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Jethro Tull - A CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.23 | 650 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Ah, the 1980's, the death knell of classic prog bands, yes? Well, no, it wasn't. This is the first release of that decade from Tull, although it was originally envisioned as a solo project by Anderson. Presumably, the record company persuaded him to change his mind in the name of artistic integrity; you know, the type that has the tills ringing.

I regard this as being a transitional album. It strikes me as being halfway between the exceptional folk prog phase that started with Songs From The Wood, and the harder rock phase that the band would realise with future releases.

It is by no means classic Tull. Only an avid obsessive would describe it thus, but there is still plenty of good fare to enjoy here.

Guest keyboardist and violinist, Eddie Jobson, fresh from the ashes of UK, adds some incredible textures to this slickly produced album, and it is a shame to these ears he didn't stick around longer. Dave Pegg also shines on bass, and the old Fairport stager sounds like he is having a thoroughly good time.

As with most Tull albums, it is the more folky, traditional songs that move me more. Highlight of these is Flyingdale Flyer, easily a top ten Tull track of all time for me, telling a wonderful story of the golden age of steam, and featuring some wonderful interplay between Anderson and Jobson especially.

An idea of the new direction Anderson would take the band in can be heard on the following track, Working John, Working Joe. A deliberate attempt to inject more punch into the band, edgier both lyrically and musically, it is actually very good.

Black Sunday stands out from the start bleeding, shock horror, synths as a lead. Synths as lead on a Tull album? Wash thy mouth out! As the track develops, it turns into a solid rock track, very slickly produced, and also very good. It is, perhaps, the best example on the album of where Anderson was headed, and even now, 31 years later, I find it difficult to come to terms with when I remember gems such as Songs, Heavy Horses, Broadsword & etc. Such thoughts, though, need to be expunged, and to appreciate the album and tracks such as this, a clear and unbiased mind is required. Once that is acheived, the toes and head are tapping along and you appreciate just how good it is.

Elsewhere, what we have is solid enough stuff. The Pine Marten's Jig is a fun instrumental showing a group of musicians at the top of their game. Jobson's violin is especially good on this, interplaying with Anderson's flute. 4 W.D. (Low Ratio) is a good example of Anderson's continuing whimsical lyrical style, a track that basically takes a huge chunk of fun at the expense of the times blokey car obsession. It is a good, heavy, track.

Three stars for this album. Good, but nowhere near deserving the description of excellent.

lazland | 3/5 |


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