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JETHRO TULL

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Jethro Tull biography
Founded in Blackpool, UK in 1967 - Hiatus from 2012-2016


"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 d...
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This Was (50th Anniversary Edition)(3CD/1DVD)This Was (50th Anniversary Edition)(3CD/1DVD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2018
$26.26
$31.00 (used)
50 For 50 (3CD)50 For 50 (3CD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2018
$15.85
$16.12 (used)
Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)(180 Gram Vinyl)Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)(180 Gram Vinyl)
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
$19.12
$10.81 (used)
Thick As A BrickThick As A Brick
Parlophone 1998
$8.58
$4.71 (used)
Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition)(3CD/2DVD)Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition)(3CD/2DVD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2018
$35.77
$51.43 (used)
Aqualung 40th AnniversaryAqualung 40th Anniversary
Parlophone 2011
$14.12
$12.16 (used)
The Very Best of Jethro TullThe Very Best of Jethro Tull
Parlophone 2001
$5.71
$1.53 (used)
Jethro Tull - Original Album SeriesJethro Tull - Original Album Series
Box set
Rhino/Parlophone 2014
$13.39
$14.88 (used)
Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
$7.57
$10.00 (used)
Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix) [Deluxe Edition]Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix) [Deluxe Edition]
Rhino/Parlophone 2018
$24.97
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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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 | 786 ratings
This Was
1968
4.05 | 1169 ratings
Stand Up
1969
3.91 | 983 ratings
Benefit
1970
4.34 | 2443 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.63 | 3107 ratings
Thick As A Brick
1972
4.02 | 1368 ratings
A Passion Play
1973
3.33 | 778 ratings
War Child
1974
4.03 | 1129 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery
1975
3.09 | 719 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
1976
4.18 | 1336 ratings
Songs From The Wood
1977
4.03 | 1096 ratings
Heavy Horses
1978
3.48 | 695 ratings
Stormwatch
1979
3.20 | 576 ratings
A
1980
3.28 | 622 ratings
The Broadsword And The Beast
1982
2.23 | 495 ratings
Under Wraps
1984
3.00 | 146 ratings
A Classic Case
1985
3.22 | 552 ratings
Crest Of A Knave
1987
2.69 | 436 ratings
Rock Island
1989
2.59 | 406 ratings
Catfish Rising
1991
3.63 | 487 ratings
Roots To Branches
1995
3.02 | 408 ratings
J-Tull Dot Com
1999
3.50 | 386 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
2003

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

4.18 | 393 ratings
Live - Bursting Out
1978
2.89 | 53 ratings
Live At Hammersmith '84
1990
3.65 | 173 ratings
A Little Light Music
1992
3.05 | 46 ratings
In Concert
1995
3.64 | 118 ratings
Living With The Past
2002
4.15 | 154 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2004
3.46 | 97 ratings
Aqualung Live
2005
3.76 | 85 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
4.27 | 22 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall 1970
2015

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

3.85 | 51 ratings
Slipstream (DVD)
1981
3.78 | 41 ratings
20 Years of Jethro Tull (VHS)
1988
3.45 | 81 ratings
Living With the Past
2002
3.04 | 51 ratings
A New Day Yesterday - The 25th Anniversary Collection
2003
3.85 | 91 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2005
2.94 | 66 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
4.00 | 21 ratings
Slipstream (9 song version)
2007
4.37 | 27 ratings
Classic Artists Series: Jethro Tull
2008
3.30 | 29 ratings
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany
2008
3.64 | 23 ratings
Songs From Bethlehem
2008
4.35 | 101 ratings
Live At Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD + CD)
2009
3.79 | 34 ratings
Live at AVO Session Basel 2008
2009
4.56 | 32 ratings
Around the World Live (4DVD)
2013

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

4.13 | 307 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.09 | 74 ratings
M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull
1976
3.16 | 51 ratings
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II
1977
3.25 | 74 ratings
Original Masters
1985
3.62 | 82 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box
1988
4.54 | 81 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (The Definitive Collection)
1988
3.73 | 51 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (USA release)
1989
3.64 | 156 ratings
Nightcap
1993
3.81 | 49 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection
1993
4.42 | 77 ratings
25th Anniversary Box Set
1993
2.61 | 26 ratings
A Jethro Tull Collection
1997
1.51 | 30 ratings
Through The Years
1997
3.00 | 70 ratings
The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
2001
2.50 | 15 ratings
Essential Jethro Tull
2007
3.39 | 52 ratings
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull
2007
3.79 | 44 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas At St Bride's 2008
2009
4.70 | 50 ratings
Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2011
4.86 | 74 ratings
Thick As A Brick - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
2012
4.90 | 61 ratings
A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
2014
4.61 | 41 ratings
War Child - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition
2014
4.84 | 41 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery - 40th Anniversary: La Grande Edition
2015
4.65 | 17 ratings
Too Old To Rock'n'Roll: Too Young To Die - The TV Special Edition
2015
4.95 | 30 ratings
Songs From The Wood - 40th Anniversary Edition - The Country Set
2017
3.00 | 5 ratings
50 For 50
2018
1.50 | 2 ratings
50th Anniversary Collection
2018

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

3.80 | 15 ratings
Love Story
1968
4.09 | 22 ratings
A Song For Jeffrey
1968
2.71 | 18 ratings
Sunshine Day
1968
4.11 | 26 ratings
Sweet Dream / 17
1969
4.11 | 19 ratings
The Witch's Promise
1969
4.63 | 28 ratings
Living In The Past
1969
3.81 | 16 ratings
Inside
1970
4.65 | 34 ratings
Life Is A Long Song
1971
4.13 | 16 ratings
Hymn 43
1971
4.41 | 22 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.00 | 2 ratings
Locomotive Breath
1971
4.18 | 28 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.54 | 24 ratings
Bungle In The Jungle
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Minstrel in the Gallery / Summerday Sands
1975
3.17 | 25 ratings
Ring Out, Solstice Bells
1976
3.50 | 4 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll; Too Young To Die
1976
4.24 | 25 ratings
The Whistler
1977
3.67 | 6 ratings
A Stitch In Time
1978
4.07 | 26 ratings
Moths
1978
3.67 | 6 ratings
Warm Sporran
1979
2.70 | 18 ratings
North Sea Oil
1979
4.53 | 19 ratings
Home E.P.
1979
3.20 | 21 ratings
Working John, Working Joe
1980
3.28 | 21 ratings
Fallen On Hard Times
1982
3.40 | 20 ratings
Broadsword
1982
3.05 | 20 ratings
Lap Of Luxury
1984
4.50 | 2 ratings
Bourrée
1985
3.92 | 13 ratings
Coronach
1986
3.77 | 13 ratings
Said She Was A Dancer 12''
1987
3.60 | 15 ratings
Steel Monkey 12''
1987
5.00 | 2 ratings
Part Of The Machine
1988
3.74 | 18 ratings
Another Christmas Song
1989
3.58 | 17 ratings
This Is Not Love
1991
3.84 | 16 ratings
Rocks On The Road
1991
3.00 | 14 ratings
Living in the (Slightly More Recent) Past / Living in the Past
1993
2.67 | 18 ratings
Rare And Precious Chain
1995
3.29 | 17 ratings
Bends Like A Willow
1999
3.22 | 9 ratings
The Christmas EP
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Living in the Past
2013

JETHRO TULL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stand Up by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.05 | 1169 ratings

BUY
Stand Up
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

4 stars The keyword here: Excitement.

Mick Abrahams left the band in late 1968. Jethro Tull tried new guitarists, one of them being Tony Iommi a.k.a. Hand of Doom. For some reason it didn't work out, I believe Tony wanted to roll out with his silly hard rock group from Birmingham named Earth. To each his own. In late December Jethro finally found axeman of the future, Martin Lancelot Barre, and he decided to stick around for forty-something years. Good for him, good for Tull fans (and good for Earth). The new era started and nothing was ever the same.

Or maybe the new era started because Ian Anderson took over?

On "This Was", the band's direction was dependent on Mick Abrahams blues-heavy style and American influences. Ian was the leader, Ian was the frontman, BUT he wasn't the sole composer. Once Abrahams left and formed Blodwyn Pig, Anderson's creativity was unleashed and Jethro Tull's style started to blossom. "Stand Up" ingeniously displays how diverse his ideas really are - blues, hard rock, folk, classical/chamber music, historicism, ballads, traces of middle ages, renaissance and baroque... as well as sprouts of progressive rock.

"A New Day Yesterday" kicks off where "This Was" signed off. Ballsy, heavy blues rock with formidable drums and tasty harmonica licks. Bass guitar is pounding, Ian's vocals are cool and laid back, flute solo grabs attention. Solid starter, a worthy successor to "A Song for Jeffrey". Speaking of Jeff, the next song "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square" brings sweet tones of clean channel with tad of chorus, tasty percussions (is it vibraphone and bongos? I can't tell, but it works fine) and positive feelings. Let's put a smile on that face!

And then we have "Bouree". Much has been said about this one, most fans see it as a perfect mix of Johann Sebastian Bach (Sonata in E minor, fifth movement, BWV 996) and rock music. What I like here, personally, is the utmost respect of Jethro Tull for The Master. You can hear it in simplicity and honesty of this fine arrangement - clean chords, gentle rhythm section and worthy flute performance (much improved from the debut) stay true to the spirit of original composition. There is a jazzy section in the middle, but it never spoils the atmosphere, blending seamlessly into Baroque form. That's what I like about best covers - they celebrate original authors AND introduce new ideas/attitude at the same time.

I think "Back to the Family", "Nothing is Easy" and "For a Thousand Mothers" form the backbone of the album. Brazen blues closing in rapidly on hard rock territories, rabid drumming and savage flute melodies - almost riffs once you take the impact - work each and every time, especially when the group is so excited and eager to play. And all three develop in quite different ways. "Back to the Family" starts modestly, but at 1:00 minute mark someone fires the gun and the band is let loose. "Nothing is Easy" time and time again goes solo, be it Barre, Anderson and even Bunker (for a brief moment), culminating with brittle, old school rock'n'roll outro. And if you're a fan of explosive codas, nothing really matches "For a Thousand Mothers" with its ballistic flute reprise and busy drumming. It's like you were leaving the alehouse at 3:00 AM and seconds later, the doors flung open, with all your folks, minstrels and jugglers inviting you to party some more!

The other side of the coin are more folksy, intricate, often softer tunes. "Look into the Sun" and "We Used to Know" are a couple of charming, almost romantic ballads (not all love songs are considered romantic by this here reviewer). The latter treads the well known path of nasal, passionate soloing on top of acoustic guitar tireless strumming, quite similar to Neil Young's output of the time. The former is more peaceful and rural. Mental image: sunny, frosty morning in mid-January, you go out of log cabin and cheer at your hounds playing in the snow, with a cup full of favorite beverage.

"Reasons for Waiting" evokes winter as well, and does it in fantastic fashion. Acoustic parts are top notch, flutes and Hammonds create oneiric undertones, Ian's really at his best. In the middle of the song we're treated with delightful string arrangements, courtesy of David Palmer. With that set of instruments, it's easy to fall in a trap, ending up with a sugary, pointless song - but this is not the case.

Almost forgot about "Fat Man"! That is another rustic tune, full of mandolins, balalaikas, jolly vocals and primal drums (don't ask, I'm no expert!). Lovers of "Songs from the Wood" will feel at home here; the composition isn't as advanced, perhaps, but definitely gives off similar vibes. Even more proof that "Stand Up" isn't a one trick pony.

Jethro Tull was full of ideas at the time. They matured considerably since "This Was" and the result was a melting pot of influences and musical genres. While no song in itself is wholly progressive in a "Roundabout" or "Fracture" manner, the band was already on a right track. "Stand Up" is varied, accessible, and outright fun - and makes me feel like joining a band of highwaymen: having good laugh, robbing the rich, sharing with the poor!

Well, occasionally. Embroidered jackets aren't cheap, folks.

Four stars easily, 4.5 really.

 Benefit by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.91 | 983 ratings

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Benefit
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

4 stars There is a tendency to underrate LPs sandwiched between two landmark, universally acclaimed albums. The most jarring example - as far as I'm concerned - is Deep Purple's "Fireball", often forgotten classic of Mark II lineup, mostly because it happened after "In Rock" (a truly groundbreaking affair) and was followed with "Machine Head" (no introduction is needed). "Fireball" contains lots of goodies as well, but they quickly disappeared from concert setlists, being replaced with "Lazy", "Space Truckin'", "Highway Star" and other hits.

"Benefit" suffers a similar fate, to a lesser degree.

Everyone and their mother loves accessibility, variety and fresh arrangements of "Stand Up", and I can see why. Then we have "Aqualung", album so good (and popular) that even casuals give it a spin on the regular. But "Benefit" is much darker. "Benefit" gets rid of the flute, in large part. "Benefit" comes forward with crunchy guitars, cloudy lyrics, stormy vocals and a pinch of psychedelia. And for some reason it's not clicking with all fans.

Or maybe there is no beef with the esthetics, but rather quality of particular songs?

I must admit some pieces aren't really 5-star material. But as I understand five stars on Progarchives - that should be reserved for uncanny masterpieces, music so good it gives you goosebumps and makes you wonder how a bunch of 20-year olds came up with such a marvel. "Benefit" has those moments, too, but often it's just a Very Good stuff. And neither "very good" or "great" are enough for the promised land of five star ratings.

There isn't much room for improvement though. "To Cry You a Song" has one of the hookiest riffs in Jethro's catalogue, prominent bassline and Ian's youthful, belligerent delivery. Bridge at 1:45 could pass as "Aqualung" sessions material, the same could be said about guitarwork at 4:00 minute mark - decent stuff, no doubts. But I think this particular song would benefit (heh) from cutting off the last minute and introducing edgier, more meaty distortion. When it comes to guitar sound, I think Martin could've done a better job on "Son", which is a bit fuzzy and incoherent. But I like how it changes moods from Cream-inspired, brash rocking to dreamy acoustic madrigal in the vein of George Harrison.

I consider these two songs the album's lowpoints. And they're still good. "Benefit" has a very high floor, let me tell you.

I delved into Ian's vocals before and must say I applaud how he sings with chagrin and a bit of angst. "With You There to Help Me" shifts back and forth between broody and rebellious vocal tones, beautifully enhancing the band's behind. Although it takes more than six minutes, I'm enjoying every second - the moody intro on piano, flute echoes (wandering somewhere in the woods, I feel), touches of acoustic guitar, intensifying hand clapping and escalating storm in coda - as if it was a rainmaking ritual. A terrific, progressive piece. "Nothing to Say" evokes similar moods - John Evan's inclusion works wonders, especially when the band's shooting for dramatic effect. Anderson's wailing fits like a glove here.

Don't get me wrong, "Benefit" isn't all doom and gloom. "Alive and Well and Living In" is more upbeat, utilising flutes in small doses, just to give it more carefree, airy attitude. If I were to find a comparison, I'd say this one sounds just like the woody album cover, instrumental outro at 1:50 in particular. So tasteful and relaxing. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" ends the 'Jeffrey Trilogy' on a joyful note, at least once the main theme kicks in. One of those tunes staying in your head all day long.

In my opinion "Benefit" truly shines on B side. "A Time for Everything" is so ballsy yet romantic, the flute sounds triumphant and very inspiring - I could listen to it twice in a row and stay pumped up. "Inside" is another short, but fantastic tune with great doses of "feelgood", enough to share with whole neighborhood. That's what Jethro Tull does to you with flowery arrangements and catchy melodies, cheers you up for good!

"Play in Time" might just be my favorite song here, starting with tight, bluesy riffing, but quickly branching into psychedelia with twisted tape loops from the Wonderland ("Tomorrow Never Knows" breed) and Mad Hatter fluting his brains off. Spiritual antecedent of "A Passion Play", if you will. Looking for analogies, "Sossity You're a Woman" is an acoustic ballad with emphatic storytelling and ardent, folksy chorus sung by an antihero... much like "My God" and parts of "Minstrel in the Gallery". Another win, in my book.

I think "Benefit" was a necessary stepping stone towards prog rock of the seventies. While it doesn't have the epic scope of "Thick as a Brick" or mind-boggling variety of "Aqualung", it introduces more advanced composition and changing moods within a song. Perhaps Jethro Tull wanted to prove they can write accomplished music without aid of mandolins and balalaika "trickery"? Anyhow, the band should be applauded for progressive approach, especially that recording sessions began in September 1969, even before ITCOTCK was released. There is no weak song here, and some of its highlights are ridiculously good (opener and B side come to mind). Plenty to choose from really, and I don't mind the darker mood at all - nobody bashes "Minstrel in the Gallery" or "Stormwatch" for ominous atmosphere, and "Benefit" was clearly a forefather of sombre ambience.

Even if we exclude "Teacher", "The Witch's Promise" and other bonus tracks - ALL of them brilliant - we have a surefire 4 star album here. Four and a half, on a good day. Jethro Tull was alive and well and getting ready for a masterpiece, and this album paves the way in a convincing fashion.

 War Child by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.33 | 778 ratings

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War Child
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Jethro Tull has been and will (most likely) forever be a favorite band of mine. From humble beginnings on "This was" with it's very blues rock approach they certainly developed over the coming years into something completely unique and excentric, thanks in no small part to the chieftain himself, Ian Anderson. The progression was swift and breathtaking. Moving across the full spectrum of music, drawing on classical, folk, jazz, hard rock they thusly took full control over the genre known as progressive rock. I dare say no other band sounded like them.

"Warchild" came right after two of progressive rocks finest achievements: "Thick as a brick" and "A passion play". In my book these two albums with sidelong suites are five stars and utterly brilliant. The problem with "Warchild", as I see it, is not the musical content but the albums it followed. The grave complexity of "A passion play" was left behind on this one which meant taking a different turn on the highway explored for the last few years. The music was instead made up of shorter tracks, a noticable accessability and lighter textures. This did not mean they abandoned the progressive genre or complexity, they simply smoothed it out a bit. The problems I had with the album, initially, was down to exactly the things previously mentioned. All of a sudden the overblown pomp and darkness of "A passion play", which seemed like the crowning achievement of Tull, was abandoned. My thirst for ever more mindblowing concept albums with loooong suites and themes seemed unsatisfied. It took me some time to come 'round.

For me "Warchild", nowadays, is just as brilliant as anything before or after. It is an album of a unique sound. True, the sidelong suits were gong but the complexity was not. Some tracks are easily digested but not less brilliant. The album holds many of the bands best tracks. In my book "Warchild" came to be a one-off in their discography. "Minstrel in the gallery" saw them returning to the elongated tracks in "Baker St. Muse" but also the highly complex in the title track. "Warchild" is a hard rocking, folky, raw and rough and witty album with quite a dose of frustrated energy (possibly due to the bad reviews "A passion play" received) that adds accordion to the procedings. They never sounded quite like this again. Anderson sings with power and gusto and the band delivers in spades.

The album had some sort of concept, so Ian Anderson hadn't quite abandoned that idea, but is more a collection of individual songs. If you don't know the concept it doesn't matter. You will enjoy it just the same. And as far as songs go I find it hard to pick out specific tracks. Despite the obvious or supposed lack of concept it holds together very well and acts as a tapestry where every motif adds to the whole experience. The air raid sirens of the title track (which opens the album) is simply genious and the song gives quite a good idea of what to expect. Slightly askew and intense it is a bit more stripped down than the sound on the previous album but that makes it all the more powerful. And yes, listen to "Queen and country". There's a song for you. Well, to be honest I could go through every song saying the same, "Listen to...", but that would be tiresome for everyone involved.

I love this album. I do. It is great and sees Jethro Tull swagger and rock out in a majestic haze of power. It's like they wanted to shut the critics up and deliver a massive blow to everyone that didn't get "A passion play". It may take some time to warm to this album if you, like me, listened to their discography from "This was", over "Stand up" and "Benefit" and so on but do not dismiss this album as a throwaway preceeding "Minstrel in the gallery", "Songs from the wood" and the brilliant "Heavy horses". Give it a go and open your ears to some truly magnificent music.

 This Was by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.31 | 786 ratings

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This Was
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

3 stars London in 1968 lived and breathed blues rock - John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds, all these groups were hip and Clapton was god. The biggest group in the pack, Cream, had already released two powerful albums and greatly influenced upcoming bands, paving the way for loud, guns blazing guitar music with extended solos and blues roots. So if you wanted to get recognition, you had to follow.

At least that's how Ian Anderson remembers the beginnings of Jethro Tull.

The band eanred public's attention at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in August 1968 and the album quickly followed. Ian felt they needed Mick Abrahams' experience and guitar skills to form a reliable foundation, while Anderson's flute playing (first year with the instrument) gave the group another dimension and let them stand out. This approach proved to be good enough to reach no. 10 on the charts.

"My Sunday Feeling" opens with prominent flute, emphatic vocals and Mick's crunchy guitar chops. I wouldn't necessarily call it a smash hit, but rather a promising band executing well-known formula - a positive, charming effort. "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You" seems to be even more Delta-inspired, with very quiet, minimalistic performance of tender guitar and harmonica, plus two guys bemoaning the imminent break-up.

"It's Breaking Me Up", although an original song, sounds just like any other straightforward blues of the era (Canned Heat, Savoy Brown etc.). Not that it's unenjoyable - relaxed atmosphere, quite potent harmonica-guitar duels and groovy drums all have its charm. Same applies to "Serenade of a Cuckoo", jazzy cover of Roland Kirk's classic, beautifully incorporating Ian's skills with the flute. Not the stuff I would be searching for myself, but on a Jethro Tull debut they sound kind of fresh and pleasing, especially that Mick Abrahams does a great job on both. I wouldn't be surprised if his skills surpassed Martin Barre's at the time.

"Move on Alone" and "Round" are too short to make or break the album, but they contribute largely to its appeal - the former with sweet orchestral arrangements and French horn, the latter with feel-good jazzy piano. At times I sense the Cream inspiration on these, but I'm not sure why.

Speaking of Cream, "Cat's Squirrel" was a popular tune back in the day and I'm glad Jethros came forward with their version. It's certainly one of the strongest points of "This Was" - we finally experience fat, distorted humbucker sound, fast tempos and Bunker blasting away. Most of Mick's soloing is apt and interesting, so we never miss Ian's voice on this one. "Dharma for One" is another potent instrumental, but this time the flute - and so-called claghorn - lead the way, right until Clive Bunker takes the rule and surprises with dope drum solo. And yes, this one is listenable!

For some reason I skipped "Beggar's Farm" - maybe the only song co-authored by Anderson & Abrahams, apparently mixing styles of the two. In its core it's a moody blues rock tune about a cheating girl, at first tender and hypnotic, but later building up in a clever way, culminating in a brilliant instrumental bridge between 2:50 and 3:40. I really like this one for showcasing all bandmates at once.

And then we have everyone's favorite song of the year, "A Song for Jeffrey"! That tune is catchier than anything you've heard before, well, at least on "This Was"! Groovy harmonica, badass guitar slides and fuzzy vocals from fuzzy radio work fantastically, and I just adore the break in the middle, so youthful and pleasant. These guys might be something, you know.

The band was clearly searching for its sound at the time, but results were promising. Even though I don't listen to blues rock often, I can tell Jethro Tull's debut was competent and enjoyable, of course if you're willing to expand beyond progressive folk they were known for later. Cool guitar chords, impressive drumming and flute's prominence are all important, but cheerful atmosphere is the most appealing factor in "This Was" formula. I'd say it ranks perfectly in the middle when compared to other debut albums - far from "Led Zeppelin I" grandeur, but also incomparably better than "From Genesis to Revelation". Three stars, well earned.

I advise you to get Remaster version including 1968 singles or "Living in the Past" compilation to fully appreciate early Jethro Tull - "Love Story" and "Christmas Song" are mandatory listens.

 The Broadsword And The Beast by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.28 | 622 ratings

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The Broadsword And The Beast
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

3 stars I've already reviewed all Jethro Tull albums from 1980s - but this one. I really like saving the good stuff for dessert and I firmly consider "The Broadsword and the Beast" the most consistent offering of the era. While "Under Wraps" utilises new, fancy keyboards as foundation of its sound, and "A" uses them to achieve more experimental, cosmic/jazzy style, "The Broadsword..." heads in a much different, catchier direction.

"Beastie" boasts heavy, recognizable guitar riffs and strong basslines. Dave Pegg isn't just another peg in the wheel (sorry for the pun) - I feel this midtempo rocker is revolving around his ballsy guitar thumping. Synthesizers are featured heavily in the intro and bring a nightmare-like ambience from outer dimensions. It's even more evident in the next track - "Clasp" intro could be the most haunting moment of the album, maybe like a darker version of Jan Hammer stuff. That buildup contrasts wildly with feel-good, almost poppy nature of the song. Somehow they managed to marry romantic vocals and Miami Vice atmosphere with folk extravaganza from previous era. Very effective combination!

"Fallen on Hard Times" follows with marching rhythm, brave vocal harmonies, inventive guitar slides and fitting synthesizer accents. At this point we all realize that Peter Vettese playing works very well IF you let him rule the background, instead of dominating all registers. He also delivers apt piano foundation, as evidenced in "Flying Colours" intro. After that first verse the track morphs into another high-powered, sexy pop-rock anthem of the 80s. I wonder if it received radio airplay - as soon as chorus arrived I wanted to buy white hi-tops and spandex apparel for my GF. It might be too progressive later on to fit the scheme though.

Side A ends with "Slow Marching Band", sentimental folky song reminiscent of "Auld Lang Syne" and times we've never seen, but remember. It would fit seamlessly on "Stormwatch" I feel. No, I'm not sad.

"Broadsword" anticipates "Braveheart" movie, at least that's the vibe I get. Slow, firm, but proudly rocking. Or maybe there is William Blake's "Jerusalem" influence in the lyrics? Not sure. This song shoots for epic feel and almost succeeds - the first time I'm a bit skeptic during this review. Still a decent one. "Pussy Willow" shakes off uncertainty - I enjoy its eerie buildup with pan flutes very much. I just wish they had taken more progressive direction later on. "Watching Me Watching You" is too close to filler quality though... There isn't much going on, other than scattered flute fills.

"Seal Driver" features more satisfying bass guitar and Hammeresque keyboards. By this point the listener knows what to expect - another cross of midtempo, heavy hitting rock and tasty synthesizers in small doses. Guitar solo at 2:20 is the strongest Barre moment of the album. Beautiful "Cheerio" leaves you longing for chilly winter or setting sails. Or both. Anyways, it's a sweet dainty melody, much like "Grace" in 1975. I wish it were longer.

"The Broadsword and the Beast" never reaches prog rock stratosphere, but what were you expecting? It's from 1982, for Christ's sake - times of Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, new wave weirdos and DMC DeLorean, six or seven years removed from golden era. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more entartaining and clever LP at the time, especially among prog rock giants (reformed King Crimson was an exception). I'm glad they cheated the world into listening to folk music with synthesizers. Even if not proggy, they are darn consistent and entertaining on this one, so I suggest you grab it and enjoy one of the last dope records of the band (not to mention an awesome album cover). Three stars easily.

PS. "The Broadsword and the Beast" tour must've been a blast, judging from live recordings on YouTube. Good material, even better form!

 Crest Of A Knave by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.22 | 552 ratings

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Crest Of A Knave
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

2 stars I've just realized most of my reviews pretty much agree with consensual opinions. In my view, post-Stormwatch albums are generally a bit weaker (in rare cases substantially). Even the lowest rated records have enjoyable moments though, which ultimately proves that Jethro Tull is a band of professionals. Heavy synthesizer use gives mixed results, aping Dire Straits is a lazy attempt to stay relevant, progressive rock is pretty much gone on 80s records. This is common knowledge now. Nevertheless I differ on one issue: it's hard to name "Crest of a Knave" a return to form, other than edging "Under Wraps" fiasco.

"Steel Monkey" introduces very subpar synths - almost annoying, really - in a hard rock formula of ZZ Top breed, I guess. Not sure about this comparison because I always avoided mindless, weary hard rocking of 1980s - you either do it convincingly ("Perfect Strangers" is a rare example) or switch to heavy/thrash metal. I hate that pseudomasculine riffing and fake bravado. "Farm on the Freeway" starts more gently, but I quickly realize we're dealing with another 80s guitar ballad-blabber without rhyme or reason. I can hardly sit through to the end - it's not an embarrassing song, but very dull and cheesy. Minus one point for senile guitar tone, it sounds like a Les Paul connected to a brown amplifier with tad of chorus and tons of boredom. Ceterum censeo - Mark Knopfler is a fraud among electric guitar "greats".

"Jump Start" is more organic and for that reason alone it ranks higher than aforementioned songs. Sure, it's still a bunch of safe ideas and too obvious guitar licks, but at least the acoustic part makes the job done. Please take notice of flute solo - maybe the best on the album. But then we have "She Said She Was a Dancer" - cringeworthy ballad featuring the cheapest keyboard sound possible. Do you remember how Zappa mocked romantic serenades of yesteryear on "Joe's Garage"? This time Jethro does it in the chorus, but takes it seriously. Now I know why this song eludes my mind when I think of "Crest of a Knave" - I always skipped it and advise you the same.

And now for some good stuff. "Dogs in the Midwinter" is both pretty and memorable, thanks to catchy intro, attractive flute melody and nice chorus - even if it's full of 'everlasting' drums and hairspray. Hard to call it 'progressive', but 'charming' is a fitting description. The song fades out with another unremarkable guitar solo - good call with cutting it short.

"Budapest" is the centrepiece and ranks above average as well. Disclaimer: I'm not interested in Ian's sexual adventures on tour AT ALL, so I just refuse to pay attention to the vocals. Let's focus on guitar arrangements instead: the acoustic licks and violin ornamentation work fantastically, and the sombre, low-key nature of the song reminds me of "Minstrel" days. Not that it's strong enough to make it then - studio outtakes from 1975 generally rank higher for me, but if you like that nocturnal atmosphere of Old Europe, "Budapest" will please you. Especially the extended instrumental part in the middle - I think it could save "Crest of a Knave" from 1 star rating singlehandedly.

"Mountain Men" is deeply entrenched in late 80s spirit, but this time musical themes behind it make up for that. Proud and steady lead guitar work echoes Iron Maiden slightly, Ian's voice is convincing despite its limitations. The middle section is my favorite 'daddy rock' part of the album. Organ/keyboard sounds are also more pleasing than usual - you can safely call it a winner.

"The Waking Edge" could use a crafty keyobardist though, it's just too simple and predictable. Fortunately Martin Barre comes forward with a pretty little solo and saves this ballad from mediocrity. The album concludes with "Raising Steam", basically copying cheesy formulas of "Steel Monkey". No thanks!

I don't recognize "Crest of a Knave's" superiority over "Rock Island", really. Sure, we have a run of decent songs between "Dogs..." and "Mountain Men", but they aren't necessarily better (or more numerous) than its successor highlights. Speaking of highlights, I really enjoy "European Legacy" or "Tundra" as well, but it doesn't prevent "Under Wraps" from getting one star rating. Applying the same logic here, "Crest of a Knave" deserves two stars (maybe 2.5, like "Rock Island") only because its lowlights are tedious, not outright embarrassing (save for "She Said She Was a Dancer").

Even if we counted "Part of the Machine" as a core part of the LP, "Crest..." remains an average recording marred with late 80s esthetics and trends. I give it a spin from time to time and enjoy half of its content, but same can be said about any other JT album. I recommend you giving it a chance if you're Jethro junkie - maybe you're more forgiving of ZZ Top/Dire Straits brand of rock.

 Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die! by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.09 | 719 ratings

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Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

3 stars "Too Old... Too Young" is famous for silly title, unconvincing story - albeit presented in a playful comic strip - and being sandwiched between two masterful albums. Although I largely agree with its critics, I'd argue it's well worth a listen, or even a closer look.

The album kicks off nicely with "Quizz Kid": groovy riffs, dope drums and youthful, witty vocals of Ian fit very well with violin arpeggios, orchestra hits and unexpected mellow bridge at 2:20. The promise is made! Guys carry the momentum forward with tasty "Crazed Institution". The piece builds as nicely as anything found on "War Child" or "A Passion Play" - notice the rhythm section, it's so crisp you'll start tapping your foot subconsciously! These two pieces set the stage perfectly and I'm craving for more.

"Salamander" features vintage acoustic guitars racing gleefully in a manner similar to "Cold Wind in Valhalla", although vocal lines are a bit bleak. Most of the song is instrumental and as soon as the flute enters, joyful atmosphere comes back. Unfortunately there is a string of less exciting tunes ahead, so buckle up.

"Taxi Grab" draws heavily from country music due to harmonica deployment and omnipresent guitar slides. The track isn't bad per se, but I tend to get bored somewhere in the middle, despite neat instrumental passage at two minute mark. "From a Deadbeat to an Old Greaser" is even more American in its core - a downtempo hymn of dusty wastelands, beautifully accentuated with moody, but brief saxophone solo. I think it would make a much better song with a tempo change in the second half - without one it falls a little short. "Bad-Eyed and Loveless" goes further south - minimalist and undercooked, it never serves anything else than storytelling (it's a concept album after all). "Big Dipper" ups the ante again - a lively, funny little song, slightly better than "Taxi Grab", but still underperforming. For me it always serves as a "wake up call" before the good stuff comes.

The title track, "Too Old to Rock'n'Roll: Too Young to Die!" quickly became fan favorite and you can easily see why. Melodies are superb, pianos sound just lovely, and the chorus is as charismatic as they come. One minute in and we already recognize the greatness - with these arrangements and brave vocal lines, this number could go on forever and always feel refreshing. I especially like the last part when the band goes a little crazy and cranks up tempo significantly - that's where female vocals appear and orchestra brings everything together. Great piece, definitely the best on the LP.

"Pied Piper" evokes atmosphere of troubadours, Olde English taverns and highway robberies (as if they ever occured simultaneously). Violin pizzicatos and precise rhythm section only reinforce this joyful mood. Simple but effective. If you're waiting for a proper summation, "The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)" brings back the lush arrangements of title track, but in a more reflective manner. With tender, almost romantic Ian's vocals and pretty (but obvious) melody, the song is soothing, almost oneiric - and granting us a sense of fulfillment.

To put things in perspective, "Too Old..." is a surprisingly good rock album for 1976, the year of punk rock arrival. It's held back a little by its concept - I suspect the clumsier pieces in the middle would be more interesting if not for demands of the story, closely following the monomyth formula. Once the hero struggles and goes down to nether world, the music becomes more iffy and desperately needs some air, only resurfacing during "Big Dipper". Other than these couple of mishaps, the music is solid, not far from "War Child" standards, and the title track almost reaches legendary levels. I can safely recommend this LP to all Jethro Tull practitioners as a decent, even if unremarkable effort.

 Roots To Branches by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.63 | 487 ratings

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Roots To Branches
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

3 stars Now here's to the famous Jethro Tull's oriental/world music album.

First things first: Ian's voice isn't any stronger than on previous albums (it might feel even weaker than on "Catfish Rising"). But it barely spoils the show - this time compositions are usually low-key, nuanced, reflective - even contemplative. And that's how Ian should use what's remained of his vocal prowess. The title track itself, "Roots to Branches", is a good of example of such approach.

We also have lots of tasty, ambient synths and keyboards - many times reminiscent of water flowing in mystical gardens and palaces of eternal spring. Joined by double harmonic scales, swirling and articulate flute melodies and all sorts of tribal drums - all elements coalesce into very atmospheric and fresh sound, much more inspired than anything on previous record. Sure, there are tracks lacking in atmosphere (hard rocking "Rare and Precious Chain"), at other times oriental schtick feels forced and dishonest ("This Free Will"), but in most cases the band succeeds in evoking that "positive while mysterious" mood.

Of course it doesn't protect them from serving us some filler - mostly in the form of feeble ballads, such as "Stuck in the August Rain" and "Another Harry's Bar". But you shouldn't skip these songs immediately - the former has a charming outro, while the latter concludes with very apt display of melodic sensibility and cohesion.

I started this review with songs I consider lacking on some level, but as you can see, even these possess integrity and some value. There are no duds on "Roots to Branches" - there is a good deal of complexity and crafty arrangements even on simplest of songs ("Beside Myself" being a poster child).

Speaking of Jethro Tull's craft, I really appreciate the effort Ian Anderson put in polishing his flute technique in 1990s. There was a story about Ian's teenage daughter who took up the flute and asked Dad to show her the basics. But then she realized he's not doing it the proper way - even his grip and posture differed from music school textbooks! Ian used it as a motivation to improve his skill and results were staggering - now he's switching seamlessly between crystal clear articulation and more raunchy, jovial approach of "Stand Up" origin. "Out of the Noise" is a great display of his new musical powers - I know he'd been able to play the intro even 25 years earlier, but this time delivery is top-notch, at least to my untrained ears. Martin Barre's guitar tone improved significantly since "Catfish Rising" too, so that's worth something.

"Dangerous Veils" is all over the place which might be off-putting, but delicious flute licks and very technical coda definitely make up for any shortcomings. Thankfully it's not the only progressive piece here - "Valley" and "Wounded, Old and Treacherous" are really beating hearts of the album and they deserve more attention. Both songs flow nicely and evoke those positive vibes I mentioned earlier. "Valley" gets edgy a couple of times, but the atmospheric synths and acoustic guitar melodies breathe with so much life, like tropical rivers, or clouds dripping with rainbows. "Wound, Old and Treacherous" feature jazz-rock/fusion influences and musical recitation in Frank Zappa style! Epic buildup at 4:10 might be a high water mark of entire album.

I left dickensian "At Last, Forever" for dessert. It seems Jethro Tull revisited its classic sound at least once every album - that intro would easily fit on "Minstrel in the Gallery" and it's coming from Minstrel's fan. I enjoy that song for its grandeur, dignified piano and relaxed, cozy atmosphere. Write this down as a highlight - along with two prog tunes I've just mentioned and the title track.

"Roots to Branches" rarely reaches Jethro Tull's peak, but it's a pleasant listen with no black marks. I think the band put much heart and effort in this record so it transcends with positive energy and very fresh sound (even though you can trace its 1990s origins easily). If you want to take a break from Jethro's hallmark records and try a different route, this one is recommended - especially that it's easy to digest and less dated than "A" or "Crest".

Three stars without blinking.

 A by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.20 | 576 ratings

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A
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

3 stars Jethro Tull's "A" lives its own life and doesn't really mimick anything they've done before. This is where synthesizers arrived with a bang, guns blazing, tearing their way to the foreground and leaving only laser beam, pinkish trails behind. Eddie Jobson brought digital pianos, electric violins and technical marvels of Yamaha CS-80 kind, while the rest of the band seemed on board with these novelties. I applaud Ian Anderson for trying to revolutionize the band without betraying prog/folk legacy built in previous era. But dramatic changes and establishment of new formulas always come with growing pains, and "A" has some of that as well.

I don't really enjoy production on this album, I feel it's very dated and murky - but when everything clicks, this is hardly a problem. "Crossfire" is an exciting opener, brimming with funky basslines, tasty piano and sweet melodies. Though I'm not enthusiastic about synthesizers of that era, they are used tastefully on this one - to enhance and accentuate. Anderson delivers good vocal lines and awesome flute - it's worth noting. Then we have "Fylingdale Flyer", more laid back and poppy effort with cool vocals. I'm still on board with this one, although it screams early 80s with F/X utilised.

"Working John, Working Joe" is basically "Stormwatch" era song with Vangelis guest appearance, it seems. Nothing to write home about - decent track with heavy synth usage in the middle, maybe reminiscent of Rick Wakeman or Zeppelin's "Carouselambra". If you like that new, electronic and spacey approach, you'll be delighted with "Black Sunday". I think this is a clear highlight of the album, with often changing motives, superb musicianship and memorable parts. Just take a look at rocking 1:20 theme with armor-piercing flute, Martin's edgy solo at 3:00 or cosmic ambient at 3:30. And then it all beautifully comes together around 4:20, the thumping bass, screaming guitars and perfect blend of remaining instruments. In my opinion this is a truly progressive song, despite esthetics differing wildly from Tull classics.

"Protect and Survive" brings exciting electric violin parts, but also cranks up the synthesizer use significantly - manageable, but too much 80s for my taste. "Uniform" displays that Jean-Luc Ponty violin style as well, but gets old quickly with subpar melodies. "4.W.D. (Low Ratio)" is the most obvious filler - directionless and gimmicky with distorted vocals.

"Batteries Not Included" is also quirky, heck, it's the wildest synthfest on entire album, often feeling like a cross of earliest Depeche Mode with Jaco Pastorius and rock band. I quite enjoyed it, despite antiquated sound and 80s 'overdrive'.

The last two tracks tip the scales from 'mixed results' towards 'recommendable'. "The Pine Marten's Jig" is a classic, vintage Jethro thanks to rustic, evergreen melodies married with adventurous basslines (hats off to Dave Pegg) and modern guitar. This particular song addresses the tastes of hardcore Tull fans, so if you're ready to dismiss "A" for electronic approach, make sure to at least check Pine Marten's. "And Further On" ends the album on a more serious note, especially once majestic guitar lines come to the front. It's no "Elegy", but those guttural, underworld synths are put to good use.

To sum it up: "A" turns out to be a solid effort for a band that just lost four of its members and found itself on the brink of extinction. Eddie Jobson was a double edged sword - on one hand we get tons of synthesizers, and it's always a hard pill to swallow for enthusiasts of organic, historically oriented prog folk; on the other, Jethro Tull acquired a wildly talented musician that gave them an extra gear in live performances, as well as chaotic, jazzy passages of Frank Zappa mold. I think the good stuff equals the amount of filler, but if you're open-minded and willing to turn a blind eye on production and common quirks, you'll be rewarded with some gems ("Black Sunday", but also "Crossfire" and "The Pine Marten's Jig"). It's enough to get a nod and three stars in my book.

 Catfish Rising by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1991
2.59 | 406 ratings

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Catfish Rising
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

1 stars Well, if you deem "Rock Island" a disappointment, I'm really curious of your opinion on this one.

I don't think there is much sense in reviewing "Catfish Rising" track-by-track. Most of them share the same story, which is: oversized collection of tired, half-baked tunes with no progression or shred of originality, devoid of memorable melodies or emotion, full of cheap guitar riffs and middle-aged AOR banalities.

Although tame, "This is Not Love" might just be the least harmful attempt at fast-paced hard rock on the album. Ian Anderson seemingly got another 8 years older since "Rock Island", barely reaching notes he intends to, but never matching the intensity and cool delivery he was capable of ten years earlier. And then it goes DOWNHILL. On "Occasional Demons" his vocal struggles are obvious even to a stranger. "Roll Yer Own" tries more bluesy approach, resulting in a very docile and forgettable song. That first trio of songs is borderline disaster.

Thankfully, "Rocks on the Road" brings hope with its cool intro, reminiscent of Americana and singer/songwriter esthetics. That type of song is much better suited to Ian's limited range of 1991, so that was a good call. The bridge around 3:00 minute mark turns out nice as well. Let me be clear: in no world this song would be a smash, but heck, for "Catfish Rising" standards, it's clearly a highlight.

"Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall" also starts with some promise, but soon it transforms into granpa rock with choruses cheesier than Green Bay. How come nobody at Chrysalis Records came down hard with ban hammer on this one? "Thinking Round Corners" sounds like a poorer version of 1976 "Taxi Grab" - a dull record itself. If that's not discouraging enough, "Still Loving You Tonight" comes around with its lifeless and amateurish form. If you're familiar with Gary Moore's "Parisienne Walkways", please imagine how it sounds after being stripped from volcanic solos and guitar virtuosity - similar results. Very simple and uncooked love song that makes me cringe.

The latter part of "Catfish Rising" is just a tad better, in my opinion. "Doctor to My Disease" tries formula similar to opening, 'hard rocking' tracks, but with more biting, angular guitars, which is usually a good thing. Yeah, I sort of enjoy guitar licks and flute's ornamentations throughout. "Like a Tall Thin Girl" is definitely a nice piece as well: cheerful mandolins and adventurous flute solo remind me of "Fat Man" and other songs from the days of glory, despite subpar vocals. Well worth checking out. "Gold Tipped Boots, Black Jacket and Tie" has a similar feel and fits the definition of passable/decent song; again, the flute does a good job.

The remaining tracks, "White Innocence", "When Jesus Came to Play" and "Night in the Wilderness" only reinforce my opinion of "Catfish Rising" being a corny and uninspiring album. Almost forgot: "Sleeping with the Dog" deserves being singled out for its boredom, even greater than the neighbouring pieces - I don't know how Ian pulled it out.

A strong argument could be made for "Catfish Rising" as the weakest link in Jethro Tull's discography. Its shiny production and delightful album cover aren't enough to give it a pass. Listening to it in one session is a chore, as only a couple of songs deserve mentioning (and only to Jethro's most avid fans). I just wish they had saved that pretty cover art for something decent, such as their next release.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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