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Various Artists (Tributes) - To Cry You a Song: A Collection of Tull Tales (Jethro Tull tribute) CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

3.28 | 31 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars It's been said that this is a must-have for Jethro Tull fans, but I don't see fans of Ian Anderson and company getting too excited about the arrangements and executions on this one. That said, tribute albums exist as a kind of novelty item- it's an opportunity to hear other artists retool a band's music according to their own sound and style. The trouble is that many of the bands used on tribute albums lack a defining sound or style, and this is especially the case in Magna Carta's mill of various artists albums- they choose the bands that sound progressively generic to fill up most of the time, and that's unfortunate. On this one there are a few amazing surprises.

"A Tull Tale" The opening track from Magellan is a fitting tribute in that it blends various pieces into one short introduction, most recognizably "Bouree."

"Aqualung" It's a challenge to offer a fresh rendition of a classic song. Magellan begins in the middle, with the vocals accompanied only by piano. Predictably, the band turns up the gain on the guitars to make this a much heavier version. They leave the acoustic section fairly untouched, but the vocals are stale and unconvincing though- they lack the dramatic disgust and sympathy of the original.

"Up The Pool" Even including a false start, this is a lovely rendition of a little known tune, performed with just a voice and an acoustic guitar.

"Nothing Is Easy" This rock song is given the John Wetton treatment, and he does a solid job with it. It has a competent flute bit in the middle, and fortunately, his voice is suited for this song. One mustn't miss the couple of bass solos thrown in toward the end.

"Mother Goose" This is a decent hard rock version of this fanciful acoustic ditty, even though the vocals don't work again, and many of the gracious subtleties of the original are just steamrolled over. As a compensation, there's a fantastic electric guitar solo.

"Minstrel in the Gallery" The introduction to this piece is almost unrecognizable, relying heavily on mandolin, and then jumping right into Robert Berry's typical big sound, which just doesn't work for a variety of reasons. It's bad enough that this is a truncated version (excluding the acoustic introduction of the original), but the cheesy 1980s wall of sound of synthesizers and drumming just spoils the soul of this progressive folk masterpiece.

"One Brown Mouse" It's no secret that I am a huge Echolyn fan, so I was drawn to their version of this work. While it kind of sounds like Echolyn, there's a lot of differences from their original sound (for one, Ray Weston seems uncomfortably low for his range). That said, this song has a Seven Nations feel to it (that's a little known Celtic rock band I love dearly), and so this really appeals to me.

"Cat's Squirrel" Numerous screeching guitars play over each other in the introduction until the main riff comes in, and even that is dominated by multiple electrics. While the piece is meant to be a fun jam, it's actually quite irritating and harsh on the ears.

"To Cry You a Song" As would be expected, Glenn Hughes (of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple fame) turns this tune into a delightful work of heavy progressive rock, full of gritty guitar and a mean organ solo in the middle.

"New Day Yesterday" Along with the Echolyn contribution, this is what piqued my interest in this tribute album: Master violinist Robby Steinhardt, the voice of such Kansas foot-stomping numbers as "Down the Road" and "Bringing it Back," takes a stab at this excellent blues song from Jethro Tull's Stand Up. Expect not only a great, modern version of this riff-based song, but some of his fantastic violin playing throughout.

"Teacher" Scottish rock band Wolfstone gives a decent rendition of this Jethro Tull classic. The vocals are a little weak (not bad, but literally weak- almost anemic). Otherwise, this is a fun, competent reworking with some additional instrumental flourishes.

"Living in the Past" It isn't difficult to imagine Keith Emerson playing in 5/4, but it was a stretch to consider him covering this gem. Surprisingly, he keeps it low key (no pun intended), rendering it an instrumental smoothly fueled by percussive organ and occasional flashes of Moog.

"Locomotive Breath" The introduction gets an unbelievable, Celtic makeover- simply stunning. The song proper is a solid, hard-hitting rocker- as well it should be. In addition to a robust flute solo, there's some amazing violin work and even a lead guitar solo- this one has it all in one bundle.

"Life's a Long Song" This feathery song retains its acoustic flair, as only the vocals are lazy and don't maintain a pleasing sound or cadence.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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