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Jethro Tull

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Jethro Tull A Classic Case album cover
3.01 | 185 ratings | 9 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Locomotive Breath (4:16)
2. Thick As A Brick (4:24)
3. Elegy (3:41)
4. Bour?e (3:10)
5. Fly By Night (4:12)
6. Aqualung (6:22)
7. Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll; Too Young To Die (3:27)
8. Medley: Teacher/Bungle In The Jungle/ Rainbow Blues/Locomotive Breath (3:58)
9. Living In The Past (3:29)
10. War Child (4:56)

Total Time: 41:58

Line-up / Musicians

- David Palmer/ orchestral arranger & conductor, producer
- London Symphony Orchestra
- Ashley Arbuckle / orchestra leader

- Ian Anderson / vocals, flute, acoustic guitar
- Martin Barre / electric guitar
- Peter-John Vettese / keyboards
- Dave Pegg / bass
- Paul Burgess (?) / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Manfred Vormstein (Art direction & photo)

LP RCA Red Seal - RL71134 (1985, Europe)

CD RCA Red Seal - RCD1-7067 (1985, US)
CD EMI - CD-MFP 5989 (1993, UK) Titled "Classic Jethro Tull", same track list
CD RCA Victor - 82876888892 (2006, Germany) Titled "A New Day Yesterday-A Symphonic Experience", same track list

Release date: 15. February 1985 (UK) and 31. December 1985 (USA)
Recording location/date: Summer 1984 at CBS Studios, London.

Thanks to corea_p83 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JETHRO TULL A Classic Case ratings distribution

(185 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

JETHRO TULL A Classic Case reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After having read on the main page of this web site some reviews about Jethro Tull in the last few days, I have decided it was time for me to add further personal thoughts on this wonderful band. The album I'm going to review is a strange one because it's not exactly a Jethro Tull record. In fact it borns from an idea of David Palmer, the orchestral arranger and conductor of the band since their very first album in 1968, then a permanent member of the band between 1977 and 1979 on portative organ and other keyboards with John Evan.

A Classic Case is so the reproduction of the most famous Tull's music by the magniloquence of a symphonic orchestra. Paradoxally it's the very first and only "symphonic" album of the band builded up by Palmer with the London Symphony Orchestra plus, obviously but not necessarily, guest appearence of the Tull's member of that period (1983-1984) who consisted, apart Anderson and Barre, in Dave Pegg on bass guitar (he also is a member of Fairport Convention even today) and Peter Vettese, one of the most controversial keyboardist in all the history of the band 'cause his contribution was given in such album as Walk into Light (Anderson first solo), Broadsword and the Beast and Under Wraps. I personally like his style and the fresh air he brought to the sound of the band, not to talk of his composing qualities. It's not a pure coincidence that the best track on this classical compilation is the opener of Walk into Light, titled "Fly by Night". Orchestra, with a strong brass section, finally reveals the secret of beauty of the song, partially hidden in the original version, due to the specific sound of the 80s' keyboards. Don't get me wrong, I always liked so much Walk into Light and "Fly by Night" in particular, but now the song has a "grandeur" flavour which made it irresistible...

Other Jethro Tull's classics went good, even not at the same level. The omnipresent "Locomotive Breath" and "Aqualung" weren't material for a symphonic orchestra rearrangement, in my opinion, but their absence would be a "vulnus" in every Tull's good compilation or live album. "Elegy" is great, not so different from that of the album version in Stormwatch (1979). With "Bourée" it seems to jump back in the past during the 18th century...

"Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Too Young to Die" is a pleasure to listen, not different from the original one but more pompous than that. Very good! Then the orchestra plays a meddle containing exerpts of four songs: 1) the wonderful "Teacher", recently a bonus track on the Benefit remastered album. I prefer the original version by far! 2) "Bungle in the Jungle" is somehow different...a symphonic transaltion, very nice; 3) "Rainbow Blues" another bonus you can find now on the remastered version of War Child. Very strong re-arrangement... this is really one of the best tracks ever recorded by Tull. What a pity it was rejected due to the weel-known time limits of the vynil...; 4) "Locomotive Breath", again. Maybe it' too much in a same record....

"Living in the Past" is near the original version but then it's the time of "War Child"...oooh, My God, this is what I was waiting for from a such a symphonic orchestra...PURE SYMPHONIC PLEASURE!!! (warning: it's not the reproduction of the original song...). Along with "Fly by Night", the best track here, easily!!

In conclusion, if you're a Tull's aficionad and fan, this one should be a "must". If not, maybe you could be pleased by the general orchestral mood and, in particular, by the two wonderful songs I've mentioned.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It does not take you to be a Tull fan first before enjoying this album as the music is quite accessible to many ears, I think. But if you are a fan of Tull, this CD is a must. It's common that when you love certain band you would be wondering on what if the band's original composition is re-written for an orchestra arrangement. In most cases I always purchase the CD with such package as it gives me different listening pleasure due to improved textures - even though the vocal section is removed. This CD is a collection of great Tull songs (and one Ian Anderson's solo "Fly By Night") composed by David Palmer - the band's active members in the early years - with The London Symphony Orchestra. Even, if David Palmer is not doing anything here with orchestra composition, this is still a worth-buying "The Best of" CD that you should buy. This means that David Palmer was quite selective in determining which songs to be included in this package.

This compilation is similar with what Yes has done with "Symphonic Music of Yes" where the orchestra gives a chance to the band's original members to play with the LSO. In this case you will still hear the tumbling flute from Ian Anderson. So, don't worry about it - you still can enjoy Tull's sound. For me personally, there is no such thing as bad composition here with this compilation. My first favorite when I got this album in cassette version was "Elegy". But it grew on me as I also liked all other tracks. That's why I upgraded the format to CD couple of years later.

Take "Bouree" for example. Observe how brilliant the composition as the original music has been enriched wonderfully and we still get the essence of the original music. Yes, you still can enjoy flute work direct from Mr. Ian Anderson. On track that was actually not Tull as it's Anderson solo "Fly By Night" - it's more attractive this version than the original studio version. "Aqualung", "Locomotive Breath", "Too Old To Rock'n'Roll Too Young To Die" are other examples on how excellent the composition was made for an orchestra. I also enjoy the Medley part. "Thick As A Brick" does not really touch me as I don't like any "edited" version of this song. I think, Mr Anderson needs to rerecord "Thick As A Brick" in its entirety using orchestra - that would be wonderful!

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection that Tull fans "must" have. If you never heard the music of Tull, you still can enjoy this album as it basically offers a stream of "classical" music. But, I have a question for you: How come you never heard any music of Tull? It's legendary and it's a must! Proggers, don't you agree with me? Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This is not really a Tull compilation. It is a studio recording of Tull songs performed by The London Symphony Orchestra. Is it useful ? Not in my opinion.

It seems that it is more a project between Ian and David Palmer (Dee Palmer in the meantime since he underwent a "sex reassignment surgery" in 2004). David (let's call him this way) used to take care of some symphonic arrangements for the Tull in the early years of their career. As soon as on "This Was", "Stand Up", then "Thick", "War Child", and "Too Old...". He'll do a project with Yes as well ("The Symphonic Music Of Yes") amongst others. He will be an effective member of the Tull (playing keys and synth. from 1976 to 1980). The track listing sounds great, but when I listen to this record, it is too much classic mania for me. The orchestra is replacing the leading vocals so it is a pure instrumental work. Some versions are really awful ("Locomotive", "Fly By Night", "Aqualung").

There is one beautiful rendition for "Elegy" from "Storwatch". "Bourée" is also very nice. "Too Old..." is not too bad since there was already some orchestration on the original version (due to ...Palmer). "Living In The Past" is also quite acceptable.There are actually too few songs from the Tull that are made for this type of conversion (IMO).

Being not a fan for classic music AT ALL, I can hardly like this album. Having an orchestra in the background is one thing (like Camel in "A Live Record" while they were playing the entirety of the "Snow Goose" or Yes for "Symphonic Music of Yes"), but here the orchestra is the central piece of this studio album.

Most of the time, I have the impression to listen to Gershwin. This is another Tull mistake that you should pass by and leave it in the bin. One star.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

I am not fond usually of mixing regular rock songs with an often overwhelming orchestra. The only album i can think of a success is PROCOL HARUM ''iN CONCERT WITH THE EDMONTON ORCHESTRA'' which always suited GARY BROOKER songs anyway.And coming after the suffering of UNDER WRAPS, A CLASSIC CASE could only be a bowl of fresh air.

What got me interested with this release is the presence of DAVID PALMER who appears to be the head master of this project. We all know what DAVID did for the quality of the JETHRO TULL sound from STAND UP to STORMWATCH with all those lush arrangements and exquisite orchestrations especially with string quartets. So to see him back with IAN ANDERSON for this project (I guess water was not running under the bridge anymore since the acronymous separation from 1980) could only mean good things to come.

Every member of the JETHRO TULL line-up of the time is present, even with a real drummer this time, DAVE BURGESS. But the star is the mighty LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA- no less and of course the PALMER arrangements! What makes me like this album is also the selection of songs as i do like them all. The only problem is the constant inclusion of AQUALUNG and LOCOMOTIVE BREATH. I know they are 2 of the biggest JT hits like SMOKE ON THE WATER is for DEEP PURPLE, but these 2 songs absolutely don't mix with classical arrangements and should not have been included here.

FLY BY NIGHT comes from IAN ANDERSON solo album and quite succed in this new environment , but the real standouts are these pieces that were born to be heard with a classic orchestra like BOURREE or of course the beautiful ELEGY from STORMWATCH. WARCHILD is a great pleasure as is TOO OLD TO ROCK N ROLL which beneficiated already of lush arrangements on the originals.

This is not an album to rock; everything is subdued-even the guitar of MARTIN BARRE- but that was the purpose: sounding classical, not rock. A more successful experience than UNDER WRAPS definitely. Not an album i listen to often but an album i am proud to own!


Review by The Whistler
4 stars What's that you say? You like the comedy stylings of Jethro Ian, but think that classical music is for chumps? Well then, fear not!

...besides, what's your problem? Ian's always had a classical bent. Remember "Bouree" maybe...?

But still, this often overlooked album is a tiny bit of a treat. On the surface, it's nothing too special. An orchestra playing a rock band's songs. Big deal. That's unoriginal, and tacky, right? Well, except for three things. First off, it's an excellent, intelligent song selection. Secondly, the actual band plays on (almost) all the songs. And finally, the orchestration was orchestrated and conducted by ex-Tuller David Palmer. In short, a perfect setup.

And the setup don't get much more perfect than the opening number, a somewhat shorter, but no worse for wear, "Locomotive Breath." The opening is wonderfully redesigned as some kind of a Beethoven rip-off orchestra sting, evolving into the main riff. The melody is very cleverly handed back and forth between Ian and the orchestra, and when the orchestra drops away, and it's just Ian and the band pounding out the solo. Brilliantly produced, best song easy.

But it don't get much worse! Next up is "Thick as a Brick," which sounds so utterly...NATURAL when played by an orchestra, you'd have sworn Ian wrote it as a symphonic piece. In fact, I think I mentioned that in my Thick review. Anyways, the opening is played perfectly, and there are snatches from the "Come Down From the Upper Class" and "Curl Your Toes in Fun" bits, all of which flow beautifully. In fact, the only crime is that it's too short! I could have easily listened to more than four minutes of it.

Next up is a gorgeous version of "Elegy," which actually trumps the version off Stormwatch in my book. I mean, that was a good version, but the orchestra always seemed...a little forced. Now, the orchestra IS the main event, and it sounds wonderful. "Bouree" is a bit of a cheat, since it's already "classical." Okay, that's unfair. It's baroque, and it wasn't meant to be played by an orchestra, but how will the unwashed masses tell the difference? Also, who cares; this version cooks, just like any decent version should (I love how the speedy, symphonic intro spills into the laid back band version).

The only sort of misfire on the first side is "Fly By Night," which is actually off the Ian Anderson solo albume Walk Into Light. I...haven't heard the album, but I have heard the song, and an orchestra playing it is definitely less irritating than Peter-John Vettese. Still, the song is no great shake, as it's all based on a pleasant, but far too repetitive, riff.

"Aqualung" isn't a great shake ala "Locomotive," but it's fun nonetheless to hear an orchestra play the riff and everything (stirring, one might say); and although kinda thin and "eighties" in the production values section, Martin Barre's solo is still pretty solid. "Too Old to Rock 'n Roll, Too Young to Die" honestly IS a bit of a cheat, what with an orchestra being in the original song. But, hey, it's an nice song regardless, and the orchestra does a bang up job with the vocal melody.

I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I'm rather fond of "Medley: Teacher/Bungle in the Jungle/Rainbow Blues/Locomotive Breath." I KNOW that it's basically a high school marching band playing it at this point, but c'mon! Those are all tunes that I loved before. Well, not "Teacher" so much, but here, that riff sounds pretty good played by an orchestra. "Bungle" and "Rainbow" were, of course, designed for an orchestra, and I ain't got no problem with "Locomotive Breath," we know that.

"Living in the Past" runs a bit like "Too Old;" the orchestration gives it a nice, sweeping quality, but overall, not THAT impressive. Still, it's sad that we have to end on "War Child." It was never a favorite of mine on the album, but at least there it was kind of interesting and unusual. Here's, it's just a deadly dull, and doesn't sound a lick like the "War Child" I remember. Too much symphony orchestra, not enough Jethro Tull.

Well, despite all that, I'm glad to say that this is a thoroughly enjoyable album...for a Tull fan. I do think that a lot of my enjoyment comes from the fact that I love these songs. A-duh. But I do believe that any of the various diehard Tullers out there will be more than pleased by this odd little album; as I said, the orchestration is always good, the songs are choice, and the band spits out some decent performances. Not to mention that nearly flawless first side...

Non-fans might pick up some of the smaller things; like how the table seems oddly turned in the orchestra's direction from time to time, or that the second side starts to resemble less the London Symphony Orchestra and more the London High School Marching Band, and drummer starts to sound suspiciously like a drum machine.

Still, even casual fans won't find too much to complain about. If nothing else, it can make pleasant background music; hey, just like REAL classical music, even if it's boring, it's not offensive, so just play along! Besides, to his credit, Ian is NEVER lost in the orchestra arrangement. Testament to the man's lungs it is.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Back in the eighties, after Jethro Tull had retired (not permenently, thankfully) due to Ian Anderson's medical problems, former band member and orchestrator, David (now Dee) Palmer began recording orchestral albums of the music of some of the great prog bands (Yes & Genesis were also covered in the series). All of the albums displayed Palmer's shortcomings as an orchestrator. None of the songs are an improvement over the originals, and some just sound like the versions of the songs you might hear in the background at a supermerket.

On this, some are not so bad, but too close to the original, like Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll; Too Young To Die and Living In The Past, some sound like a marching band like Locomotive Breath and a medley that strangely also includes Locomotive Breath, and some are overly maudlin, like Palmer's Elegy and War Child. Aqualung is tolerable, but stiff. Thick As A Brick features only the opening and ending sections. It could have been good, but the edit disappoints. Only Bouree and Fly By Night seem to have any real life of their own.

Latest members reviews

5 stars A Classic Case is not a proper Jethero Tull album. That said, It IS a Jethro Tull album. This is the music of Jethero Tull arranged for orchestra by David Palmer with guest appearances by Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, and others from Tull. One reviewer says he doesn't like classical music AT ALL, s ... (read more)

Report this review (#903283) | Posted by wehpanzer | Thursday, January 31, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is a very poor first try at rendering the stellar compositions of Tull's music to a lusher, orchestral sound. If you're looking for a proper stab at this, where there's a more diverse track list, and much better arrangements, then look no further than the Ian Anderson double live album "Ian A ... (read more)

Report this review (#132564) | Posted by Shakespeare | Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ALMOST FIVE STARS! I bought this album when i was on holiday. i purchased it because it seemed interesting hearing JT with a full orchestra, but, being honest, I did not expect much stunning material. i started hearing it and i was so ... (read more)

Report this review (#75139) | Posted by Progressive! | Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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