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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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Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition)(3CD/2DVD)Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition)(3CD/2DVD)
Box set
Rhino/Parlophone 2018
$32.81
$51.94 (used)
This Was (50th Anniversary Edition)(3CD/1DVD)This Was (50th Anniversary Edition)(3CD/1DVD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2018
$36.24
$27.99 (used)
Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)(180 Gram Vinyl)Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)(180 Gram Vinyl)
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
$18.80
$8.96 (used)
Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die (2CD/2DVD)Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die (2CD/2DVD)
Box set
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
$20.68
$37.62 (used)
50 For 50 (3CD)50 For 50 (3CD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2018
$16.09
$23.25 (used)
Thick As A BrickThick As A Brick
Parlophone 1998
$8.73
$4.54 (used)
The Very Best of Jethro TullThe Very Best of Jethro Tull
Parlophone 2001
$6.16
$1.92 (used)
Aqualung 40th AnniversaryAqualung 40th Anniversary
Parlophone 2011
$13.87
$7.91 (used)
Minstrel In The GalleryMinstrel In The Gallery
Parlophone 2002
$6.77
$5.77 (used)
Songs From The WoodSongs From The Wood
Rhino/Parlophone 2017
$10.97
$7.28 (used)
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)

3.32 | 792 ratings
This Was
1968
4.05 | 1178 ratings
Stand Up
1969
3.91 | 993 ratings
Benefit
1970
4.35 | 2475 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.63 | 3148 ratings
Thick As A Brick
1972
4.02 | 1383 ratings
A Passion Play
1973
3.33 | 787 ratings
War Child
1974
4.03 | 1138 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery
1975
3.09 | 726 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
1976
4.18 | 1345 ratings
Songs From The Wood
1977
4.04 | 1104 ratings
Heavy Horses
1978
3.48 | 701 ratings
Stormwatch
1979
3.21 | 579 ratings
A
1980
3.28 | 624 ratings
The Broadsword And The Beast
1982
2.23 | 496 ratings
Under Wraps
1984
3.00 | 147 ratings
A Classic Case
1985
3.22 | 555 ratings
Crest Of A Knave
1987
2.69 | 437 ratings
Rock Island
1989
2.59 | 409 ratings
Catfish Rising
1991
3.63 | 489 ratings
Roots To Branches
1995
3.02 | 412 ratings
J-Tull Dot Com
1999
3.50 | 389 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
2003

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

4.18 | 396 ratings
Live - Bursting Out
1978
2.90 | 53 ratings
Live At Hammersmith '84
1990
3.65 | 174 ratings
A Little Light Music
1992
3.06 | 46 ratings
In Concert
1995
3.64 | 119 ratings
Living With The Past
2002
4.16 | 155 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2004
3.46 | 97 ratings
Aqualung Live
2005
3.77 | 85 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
4.38 | 24 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
4.05 | 22 ratings
Slipstream (9 song version)
2007
4.39 | 28 ratings
Classic Artists Series: Jethro Tull
2008
3.31 | 30 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
4.58 | 33 ratings
Around the World Live (4DVD)
2013

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Jethro Tull
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sunday Best
1971
4.13 | 310 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.09 | 75 ratings
M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull
1976
3.16 | 51 ratings
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull Vol. III
1981
3.25 | 75 ratings
Original Masters
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Masters Of Rock
1986
3.63 | 83 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box
1988
4.55 | 82 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (The Definitive Collection)
1988
3.74 | 52 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (USA release)
1989
3.64 | 157 ratings
Nightcap
1993
3.82 | 49 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection
1993
4.43 | 78 ratings
25th Anniversary Box Set
1993
2.64 | 27 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
3.40 | 52 ratings
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull
2007
3.80 | 45 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
Essential
2011
4.86 | 75 ratings
Thick As A Brick - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
2012
4.90 | 62 ratings
A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
2014
4.66 | 41 ratings
War Child - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition
2014
4.86 | 41 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery - 40th Anniversary: La Grande Edition
2015
4.56 | 18 ratings
Too Old To Rock'n'Roll: Too Young To Die - The TV Special Edition
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
An Introduction To Jethro Tull
2017
4.90 | 31 ratings
Songs From The Wood - 40th Anniversary Edition - The Country Set
2017
5.00 | 4 ratings
Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition)
2018
4.50 | 4 ratings
This Was (50 Anniversary Edition)
2018
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
4.36 | 23 ratings
Aqualung
1971
3.33 | 3 ratings
Locomotive Breath
1971
4.18 | 28 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.54 | 24 ratings
Bungle In The Jungle
1974
3.50 | 2 ratings
Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day
1974
2.00 | 1 ratings
Minstrel in the Gallery / Summerday Sands
1975
3.17 | 25 ratings
Ring Out, Solstice Bells
1976
3.20 | 5 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
3.67 | 3 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
4.00 | 3 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
3.20 | 10 ratings
The Christmas EP
2004
4.00 | 3 ratings
Living in the Past
2013

JETHRO TULL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aqualung by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.35 | 2475 ratings

BUY
Aqualung
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Jethro Tull find their own style with this fourth album. In fact, "This Was" is unripe; "Stand Up" is an accomplished folk-blues record; "Benefit" is a transition work; and finally "Aqualung is their masterpiece, a strange mix between folk, blues and progressive rock. In fact, art rock made of single songs. This is the most beatiful standard of Jethro Tull, not the forced suite of "Thick As A Brick".

This album can be compared to "A Song For Me", released a year earlier, or to "Fearless", contemporary, both of Family. It's more art rock than progressive rock. Splendid folk acoustic guitars to draw beautiful melodies, hard rock solos of electric guitar, excellent singing, some longer songs, more eleborated, with refined arrangements (here the flute, for the Family the violin or the winds), or art rock tracks in progressive rock style. Family, especially in "Fearless", surpass Tull for the variety and sophistication of the arrangements (and for the best technique of the musicians), Jethro Tull surpass Family for the narrative unity of the album and the epicity of the longest and most beautiful songs.

The first of these songs is the mini-suite "Aqualung" (rating 8,5), which starts with a very famous hard rock guitar riff but then develops for the most part with an acoustic guitar and piano background, above which the treated voice of Ian Anderson sings. Grand finale with hard rock guitar solo and return of the initial riff. This song is in fact the manifesto of the Tull style, because it condenses all their music in less than 7 minutes, representing both the most folk and acoustic passages and the hard rock passages. Masterpiece.

"Cross-Eyed Mary" shows the flute of Anderson rise above a hard rock guitar and piano rug. Very sustained song based on rhythm and not on melody. Rating 7,5. "Cheap Day Return" is a short acoustic fragment (no rating). "Mother Goose" is an acoustic folk ballad: sound made of acoustic guitar and flute but most of all there are the lamentable vocals by Anderson. Melancholic and bucolic. Rating 7+. After the sensational beginning the quality has dropped, while remaining good. "Wondr'ig Aloud" is another acoustic fragment (two minutes) with a very good singing and arrangement. What a pity that is not developed in a whole song. Anyway, great small song. Rating 8. The last piece of side A is funny, "Up to Me", is festive; it is a disengaged song, which is perhaps the weakest point of the album (rating 7). First side that ends in falling.

The opening song of the side B, "My God" (rating 9) is in my opinion the absolute masterpiece of the album, much more than the opening track (Aqualung). With an Anderson who throws his arrows against religion, taking it with God, we see an initially acoustic song unfold which then presents an exceptional hard rock rhythm progression thanks to the guitar played by Martin Barre, protagonist of the sound of Tull as Anderson. Then we listen to a solo flute, and church choirs, which together constitute the most prog passage of the album, but what matters is that it is very musically inspired, it is not achieved by force. This piece, by itself, is worth more than the second side of "Thick As A Brick". As in the first side, the second song ("Hymn 43; rating 7+) is very rhythmic hard rock, candlesticked by the electric guitar and the flute. Then comes, even in this side, the usual acoustic fragment ("Slipstream", less than one and a half minute), but this time it is too short, not very developed, it does not reach the peaks of "Wondrig Aloud".

"Locomotive Breath" (rating 8) has a beautiful jazz pianistic start, really remarkable, then it develops too predictably and ends in a decline. Finally, the initial melody of Aqualung is shot In "Wind Up" to close the circle of the concept album. This reprise has the merit (compared to many other reprises) both to conclude the album's story from the point of view of the lyrics, and to differentiate itself markedly from the initial song, and this for me is very important, because often in many prog albums we listen to a Reprise very long, instrumental, and too much similar to the original piece of which they constitute the recovery. Here, intelligently, the Tulls can handle the same melody with enough variety on the theme, starting from Barre's solos, from piano pieces. Excellent ending that closes the circle. Rating 8,5.

Aqualung is an album unfriendly in terms of quality and arrangements, alternating short acoustic fragments to elaborate art rock songs if not prog rock songs. But from the narrative point of view it is unitary, and on the whole, the alternation of acoustic pieces with hard rock pieces is pleasant. In addition, the melodic quality of the songs is high. In my opinion, this is Jethro Tull's masterpiece, not Thick As A Brick. "Thick" as a setting for compositions is more progressive, but the musical value of "Aqualung" in my opinion is much higher. Masterpice of progressive rock music.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,89. Rating album: 9+. Five Stars.

 Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die! by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.09 | 726 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Originally conceived as another rock opera from Jethro Tull, "Too Old to Rock n Roll, Too Young to Die" fell between the albums "Minstrel in the Gallery" and "Songs of the Wood". It was the 9th album for the band and was released in 1976. It also featured a new bassist in John Glascock, who previously had played for the band "Carmen". Glascock would remain with the band until the recording of "Stormwatch" when Ian Anderson laid him off with pay because of his concerns about Glascock's health and wild lifestyle. Glascock died soon after this.

The main character in this concept album is Ray Lomas, who falls victim to the cyclical nature of rock n roll. He begins as a successful singer, then falls out of favor with the public when their tastes change. But he decides to stick with his sound because he figures it will become popular again. This was Anderson's true feelings about music, and it also reflected his fear that it would happen to Jethro Tull's music. He was right, but he also tried to adjust JT to sound more current by later adding more keyboards, which is apparent in the albums "A" and "Under Wraps". It did almost result in the end of the band, but they persisted and the band was all the better for it. Now they are a classic band loved by old and young proggers everywhere. Yay! Anyway . . .

In "Quizz Kid" the protagonist wins money in a TV game show. The song starts out with subdued theme of the title track, which introduces the character. From here it builds to it's own main theme, which is more complicated featuring all the usual traits of JT's music, guitar both electric and acoustic, flute, and the baroquish lilt they are famous for, along with the complex and ever changing melody. "Crazed Institution" has a more folk style to it being more acoustic. The song describes the bad side of the music business and the usual propaganda that has to come with it. While artists have to deal with popularity and the press, at least there is always music where they can escape to when they need to. But the popularity always wears on an artist as they become more important than their music.

"Salamander" is a short acoustic piece with a few lyrics. The acoustic work by Barre here is quite impressive and the addition of the flute at the end is perfect. Next is "Taxi Grab". This one is more of a heavy rocker as it starts and adds in a harmonic on the chorus. The guitar solo on the break is pretty good too.

"From a Dead Beat, To an Old Greaser", he reminisces. The song is very heartfelt, with a lovely melody and string arrangements. This is one of JT's most heartfelt songs and features some emotional lyrics and thoughtful singing by Anderson. The pensive, thoughtful style continues on to the next track "Bad Eyed and Loveless", but the track is much less interesting. This flows into "Big Dipper" which starts to pick up some steam at this point. By the time you get to the chorus, the track has become more of a solid rocker with progressive sensibilities.

The title track comes next with it's returning theme starting the track and moving into the folk style of the verses and the build to the chorus. This is one of my favorite JT songs in that it also seems heartfelt. The orchestral strings and brass also make this an attention getter on the album. Definitely a highlight here with a very memorable melody. The protagonist has awoken from his coma 20 years later after trying to commit suicide to find that he is older, but that his music is back in style and he has become popular once again. I love the change to the greaser rock style at the end of the track to coincide with the story. "Pied Piper" becomes more acoustic as it tells about Ray's new found youth as the young people accept him because of society's return to his style. Now he fits in again.

The last track on the original album is "Checkered Flag (Dead or Alive)". It has a more cinematic feel to it, especially with the addition of the orchestra. The verses start off mellow, but build as they continue to the sweeping climax each time, and Anderson's vocals are expressive. Even so, it doesn't give you the pay off that you expect of the last track. It is a decent attempt, but doesn't quite get there, probably because the actual band doesn't really get the last word on the album.

The 2002 remaster of this album has 2 more tracks: the outtake "A Small Cigar" is a verbose and acoustic track with a decent melody, almost sounding like a song from a stage production. I would say this is more what the album would have sounded like if it really was a rock opera as originally planned, and the flamboyant piano at the end pretty much clinches that theory. The 2nd bonus track is the B-side to the single "The Whistler" from what would be the next album. The track is called "Strip Cartoon". This one is also mostly acoustic, and also a pretty standard JT track.

Many fans don't like this album as much as the others released during this time in JT's discography. Granted, the albums that came before and after were definitely much better than this one, however, this album is not a complete waste either. At least it's better than some that would come later. Part of the problem is that there isn't as much room for the instrumental interplay that is apparent on other albums. There are some classic and excellent tracks here nonetheless, but it is lacking in some respects also. At this point, I think there may have been more emphasis on the story and not so much on the music. I still find myself returning to this album anyway for the high points, but I also know I don't love it as much as some of the band's other albums from around the same time. I feel it reaches at least a 3.5, but tends to round down to 3 stars. But, I still don't think it's one that should be passed by.

 War Child by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.33 | 787 ratings

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War Child
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

3 stars Overlooked Tull albums, vol. 2.

"War Child" was one of the least played LPs in my family home. Kinda weird since everything's in place, it seems: we're in the middle of most cherished Jethro's lineup, orchestrations are numerous, saxophone leads in abundance, all served in well known ten songs format. But after dozens of listens it becomes clear not everything is clicking on "War Child".

I'll start with the good stuff, though.

Orchestral arrangements by David Palmer are just top-notch. On many songs they either lead the charge ("Queen and Country") or provide entertaining bridges ("The Third Hoorah" being the most prominent example). Saxophones are used a dozen times really, I won't bother counting all appearances. In most cases it's a welcome change, I remember sax melodies from the title track and "Two Fingers" vividly; same could be said about lovely fills on "Ladies", accompanied by castanets, strings and 'sleigh bells'.

If we take number of instruments played into account, "War Child" is an impressive album. Aside from aforementioned saxophones, rich orchestral arrangements and variety of drums and bells, we have all sorts of acoustic/Spanish guitars and noteworthy addition of accordion to John Evan's arsenal. It's often used to illustrate war-related lyrics ("Queen and Country" comes to mind), as well as evocation of circus/carnival themes. And we're treated with swaths of quirky atmosphere reminiscent of yesteryear's pastimes - trapeze artists, jugglers and lion tamers seem to pop out of every corner, especially on closing tracks. I must say I like it a lot: I was always drawn to old-fashioned (now almost extinct) forms of entertainment, be it magicians, clowns or jesters. The latter is extremely captivating, it has something to do with "jester archetype", so prevalent in Western culture. "War Child" isn't the weirdest album around, but jovial mood and circus connotations are common features here.

There is also a fair share of inspiring songs. "Sealion" is brimming with ideas - string fills, accordions, forcefully strummed guitars, it's so busy! I just adore all its moments: angular guitar riff, inert chorus melody and unforeseen bridge at 2:05. Although the structure itself is straightforward, other elements of the song point heavily in the "progressive" direction.

At times we hear tunes foreshadowing future albums. Pastoral "Skating Away" sounds like madrigals from "Heavy Horses", and "Back-Door Angels" is direct antecedent of "Black Satin Dancer" thanks to light/shade contrasting. These are all fine tracks, well worth your attention.

I happen to like most of the material here, even if I'm not ecstatic about it. The natural medley of "The Third Hoorah" and "Two Fingers" sit very well with me - melodies are spurting left and right, or perhaps the illusion of novelty is laid out perfectly. The drumming and basslines are superb, John Evan shines with accordion attacks and organs bolstering the sound. "War Child" is of similar quality, especially once the atonal main theme comes into play. (Or maybe it's not really atonal despite chalkboard scraping semitones? I need a clarification on this)

But I have complaints as well. "Bungle in the Jungle" was the radio-friendly tune and I find it dull, to put it simple. Well, it's not the worst, but I really dislike the chorus, I don't find it catchy nor enjoyable, and it spoils the rest of the song (however string arrangements are yummy). "Queen and Country" repeats itself over and over, and the sea shanties feeling doesn't help. "Only Solitaire" could be a nucleus of terrific song, but ends abruptly at 1:39. It's not "Aqualung" with TONS of good stuff - Jethro Tull couldn't afford to abort its best ideas and turn them into brief interludes!

I think the biggest flaw of "War Child" is either lack of coherence or shortage of truly groundbreaking songs. I've listed some highlights, but none of them reaches the highest echelon of "My God", "Velvet Green" or "Heavy Horses". "War Child" is very listenable as a whole album, but you will rarely feel the urge of revisiting specific songs separately. And when it comes to coherence, it feels like a bunch of songs without a common denominator - and I sense it has something to do with aborted movie project. Who knows if "War Child" wouldn't be a masterpiece if Ian worked a little more at a drawing board. If you have a remastered CD with bonus tracks, you'll find good ideas there - material potent enough to rewrite and include in original LP, wrapped under 45 minutes.

After long consideration, I decided to give it a 3 star rating, but with a caveat: that's the strongest 'three star effort' in Jethro's career. I reckon it more ambitious than "This Was", more enjoyable than "Too Old...", BETTER than anything they've done post-Stormwatch. It's not a dropped ball, not a fumble... more like being just short of a first down. Embrace its quirks, carnival atmosphere and treat it like an unique experience. Jethro Tull never went that route again, so enjoy the ride.

Almost Four!

 Stand Up by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.05 | 1178 ratings

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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 | 993 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 | 787 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
3.32 | 792 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 | 624 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 | 555 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 | 726 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.

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

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