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Jethro Tull - 50 For 50 CD (album) cover

50 FOR 50

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.00 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars - The first review for this compilation - As the title suggests, this 3-disc set celebrates the 50 years of Jethro Tull with 50 songs chosen by Ian Anderson himself. Each of 21 studio albums are represented. Anderson has written a one-page introduction to the set, and the 24-page booklet includes "A Tull Story" written by Martin Webb (adapted and updated from the 40th anniversary tour programme). The lay-out is very good and the track infos contain the source album, length and even the line-up. Things are really looking good. The track selection is not strictly chronological, but fortunately not wildly switching between the decades either. I'm not going to listen to all three discs for this review, since the majority of the material is familiar to me, only the third disc with an emphasis on the material from the 80's and onwards, as I haven't listened to several albums of the latter-day Tull.

CD 1 focuses on the the timeline 1968 - 1971, with solitary pickings from the albums A Passion Play, Minstrel in the Gallery and Heavy Horses too. I don't much care for some songs, e.g. 'Sweet Dream', 'Cross-Eyed Mary' and 'Weathercock', but (if we don't mind the inclusion of mid- and late 70's material here) the disc gives a nice overview of the early years. 'Living in the Past' and 'Aqualung' are there, of course. 'Bourée' (1969) starts the second CD, which as a whole is emphasizing on the timeline 1974 - 1978, again with some exceptions ('Dun Ringill' from Stormwatch and 'Pussy Willow' from The Broadsword and The Beast). War Child (1974) happens to be among the albums I haven't completely listened to, and therefor it's disappointing to see those boring songs 'Bungle in the Jungle' and 'Skating Away...' representing it, as always. 'Salamander' is a nice choice from Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, while the heavily overplayed title track definitely isn't. 'Ring Out Solstice Bells' and 'A Christmas Song' are The Jethro Tull Christmas Album versions (2003).

CD 3 is playing now as I write. The leaps in chronology are getting wider. For example Heavy Horses track 'One Brown Mouse' is followed by 'Rare and Precious Chain' from 1995. The maligned 1984 album Under Wraps is represented by 'Paparazzi' and 'European Legacy'. I am familiar with songs such as 'Steel Monkey', 'Budapest' (which I like a lot) and 'This Is Not Love' even if not with the source albums, which may indicate that they are rather uninteresting. 'Dot.com' (1999) is brand new to me, quite a pleasant song. 'Farm on the Freeway' is a highlight. However, this set hardly changes my half-prejudiced opinion that the latter- day Tull is often quite dull. But all in all Anderson has done a decent job in representing all 21 studio albums. With the well-done booklet this is pretty recommendable as a Jethro Tull compilation, but as Anderson points out, it's "less for the die-hard fan and more for the new and curious listener". On a rock magazine I'd give four stars, on a prog site perhaps three will do... concidering how much better, and more unpredictably, the space of three full-length CD's could be used.

Matti | 3/5 |

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