a pleasant listen from time to time for sure. But I just think there's so much better out there.

However, I can see what Ian's saying about the noble art of the best-of. This album is, in a perverse way, the best introduction to Tull (and I am THOROUGHLY ashamed to say that, yes, it was my first prog purchase...for "Bungle in the Jungle" even); if you can stand "Steel Monkey" and "Heavy Horses (edited version)," then welcome to the world of Anderson, Barre and interchangeable keyboardist! Drum machines on Tuesdays.

And did I say that "Whistler" was the best track? Excuse me, I meant "Cheerio!" I mean, after the power of "Song For Jeffrey" AND "Minstrel," what's left? What a clever use of such a charming little song.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars If I was to hand something to someone and say this will give you an idea of what JT was all about it wouldn't be this. 77 minutes and this is the best collection they could come up with? No Teacher? My God or Wind Up? How about 12 minute live version of Thick as a Brick instead of the 3 minute intro? So many better choices exist that I am kind of appalled this one got out. Not that these songs suck it isn't something I would put on my player.

For those looking for a good compilation the aformentioned MU is way better as a single disk or spend a little more and get the Best of Tull Anniversary 2 cd collection. Anyway this is neither for fans (make your own) nor for newbes. One star.

Review by J-Man
3 stars This complitation is one of the only decent ones. Their MU complitation was much better for a fan of Jethro Tull, but for a newcomer, this is the place to start. This complitation does what so many others fail to do. It actually is good for a newcomer, which is the point of a complitation, yet so many of them fail to do. If you're a fan, there's really no reason to own this, but instead of buying all of the albums as a newcomer, this is a good place to start. The music is also great, and they don't just include lousy Tull songs. There are a few questionable moves (only 3 minutes of Thick As A Brick!!!), but nonetheless is one of the better complitations, coming from a person who almost always hates them.
Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Listening to this Jethro Tull compilation is like drinking bottle after bottle of stale beer. The drinker may feel pleasant and warm inside (or even drunk with glee), but the overall experience leaves a fair bit to be desired. Ian Anderson himself lamented on the limitations of putting together such an album (cocky fellow that he is- that's just a joke folks): In the notes he essentially questioned how one can distill his life's career into less than eighty minutes, and what's more, should one focus on one's most celebrated works or take a more expansive approach? True fans will likely see the futility in this, but will accept the limitations, no matter how begrudgingly, especially when it comes to drawing in fresh meat! After all, this was my first Jethro Tull "album," at a time when all I knew about the band was what I heard on the radio. In fact, until I came upon a certain website that had a certain album as its number one album of all time, I never would have considered Jethro Tull to be a progressive rock band by any stretch of the imagination (but at the time, I thought the same of Genesis, so there we are). I honestly believed that "Thick as a Brick" was a pithy little acoustic song! Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it came from an album that consists of two twenty-minute tracks! One realizes that it is inappropriate to exclude "Thick as a Brick" from something deemed "the very best of Jethro Tull," and yet it is an insult to the composition itself to include a measly three minutes of it. In fact, a few of the entries are truncated in a humane but simultaneously castrating manner. However, this exists as a promising and somewhat career-spanning compilation that should impress casual fans, but could have done a better job at least pointing out that there is so much more...A Passion Play, anyone?
Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I´m not very fond of compliations in general, and prog ones in particular. Rarely I see a collection of songs that really portrays a good, consistent, picture of an artist or band output. I got this one through a friend who gave me as a gift. And I was quite surprised to find out that it is probably the best single disc compilation of jethro Tull, among so many on the market nowadays. There are some good reasons for that.

Fistly, the songs were chosen by Ian Anderson himself (who also wrote the brief, but witty, liner notes). Secondly they all were remastered from the original tapes under Anderson´s supervison. And the result is one of the best sounding JT CDs I ever heard. Everything here sounds fresh and new. The down side is the edition of there tracks to fit the single CD format (Minstrel In the Gallery, Too Old To rock ´n´Roll; Too Young To Die and Heavy Horses). But since those were done by the master himself, I guess it could be a lot worse and he wouldn´t have butchered his own work.

Of course there are always some songs one wish it would be included and others that should be left out (not many!). The twenty tracks are of high quality, old and new ones. So, for the newcomer The Very Best Of Jethro Tull is an excellent buy for its price: you get a good oveveiw of Jethro Tull´s history without having to get every single album from their vast discography to have an idea of what they are all about. However, there are no unissued material for the old fans and completionists.

Rating: 3 stars. For a compilation of such big name, with so many material to choose from, this one is very good. Recommended for newbies.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A hit list and more criminal edits...

There are a lot of compilations out there showcasing the wonderful Jethro Tull. The best compilation is by far the box set 25th anniversary that coincides with the DVD release. This little snippet of Tull being reviewed here is of course only 1 CD attempting to jam in all the best of Tull and failing miserably. Tull is so good though that I can listen to snippets of the great band anytime so it deserves at least recognition for that. Though I don't know who this CD is aimed at. All true Tull fans would own all these songs. Non Tull fans may come across this in a bargain bin and decide to check out the band but would they? Really in all honesty it contains a lot of the quintessential Tull classics such as Living In The Past, Aqualung, Bungle In The Jungle, The Witch's Promise, Bourée, Life Is A Long Song, A New Day Yesterday, Locomotive Breath and A Song For Jeffrey. All of these of course have made their way to just about every Tull compilation known to man. Furthermore these songs come from Jethro Tull's best albums so are worth purchasing.

Once again those who think they know better decided to throw on a criminally edited version of Thick as a Brick that never works so I don't know why they bother. Oh, and the obligatory edited Minstrel in the Gallery raises its ugly head. For some reason there is an edited version of Heavy Horses as well. The edited songs are really useless, and why did they tack on Cheerio? It seems the powers that be were trying to jam in as much Tull as possible editing here and there to make the cut. It would have been way better to leave these tracks off all together and add others such as Teacher or some of the early stuff from Benefit or This Was or at least more of Aqualung. In any case this is really a dire compilation compared to others available. It looks pretty in its packaging, but comes off as really just another cash-in for the uninitiated.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first Tull album I encountered. Therefore it holds some kind of significance in my mind, but in overall (when know knowing a bulk of Jethro albums), it is far too sub-par. It is fully packed album and even like that, it has some 13 minutes of music missing because of editing. Double album would be in order if you ask me, but this album, as it is, still can offer something to a newbie. Indeed, because it offered me fine look into this world of folkie bluesy music lead by flute madman with a vision. The most painful edited song (of these three) is a Heavy Horses one, almost all the good parts simply gone, vanished. What a shock was when I then heard the song on a studio album release! But anyway, most of these songs are likeable and cover wide variety of JT eras. Of course, there ain't song from the most Prog hailed ones though, but that's to be expected in such album.

3(-) and good starting point, believe it or not. Because this sparked my interest in the band.

Latest members reviews

3 stars A collection, eh? The first batch of songs on this one is really impressive, with classics like Living in the Past, Aqualung, Bungle in the Jungle, Locomotive Breath, etc., but with 80's tracks that classic Jethro Tull fans will not be pleased about, such as Steel Monkey, Broadsword, Roots to ... (read more)

Report this review (#236063) | Posted by The Runaway | Monday, August 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Consisting of the most well known JT songs, this compilation is a good addition to any casual prog (or music in general) listener's record collection. While it is a shame they couldn't include such classic songs as 'Too Old To Rock'N'Roll: Too Young To Die', 'Heavy Horses' and 'Minstrel In The G ... (read more)

Report this review (#133332) | Posted by Jimsey | Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The only way this compilation can be any good is if you have not heard Jethro Tull before. This was my first Jethro Tull CD and they are now my favorite band so it did its job of introducing me to Jethro Tull but now that I have Other albumsl it is useless. As well they should have only had on ... (read more)

Report this review (#46948) | Posted by Arnold Layne | Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of JETHRO TULL "The Very Best Of Jethro Tull"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.