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Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.04 | 1195 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A small movement towards the modern compared to "Songs from the Wood", yet retaining the earthy, archaic JT roots. If you're a fan of the classic Tull elements, you'll find plenty to satisfy you: Anderson's inimitable voice and flute, ringing acoustics, tastefully savage electrics, pithy keys and tumbling, unexpectedly adventurous percussion. Glascock's bass seems more integral than usual, turning almost Squire-like for such songs as "Journeyman". In retrospect, this was the actual "crest", the culmination of everything before and more satisfying than anything after.

Occasionally, there's some similarities with the preceding release which are almost too close for comfort; "No Lullaby", while excellent, reminds me strongly of "Pibroch", and "Weathercock" echoes "Songs from the Wood" and "Pass the Cup". This is a darker album, however...while "Jack in the Green" was an ode to nature's resilience, "Heavy Horses" laments increasing industrialization, "No Lullaby" warns of worldly dangers, and "Moths" reflects on mortality. It's not all bad news, however; Anderson still finds ample room to honor simple joys and simpler times ("One Brown Mouse", "Weathercock"), and as a song of passion "Acres High" is more devoted than "Hunting Girl", if less bawdily archaic.

The music is more driving and less lush than "Songs", hearkening back (and forward) to more stripped-down mixes- but only relatively, as there is still more than enough texture in which to lose oneself. The band sounds more focused and disciplined than ever before, every note and rhythm precisely placed. Anderson's voice is also in perfect form, although not quite as prominent in the mix as in earlier releases.

It is difficult to rank Jethro Tull albums; many become favorites for different reasons. "Heavy Horses", however, is one of the clear contenders for their greatest achievement. While I prefer other releases slightly, no single one is as consistently excellent or as perfectly realized as this gem.

James Lee | 4/5 |


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