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Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.04 | 1233 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An elegant regalement with a pastoral feel

It seems that Ian Anderson (known better in some circles as Mr. Jethro Tull) has a real knack for writing lyrics and music when it comes to two things specifically: satire which sometimes involves the sleazy, and elegant English flavored poetry. Two things that one would hardly think could meet with any sense of success. And yet here on Jethro Tull's 11th studio album they seem to have captured both beautifully. That aggressive ''telling off'' of society remains while perfectly capturing the folk essence of the countryside. It can be argued, but this is likely Tull's best album alongside their masterpiece Thick As A Brick.

In terms of sound this one familiar. Where Tull usually changes their style dramatically between albums this one tends to stick closer to the previous offering, the Spring flavored Songs From The Wood. While this one tend to have more of an Autumn flavor to it thanks to it's deeper and darker content and writing it feels like the band benefited from holding on to a style for more than one album. Here they took everything they did right with Songs... and refined it. Sharpened it. Made it perfect. The song writing is tight, the lyrics are beautiful and the melodies are strong. Often noted as Tull's most typically 'folk' album the tag is not without reason. Indeed, thanks to the strength of the flutes in relation to the songs and the more pastoral melodies of songs like the magnificent Acres Wild this one does get a very folk feel to it. Of course, not without the Tull heaviness and punch.

Here the songs are shorter, but unlike many Tull albums there's no short tracks that can be described as 'intro/outro' (or filler). Each song stands it's own ground solidly without a weak moment in sight. The tracks segue wonderfully from one to the next and the two longer songs move along without a hitch. One of the more notable things about this album as well is the harsh contrast between the (sometimes) light sounding music and the low grumble that Anderson has attached to his voice here. Likely the only time we'll hear it from the man, but on songs like the quirky and quick opener ...And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps Anderson's voice is truly menacing with his low growl.

The songs range from fast to slow as they often do. This album sees the more fast tracks sitting at the beginning and end with the slower (more mid paced, actually) tracks sitting in the middle with a few exceptions to pick up the pace and keep attention. The two longer songs also exist to keep a perfect balance with No Lullaby bringing things from the fast and light to the slower and darker. Heavy Horses, however, has to be one of the most beautiful songs ever put to tape by the band. The opening line brings forth such imagery it's stunning: ''Iron clad feathered feet pounding the dust...''. Anderson's delivery is absolutely wonderful and as the song picks up to a more frantic pace it still manages to stay coherent and utterly pretty throughout the fray.

This is a must have album for every prog fan. It epitomizes what Tull does best and it does it so very well. Recommended for those looking to check out the band beyond their Aqualung and Thick As A Brick days as well as any fan who doesn't already have it for some reason. Tull (and indeed, prog folk) at it's best.

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |


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