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IAN ANDERSON

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Ian Anderson biography
Leader/founder of JETHRO TULL and veteran of the 60's blues-rock scene, this eccentric and highly charismatic minstrel who used to get the most incredible sounds from his golden flute is now in his late 50's, yet shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, he keeps on touring and churning out albums despite a totally apathetic music industry. In 1983 he decided to go solo and has since graced us with four new albums.

In general, his solo material closely resembles that of traditional JETHRO TULL, although it tends to be more serious and more instrumental. "Walk Into Light" (1983) features Peter John Vetteese (EURYTHMICS) on keyboards; the album suffers from a poor 80's production but Vetteese's rhythmic and catchy play complements Anderson's mellow vocals rather well. "Divinities: Twelve Dances with God" (1995) is the least TULL-like of the lot: basically a classical album, it is totally instrumental and its spiritual theme runs the gamut from Indian to Russian to Celtic Folk. "The Secret Language of Birds" (2000), a rather acoustic album, returns to the 70's roots and dons some particularly memorable melodies. "Rupi's Dance" (2003) is the one that most closely celebrates the old TULL days and will likely be the TULL fans' favourite. Anderson's gentle, self-deprecating wit and knack for writing simple, yet endearing melodies shine through out.

Recommended for JETHRO TULL followers and for progressive folk fans in general.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Homo ErraticusHomo Erraticus
KSCOPE 2014
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Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro TullIan Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull
Koch Records 2007
Audio CD$12.99
$12.98 (used)
Thick As A Brick 2 Special EditionThick As A Brick 2 Special Edition
Parlophone 2012
Audio CD$12.39
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Secret Language of BirdsSecret Language of Birds
Import
EMI Import 2010
Audio CD$6.73
$5.87 (used)
Walk Into LightWalk Into Light
Import
EMI Import 2011
Audio CD$8.28
$7.24 (used)
Homo Erraticus (Tour Edition)Homo Erraticus (Tour Edition)
Special Edition
KSCOPE 2014
Audio CD$7.61
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DivinitiesDivinities
Angel Records 1995
Audio CD$38.60
$0.78 (used)
Thick As A Brick 2Thick As A Brick 2
Parlophone 2012
Audio CD$7.79
$7.78 (used)
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IAN ANDERSON discography


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

IAN ANDERSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.86 | 108 ratings
Walk Into Light
1983
3.64 | 111 ratings
Divinities: Twelve Dances With God
1995
3.71 | 140 ratings
The Secret Language Of Birds
2000
3.78 | 129 ratings
Rupi's Dance
2003
3.75 | 371 ratings
Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?
2012
3.65 | 176 ratings
Homo Erraticus
2014

IAN ANDERSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.99 | 57 ratings
Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull
2005
3.23 | 18 ratings
Thick As A Brick Live In Iceland
2014

IAN ANDERSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.86 | 31 ratings
Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull
2005
3.25 | 9 ratings
Thick As A Brick Live in Iceland
2014

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Fly By Night
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Thin Ice
2007

IAN ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock? by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 371 ratings

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Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars This is the sequel to the well-loved Thick as a Brick, released 40 years later. A lot has happened, including Ian Anderson apparently retiring the Jethro Tull name (with Martin Barre parting ways). So unless things change and Martin Barre returns, thereby bringing back the Jethro Tull name, Ian Anderson will likely be recording as a solo act, as in this sequel. So he gets a German guitarist Florian Opahle (who wasn't even 30 yet when this came out) and some other musicians, making it a five piece. This is a concept of what might have happened to Gerald Bostock, the fictional kid responsible for the original (actually Ian Anderson, as it's so obvious the lyrics have Ian Anderson written all over it). That meant as he became an adult, he could have ended up several different paths, and that's addressed by each of them. Let's be honest here: the album never reaches the amazing heights of the original, it doesn't quite have the energy of the original, the music has a more calm vein, more in tune with later Tull, like Catfish Rising. It's still very good, though, in fact it still has that Tull spirit going on, which is a good thing. Occasional themes from the original pop up, as well as passages that resemble the original, as well as parts that remind me of Heavy Horses, and even a reference to "Locomotive Breath".

This sequel isn't likely to set my world on fire, and it's in no danger of taking over the Tull classics, never mind the original Thick as a Brick, but it's nice to have.

 Thick As A Brick Live in Iceland by ANDERSON, IAN album cover DVD/Video, 2014
3.25 | 9 ratings

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Thick As A Brick Live in Iceland
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Ian Anderson has been in Iceland for 9 shows, mostly in Reykjavik where this show was recorded. The musician feel the presence of music here, because a lot of people plays an instrument or sings. Here on this concert, the band took the same instruments to recreate the first concept album "Thick as A Brick", originally from 1972. The performance has some additional theatrical input with actor, singer and dancer Ryan O'Donnell which allowed Ian Anderson to add some more flute to the music. Even is this album is a kind of parody, I was surprised to see Ian invite 2 peoples from the audience to make a standup comic stunt of a fake prostate test. But it didn't last long before the band were back to the music. The performance of this concept album let some space for a bit of improvisation and some added violin and flute. After 40 years, it's still a enjoyable piece of music where some theme are repeated a few times during this 50 minutes to keep the concept alive. As for the second part of the show "Thick As A Brick 2", if it's the suite of this concept about this young boy, it's different because we feel that each songs are independent to each others, the concept being to present 5 hypothetical stories around this boy. You can only identify a connection musically with the first album, when some short segments of this album have been included to the second album. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same magic here that I found on the first album.

The theatrical aspect of the show didn't bother me much, except for the standup comic part. A better idea was to see and hear the violin of Anna Phoebe direct with Skype from her bedroom in London. The picture is ok, not the best for a high definition show, but the surround sound is really immersive. Is it a nice addition to a Prog rock collection when we already have heard the album? I would say probably not, but also because the second part was not as good as the first one.

 Thick As A Brick Live In Iceland by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Live, 2014
3.23 | 18 ratings

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Thick As A Brick Live In Iceland
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars By now an old pro like Ian Anderson can probably perform the whole of his (second) most famous album (after "Aqualung", arguably) in his sleep. Which is precisely what happened in Reykjavik in June of 2012, where the former Jethro Tull figurehead and his new band presented the unabridged "Thick as a Brick", Parts One and Two together in mismatched tandem (with intermission).

It's hard not to think of the album as an attempt by Anderson to legitimize an inferior sequel by hitching it in concert alongside the classic 1972 original. But playing them back-to-back only reinforces the shortcomings of the latter Brick, while undermining the legacy of the former. Instead of a dynamic update of a timeless Progressive Rock masterpiece, Anderson offers only an awkward karaoke rendering, with supporting music literally phone in (via Skype) from North London, and with extensive pre-recorded overdubs killing any sense of a genuine live performance.

Worse yet, he seems to regard the use of taped music (including the famous opening flute motif, impossible to play if you're also singing) as an acceptable part of the concert experience. "Thick as a Brick: Semi-Live in Iceland" would have been a more honest title, but he wasn't going to sell too many albums that way.

And, after being lured into hearing the much-thinner Second Brick by the dangled carrot of its more esteemed forefather on the same set-list, older fans might find themselves missing not only Jethro Tull, but all-too often Anderson himself. The new arrangements of the older music were adapted to ease the obvious strain on his aging vocal chords, with a sound-alike ringer (Ryan O'Donnell, credited with "additional vocals, dance, and mime") brought in to hit the higher notes. I applaud Anderson's willing spirit to mount a show when his flesh is no longer cooperating. But it's sad to hear a once-vigorous performer reduced to playing occasional flute in his own cover band, and hoarsely speaking his lyrics instead of singing them.

In his seventh decade Anderson clearly isn't ready to admit he's finally Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll. But poking fun at his own infirmities only calls attention to them, and needlessly fractures the otherwise seamless original Brick with silly vaudeville interruptions: a mock weather report; a psychiatric appointment for the album's fictional author, Gerald Bostock; a pre-rehearsed (or pre- recorded) telephone call to cue the Skype relay with violinist Anna Phoebe. And, at the nadir of the evening's entertainment: an onstage prostate examination for a lucky volunteer from the audience (I'd much rather hear a drum solo, thank you very much...)

Brick II on the second CD actually works a little better, maybe because the music itself is ideally suited to the hired skills of Anderson's B-team Tull backing band. But it's still a 56-minute anticlimax, and always will be when juxtaposed like this against the 1972 opus.

Quoting the man himself: Really don't mind if I sit this one out...

 Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock? by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 371 ratings

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Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by GrassySound

4 stars I was surprised when Ian Anderson decided to legitimately make a concept album, especially since the original Brick was a complete spoof on the notion that Aqualung was a conceptual piece. However, the music throughout this album is very strong, among IA's strongest "rock" music in a number of years. Like most IA/Tull music, there are a myriad of genres and styles, but this is what I find (and have always found) rewarding in IA's music.

Lyrically, IA questions what Gerald Bostick might be doing 40 years later. Five potential notions are suggested: greedy bank manager, homosexual homeless man, Afghan War soldier, evangelist preacher, and an ordinary man (single and childless) who runs a local store. Each proposition is intriguing, yet sometimes disturbing.

Though not a "Tull" album, this is still rife with strong musical and lyrical elements. Highly recommended!!

 Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock? by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 371 ratings

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Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The question of the level of awesomeness of Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick 2, unfortunately, and perhaps unjustly has much more to do with the choice of the album title than with the actual quality of the music itself. In other words, the choice of the name Thick as a Brick 2 begs the listener to listen to it in reference to Thick as a Brick, which inevitably forces the comparison between the albums. The result inevitably becomes a matter of, "Is Thick as a Brick 2 worthy of the title, regardless of the thematic connection between the albums?" This is something that each listener will have to figure out on their own.

Honestly, I would love to say that I took this album completely independently of its predecessor. But unfortunately I was not that strong. I could not stop myself from constantly making value judgements on this album based off Thick as a Brick, which I know definitely does not do justice to Thick as a Brick 2. In short, Thick as a Brick 2, in and of itself is good music. It's a chalk full of good Jethro Tull style folk melodies, witty lyrics, and fantastic flute playing. Plus they make fabulous use of cool little bells, which I'm a sucker for. Between tracks there are poetic narrations that introduce parts of the story. While these are well executed, some fans might be turned off by them, but in the end, it was enjoyable for me and it helped solidify continuity between tracks and between the albums.

How does it hold up to Thick as a Brick? In short, it doesn't. All of the energy, dynamic, and magic of Thick as a Brick simply is not present on Thick as a Brick 2. At least I didn't feel it. Thick as a Brick 2, for the most part, felt pretty slowly paced. The compositions were much more relaxed in dynamic, and I never really felt like they were taking me somewhere track by track. Each song seemed pretty self-contained and by the time the next one came around it felt like you were starting over from square 1. On the other hand, the original Thick as a Brick really felt like it was taking you on a journey; there was a certain fierceness and intensity about it, and by the end you felt like you really went on a great ride.

In the end, Thick as a Brick 2 is a solid album by a band that has long since proved itself. Jethro Tull fans should find it enjoyable, as would most prog fans in general. My only suggestion for all bands out there is to be very careful about naming something after one of your utmost classics.

 Thick As A Brick Live In Iceland by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Live, 2014
3.23 | 18 ratings

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Thick As A Brick Live In Iceland
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars In the movie "The Other Guys", there is a running gag where Mark Wahlburg's character, a New York detective, shows off all sorts of "unmanly" skills, and explains each having been learned as a child to tease other kids. One incident has him showing off ballet moves to impress his ex-wife. The following dialogue occurs:

Allen Gamble: Hey, I didn't know you can dance. Terry Hoitz: We used to do those dance moves to make fun of guys when we were kids to show them how queer they were, okay. Allen Gamble: You learned to dance like that sarcastically? Terry Hoitz: Yeah, I guess.

It's fairly well known and documented that Ian Anderson wrote Thick As A Brick as a deliberate parody of prog rock epics, because he was annoyed by critics calling "Aqualung" a concept album. Lyrically, he takes some obvious shots at said critics, where the title comes into play, and also sends joking barbs at his own band, as well as his fans.

Ironically, Anderson's joke became one of the most loved prog tracks of all time. The lyrics, as tongue-in-cheek as they are, are fun, and although they change focus more than a little throughout the song, manage to convey an interesting trip through a family's power struggle. Musically, Anderson created memorable melodies, and a wonderfully complex symphonic piece that used recurring and evolving themes that build to one of the most satisfying climaxes of any musical genre. (excuse me while I have a cigarette)

Four decades later, Anderson decided to honor the piece with a sequel album and a world tour featuring complete performances of both albums. I'm sorry to say that circumstances prevented me from attending any of the shows in my part of the world. But at least this album serves as an historical record of the event.

The performance of Thick As A Brick 1 (as it now must be known) is spectacular. Despite the band not being Jethro Tull, which really means that Martin Barre is not there, the sound is unmistakably Tull. Florian Opahle's guitar comes close enough to Barre's performance style and tone to satisfy the nostalgic listener.

The piece itself is stretch out to over fifty minutes, mostly by extending solos, all of which are exceptional, and some rearrangements and expansions of other passages. If anything, the difficult sections are faster, tighter, and more impressive than the original.

My only complaint is a seven minute interlude in the center of the piece, I presume to give Anderson some rest, where the song stops, and Anderson extols the male members of the audience to get prostrate exams, and even coerces one member of the audience to (faked, I hope) examine another behind a screen on the stage. While (very) slightly amusing, it is not something I want to hear frequently, and edited it out of the track for my MP3 player.

The performance of the sequel is strong as well, but since the album is still new, there is little variation, other than solos on the performance.

My rating, 4.5 stars for 1, 4 stars for 2. If you love the original, and want to hear a new version, this album is a must. If you do not have TAAB2, you might want this disk instead of the studio version, as it comes with that great version of 1.

 Homo Erraticus by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 176 ratings

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Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars No one can say Ian Anderson isn't ambitious. But the author of "Thick as a Brick" and "A Passion Play" may have chewed off more than he (or we) can swallow with his latest project: a three-part, fifteen-song chronicle of humankind in Britain, beginning nine millennia ago and charting a sporadic path to an uncertain near-future circa AD 2044. The epic scope would have challenged even the most determined Progressive Rocker, without even considering the concept behind the concept: an over-elaborate fictional back-story involving Anderson's old doppelgänger Gerald Bostock.

It's reassuring to see him embracing his inner-Progger so warmly, albeit almost to the point of suffocation. It can take longer to digest the contents of the CD booklet, with its copious lyrics and tongue-in-cheek essays, than to sit through the CD itself: a sure sign of thematic overkill. The music itself might almost have been an afterthought, all of it typically well-played and lavishly produced but hardly distinctive or even memorable, and like his recent "Brick" sequel entirely too lyric-driven, without a lot of melodic hooks to grab hold of.

On his web site it's referred to as a "Jethro Tull album (in all but name)": strictly sales talk for susceptible fans. It's true that Tull has always (or at least since 1969) been Anderson's vehicle, but at its best the band was also a genuine group, with distinctive personalities among the many players. What's missing here is the synergy of a true ensemble. The new quintet is certainly competent but, unlike classic Tull, completely anonymous, despite all the cosmetic similarities. Why hire young talent if the end result is only a watered-down facsimile of bygone days?

At the age of 67 Anderson isn't ready to settle into his dotage yet, and more power to him. But I wish the Tull CEO would stop resurrecting the Bostock persona, although I understand his intuitive reasoning: it's a link to his more creative (and far more lucrative) musical youth. In the early 1970's Anderson was celebrating the virtues of Living in the Past, and it's nice to hear he hasn't completely changed his tune more than forty years later. Progressive Rock needs all the champions it can get these days, but perhaps it's time for him to leave the past alone and start looking forward again.

 Homo Erraticus by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 176 ratings

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Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars I am so happy I listened to this album because I am so positively surprised by it. Often I have hard to really understand the meaning of many modern records. Even if they are prog ones. This record by Ian Anderson did though give me the lovely feeling of true music, and also music that sounds like the fantastic seventies. Another reason I like this record so mush is that it's folk rock, perhaps rather than folk prog, I genre close to me with groups as Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Folk & Rackare and Folque.

Ian Anderson, born 1947, has been around singing and playing his excentric music since the late sixties has here made his sixth solo album. Its cover shows a big spiritual man walking towards us with a rod in a desert landscape. As we are used to know him Ian Anderson performs with his great mouth, singing and playing flute is a masterful way. His playing is folky and very professional and his singing is unique and very poetic. The lyrics are qualified, filled with impressions and thoughts from popular culture and features of today. Both texts and melodies follow in an order, a specific thematic way.

He also has a group of very talanted musicians with him: John O'Hara which plays accordion(a welcome ingredient), piano, keyboards and organ, Florian Opahle who perform his guitar art, David Goodier who palys bass, Scott Hammond who drums and the co-singer Ryan O'Donnell. You could say it sounds like Jethro Tull, but I don't know why, this is absolutely as good as Jethro Tull.

I also like every track on the record, and I already look forward to hear it again. "The Engineer" for example is a perfect example of folk rock, full of inspiration and ideas and the sacral "Meliora Sequamur" which has something of market in it are perfect such as "The Browning of the Green", very English and also a bit electronic. "Puer Ferox Adventus" is a lovely ballad with so much instrumental fashion and "Enter the Uninvited" serves us glimpses of our poupular culture in a cosy manner. Of course a early as on "Doggerland" I was cought. This tasts so good. Almost everything on this album is perfect and I think you will find your own favourites beside these I mentioned. This is one of many few modern records I actually love. I think it's so genuine and English and it is telling something to us. We are talking about a record of words, so read them and listen! Five stars!

 Homo Erraticus by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 176 ratings

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Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Tristan Zaba

4 stars An absolutely fantastic album. While I also quite liked TAAB2, this is better.

Ian seems to keep telling people that it's some sort of metal album. I'm not sure why he thinks that, but metal this is not. Stylistically it strays pretty close to a slightly harder rocking Heavy Horses. In saying this, I mean it takes into consideration all those lovely textures and clean arrangements. This album also gets quite inventive, with some interesting rhythms, meter changes, and progressions. In the accompanying deluxe edition documentary, he even mentions Captain Beefheart as providing some inspiration.

I think Ian's voice is sounding better than on TAAB2. It doesn't have that punch it used to have, but it still all sounds quite nice and he expresses the lyrics well. His flute-playing seems to get better with every album, which it should. After all, every album contributes to his playing experience. The band plays through the music very proficiently. If anything, they sound a bit too polished for some bits. It might just be due to the fact that most of them are pretty clean-cut jazz and classical musicians. However, they still add a lot of character to the parts and interpret them very nicely.

The concept includes Bostock again, so you know it'll be weird. It chronicles humanity's rise and fall as the dominant species on earth, as told by some guy locked in a sanatorium after an unfortunate run-in with malaria. However, it is quite poignant and sometimes rather unsettling. Pop culture references from all periods are everywhere. You actually really have to pay attention to catch all of them. They work well and are obviously very well thought-out.

Stylistically varied, musically solid, and lyrically curious, Homo Erraticus is a great solo album from Ian Anderson, and probably his best outside of Jethro Tull. The one real negative is that having heard so much of his other work, there are moments where it seems a little too formulaic. However, it is still an incredibly enjoyable effort and something I am sure I will find myself listening to on and off for years to come.

 Homo Erraticus by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 176 ratings

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Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Bursting out!

Like the previous Thick As A Brick 2 (and unlike most other Ian Anderson solo albums) Homo Erraticus is a Jethro Tull album in all but name. While Thick As A Brick 2 was good and enjoyable, it did not overly impress me. In the light of this, I frankly wasn't expecting very much from this follow up. But I was wrong. Homo Erraticus overshadows its predecessor and indeed all of the other albums released under Ian's own name. This new album is easily the best that Ian has created since the 1990's and I would not hesitate to say that it is up to par with many a Jethro Tull album!

Another surprise is that Homo Erraticus has appeared so soon after Thick As A Brick 2, especially having in mind that the last proper (I'm not counting the Christmas album) Jethro Tull album was released fifteen years ago! I'm very happy to see that Ian Anderson is being prolific once again and that he manages to make albums of such a high quality as Homo Erraticus. There is here clear evidence of a new found inspiration and regained energy that I mistakenly thought he had lost (at least as a song writer and recording artist, he continued to be great live during the last decade). The band that Ian has chosen for himself is very good too and I don't really miss anybody. Working with these people seems to have invigorated him.

I must admit that this album didn't impress me on the first couple of listens, but it quickly grew on me over further listens. It has now had a constant presence in my headphones for some time and I don't seem to tire of it, but instead continue to discover new aspects of it. It certainly reveals itself to be a more complex piece of music than a quick glance at the track list might suggest. It is not really just a collection of 15 shorter songs, but rather a three-part concept album about the history of man! The lyrics are intricate and much more interesting than on Thick As A Brick 2.

Homo Erraticus is simultaneously Ian Anderson's best solo album and an excellent Jethro Tull album. Highly recommended!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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