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Jethro Tull - Ring Out, Solstice Bells CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.18 | 26 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars While JETHRO TULL fans are almost certain to know of their final release as group titled "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album" in 2003 which unofficially saw the band brand turn into Ian Anderson solo projects, many including myself have not been aware of this other Christmas album that came out as a small little four song EP that emerged in 1976 in between the "Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!" and "Songs From The Wood" albums. This is possibly because the short 11 minute and 55 second EP was only released once as a 7" Vinyl once in 1976 and yet again in 1979 but unbeknownst to fans across the globe, it did find a modern day pressing once again as the 40th anniversary 7" Vinyl format on the Rhino label in 2016 which even includes two unreleased Steven Wilson remixes titled "Magic Bells (Solstice Bells)" as well as the title track.

The two longest tracks on the EP, "Ring Out, Solstice Bells" and "Christmas Song" were recycled for the 2003 "JT Xmas Album" leaving only the short "March, The Mad Scientist" and more regularly timed "Pan Dance" to exist exclusively on this release. Musically speaking this is the typical progressive folk rock style that JETHRO TULL has implemented since their origins but as with the 2003 Christmas album, this one is rooted more on the folk side of the equation existing closest to the sounds heard on the "Songs From The Wood" album that followed the original release. While the titles may indicate more of a Pagan celebration rather than Christmas, it is more of a celebration of how the two are intimately intermingled with holiday traditions emerging in the former and shapeshifting to fit into the latter.

While the first three tracks are vocal oriented with Ian Anderson dishing out his baritone magic, the closer "Pan Dance" is an instrumental flute dominated track that makes me think of classics such as Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." Since the inclusion of two of the tracks (which are the superior of the four) have been included on the 2003 Christmas album, it renders this little under the radar release as somewhat unessential for all except the completists of the world despite the other four minutes plus of music being quite pleasant tracks. While the album has been reissued it still hasn't made the impact of the fully developed album that came out in 2003. It's worth a quick spin on YouTube to experience the two tracks that lag behind in the 70s but overall i wouldn't go out of my way to track this down. Still though, not a bad way to say MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

BTW?. this exists with two covers. One with the beautiful artwork with what looks like Jesus Christ next to a live tree and a Christmas tree to the side and another that has no cover at all and merely shows the vinyl peeking through plain paper. By all means, if you do choose to seek this out, get the artwork edition!

3.5 but rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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