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Jethro Tull - Working John, Working Joe CD (album) cover

WORKING JOHN, WORKING JOE

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.22 | 22 ratings

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Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
3 stars JETHRO TULL'S "A" album from 1980 was really started as a solo album by Ian Anderson, but record company pressure made him change his plans, and the album was released as a JETHRO TULL album instead. Anyway, the band had changes in the line-up too, with three of its previous members (Barriemore Barlow, John Evan, David Palmer) being out of the band, and with Anderson, Martin Barre and Dave Pegg being joined in the band by Mark Craney and "special guest" Eddie Jobson.

Even if it the songs were originally composed for a solo album, Anderson was really writing then lyrics about some social, political and economical themes which he considered in that year. So, the "A" album has songs which criticize those themes, even with some humor. I think that his lyrics were very personal views about those themes in 1980, and despite some of those themes are now somewhat "dated" due to the passing of time, I think that some of the lyrics were very good.

"Working John, Working Joe" is a song in the "old" style of the band in an album on which the "modernization" of the sound of the band was the main focus, using more synthesisers than before. It is a song played with acoustic guitar, with some Folk influences. I think that the lyrics are really a criticism about how some people give their lives to work very hard, looking for wealth and status all the time, and not taking into consideration other things in life . So, after years of looking for that wealth and status and finally achieving both things, they find their lives a bit empty and with some consequences like lost health. So, this song is maybe about some workaholics. The lyrics have some humor, I think. There are also some "dated" economical, social and political ideas in the lyrics, I think, which were more "valid" in 1980, but not as "valid" in the present. Anyway, it is a good song, and a bit strange choice to be released in the Side One of a single, in my opinion.

In the Side Two of this single, "Fylingdale Flyer" also reflects somewhat "dated" themes in the lyrics, with them being about Cold War paranoia, a theme more common in that period of time than now. The lyrics also have some humor. The song is more "modern" (for that period of time) in musical arrangements, with Eddie Jobson's keyboards having more presence. Anderson also sings very good lead and backing vocals, with some vocals maybe being processed with the use of a vocoder or other electronic effects.

Two good songs from a transitional album from JETHRO TULL, with the band changing their sound for the eighties, and it also was their only studio album on which Eddie Jobson appeared, even if it was only as a "special guest". The album was really influenced a lot by his keyboards and electric violin playing and arrangements. The other then new members also shine on their respective instruments, with Mark Craney playing very well the drums, and with Dave Pegg (who joined the band in 1979 but with "A" being his first appearance on a studio album with the band) also playing very well the bass guitar. A very good line-up which also didn't last for a very long time, because both Jobson and Craney left the band in 1981 after they finished their tour for the "A" album. So, it also was the only studio album of the band with Craney on drums. Unfortunately, he died in November 2005.

Guillermo | 3/5 |

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