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JETHRO TULL

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Jethro Tull biography
" I didn`t have to play it all the time, I just had to wave it around and look good " - Ian Anderson 2003.

Eccentric on stage yet rather thoughtful, reserved and even sombre at times when not in the limelight, the Jethro Tull image was the brainchild of flute wielding frontman Ian Anderson. Clad in scruffy vagabond apparel, and looking more like an anachronism out of a Charles Dickens tale, Anderson conveyed an old English aura during the band`s formative years in the late 60`s and early 70`s which would persist throughout the band's 40 year career both visually and musically.

Born on August 10, 1947 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, Anderson was augmented by a revolving door of colourful musicians over the years which added to the flamboyance of the Jethro Tull phenomenon. Conceived as a psychedelic blues band in late 1967 the music of Jethro Tull has always been dauntingly intricate embracing many styles including blues, jazz, folk, medieval, classical, hard rock along with forays into electronic music, sometimes referred to as "space age prog". The lyrics were equally as sophisticated and sometimes reached new heights of grandiloquence commenting on depressing world events such as drug abuse, the oil crisis, modernisation, third world troubles and a deteriorating economy.. Other topics included fads, spy novels, environmental and social issues as well as metaphysical musings. With lyrics and music which ran deep Jethro Tull have often been over-analysed by both fans and critics alike and many of their albums have been erroneously interpreted as autobiographical due to the fact that many of their record covers featured artwork which seemed to depict Ian Anderson's likeness, something which he has vehemently denied in numerous interviews.

Jethro Tull can trace their origins back to 1963 when as a young art student in Blackpool, England Anderson formed a band called THE BLADES (after a club in a James Bond novel). By 1965 as a 7-piece they had changed their name to THE JOHN EVAN BAND and subsequently to THE JOHN EVAN SMASH (his mother supplied their tour van) Evan, whose real name was Evans, would eventually become the band's keyboard player for most of the seventies. The band relocated to London in`67, the centre of the British blues movement of the sixties in search of more lucrative gigs. However the band was gradually dissolved after which Anderson and bass player Glen Cornick joined up with guitarist Mick Abrahms and drummer Clive...
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Jethro Tull official website

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AqualungAqualung
Parlophone 1999
Audio CD$3.84
$1.91 (used)
Benefit (Deluxe 2xCD+DVD)Benefit (Deluxe 2xCD+DVD)
WEA 2013
Audio CD$17.77
$17.46 (used)
Thick As A BrickThick As A Brick
Parlophone 1997
Audio CD$7.95
$3.98 (used)
The Best of Jethro Tull; The Anniversary CollectionThe Best of Jethro Tull; The Anniversary Collection
Parlophone 2008
Audio CD$7.25
$4.99 (used)
Very Best of Jethro TullVery Best of Jethro Tull
Parlophone 2001
Audio CD$4.40
$0.41 (used)
StormwatchStormwatch
Parlophone 2004
Audio CD$6.21
$5.08 (used)
Songs From the WoodSongs From the Wood
Parlophone 2003
Audio CD$4.57
$4.09 (used)
Minstrel in the GalleryMinstrel in the Gallery
Parlophone 2002
Audio CD$6.21
$2.28 (used)
BenefitBenefit
Parlophone 2002
Audio CD$4.57
$4.56 (used)
Aqualung: 40th AnniversaryAqualung: 40th Anniversary
EMI 2011
Audio CD$19.48
$18.14 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
JETHRO TULL Mini LP 2CD Living In The Past w/Promo OBI 2004 Japan TOCP-67369/70 US $83.00 [0 bids]
34m 32s
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39m 13s
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1h 7m
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1h 31m
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1h 31m
JETHRO TULL A Passion Play CD Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL Audiophile Gold US $74.99 [1 bids]
1h 31m
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1h 32m
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1h 33m
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2h 35m
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2h 35m
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2h 45m
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2h 56m
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4h 3m
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4h 39m
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6h 50m
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7h
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JETHRO TULL Ian Anderson ORIG1978 NZ Only! New!! Moths / Life's A Long Song US $14.99 [0 bids]
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7h 29m
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11h 56m
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12h 5m
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13h 47m
Original JETHRO TULL Benefit Vinyl Record 1970 US $0.99 [0 bids]
13h 53m
JETHRO TULL THICK AS A BRICK MOBILE FIDELITY LP AUDIOPHILE MFSL + 2 BONUS US $259.00 [0 bids]
13h 59m
Ian Anderson - Walk Into Light LP - Chrysalis Records FV 41443 - Jethro Tull US $3.99 [0 bids]
14h 3m
1970's Jethro Tull Living in The Past West Germany Vinyl Record US $24.99 [0 bids]
14h 42m
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JETHRO TULL shows & tickets


  • Alan Parsons Live Project meets Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson on 15 Jul 2014
  • Jethro Tull at Piazza della Loggia, Brescia on 19 Jul 2014
  • Jethro Tull at Budapesti Kongresszusi Központ (Budapest Congress and World Trade Center), Budapest on 23 Aug 2014

JETHRO TULL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JETHRO TULL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.31 | 524 ratings
This Was
1968
4.03 | 779 ratings
Stand Up
1969
3.90 | 661 ratings
Benefit
1970
4.32 | 1642 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.64 | 2165 ratings
Thick As A Brick
1972
4.00 | 930 ratings
A Passion Play
1973
3.26 | 507 ratings
War Child
1974
3.96 | 746 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery
1975
3.05 | 466 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
1976
4.15 | 898 ratings
Songs From The Wood
1977
4.01 | 727 ratings
Heavy Horses
1978
3.45 | 456 ratings
Stormwatch
1979
3.18 | 372 ratings
A
1980
3.26 | 413 ratings
The Broadsword And The Beast
1982
2.21 | 326 ratings
Under Wraps
1984
3.03 | 73 ratings
A Classic Case
1985
3.21 | 362 ratings
Crest Of A Knave
1987
2.65 | 277 ratings
Rock Island
1989
2.56 | 264 ratings
Catfish Rising
1991
3.63 | 320 ratings
Roots To Branches
1995
3.03 | 278 ratings
J-Tull Dot Com
1999
3.52 | 257 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
2003

JETHRO TULL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 265 ratings
Live - Bursting Out
1978
2.81 | 36 ratings
Live At Hammersmith '84
1990
3.62 | 121 ratings
A Little Light Music
1992
2.95 | 29 ratings
In Concert
1995
3.59 | 80 ratings
Living With The Past
2002
4.14 | 101 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2004
3.42 | 72 ratings
Aqualung Live
2005
3.72 | 57 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007

JETHRO TULL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.80 | 36 ratings
Slipstream (DVD)
1981
3.71 | 29 ratings
20 Years of Jethro Tull (VHS)
1988
3.39 | 59 ratings
Living With the Past
2002
2.97 | 36 ratings
A New Day Yesterday - The 25th Anniversary Collection
2003
3.83 | 71 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2005
3.00 | 45 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
3.80 | 15 ratings
Slipstream (9 song version)
2007
4.16 | 19 ratings
Classic Artists Series: Jethro Tull
2008
3.18 | 21 ratings
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany
2008
3.68 | 15 ratings
Songs From Bethlehem (DVD)
2008
4.40 | 72 ratings
Live At Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD + CD)
2009
3.86 | 28 ratings
Live at AVO Session Basel 2008
2009
4.57 | 14 ratings
Around the World Live (4DVD)
2013

JETHRO TULL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 223 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
2.87 | 58 ratings
M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull
1976
3.06 | 35 ratings
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II
1977
3.14 | 48 ratings
Original Masters
1985
3.49 | 59 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box
1988
4.48 | 50 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (The Definitive Collection)
1988
3.67 | 28 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (USA release)
1989
3.61 | 116 ratings
Nightcap
1993
3.76 | 34 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection
1993
4.38 | 53 ratings
25th Anniversary Box Set
1993
2.41 | 16 ratings
A Jethro Tull Collection
1997
1.29 | 21 ratings
Through The Years
1997
2.82 | 56 ratings
The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
2001
2.15 | 8 ratings
Essential Jethro Tull
2007
3.30 | 34 ratings
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull
2007
3.70 | 31 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas at St Bride's 2008
2009
4.48 | 23 ratings
Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2011
4.81 | 16 ratings
Thick As A Brick - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
2012

JETHRO TULL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 10 ratings
Love Story
1968
3.73 | 15 ratings
A Song For Jeffrey
1968
3.04 | 8 ratings
Sunshine Day
1968
3.96 | 19 ratings
Sweet Dream / 17
1969
3.87 | 15 ratings
The Witch's Promise
1969
4.43 | 21 ratings
Living In The Past
1969
3.73 | 11 ratings
Inside
1970
4.16 | 19 ratings
Life Is A Long Song E.P.
1971
3.90 | 10 ratings
Hymn 43
1971
4.09 | 22 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.42 | 19 ratings
Bungle In The Jungle
1974
2.33 | 15 ratings
Ring Out Solstice Bells
1976
4.00 | 20 ratings
The Whistler
1977
3.93 | 22 ratings
Moths
1978
2.41 | 13 ratings
North Sea Oil
1979
3.83 | 12 ratings
Home E.P.
1979
3.15 | 13 ratings
Working John, Working Joe
1980
3.03 | 15 ratings
Fallen On Hard Times
1982
2.86 | 14 ratings
Broadsword
1982
2.60 | 15 ratings
Lap Of Luxury
1984
3.70 | 10 ratings
Coronach
1986
3.50 | 10 ratings
Said She Was A Dancer 12''
1987
3.40 | 10 ratings
Steel Monkey 12''
1987
3.68 | 16 ratings
Another Christmas Song
1989
3.55 | 13 ratings
This Is Not Love
1991
3.73 | 13 ratings
Rocks On The Road
1991
2.81 | 12 ratings
Living in the (Slightly More Recent) Past / Living in the Past
1993
2.42 | 15 ratings
Rare And Precious Chain
1995
2.75 | 12 ratings
Bends Like A Willow
1999
2.86 | 7 ratings
The Christmas EP
2004

JETHRO TULL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Benefit by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.90 | 661 ratings

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Benefit
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jethro Tull, eh? The band that rose from blues origins and went through rapid change and progression, heading straight into legend with a string of mostly genial albums in the 70's? Yes, that's the one. Jethro Tull's debut was anything but classic blues, displaying a wide variety of influences and progression. What they created on This was was in fact an outstanding display of vision. A great album, really. Then the progression went even further on Stand up, in order to reach a sort of pre-progressive/proto-progressive zenith on Benefit.

For a long time I thought Benefit was the best of the lot, even surpassing Aqualung. This was before I discovered A passion play and Thick as a brick. Both of those surpassing Aqualung in quality. My stab at being controversial ends there. I think Aqualung comes in as number three in the ranking of Tull's albums. Anyway, I am rambling as usual. I thought Benefit was the greatest, yes. That's it. My mind has changed since then. Benefit is a marvellous album, really it is. It still is and probably always will. At least I hope so.

When i listen to it nowadays i think I am, in part, struck by nostalgia but foremost I find that this album displays a lot of what Tull stands for. Their standpoint is one of blues, hard rock, folk and classical elements, all poured into that great musical blender and served as a cocktail of unspeakable originality. However, I think that Benefit for the most part lingers back in the progressive blues territory, albeit with several feet in their progressive future. The songs are folky, hard rocking at times and we are served a slice or two of classical cake. That is all very well and the result is very nice. I do think, however, that the album is slightly less genial than I once perceived. If I was to suggest an album to start off with I would, most likely, recommend some later album. Aqualung, I guess.

As a Tull-head, and having been one for over 20 years, I find a lot to love on Benefit and I still think it is one of my favorite albums. Not because I think it is the best work they made, simply because it is a wonderfully charming album, conquering musical territory back in the day. If you are into Tull, this is a great album. If you are about to discover them, go for Aqualung or Thick as a brick.

Conclusion: 3 stars, given with love and affection.

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 Stand Up by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.03 | 779 ratings

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Stand Up
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by MJAben

3 stars Leaps and Bounds ahead of their debut but nowhere near the mammoth that would be Aqualung.

At this point, Tull seemed to be in a transitional period in many ways, not only was the lineup fragile with the inclusion of new guitarist Martin Barre (and soon to change even more with the inclusion of John Evan and the departure of Clive Bunker and Glenn Cornick). What is the most striking change between the last album and this one is the gradual departure of blues for something that I can only vaguely call "else".

This change wasn't an intentional one but a gradual shift of interest with the loss Mick Abrahams who was (to a large degree) much of the blues influence on the debut album. I don't think at this point you could justifiably call the band "Ian Anderson and co." but Ian's image for the band began to change and (lo and behold) so did the music. We see here a much larger progressive (though not fully implemented yet) and folky influence that we come to associate with later albums and, in many ways, the band.

As has been stated by many a reviewer this is a transitional album bridging the gap from what they were to what they would come to be. I don't want to go into individual songs, mainly because it's hard with such a varied and diverse album to rate each song fairly. I think it's right to say that there isn't a weak track on the album, not that I enjoy every track but that no track feels as though it's filler. My problem with the album however lies in this variety and in the fact that the album is so unfocused. It's a good album, at times a great album, but compositionally a mere shadow of albums such as Aqualung and TaaB which are soon to come.

This is an important album for Tull, an important album for those who want to understand and document and collect Tull but this is in no way a high point of their career (though it was what lead into it).

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 The Broadsword And The Beast by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.26 | 413 ratings

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The Broadsword And The Beast
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Prog 74

2 stars 80s Tull. They go together like chocolate & asparagus. The production on this album is naturally very 80s sounding which is fine if you are Rush in 1982, but Jethro Tull did not come into the new decade gracefully. 'A' was like a bad omen which along with this album and especially it's follow up, the dreadful 'Under Wraps', just showed just how fast Tull was sinking. A shame since 'Stormwatch' from 1979 was not really that bad at all. It at least gave one hope that good things were in store for this legendary prog band. But, alas it was not meant to be. The synthesisers throughout the album are just a sad reminder that the good days were over and the tastleless 80s were upon us. Still, the cool album cover saves this album from the dreaded one star rating. For Tull completionists only.

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 Aqualung by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.32 | 1642 ratings

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Aqualung
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

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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 Live - Bursting Out by JETHRO TULL album cover Live, 1978
4.16 | 265 ratings

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Live - Bursting Out
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've had a love/hate relationship with Jethro Tull since my friend Tommy Cline turned me on to the curious aura that inhabited their debut album, 'This Was,' early in 1970. Some of their records make me happy as a turkey the day after Thanksgiving and some of them infuriate me no end. Rarely is there anything in the middle. This live double disc LP that featured performances culled from the European leg of their tour in support of their remarkable 'Heavy Horses' album in '78 is par for the course. The first half of the recording shows conclusively why this band is a genuine and very deserving titan in Progland while the second half only confirms to me how they can be frustratingly patronizing when it comes to exploiting the hard rock side of their collective personality. Having said that, I must admit 'Bursting Out' is what I expected considering my rocky relationship with this eclectic group. Frontman Ian Anderson's snarky but inoffensive you-bought-the-ticket-so-take-it-or-leave-it attitude speaks directly to the prog snob me and I accept his grinning ain't-life-a-surreal-trip countenance willingly. I'm a fan because the upside of Jethro Tull trumps the downside every time. I had the privilege of seeing them live sometime later the same year I discovered them whilst they were on their 'Stand Up' tour so I already knew how incredible they could be when they were feeling their oats. It was really just a matter of finding out how well their onstage presence and musical acumen was captured on tape.

They opened the show the way I would've anticipated them to with something extremely progressive. These guys had no intention of taking the formulaic route by starting things off with one of their familiar hits. On the contrary, they came out and smacked the audience upside the head with a song that was foreign to at least ninety percent of those in attendance. 'No Lullaby' is a highly complex number off of 'Heavy Horses' that emphasizes their uniqueness rather than their accessibility. The band is incredibly tight and precise in every area, fostering a satisfied smile that creases my aging mug. One of my all-time favorite JT tunes, 'Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day,' is next and they don't disappoint. They have an uncanny ability to make difficult songs like this one sound like child's play. The sound quality is impeccable in that every delicate nuance from the glockenspiel to the accordion comes through clear as a bell. 'Jack in the Green' follows and I get the feeling that their set list was developed with the material they preferred in mind and not in an effort to kowtow to those who came to hear 'Bungle in the Jungle.' Because of that emphasis their delivery is spirited and energetic throughout, especially in the early stages of the program. On 'One Brown Mouse' I'm reminded that no one, and I mean no one sounds like Jethro Tull. They're totally off the reservation most of the time and usually creative and progressive-minded without apology. Kudos to the keyboard duo of John Evan and David Palmer for their tactful work on this particular selection. 'A New Day Yesterday' (from the masterpiece that is 'Stand Up') gets an updated treatment that takes advantage of the tune's inherent dynamics. Guitarist Martin Barre slays his solo and the unison riffs at the end are very cool. I prefer their addicting studio version but this ain't anything to sneer at. After that they jump right into an extended flute flurry wherein showman Ian gets his prancing ya-yas out while putting on a clinic of how to astound a crowd with his slender instrument of choice. The group playfully joins in when he veers into a verse of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and again later on when he takes a too-short detour into the brilliant 'Bouree' that's a treat to my ears every time I hear it.

For 'Songs from the Wood' their boys club chorale vocalizing impresses before they slip right into the number as effortlessly as putting on a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers. Next they present their gift to the prog world known as 'Thick as a Brick.' To say they do this icon of our esteemed and honorable genre full justice is an understatement. Hearing it performed in a live setting gives the listener a fresh perspective on how great this piece of music is. Yes, it's been trimmed down considerably for time's sake but, all in all, it's a stellar rendition of a multi-faceted treasure that never fails to fascinate. It would be hard for any of their compositions to match that gem so they ease their enraptured multitude down a bit with 'Hunting Girl,' one of their intricately-arranged electrically-charged prog folk ditties that sets them apart from all others who dare to enter their end of the prog field. While 'Too Old to Rock 'n Roll, Too Young to Die' is far from being the best track from that surprisingly fine album of the same name, it's the most identifiable to the folks out front and they do it well. However, it also marks a turning point in this particular extravaganza as they go in a direction I wish they wouldn't go in. Their overrated disc, 'Minstrel in the Gallery,' has never done much for me and their presentation of the title cut here doesn't change my opinion although I do admire Barre's enthusiasm as he punches it hard with his edgy guitar attack.

At this juncture the band descends into outright pandering to the throng by playing three numbers in a row from their popular sellout album, 'Aqualung.' Thankfully, 'Cross-Eyed Mary' comes off less shrilly than the original but I can't say the same for the overexposed tune that bears that dubious record's moniker. That lumbering number always conjures up bad memories for me because it was that LP that figuratively threw a bucket of water on my white-hot obsession with the band when it came out in late '71 and estranged me from their work for a very long time. I understand that it's a bonafide crowd-pleaser (the gathered mass of humanity croons like they're at a soccer match when it's over) but I don't have to like it. It's much too plodding and coarse for my taste. 'Locomotive Breath' follows and I'm tempted to simply say 'ditto' but I'll try to be unbiased as I assess it. At least the piano intro is engaging but once they jump into the 'rawkin'' meat of the song they ham it up for all it's worth and milk this stale staple of classic rock radio dry. The ending is purposely pompous and noisy and it leads to something labeled 'The Dambusters March' which is some kind of raucous, intense instrumental sequence that suddenly ebbs down to a cheeky acoustic guitar and vocal as Anderson reprises the famous line from 'Aqualung' before the lights go out.

The US release left off three obscure tracks ('Quatrain,' 'Sweet Dreams' and 'Conundrum') probably for cost-effective reasons and perhaps someday I'll get a chance to hear them because they're most likely unorthodox. After reading my therapeutic get-it-off-my-chest rant concerning the inclusion of what I call the dregs of their catalog one might think I didn't care for this concert album but you'd be wrong. I deem it excellent because it's a fair representation of the band's approach to entertaining and I certainly can't cast dispersions on the engineering involved. It's top shelf on the technical side from start to finish. Special mention must go out to the rhythm section of Barriemore Barlow on drums and John Glascock on bass because they do a superb job of holding it all together while establishing a solid groove under every selection. A dedicated follower probably has this album already. If you're a Jethro Tull novice you'll get a good dose of the twisted genius that makes this group so special. But be forewarned. They just might drive you nuts, too. 3.6 stars.

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 The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas at St Bride's 2008 by JETHRO TULL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
3.70 | 31 ratings

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The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas at St Bride's 2008
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by The Bearded Bard
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars A Bearded View On Progressive Rock #1

For my first review for this site, and my first music review ever, in fact, I thought it fitting to pay a small homage to my favourite band, and the reason I got into progressive rock in the first place, Jethro Tull. And with the Christmas season coming to its end, I thought "why not finish it off with a review of "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album"?".

Christmas, we all have a relationship to it, wether we're Christian or not, wether we celebrate it or not, and I'm no different. As a non-Christian I would not celebrate Christmas had it not been an old (pre-Christian) tradition to do so in my country, Norway. Christmas celebrations here, or Yule (Jul) as we call it, goes back to before the start of Christianization of Scandinavia in the eigth century, and are treated by many, myself included, as a celebration more of the winter solstice than of the birth of Jesus Christ.

"The Jethro Tull Christmas Album" (disc one) was recorded and released, for the first time, in 2003, at the suggestion of the head of Fuel 2000 record company, Len Fico, at Christmas the year before, to make a Tull album for the Christmas holidays. The album consists of re-recordings of old Jethro Tull classics, in slightly more acoustic and Christmassy versions, some new Tull tracks released for the first time on this album, one track from Martin Barre's 2003 solo album "Stage Left", as well as some arrangements of traditional Christmas music.

The highlights on this album for me are one of the new Tull tracks, the beautiful "First Snow on Brooklyn", with lovely fute, and also strings, courtesy of The Sturcz String Quartet, a new and interesting version of the old Tull classic, J.S. Bach's "Bourée", and Barre's "A Winter Snowscape", a great instrumental duet between Ian Anderson's flute and Martin Barre's guitar. Anderson's voice, which, as we all know, aren't as good as it was in his heyday, is in pretty good shape throughout the album, as it usually is on studio albums (it is live his voice problems gets really noticeable).

All of the Tull tracks (both old and new) selected for this album, as well as the one from Barre, have lyrics and/or themes related to Christmas or the colder months of the year. Before I heard this album I was a bit sceptical to the idea of re-recording old songs to make them fit into a Chrismas album, but there's not one of the re-recordings I don't like, and I think most of them differ enough from the originals to make them an interesting, as well as an enjoyable, listen. Furthermore, I think they work well with the often jazzed up (literally speaking, the well-known Tull version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" being an example of this) traditional Christmas tunes, to give the listener a little bit of that Christmas feeling.

For me, Jethro Tull has always had a certain Christmas feel to them (well, to some of their music anyway), so it's not surprising to me that they managed to pull this off as well as they did. However, I don't feel they get overly Christmassy on this album either. I'd say they got the balance between it being a Christmas album and a "normal" Jethro Tull album just right. It's not a Tull album to play on warm summer nights though, it's definitely an album more for the autumn and winter months.

A look at the album cover confirms this. It depicts a winter landscape, with a Victorian castle (possibly a church) in the background.

In front, in the left corner, we see the minstrel, standing on one leg, hearding a flock (of sheep nonetheless!) towards the church. That wouldn't be God's flock you're hearding there, would it, Ian? You cheeky devil!

OK, we should perhaps not put too much emphasis on my not-too-deep analysis of the cover art displayed here, but it wouldn't surprise me either, if this, in fact, was the tongue-in-cheek message Mr. Anderson wanted to convey with this cover art.

Anderson's criticism towards religion and its followers are well-known, and was put to music as early as on the "Aqualung" album in '71, so it might come as a surprise to some that Jethro Tull in recent years has played several concerts in churches, and almost making it a tradition to finish the year with a Christmas concert or two. But, as Andersons explains it in a recent interview with Prog Magazine, he's "a passionate supporter of the Christian Church, but...not a Christian". But he sees himself as "a supporter of the culture, tradition, and physical edifices of the cathedral...".

These are sentiments I share with the mad flutist. Furthermore, as a non-Christian, I don't find myself in a church on a regular basis, but I've been to church on the odd occasion, and I've always felt a sense of peace when in a church.

Some of those odd occasions have been Christmas concerts, and those have always got me into the Christmas spirit, so it's not surprising that I very much enjoy the second disc of this release.

There's a few reasons I wanted to review this particular version of the album. The first being that it's the one of the two that is the easiest to acquire, as the other one is out of print and hard to find at a reasonable price. The second being that this version doesn't have any reviews previous to mine, which I find a bit disappointing and wanted to rectify, because, third, it contains a second disc, a very good recording of one of those Christmas concerts Jethro Tull has made a tradition in recent years, from St. Bride's Church in London in 2008.

"Live - Christmas at St. Bride's 2008" (disc two) was recorded on December 22, 2008, in front of a crowd of 150. The profits from the concert went to St. Mungo's charity for the homeless.

The song selection here is slightly different from "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album", so it's not to be considered a live version of that album, but the song selection criteria is the same, so here too we get older and newer Tull songs (plus that one from Barre), with Christmas or autumn/winter themes and/or lyrics, mixed with arrangements of traditional Christmas music.

As on the studio album it's accompanying, the music on this live disc is mostly acoustic. The band are accompanied by an organist and members of St. Bride's Choir, who performs solely on three of the tracks, "What Cheer" (choir only), "Silent Night" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", and on a fourth, "Gaudete", they're joined only briefly by Anderson on flute. I heard this sacred 16th century Christmas carol for the first time on this album and instantly fell in love with it. The beautiful choir song in Medieval Latin, in combination with the organ and some of Anderson's most emotional flute playing that I've heard (specifically in the latter half of the piece), makes this, for me, the highlight of this live recording.

Between the tracks on this live disc we're treated to reading of some Christmas poems, performed by Anderson, as well as some other more or less famous media voices, including that of Anderson's son-in-law, actor Andrew Lincoln, best-known for his work in the the romantic Christmas film "Love Actually" and the horror drama television series "The Walking Dead".

These readings, along with the fine performance of the choir, the organist and the band, makes this live recording highly enjoyable, and for me it works better for getting into the Christmas spirit than the actual "Christmas Album".

But "Live - Christmas at St.Brides" isn't without its flaws. It sounds to me that Mr. Anderson had some problems with his voice in the beginning of this concert, especially during the opening track, "Weathercock". Perhaps it was just insufficient warm up, I don't know, but his voice gets better shortly after the opening track and holds up pretty well for the rest of the concert.

Another thing that bothers me with this live recording, although only slightly, is the banter and attempts at humoristic comments from the performers to the crowd and between themselves. The comments aren't really that funny to begin with, so they get a bit annoying with repeated listens.

But all in all I find this live disc delightful, and I wouldn't want "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album" without it.

I highly recommend this release not only to Jethro Tull fans, but to all proggers in search of an excellent album to put on during the Christmas holidays, or just an album to listen to when curled up in front of the fire on a cold and windy autumn night.

The profits from record royalties accruing from this version of the album, with the "Live - Christmas at St. Bride's 2008" disc, goes to help the homeless, so that's another good reason to buy this.

4 stars.

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 A by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.18 | 372 ratings

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A
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Well there may be many ways to change the line-up of a band, but this has to be one of the most unusual. Ian went into the studio to record a solo album, taking with him new Jethro Tull bassist Dave Pegg who had replaced the late John Glascock. Eddie Jobson (UK etc) was invited along to play keyboards and violin and he in turn brought drummer Mark Craney to the party. Ian admits that the first mistake he now made was in asking Martin Barre to also play on the album. If Martin hadn't come along then things might have been different' The tape boxes were marked with 'A' for Anderson, but when they were presented to the record company Ian was told that it was to be released as Jethro Tull. Apparently Barriemore Barlow had already said that he was ready to leave, but before Ian could talk to David Palmer or John Evan the fact that there was a new line-up has been announced to the press.

Given that this album is sandwiched between the mighty 'Stormwatch' and the even mightier 'Broadsword & The Beast' I have always felt that it is sadly neglected, which is a shame as it saw Ian move in a new direction. This was music that was much more rocky, as he moved a long way from 'Heavy Horses' which at the time was only two years old but was a world away from this. Punchy hard rock (although with extremely strong melodies) was the order of the day, with only occasional acoustic guitar to lighten proceedings such as on 'Working John, Working Joe' but the keyboard sounds had moved a long way from the portable pipe organ of the Seventies. 'Crossfire' is a great opener, one of the few (if not only) songs written about the Iranian Embassy siege but the highlight of the first side (as it was) is 'Black Sunday'. The studio version doesn't capture the passion that they demonstrated in concert, but it is a fine song all the same as the band drive along with Ian's view of a strike.

The second side started with 'Protect and Survive' with some great flute and lazy bass lines, but it is the synth-driven 'Batteries Not Included' (which almost incongruously has fretless bass behind it) that challenges for song of the album. 'The Pine Marten's Jig' looks back to older times while album closer 'And Further On' could have featured on 'Songs' or 'Horses'. This line-up toured the album then it was no more, although Eddie did return for one gig in Germany (which luckily enough I have on video).

The remastered reissue doesn't feature any extra tracks from the sessions, but it does contain a DVD! 'Slipstream' was the first commercially available Jethro Tull video (I seem to remember paying what seemed a fortune when I was on my student grant). It contains a mixture of songs from the 'A' tour along with some specially shot videos. Some of these are quite painful to watch now ('Sweet Dream' is quite definitely a case in point), while others really show the humour that has always been there ('Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll' is just glorious). But it is the live songs that take centre stage with 'Black Sunday' blasting the studio version to pieces, and 'Locomotive Breath' being the perfect closer to any gig.

The booklet contains the original front and rear covers, along with the lyrics as they appear on the inner sleeve and some words from Ian. It may not be the best presented package in the world but I bought this CD+DVD from Amazon for the paltry sum of '9.99. That has to be bargain of the year ' and boy did this take me back. Just wonderful.

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

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 Sunshine Day by JETHRO TULL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Sunshine Day
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This first single by Jethro Tull was credited wrongly in the record label because it was credited to "Jethro Toe" instead. Anyway, it is a good single.

The Side " A", is a song titled "Sunshine Day", composed by Mick Abrahams, and sung by Ian Anderson with backing vocals maybe done by Abrahams. It is Rock song with some Blues influences and good guitars by Abrahams.

The Side" B", is a song titled "Aeroplane" and composed by Len Barnard and Ian Anderson. It is a song played predominantly with keyboards (piano, organ and harpischord) with good arrangements, and sounds more like a Pop Rock song.

Curiously, both songs don`t have the use of the flute, an instrument which became very characteristic of the band Jethro Tull in later years. But Ian Anderson`s vocals are very present and very characteristic of Jethro Tull.

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 This Was by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.31 | 524 ratings

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This Was
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This first album by Jethro Tull really shows the differences in musical direction that Ian Anderson and Mick Abrahams had for the band and which by the time the recording of the album was finished led Abrahams to leave the band. Anderson wanted a musical style more influenced by Folk, Jazz and Rock, while Abrahams wanted a musical style more influenced by Blues. So, both musical directions are shown in this first album. But despite this, the very original musical style of Jethro Tull (more inlfuenced by Anderson than by Abrahams) is very present in this album. So, maybe the best songs in this album are the songs which were composed by Anderson. "Dharma for One" was composed by Anderson and drummer Clive Bunker, and in this song there are some influences from Jazz, including a very good drums solo by Bunker. In contrast, "Move On Alone" (sung by Abrahams) and "Cat`s Squirrel" show Abrahams` Blues influences. Even with all these Blues influences (with even Anderson playing some Harmonica) this album was a very good debut album by this band. Anderson`s flute playing (and his humour while playing it and singing in some parts) in a Rock band really defined the musical style for the band better than the Blues influences. The recording and mixing are not very good for my taste. It seems that the album was recorded using a low budget, so maybe that is the reason this album doesn`t sound verry well for my taste. With a new guitarist for their next albums (Martin Barre) who was more compatible with Anderson`s musical vision, the band was going to record better albums than this first album.

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 Thick As A Brick by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.64 | 2165 ratings

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Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thebig_E

4 stars Jethro Tull is a band that has not really appealed to me all that much. I don't know what it is about them, maybe it's the lyrics or the voice of Ian Anderson. That's not to say he isn't talented, he certainly knows how to write a song ... and play the flute. I'm just not the biggest Tull fan, however, I'll admit this is a great album, their best by far. What started as a satire of the excess which progressive rock music contained became one of the greatest examples of the genre.

The instrumentation is much more impressive this time around. Part Two has a fast drum solo that is always enjoyable to hear. Lyrics are plentiful on this album, and at times they are smart and witty. Both parts together make up 43 minutes, making it a very long song, if you consider it to be one continuous piece of music.

Thick As A Brick doesn't have very many faults. I'm giving this album a 4-star rating only because I don't think it holds up to other masterpieces of the genre such as Close To The Edge and Selling England By The Pound. But it deserves to be recognized for what it is, a milestone.

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