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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 shows & tickets


  • Jethro Tull at Cemal Resit Rey Konser Salonu, Istanbul on 5 Feb 2015
  • Jethro Tull performed by Ian Anderson on 13 May 2015
  • Jethro Tull's IAN ANDERSON performs new album 'Homo Erraticus' plus The Best of Tull on 19 May 2015

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)

3.32 | 576 ratings
This Was
1968
4.04 | 870 ratings
Stand Up
1969
3.90 | 719 ratings
Benefit
1970
4.32 | 1834 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.64 | 2400 ratings
Thick As A Brick
1972
4.01 | 1043 ratings
A Passion Play
1973
3.27 | 560 ratings
War Child
1974
3.98 | 824 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery
1975
3.04 | 521 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
1976
4.16 | 1002 ratings
Songs From The Wood
1977
4.00 | 821 ratings
Heavy Horses
1978
3.46 | 507 ratings
Stormwatch
1979
3.20 | 413 ratings
A
1980
3.27 | 462 ratings
The Broadsword And The Beast
1982
2.21 | 357 ratings
Under Wraps
1984
3.02 | 87 ratings
A Classic Case
1985
3.23 | 405 ratings
Crest Of A Knave
1987
2.66 | 313 ratings
Rock Island
1989
2.59 | 294 ratings
Catfish Rising
1991
3.63 | 353 ratings
Roots To Branches
1995
3.03 | 301 ratings
J-Tull Dot Com
1999
3.52 | 284 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
2003

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

4.17 | 284 ratings
Live - Bursting Out
1978
2.86 | 41 ratings
Live At Hammersmith '84
1990
3.64 | 136 ratings
A Little Light Music
1992
2.98 | 36 ratings
In Concert
1995
3.60 | 87 ratings
Living With The Past
2002
4.13 | 110 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2004
3.44 | 80 ratings
Aqualung Live
2005
3.77 | 66 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007

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

3.81 | 41 ratings
Slipstream (DVD)
1981
3.71 | 32 ratings
20 Years of Jethro Tull (VHS)
1988
3.39 | 63 ratings
Living With the Past
2002
2.99 | 39 ratings
A New Day Yesterday - The 25th Anniversary Collection
2003
3.84 | 75 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2005
3.03 | 51 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
3.94 | 18 ratings
Slipstream (9 song version)
2007
4.00 | 29 ratings
Classic Artists Series: Jethro Tull
2008
3.23 | 25 ratings
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany
2008
3.68 | 18 ratings
Songs From Bethlehem
2008
4.42 | 78 ratings
Live At Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD + CD)
2009
3.76 | 36 ratings
Live at AVO Session Basel 2008
2009
4.58 | 19 ratings
Around the World Live (4DVD)
2013

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

4.11 | 239 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.05 | 60 ratings
M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull
1976
3.09 | 37 ratings
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II
1977
3.15 | 50 ratings
Original Masters
1985
3.51 | 62 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box
1988
4.50 | 61 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (The Definitive Collection)
1988
3.69 | 33 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (USA release)
1989
3.61 | 126 ratings
Nightcap
1993
3.77 | 38 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection
1993
4.41 | 59 ratings
25th Anniversary Box Set
1993
2.47 | 17 ratings
A Jethro Tull Collection
1997
1.38 | 24 ratings
Through The Years
1997
2.97 | 59 ratings
The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
2001
2.25 | 9 ratings
Essential Jethro Tull
2007
3.34 | 39 ratings
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull
2007
3.77 | 37 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas at St Bride's 2008
2009
4.54 | 35 ratings
Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2011
4.88 | 41 ratings
Thick As A Brick - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
2012
4.60 | 20 ratings
A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
2014
4.20 | 5 ratings
War Child - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition
2014

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

3.60 | 10 ratings
Love Story
1968
3.94 | 16 ratings
A Song For Jeffrey
1968
2.97 | 10 ratings
Sunshine Day
1968
4.10 | 20 ratings
Sweet Dream / 17
1969
4.13 | 16 ratings
The Witch's Promise
1969
4.53 | 23 ratings
Living In The Past
1969
3.69 | 13 ratings
Inside
1970
4.63 | 23 ratings
Life Is A Long Song E.P.
1971
4.08 | 12 ratings
Hymn 43
1971
5.00 | 1 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.21 | 24 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.50 | 20 ratings
Bungle In The Jungle
1974
3.19 | 20 ratings
Ring Out Solstice Bells
1976
4.18 | 22 ratings
The Whistler
1977
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Stitch In Time
1978
4.00 | 22 ratings
Moths
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Warm Sporran
1979
2.56 | 15 ratings
North Sea Oil
1979
4.31 | 13 ratings
Home E.P.
1979
3.27 | 15 ratings
Working John, Working Joe
1980
3.16 | 18 ratings
Fallen On Hard Times
1982
3.13 | 16 ratings
Broadsword
1982
2.82 | 17 ratings
Lap Of Luxury
1984
3.90 | 10 ratings
Coronach
1986
3.50 | 10 ratings
Said She Was A Dancer 12''
1987
3.36 | 11 ratings
Steel Monkey 12''
1987
3.68 | 16 ratings
Another Christmas Song
1989
3.52 | 14 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
2.52 | 16 ratings
Rare And Precious Chain
1995
2.92 | 13 ratings
Bends Like A Willow
1999
3.13 | 8 ratings
The Christmas EP
2004

JETHRO TULL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Thick As A Brick by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.64 | 2400 ratings

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Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by The Dark Elf

5 stars 'Thick as a Brick' should rate highly simply on the strength of having one of the best album covers ever designed: a fold-out newspaper complete with articles, comics, ads, crossword puzzle and a rather bawdy connect-the-dots children's game! A CD jewel case does not do justice to the album design (which is the case for many of the albums from the 60's and 70's). Furthermore, one cannot underestimate the effect 'Thick as a Brick' had on folks growing up in the 70's. It was irreverent! It was rebellious! It mentioned both blackheads and peeing oneself in the night in one line! Only in the early 70's could this album (and Tull's follow-up 'A Passion Play') be released. It had no single! It was 44 minutes of continuous music! How can we market the goddamned thing? We won't get royalties from iTunes every time someone downloads a song! Hell, there is no song to download!

The epic poem around which the music is composed was purportedly supplied by a precociously Miltonic adolescent named Gerald Bostock (an alter ego of Ian Anderson), and the lyrics, concerning the trials and travails of growing up, are slyly superb throughout. And they are very sly: according to Ian Anderson, 'Thick as a Brick' was a send-up of some of the more bloated progressive rock of the time. It is a purposely pretentious mockery, holding a jaded mirror up to Tull's pompous rock counterparts (and the band itself). Even the album cover parodies the small minds of small town journalism (including the front page which trumpets the scandal and subsequent disqualification of Gerald Bostock's poem from a literary prize). As an added layer of satire, the newspaper contains many references to the album and the album refers back to the news (Tull members were avid fans of Monty Python). The entire package succeeds magnificently. Many reviewers don't get it and take it at face value, which is even more ironic. Or moronic as the case may be.

As far as the music, it runs the prog gamut from witty folk to scathing hard rock with some of the best acoustic guitar sequences you'll hear from Ian Anderson (know more, sadly, for the flute than his exceptional guitar work). Barriemore Barlow, John Bonham's favorite drummer, sets the pace and it is often blistering, running in cadence with John Evan's masterful keys and Martin Barre's explosive electric guitar. The album is fully realized in that the concept is brilliant both lyrically and musically, and there are so few rock bands that can match the wordsmithing ability of Ian Anderson and the compositional brilliance of Tull as a band in their prime.

Thick as a Brick is one of a handful of progressive rock albums upon which all others are measured, and for good reason: it is sublime in all facets.

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 Stand Up by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 870 ratings

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Stand Up
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by The Dark Elf

5 stars Tull had just parted ways with guitarist Mick Abrahams after their first album "This Was' (Abrahams went on to make a really good blues album "Ahead Rings Out" with Blodwyn Pig, by the way), and had chosen Martin Barre as the their new lead guitarist. Tull took a u-turn off the blues highway and went off-road and did some camping on this stunning folk-rock opus. More so than the more standard rock follow-up album "Benefit", "Stand Up" is the true precursor to Tull's "High Prog" era. Everything is there, except, of course, 42 minutes of continuous music. But too much of one thing is not good (see "Passion Play" released on the heels of "Thick as a Brick"). This release is about as startling a change from a debut album to a second album as you will ever hear.

I have long been of the thought that no one in rock really writes beautiful, reflective tunes anymore. Ian Anderson can turn them out by the bucketful but still rock on the same album. 'Look Into the Sun', 'Reasons for Waiting' and 'For a Thousand Mothers' are just beautifully rendered, mellow pieces; conversely, 'Nothing is Easy' (a personal favorite), 'A New Day Yesterday' and 'We Used to Know' rock along quite well. Top it off with what Anderson refers to as cocktail jazz 'Bouree', and the frenetic 'Fat Man' (another favorite), and one finds the direction Tull took was an important step in becoming one of the greatest prog-rock bands of all time. Or folk-rock band. Or concept band. You get the general idea -- if you get Tull.

Beyond the act of turning out excellent compositions, 'Stand Up' is an important album in the synthesis of several different musical elements and genres into the rock idiom: jazz, blues, classical, folk. "A New Day Yesterday" is heavy blues on the level of Zeppelin and Cream, "Nothing Is Easy" is jazzier blues (retaining the rock with a thunderous coda to finish), "Fatman" has both Celtic and Indian strains running through it, "Bouree" is classical Bach with a jazz twist, and "Reasons for Waiting" is the first instance of collaborator David 'Dee' Palmer adding strings to a Tull tune (and lovely they are). Name any other rock bands that have the artistic grasp to successfully fuse these disparate genres all into one recording. Take your time. Get back to me when you can come up with a few.

In conclusion, I would highly suggest getting the 2010 Deluxe Edition remaster, which also includes the rousing orchestral "Sweet Dream", the only rock hit in 5/4 time "Living in the Past", and an excellent recording of the wild and wooly 1970 Carnegie Hall concert of which only a snippet appeared on the 1973 compilation album "Living in the Past".

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 A Passion Play  by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1043 ratings

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A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars ''Thick as a brick'' became an instant seller for Jethro Tull, even reaching the number 1 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart.It was a great chance for the band to attract the US audience and later in the year the compilation album ''Living in the past'' was released, containing remixed singles, B-sides and outtakes from the band's old repertoire.Jethro Tull moved to France to avoid the increased taxes in the islands and started working on their next album at the Chateau d'Herouville Studios near Paris.They were so dissapointed by the upcoming result, that they decided to relocate in UK and start the whole thing over, visiting the Morgan Studios in London in December 1972.The album was recorded in two different periods and in July 1973 Chrysalis released it under the title ''A passion play''.This work dealt with afterlife through a character named Ronnie Pilgrim and starts with the man attending his own funeral as a ghost-like shade.

Jethro Tull used the same receipt as on the very succesful ''Thick as a brick'', two sidelong pieces, completing one long suite, clocking at over 45 minutes.The first act is definitely one of the most stunning epics in the history of Progressive Rock.While the folky touches are still among the lines of the band, this piece shows Jethro Tull at their very best and most progressive form, reminiscent of the British Symphonic Rock bands of the 70's.Not loosing their strong identity even by an inch, they proposed a complex Progressive Rock with symphonic structures and countless tempo changes, propelled by Anderson's poetic and emphatic voice and his fantastic performance on sax and flute with a tireless John Evan alternating between jazzy piano moves and elaborate organ washes.Their sound was now reminiscent of YES and GENTLE GIANT, containing Classical interludes, symphonic instrumental parts and superb interplays between flute, guitar and keyboards.What more can I say, this is a flawless gem by any means.The second act deals with Ronnie Pilgrim's adventures, after visiting Heaven and Hell, and borrowed elements from Theater Music, Comedy and musicals.With narrations and story-telling lines among the usual instrumental density, this is a bit different from the opening piece, recalling more of a show than a piece recorded for a regular album, more particularly at the opening minutes.The rest is solid Progressive Rock with lots of flute, organ and sharp guitar, sounding a bit jazzier than the introductive act, but offering plenty of intricate moments, filled with interactions, solos and atmospheric themes.Moreover it appears to be more of a vocal-driven structure, but the musical background is always strong and professional, now Evan adds some great synths in the process and the result remains consistent and pompous.

A highlight in Jethro Tull's discography.People were not used to this side of Jethro Tull, but the result is an almost masterful album with superb arrangements, complex ideas and still some incredibly polished melodies and moods.Highly recommended.

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 Stand Up by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 870 ratings

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Stand Up
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars After the wrestling match between the band's original guitarist Mick Abrahams and Ian Anderson over musical direction, the winner as we all know was Ian Anderson who would from this album on steer JETHRO TULL into his own personal vision of band development leaving behind the full on blues rock and going more in a folk rock direction. This second album STAND UP is the transitional album that still retains a bunch of blues but the dominant sound here is in the folk realm. The original LP version opened up like a children's pop-up book and the whole band would stand up when you opened the album. Unfortunately my CD has no such accoutrements but it is remastered from the original recordings and even has a few bonus tracks.

This was one of my first TULL albums so I have a strong affection for this one, but despite that it holds up quite well in the melody department. This album may not be the album that rocks the most, is the most progressive, is the cleverest or any particular quality that makes it STAND UP and out amongst the future releases but it does offer one outstandingly beautiful song after another. Each track is the perfect blues rock and folk rock blend and this is the album where Ian Anderson's flute really starts to fit in with the song structure in a flawless way. His vocals are perfect for this kind of music. I really love every track on here but I particularly love the Bach turned TULL instrumental "Bouree," the space folk rockers "Back To The Family" and "Nothing Is Easy" and the lugubrious tone of "Look Into The Sun" where Ian seems to be lamenting the end of the hippie era and realization that the world is a more complicated affair where darkness abounds and sadness ensues. A great album and the first true TULL album after the debut oddball.

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 Crest Of A Knave by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.23 | 405 ratings

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Crest Of A Knave
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by TCat

4 stars I still stand by my statement that every Jethro Tull album has at least one essential track on it. Some more than others, it's true, but I can name at least one essential track on every one of their albums. Crest of a Knave is no exception, in fact, it has 5 essential tracks and 5 others that are still great. That is better than most of the Tull albums released around this time. To me, this is the perfect "entry level" JT album as it has a good representation of the bands music and it is easily likable. So what if it's not one of their essential albums, it is still one that I enjoy every time I listen to it.

The rock is a bit more straightforward on the faster songs. There are even a few acoustic-driven tracks (namely the Dire Straits influenced "Said She Was a Dancer" and the 10+ minute "Budapest", 2 of the best JT tracks ever). "Farm on the Freeway" and "Mountain Men" are both prog based mid to fast tempo songs. From there you have some more hard-rock centered songs, but they are not as washed out as the rock songs on "Catfish Rising" in my opinion, I think they are great quality hard rock songs. There are a few weaker ones like "Dogs in the Midwinter" which has too much synthesizer on it that cheapens and dates the album and "Part of the Machine" which sounds so much like "Farm on the Freeway" that you'd think it was a copy, but if you get the original vinyl, these songs aren't even on the track listing, which I think the album flows much better without these tracks anyway.

This is a decent JT release and if you are debating which one to get to best represent the late 80s/early 90s releases for JT, then this is the one you should get. For my money, it's the best representative for that period of time with enough great music to leave a great impression on you and also proves that JT still had some great songs in their heads. Not a masterpiece as a whole, but it has some masterpieces on it, so it's still an excellent addition to your collection. 4 stars.

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 Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 by JETHRO TULL album cover Live, 2004
4.13 | 110 ratings

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Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Isle of Wight festival was held in late August, 1970 with plenty of heavyweights taking the stage including JIMI HENDRIX, MILES DAVIS, THE WHO, THE DOORS, ELP and many more. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded this island no doubt wanting to experience what they had heard about the year before in America at Woodstock. JETHRO TULL at this point had released three albums and were a hard rocking Blues band on the cusp of being known world- wide the following year with the 1971 release of "Aqualung" that many including myself believe would be their best album when it is all said and done.

The band here come across as being very confident and relaxed, no doubt a seasoned live band who could "rock" with the best of them. Ian Anderson is very engaging, charming and humerous as he talks to the audience between songs. Some feel 1978's "Bursting Out" is their best live album but I prefer the rougher, edgier in your face TULL where it's anything but smooth or without it's warts. It's hard to believe this wasn't released until 2004, this is a real find for me. I have to quote some of Anderson's words as the band prepares to play in front of this massive crowd. He says "We're going to do some old songs, some new songs and one or two we've never played before it seems. The first one is a really old one, i've forgotten this one I think." "They're really excited" he exclaims to his band-mates(haha).

"My Sunday Feeling" is an older track from their debut album "This Was". This is a hard rocking tune with the flute and drums standing out. Check out the guitar before 3 minutes. Barre really impresses throughout this show. "My God" was from the forth-coming record "Aqualung" so this was new to even TULL fans here. It opens with intricate guitar and part way through Anderson says "This is actually the beginning". Funny stuff. This along with "Dharma For One" are my two favourite tracks on here. It kicks into gear hard at 2 minutes and the contrasts between the beauty and angst is priceless. Ripping guitar followed by flute and some killer drum work. A flute solo follows including some avant flute and vocal sounds. An incredible performance. "With You There To Help Me" from the "Benefit" record is up next. Beautiful piano and flute melodies to start as the vocals join in. It turns fuller before 2 minutes as contrasts continue. A change 4 minutes in as we get a calm with piano only. Flute joins in around 5 1/2 minutes as they seem to improvise until it kicks back in at 9 minutes.

"To Cry You A Song" from "Benefit" has a very cool guitar melody throughout. Vocals come and go as does the ripping guitar. Great tune. "Bouree" from "Stand Up" is the most laid back tune overall i'd say but check out the bass solo after 2 minutes. The flute and bass work so well together on this one. "Dharma For One" from "This Was" like most of these tracks surpasses the studio versions. Hey we get some organ in this one to start and it turns heavy before a minute as the vocals join in. The vocals and heaviness are the highlights for me. More organ after 3 minutes and a drum solo after 6 minutes to almost the 9 minute mark. "Nothing Is Easy" from "Stand Up" is a good hard rocking song with vocals. Organ as well and man these guys could make some noise. It ends with a medley of "We Used To Know" and "For A Thousand Mothers" both from "Stand Up". The first starts off with a feel-good mood including vocals and then we get a heavy instrumental section 2 minutes in. Barre is almost Iommi-like before 3 minutes to end the first part of the medley. The second section is drum and guitar driven for the most part and both impress big time.

What a show these guys put on! No doubt they gained a lot of fans that day who would eat up their next album "Aqualung". A must-have live album for TULL fans.

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 Catfish Rising by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1991
2.59 | 294 ratings

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Catfish Rising
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by TCat

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.

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 The Broadsword And The Beast by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.27 | 462 ratings

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The Broadsword And The Beast
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by TCat

3 stars Ian Anderson said of this album that it has some of the best JT songs. I think that each JT album contains some of JT's best songs, yes even 'A'. The title was originally going to be "Beastie", then the band thought "Broadsword" was a better title. They couldn't agree so they ended up meeting in the middle and called it "The Broadsword and the Beast" and named side 1 "Beastie" and side 2 "Broadsword". The new synth sounds are still carried over from the 'A' album, but they don't seem as synth-centered as the songs on that album to me anyway. So, everyone wins, right......well not exactly.

This is a "good" album but this is not their best because I feel the Tull-Proggy Folk sound is starting to feel a little samey at this point. Except for a few high points like the excellent "Broadsword", the proggy "Seal Driver" and the nice "Slow Marching Band', this album seems to fall into a rut of sameness. I still have hopes for some of the songs on here, that maybe a few more of them will eventually pierce my brain, but as of now, the other songs just aren't memorable.

The bonus tracks that were added were all recorded around the same time and come from the same sessions, but, except for maybe "Jack-A-Lynn" and "Down at the End of Your Road", the only thing they add is more monotony.

Singularly, maybe more of these songs would stand out a little more, but together they simply make an album of songs that for the most part sound too much the same.

Good album....yes. Essential....no. 3 stars.

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 A by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.20 | 413 ratings

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A
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by 3almost46yea

5 stars During a span of three decades I have read so many bad reviews about this Jethro Tull album, and after so many years I can only say that those reviews are actually bad, not the album itself.

I remember hearing this masterpiece for the first time, and the only two tracks I could remember in the days after were Fylingdale Flyer and Black Sunday, the rest of the album did not make a greater impact on the first two or three listenings and I was thinking at time "hmmm...ok, this was strange experiment with the unknown territories, bring me the JT classics now." But as it's always the case, quality is surely finding it's way to the ears, so in the following months I noticed that I keep coming for the dose of A on a regular daily basis.

There is something very special in the way this album is produced and played (my only notice is that in Uniform bass line should have been mixed a little bit lower, and in Crossfire those funny synths blops during chorus are completely useless, but there is no perfect album anyway...), musical and technical variety heard on this work are in my simple opinion, the best pieces of music ever recorded in 1980's.

This album had a great luck in the very unlucky situation, and that is the fact that after the disastrous decision of mr. Anderson to fire the best musicians he could be with in the 70's under the Jethro Tull hat, he again somehow managed to find best of the best, especially naming Eddie Jobson and his maestrous "additional material" paired together with his marvelous musicianship skills that can be heard trought all of the album. The truth is that without Eddie in place of both David Palmer and John Evans, as well as Mark Craney on drums, this would be a true disaster on the same level as mr. Andersons true solo album - Walk into the Light and reprise of disaster heard on Under Wraps, thankfully that was not meant to happen in 1980.

Martins signature Electric Guitars (the true reason I started listening Jethro Tull) are really shining trought the whole of the record with spot on correspondance with the mood and themes in songs, while mr. Anderson's voice really hammers everything written for this ocasion. Sadly, it was the last time in his carrier that we have heard real mr. Anderson and his mighty voice on any album, he thankfully still sounds very good on the Broadsword, but it's already a two or three steps below the quality heard on A and all other previous JT records. As I said earlier, Eddie Jobson altought featured just like a guest musician here, had almost impossible task of providing the true replacement for both David Palmer and John Evans. In reality, there is no true replacement for those two, but he actually DID IT on a much different scale, giving the new energy and sound to the Jethro Tull of 1980's (violins are nailing it down a big time!), while Mark Craney on drums maybe - just maybe, did the best ever job on any Jethro Tull album, an also almost impossible task besides maestral legacy of Barriemore Barlow - techniques on The Pine Marten's Jig, Protect and Survice, Black Sunday and Uniform are just madly perfect. The strange link is surely Dave Pegg which I'm sure did the best he could, but with a huge gap between John Glascock and especially Jefrey Hammond Hammond who was in my opinion the best bass player.

This album surely needs time to really get into the ears, but as the time goes on I consider it to be one of the best Jethro Tull efforts up to date.

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 A Passion Play  by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1043 ratings

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A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by branchranch

4 stars So here it is. The Jethro Tull album everybody loves to hate.

It's a shame this album followed the ground-breaking Thick As A Brick. I think everyone knew at the time that TAAB was a great record, but I don't think they realized what a masterpiece it was. It takes time for that sort of thing to sink in.

So here comes A Passion Play. Unquestionably weaker than TAAB, and with a very similar structure. Plus it had that "stupid" story right in the middle. It was even split between sides of the LP, so you couldn't avoid it very easily. So, the critics lambasted the record, and it became the laughing stock of the Tull catalog.

What a shame. The record is really quite good.

It's not as good as Thick as a Brick. But, come on, people, look at the ProgArchives chart of the all-time greatest prog recordings. Nothing is.

Here are the arguments against A Passion Play: No direction - I agree, but only partially. The music is pieced together and doesn't flow well - Agreed, but much of the music is excellent. And there are plenty of prog albums with poor transitions. The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles is a detraction - Strongly agree.

But I find a lot to like in this album. The concept is unassailable, even if it was only partially realized. Even if the album has more than its share of filler, the remaining tunes are outstanding! There is some of the best stuff Jethro Tull ever recorded on this album. And you get Ian Anderson's lyrics.

If this album was released by anyone else other than JT after TAAB, it would have been received much more warmly. It's no masterpiece, but IMHO a very fine example of early 70s prog.

Rating: 4.15, rounded down to 4.

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