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Jethro Tull - Stormwatch CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.48 | 786 ratings

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4 stars The end of an era.

The liner notes says that for four of the band members, this would be their last release with Tull. They had been working with the band for various lengths of time. John Glascock died an untimely death. Barriemore Barlow, John Evan, and David Palmer moved on for other reasons. It also marked the end of a stylistic era for the band, which had been through a few already. The next one, A, would be a stylistic dead end for JT, and the beginning of the continuation of Anderson-Barre as the core of Jethro Tull. Some fans despised it, but I enjoyed it as I did this one.

But, back to this release: North Sea Oil is partly a song about events happing relevant to England at the time. Almost ahead of it's time as oil is still pretty much an issue for everyone everywhere to this day. Oi eh he eh ell! Song hint at the more rock direction they'd take after A. Orion, ode to a star, celestial or earthly or both? Nice strings. Home is nice mellow piece all about warm feelings of guess what? Dark Ages is another JT criticism of organized religion, maybe more applicable to England, but not entirely. Warm Sporran has been a long favorite instrumental Tull piece for me. I just looked up what the hell a sporran is on the internet for the first time. It's a the purse worn with a kilt (Scottish). Learn something new every day. Hey, this song tastes like Scotch.

Side Two of what was the original LP starts off with Something's On The Move, this one's pretty much in the style that would follow after A and also a very LP song "I'm a needle on a spiral in a groove". Old Ghosts hearkens back to the more prog-folk style, not quite as memorable as some of the other tracks on here, still quite nice. Dun Ringill however is better remembered, they could have called it Stormwatch as it starts off with pre recorded voices about storms coming and then it goes into what is basically Ian Anderson singing and playing acoustic guitar, minimal affects applied to the vocals, seagulls wrap up the song. Flying Duchman is another sea themed song. It's a fitting send off to Mr. Glascock, who participated in it, as well as a fitting send off to the heavier folk period for Jethro Tull. The original LP wrapped up with Elegy. A very pretty instrumental that I had on an assortment of pretty prog instrumentals, which I used to play in a used bookstore that I worked at back then. It brings back many memories. Stop here for a while if you want to savor the original album experience.

But wait, there's more. And for those of you fortunate enough to get the remaster release, you have a few quality bonus tracks recorded in the same era. I've known all of these from the 20th Anniversary box set for a while. A Stitch In Time didn't fit too well in this album, but still has the same flavor of the older Tull era, maybe even too much so to fit in. Crossword is another misfit, but again very prog, Kelpie, as well. King Henry's Madrigal doesn't rock so much, but has a more traditional sound, another excellent instrumental.

The original album cover art is reproduced on the 2004 release and looks good if you have a magnifying glass. For us older folks we have to squint really hard. Fortunately the booklet has slightly larger versions of the lyrics and liner notes, plus a couple of pages of notes from Ian regarding this album written in 2003.

Slartibartfast | 4/5 |


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