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Jethro Tull - Aqualung CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.36 | 2707 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars Aqualung is the first Tull album I owned and it was an old beat up vinyl cover I dug out of someone's garage sale in the 70s. Immediately, as the awesome riff began of Aqualung, I knew this was a band I would be getting into big time. I adore this riff and it is one of the best in rock history. Reportedly the riff was based on Beethovens classic dadada duuuuum, dadada duuuuuuuuum. It works well enough and carries this track to infamy. Those lyrics are pure genius: "snot running down his nose, greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes... feeling like a dead duck, spitting out pieces of his broken luck". The driving erratic rock riffage is broken by an acoustic interlude "sun streaking cold the old man wanders lonely taking time the only way he knows..." and then we have the rocked up section, "do you still remember December's foggy breeze...." (I forget this part of the lyrics but I love the music) and then Martin Barre's awesome lead break screams through the mix. It is pure prog bliss and my favourite Tull track. It was all listed in the top 100 best guitar songs of all time.

The rest of the album pales in comparison but is still terrific music such as Cross Eyed Mary with its chaotic pentameter and time signature, flute and guitar - it works! Mother Goose and Hymn 43 and My God - its absolute genius. There are some strange interludes with acoustic guitar that run for less than a minute and these are mixed with great overblown tracks such as Locomotive Breath - amazing! This became a single and ripped up the charts. The album is one of the most popular Tull, and the band have played it in its entirety many times and even performed it on radio. The conceptual content of the album is complex - It all seems to be wrapped in a concept about the dangers of religion and poverty, or something, but if you just let the music wash over you, Aqualung is a most invigorating, and at times perplexing, experience. Anderson said emphatically it's not a concept album, "just a bunch of songs", but we fans know better don't we? Overblown concept albums are a Tull trademark and here it sits. The cover is an iconic enigmatic image of a dirty tramp and this became Tull's image, uncharacteristic of a rock star and everything Tull purports to be; a rock band that refuses to conform to the traditional image.

In conclusion Aqualung is as good as everybody has claimed, and of course it exists in many forms. I recommend the CD with the bonus tracks and for that matter the Aqualung Live CD is a pleasant blast of a fresh approach to the music. I simply cannot recommend this more highly - a masterpiece of prog genius.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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