Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Jethro Tull

Prog Folk

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jethro Tull War Child album cover
3.34 | 960 ratings | 69 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. War Child (4:34)
2. Queen and Country (3:02)
3. Ladies (3:19)
4. Back-Door Angels (5:29)
5. Sealion (3:38)
6. Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day (3:58)
7. Bungle in the Jungle (3:37)
8. Only Solitaire (1:30)
9. The Third Hoorah (4:51)
10. Two Fingers (5:09)

Total Time 39:07

Bonus tracks on 2002 Chrysalis remaster:
11. Warchild Waltz (4:21)
12. Quartet (2:44)
13. Paradise Steakhouse (4:03)
14. Sealion 2 (3:20)
15. Rainbow Blues (3:40)
16. Glory Row (3:35)
17. Saturation (4:21)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, alto, soprano & sopranino saxophones
- Martin Barre / electric & spanish guitars
- John Evan / piano, organ, synthesizers, piano accordion
- Jeffrey Hammond / bass & string bass
- Barriemore Barlow / drums, glockenspiel, marimba, percussion

- David Palmer / orchestrations, conductor
- The Philomusica of London (members)
- Patrick Halling / orchestra leader

Releases information

Artwork: Shirtsleeve Studio

LP Chrysalis ‎- CHR 1067 (1974, UK)

CD Chrysalis ‎- VK41067 (1990, US)
CD Chrysalis ‎- 41571 2 7 (2002, Europe) Remastered w/ 7 bonus tracks from original album sessions

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy JETHRO TULL War Child Music

JETHRO TULL War Child ratings distribution

(960 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JETHRO TULL War Child reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Contrary to what some here would have you believe, this is an excellent album. "Skating Away" is a must-have classic, catchy cut with some of songsmith Ian Anderson's best lines since THICK AS A BRICK, and the infectious title track, the driving "The Third Hoorah" and the rocking "Two Fingers" are absolutely not to be missed.

The daring (but fitting) incorporation of some accordion to the sonic mix, as well as the spot-on orchestrations of frequent collaborator David Palmer add further variety and interest to the sound, and help to make WAR CHILD another solid entry in the JT catalogue, and required listening for all true Tull fans.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars After the terrible critical reception (and for once, it was justified) of APP, Anderson announced the retirement of his group, but came back on his decision a few weeks later as another concept had started seeding in his mind. This included a double vinyl and a film to go along it, but for budgetary reasons (the petroleum shock/oil crisis was hitting Europe), it got vetoed by the record label and absurd Hollywood conditions. Tull was not the only one suffering from this and most notably Townsend's Lighthouse project also got canned around that same time too. While WC has the reputation of being one of two Tull albums being a saxophone album, it's really not the case... As with APP (the other one concerned); it's neither a major instrument, and Ian's playing is not as "basic" as some point out, even if we can say that he's no virtuoso as with his flute.

As a quick glance at the original track listing (10 rather short tracks) will show, we are in a vastly different outlook than with the previous TAAB and APP, but WC is actually musically fairly close to the second one, despite the short-song format, as some songs actually pre-dates APP. While there are a few entertaining tracks such as the dramatic Back Door Angels (from far the best track of the album, as it could belong on Aqualung), the rocky Sealion, the slow developing title track (which actually shows the ambition of the project) and the interesting Bungle in The Jungle. Others are much less enthralling, sometimes bordering on pop music like Queen & Country, Third Hoorah, Two Fingers etc. Actually all things considered this album has strong folk roots, but not really the way or the ones I'd like to hear them.

The irritating things really are the links between the songs (such as the Tea Ceremony between Sealion and Skating Away), which lead to the frustration of not having seen the finished project. One of the striking features of mid-70's Tull albums is the use, over-use and abuse of orchestral arrangements and rather surprising (but not necessarily in a good way) instruments such as bagpipes and accordions. This album is a perfect example of this, although I concede it does go down fairly well most of the time and it is much more irritating on later records, such as Stormwatch.

However, the rumour has it that the bonus tracks are so much better than the actual album, but I can assure you that it is not really the case: actually these tracks go hand in hand with the original album. The WC Waltz is a horribly cheesy orchestral piece, while the following Quartet is a rather failed attempt at it. But I do like Paradise Steakhouse or Glory Row and although flawed with that stupid Hare-like interlude, Sealion 2 is rather average.

Yes, with the help of the bonus track, this album is not more interesting, just longer ; it still remains not that essential to warrant its fourth star. Too bad that we will never see the full project, though.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Disappointing album! It is absolutely unexpected from me to rate a TULL album so low! After the wonderful "Passion Play", the drop is particularly dramatic! This is by far the worst TULL album! The guitar is sometimes accoustic, sometimes electric with a distortion sound almost metal, which happens actually for their first time.

This record has lack of substance! Despite the instruments are well played, there is a lack of inspiration in the compositions, making the ensemble rather diluted. The record is not very well recorded. One thing that is annoying is that there are many good bits but they are fast followed by irritating rythm and pattern changings.

Review by daveconn
4 stars Another malcontented masterpiece, this time saving some of the choicest vitriol for war. "War Child" marked a return to individual songs over side-long suites, making it a more accessible album than "A Passion Play". The tortuously tight arrangements featured here will hold much attraction for fans of GENTLE GIANT: violins, accordions, electric guitar are only some of the unique sounds stirred together in this great stew. In fact, this might be the most musically ambitious of the TULL albums, swelling the band's sound to a small orchestra by expanding the arsenal of individual musicians and presenting David PALMER's orchestrations right in the middle of the mix as a sixth player. Although the record flows well enough, the back cover is a better indication of what lies within: a wide cast of characters with little in common on the surface. One moment, Anderson is steeped in metaphors ("Bungle in the Jungle"), the next he's stepped out of character to address his critics ("Only Solitaire"). The metaphor arbitrarily changes on "Sealion" (life is now a circus, not a war or jungle), the time line slips from current day to Elizabethan era. With all this skipping around, no resolution comes on "The Third Hoorah" and "Two Fingers" the way it did on Too Old To Rock n' Roll's final tracks. Of course, it's not a certainty that "War Child" is a concept album; while the songs have a shared musical sensibility and the themes are perceived to come from the same character, it's something of an expansive and occasionally rambling criticism of life in general (a charge levelled against TULL's earlier albums as well).

"War Child"'s achievement is in its music: some of the richest in recent memory, the arrangements are consistently stunning in their execution, courting excess but impossibly balanced by admirable dexterity. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that "Skating On The Thin Ice of The New Day" is one of my favorite songs (a musical epiphany, if you will).

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album represents my first introduction to the band dated back in 1975. By that time, I was not prepared to accept the kind of music JETHRO TULL plays even though I had known and accustomed to GENESIS, YES, ELP and PINK FLOYD. Their music is different, it's a blend of folk and rock music. "Bungle in The Jungle" blew me up at first listening. The composition is so powerful. That was the only track that I kept playing at that time. When I became accustomed to JT style, I tried to explore other tracks. Wow!!! I enjoyed them as well. I especially like "Backdoor's Angel", "War Child", "Sea Lion", "Third Hoorah", "Only Solitaire", "Two Fingers". This album is my all-time favorite until today. It's an excellent album. If you like folk and traditional music (Scott), you may like the band. This album is classic. Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Muzikman
5 stars Now it is time for the second installment of the Jethro Tull remastered back catalog. I really hate waiting for them and I wish they would just issue all of them at once, then again, it is so enjoyable that you relish every minute and look forward to the next round.

Warchild is a significant release for me personally; it is the first JT album I ever bought. At the time, they were playing "Bungle In The Jungle" a lot on the radio so that was a motivating factor for me. This attractive remastered version will satisfy even the most hardcore JT enthusiast and all prog-heads will be basking in the glory of this fantastic music. The liner notes are superb as Ian ANDERSON continues to contribute the history and color of the sessions on this entire series, offering his expert assistance with the entire process. Some great color photos are included as well. Besides brand spanking new sparkling sounds, included are a generous helping of bonus tracks, which are all good. The bonus track "Sealion 2" was very different, it is a much shorter version but interesting nonetheless, then "Rainbow Blues" and "Glory Row" sound as if they could have made it onto any of their albums. Even the songs in the can are great, what more can I say? Every facet of the group bears bountiful on this album; in essence, they put the progressive into rock.

"Bungle In The Jungle" was a commercial success, and if I remember correctly "Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day" was the flipside of that single, the only reason I remember is because I had it! In addition, what I also recall is how everyone seemed to enjoy that song as much as the A side. Those two songs were the only ones that had a distinctly commercial edge; the rest of the album was vintage prog-rock and JT hitting their stride in a big way. This is a very strong album; actually, it is very difficult to find any weak spots on the entire recording. Now newly remastered it is that much better and even more enjoyable to hear. It is such a thrill to hear all of this music again in an entirely new way, and then to have the ability to recognize things that you never heard before is another added bonus. I have to seek out everything that they ever recorded, I like them that much, and they are one of those groups that take up an entire row on my CD rack.

"Warchild" was one powerful musical statement that stands on solid ground today as one of JETHRO TULL's greatest works. I find it amazing that they were able to regroup and come up with such a consistent album after the phenomenal "Passion Play". Do your self a favor and check out these remasters, they are unbelievable.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Why you have so low rated War Child album? I think it's only the sadness for Jethro Tull abandoning the long suite formula... This opus starts and finishes very well, with some of the best material of that great band, although these beautiful songs are all neglected in the live shows (with only the exception of Skating Away...). The bonus material in the remastered cd is outstanding! Paradise Steakhouse, Glory Row, Raibow Blues are only a little part of the many gems that could not fit into the vinyl disc, because of its well-known time limits. All the JT remasters are good (but it would be better a richer booklet like Barclay James Harvest made).
Review by slipperman
3 stars Though I like this album, I often find it hard to get into. Despite having listened to it about 10 times, there are several songs that never seem to stick. As prolific as Ian Anderson was at this point, it's easy to forgive some unmemorable moments. Plus, he and the band were coming off of two one-song concept albums, so maybe it was a matter of transitioning back to the more conventional song style that makes this album sound a little awkward?

To be sure, there is some prime Tull here: "Back-Door Angels" weaves together metallic guitar domination, very "proggy" synths and textured medieval musings. And "Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day" is classic Jethro Tull; light, breezy momentum with superb playing from all members. Best moments come at the end, with the final two tracks seeing Tull presaging the greatness that would dominate albums like 'Minstrel In The Gallery' and 'Songs From The Wood'. Written in conventional-length song format, "The Third Hoorah" and "Two Fingers" still could've never existed without the band having gone through 'Thick As A Brick' and 'A Passion Play'...they're a bit more involved and complex than where the band left off before going into that epic conceptual territory. Lots of excellent syncopation on "Two Fingers" from drummer Barriemore Barlow, while "The Third Hoorah" benefits from the use of a real orchestra (directed by producer and future Tull member--and future "Dee"--David Palmer).

A harder-edged album than the one before and after it, perhaps due to Anderson's more conservative use of the flute (replaced by Martin Barre's very present guitar and Anderson handling more sax than usual). But sandwiched between 'A Passion Play' and 'Minstrel In The Gallery', it can't be considered anything but a decent Tull album that has its moments, a good listen when you're giving the true Tull classics a rest.

Review by fuxi
4 stars Definitely one of the most colourful Jethro Tull albums. The amazing palette of A PASSION PLAY (with the addition of a highly volatile orchestra) is applied to an excellent collection of shorter songs. In my opinion, the title track and BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE sound uninspired, but all the rest is heaven! Ian Anderson never sung with greater energy: QUEEN AND COUNTRY and (especially) the semi-acoustic SKATING AWAY are two of the most convincing performances he ever recorded. LADIES is graced with inspired orchestrations, and the last two tracks are one helluva way to end an album!

But the most outstanding track is probably the most experimental: on BACK-DOOR ANGELS Martin Barre (solo guitar) and Barriemore Barlow (drums) really let rip (a foretaste of things to come on such pieces as BLACK SATIN DANCER and COLD NIGHT TO VALHALLA). I'm not too crazy about the uninspired noises Martin B. was to produce on later albums such as BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST, but back in 1974 he had JUST started developing a unique virtuoso style - and it shows!

To top it all, the digital re-master contains seven bonus tracks, among which the three instrumental ones are especially noteworthy.

Final verdict: not to be missed. A wonderful example of Jethro Tull in their prime.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The Tull success with the public will not decrease with this work (at least in the US) where it peaked at Nr. 2 in the Bilboard. Their relations with the specialized press though were not at their peak (to say the least). what will be their answer to the global critics of the "specialized press" ?

The title track is good and provides some hope about this work. The heavy classical arrangements (from the Philomusica of London ensemble) and the use of some weird intruments like in "Queen and Country" and "Ladies" are rather annoying and a bit "too much". Again, I do not really understand why Ian was so found in adding such stuff to the Tull's album.

Back to the classic with "Back Door Angels" (the longest track on this album). It is a great hard-rock song : very powerful but also with short, almost folk passages (during the intro). A combination that all Tull fans love. The highlight here. "Sea Lion" could have been a strong piece of rock (but, again, what's the use of the accordeon and the ensemble on this track) ?

"Skating Away" is a good average track and are quite acceptable; but still we are waiting for a true highlight. As far as I am concerned (but I guess I am not the only one) the best track of the album is "Bungle in the Jungle". It will be released as a single. The melody is quite good : folk / hard at times. Some orchestration as well but not too much. The full lyricism of the Tull is noticeable. Finally, we get a highlight (it was about time).

"Only Solitaire" is a short accoustic and nice moment. "Light and sweet". Not pompous nor boring. "Third Hooray" is a strange track : combining medieval and hard rock sounds. A bizarre combination (if they should have left out the medieval stuff this could have been a good track). "Two Fingers" is very good number (but again what's the use of this bloody accordion) ? These were the ten original tracks of the vinyl album.

Needless to say that the remastered version, including seven bonus tracks (over 26 minutes) is worth a listen. Several tracks are absolutely no fillers and could have been elected to make it for the original album without any problem.

Some restrictions though : revisited version of "Warchild Waltz", is a pure classic track, played almost entirely by the Philomusica of London and I really do not like it. "Quartet" is another classic piece of music but for this one the band was backing the ensemble but this is neither a great composition.

"Paradise Steakhouse" is one of the best track of the whole : on par with "Back Door Angels" (IMO the best track of the original album). It is a mystery for me that this one was not selected to appear on the original version. Jethro Tull hard-rock (I like this side very much) at his best. The legend (?) will say that the Tull, on purpose, in reaction of the poor reactions of the press for "A Passion Play" will deliberately leave some good tracks out of the initial release. I can not confirm but when you listen to some of the bonuses, you can only be positively impressed.

Alternative version for "Sea Lion" is not bad but inferior to the original one (kind of "musicals" version with lots of talks). As its title warns "Rainbow Blues" is a heavy blues song like they used to produce in their early days. On top of that, we get some additional "great" orchestral features as well. As you might know, this is not my cup of tea. "Glory Row" won't be passed on to gloryy but "saturation" is again a good track that would have deserved to make the album.

When you listen to the remastered version of "War Child", there was apparently a way to make a good album out of the seventeen songs available from those studio sessions. I would rate the remastered version three stars (only two stars for the original one). Five out of ten would be more accurate. This is another typical example of the limitation of a five stars rating : I rounded up this one while I rounded down "A Passion Play" : both ending on three stars. Maybe, one day, before I die, we 'll be able to rate on a ten star scale. I really would appreciate...

Review by The Whistler
3 stars (You're wrong Steve, it's only 3.5)

Holy crap. What the hell was I thinking when I bought this record? And I don't mean that in a "this record sucks" kinda way, no, I rather liked it. I must have, or else I wouldn't be here. See, Warchild was, in fact, the first prog record I ever purchased. What an introduction. I couldn't have something at least slightly closer to my radio-hit popular-music education, no; I had to have the record with the song about sealions.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. Or behind. I don't know. Something tells me that this review is going to be a little like...Warchild!

Warchild takes a little heat here and there. I MOSTLY don't see why; it's a decent enough album on its own. Some people accuse it of being overly poppy, what with the shorter song structure and the lighter melodies (in fact, I know someone who has sworn off all Jethro Tull because of Bungle in the Jungle), but I just don't see it. I actually consider Warchild to be one of their most progressive albums. In fact, the way that Tull did the whole "classic prog" sound is probably purest on this album. It's certainly the most orchestral album in Tuller history, and just as thick as its lengthy predecessors. It's even got three songs that connect into one lengthy medley; fer goshsakes, what more do ya want?!?

So, what is wrong with Warchild? Well, for one thing, this album has what is known as Openyerclosur Syndrome. See, in order for any form of media to be effective, it has to have a great opening and a great closing. The last page of a book is important because, well, it's the conclusion, resolution. If you drag yourself all the way through the damn book and hit an unsatifying ending, you'll hate it. If the book sucks, but the ending wraps it up beautifully, you'll just remember how great that ending was. And the first page of a book is the most important page of all. If the author can utterly hook you with the opening lines, then it won't matter if the rest of the book is hardly interesting. Well, much...

The same is true with a movie. If the opening scene blows you away (and if you've already eaten most of your overpriced popcorn), then you won't care when the rest is crap. The same is even true with this review, which I had better get back to.

Not only is the opening/title track of Warchild boring, but I also consider it the weakest on the album. Well, the start is nice, the little sound effects and the screaming and all, but after that it becomes really boring. The only interesting thing about it is the miniature sax solo towards the end.

Ian's sax also disappoints me. On Passion Play it was average but different; on Warchild it's totally interchangeable with any other squeaky clean jazz saxophonist. The next song, "Queen and Country," at least moves, but it's just as repetitive. Oh well, at least it's shorter.

"Ladies" is a lighter counterpart of "Queen," a medieval styled ballad to the accordion driven rocker. It's also just as repetitive and short. Things seem like they're going to pick up with "Back Door Angels," but this just turns into an excuse for jam band heroics (reminds me a bit too much of the unfocused instrumental parts off Passion Play). However, it's somewhat saved by John Evan's manic psychedelic organ soloing (which is back to being Doug Ingle-esque, as opposed to Keith Emerson-ian).

But "Sealion" is where things really take off. You can tell it's gonna be good when you hear Ian going, "a 1-2-3, 2-2-3," and then it blasts you with the first real flute riff on the whole album (has there even been any flute yet?). It's a back and forth rocker, far more interesting than "Queen," and (sadly perhaps) the hardest thing on the album.

But it's the next song that takes the spot of personal favorite for me. "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day" has a simple intro, but it builds from Ian's frantic guitar strumming into a gorgeous, eclectic, shapeshifting, depressing, uplifting prog ballad Death? Eternity? Nothing? As usual, it's hard to tell. But it has since become a concert favorite (as well as entering my personal echelon of "really good Tull tunes").

So how do you follow up "Skating Away?" Why with "Bungle in the Jungle!" The orchestral rock song that you might have heard on the radio (possibly the only radio hit with a string quartet and animal sound effects). Orchestral is (for me at least) the key word here, since it's David Palmer's arrangements underneath the main tune that really make the song.

After "Bungle" you get the miniature acoustical piece (like "Cheap Day Return," only funnier) This is "Only Solitare," Ian's rant against critics. It contains, without a doubt, the greatest lyrics on the album. You just need to hear them.

The final tunes are, however, a bit of a letdown. "The Third Hoorah" is essentially a martial rewrite of the title track (complete with bagpipes). If you recall, I didn't like that too much, but "Hoorah" is at least energetic, and out of the various forms of "Warchild," it's my favorite. But "Two Fingers" is a lethargic closer which can't quite be saved by its goofy lyrics (and it's made all the more painful once you realize that a far better version of the song is available as a bonus track on the Aqualung remaster).

So, where does that leave us? A bad title tune, a boring opener, a delicious center, and a sleepy ending. This is Warchild's problem; it's scattered. In fact, it is easily the most scattered of all the classic era albums. I mean, it's sort of organized (good songs in middle), but it FEELS scattered because the opener, which sets up the album, and the closer, which is what you take from the album, are both kinda lame. See why it's important to have a good opener/closer?

I'm not a super Passion Play diehard, but that album was focused. It had a purpose. Does Warchild have a purpose? Well, I guess it must; it was supposed to be a movie soundtrack. Honestly though, I have to wonder what the hell kind of movie it would have been, between the songs about the circus animals and the British navy...the saving grace of the album is the QUALITY of the tunes (Skating!), which (usually) are focused enough within themselves (or short enough that they can't wander too far).

So if you're willing to overlook said lack of focus (and about half the record), the other half is "good" to "great." And, what the hell, maybe "Warchild" (the song) isn't that bad either, in a monotonous sort of way. But still, Warchild (the album) is all over the place. What a waste of a good cover (back cover too; look, there's Cecil!).

(By the way, the remaster is considered a bit of a treasure trove among diehard Tullers for its numerous bonus tracks. I'm not going to disagree. We start with yet ANOTHER version of "Warchild," this one entirely orchestral. The "Warchild Waltz" actually manages to be more boring than its vocal counterpart. However, "Quartet" is a baroque instrumental of a far goofier nature, and "Paradise Steakhouse" is a nice, slow rocker (love the trick ending). Both are great, fascinatingly layered tunes. However, "Sealion 2" is amazing. Although greatly stripped down (and the flute is traded for sax), "Sealion 2" rocks harder, and funnier, than its predecessor (maybe the Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond influence?) Similarly, the drier (and not terribly bloozy) "Rainbow Blues" might be better than orchestral rocker "Bungle," and "Glory Row" is definitely better than "Ladies" (as far as the progressive medieval ballad vibe is concerned). By "Saturation," the album sort of runs out of steam, but it's still based on a depressing, and very solid, riff, so it's all good. Raises the overall rating of the album by half a point, to a solid four).

Review by russellk
2 stars Bitterly disappointing.

So what do you do when your previous album is lambasted by the critics for being overblown and devoid of musical content? (I disagreed with them then and still do now - 'A Passion Play' is fantastic.) You retreat to the success of 'Living in the Past' and refine the formula, right?

No. Not these lads. They have a crack at a third concept album; or, more properly, tried to pull together a concept that had been lying around in the shadowed darkness of IAN ANDERSON'S mind since 'Aqualung'. If this one had come off it would have been bigger than Ben-Hur (a double album and a film). But even JETHRO TULL couldn't always get what they wanted, and they had to abandon the project. This album is the leavings.

There is one shining gem in the midst of this folk-rock fragment: 'Skating Away' is just marvellous. I first heard it as the B-side of 'Bungle in the Jungle', and it prompted me to purchase the album unlistened-to. Big mistake. That 45rpm single I'd purchased contained everything good about 'War Child'. Dear oh dear. Even the opening sound effects of the album are cheesy beyond belief, with none of the sophistication one would expect from the authors of the St Cleve Chronicle. There are some pleasant sounds: 'Back Door Angel', for example, sounds like an outtake from 'A Passion Play', but apart from 'Bungle' and 'Skating Away' nothing is worth repeated listens.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars I so so album, not bad but not a masterpiece, something in between. So he gets for me 3 stars, maybe 3,5. I find it weaker then Minstrel but for sure better then Too old, with some of the tunes who sounds really Tull: Back-Door Angels, Sealion and the classic Jethro Tull piece of work Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day, so this 3 pieces are the best from here, the rest are not bad but less enjoyble. If you want to beggin to listen some Tull music you have to beggin with this one, is one of the most accesible album of them from the '70. Even if is 3 star album i think worth to have in your collection, at least in my collection has a good place on the shelf.
Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

After the harsh critics, IAN ANDERSON received from the music critics and the mixed reception among fans at the release of PASSION PLAY, it was time to go back to a simple song structure system, surely ''encouraged'' by the recording company CHRYSALIS. Not that the leader of JETHRO TULL didn't have any high creative aspirations anymore back then as he planned to do a movie with Hollywood production about a new concept: WARCHILD.

Nothing materialized for many reasons, and the ''concept'' ended in a normally ordinary release of a 10 songs LP named WARCHILD in 1974. IAN ANDERSON shows that he is JETHRO TULL as he is the only member shown on the front cover as the others are mixed in tha back cover with girlfriends, queen Elizabeth 1, a nun, a girl with a machine gun and other strange caracters.....and IAN ANDERSON again right in the middle top .

When i bought this album back then, i never got into it really!! I didn't find the compositions very outstanding; sometimes you cannot explain. Some albums that are revered by a lot of people are not attractive to me and some that are thrashed, i adore them. And with JETHRO TULL, that's often the case. Some albums they would release later met with a lot of criticism are a constant presence on my CD player when supposedly ''great''CDs like HEAVY HORSES don't do much! but that's just me!

I bought back the remastered WARCHILD one/two years ago with all those bonus tracks that have been added. And what a revelation it has been. the light has appeared in my brain....30 years later!! better late than never, they say!! You bet!

The original album is good, the new 17 songs version is GREAT: You have evrything that makes JETHRO TULL unique. The hard rocking songs like the title track, some typically JT acoustic pieces like SKATING AWAY or ONLY SOLITAIRE, the medieval rocking THE THIRD HOORAH, a lot of string arrangements from DAVID PALMER (future DEE) and BARRE back in business.

On this album, you will find also the very catchy HUGE hit back then BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE, still played these days on every classic rock station.The ballad SKATING AWAY ON THE THIN ICE is still also a radio fixture as well.

What makes the album great too is the addition of seven bonus tracks; not one downer. They were originally part of this big play IAN ANDERSON intentionally wanted to produce, but were left out due to vinyl restrictions. And after the somewhat nasty welcome of PASSION PLAY, i don't think CHRYSALIS was in a mood to have JETHRO TULL release a double album.

We have wonderful music with these bonus tracks; first, it is all....classical with WARCHILD WALTZ, no MARTIN, no JEFFREY or BARRIEMORE, even no personal contribution from IAN , imagine that! Just an orchestra. Finally, Ian comes back with his sax and flute on QUARTET, a very, vey proggish tune with a lot of over the top organ, a choir, all that in a mediaval athmosphere, a little bit siily, but great anyway . A very creative JETHRO TULL indeed.

Then the real JT sound comes back with the rocking PARADISE STEAKHOUSE and SEALION 2 with good riffs from MARTIN BARRE omnipresent the whole tracks. 2 JT classics!Also SATURATION is quite nice and energetic. Even the blues is back (just a little bit) in RAINBOW BLUES with again nice orchestrations from DAVID PALMER.

WARCHILD is a very nice pleasure to listen to. It shows all the different aspects of JETHRO TULL music, be it rock, classical, blues, folk, jazz at his best; this is JETHRO TULL music.Nobody else sounds close!

3 stars for the regular album; add 1 star for the excellent bonus tracks.


Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This was my first dissapointment with JT. Songwriting is rather weak and it is obvious that this album represents the first serious crisis in their catalogue. Apart from decent hits "Skating Away..." and "Bungle In The Jungle", the rest of "War Child" is almost negligable and utterly unessential to the band's career. If you are a fan, you will surely buy this album, but otherwise please stick to other albums. JETHRO TULL has a plenty of really excellent works.


P.A. RATING: 2/5

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Jethro Tull's 1974 offering clearly started as a major project and when you factor in top-notch bonus tracks like the grand 'Warchild Waltz', funeral Bach-isms of 'Quartet', brilliantly catchy 'Paradise Steakhouse' and highly prog 'Saturation', it becomes evident this was intended as a concept album complete with all the trimmings. Even Ian Anderson comments that Warchild began as a natural extension of the previous year's epic A Passion Play.

But that didn't happen-- the connective tissue and orchestration that held the material together was trimmed, the songs shortened and the themes disassembled. And that's a shame, because it might have been one of their crowning achievements, an ingenious fusing of the theater of Passion Play with the purity of Aqualung. We still got a great record in 1974, it was Jethro Tull after all. And this remaster sounds marvelous, finally balanced, the muddiness of the original replaced by a clean mix with each instrument given its due, John Evan's keys quite distinct and Martin Barre's subtle details audible. What we get is not only a shining prog rock record, but one of the first successful attempts at progressive heavy metal.

Any remnants of a "concept" lay in images of life on the high seas; a parable for the band on the road and the ups and downs of being a successful musician. The title cut is an uneasy contrast between bitterness and hope, 'Queen and Country' is a sailor's life and 'Ladies' is the band's ode to groupies in every port. More visions of mermaids and plenty of great prog in 'Back Door Angels', and hard-rocker 'Sealion' tears it up with the *Charge!* of Barre's riff against Anderson's dark humor, at last sounding as it was supposed to with each layer coming through as intended. 'Skating Away' is Anderson's songwriting at its best, 'Bungle in the Jungle' was fun radio fare, Ian's cutting response to the music press with 'Only Solitaire' and 'Two Ringers' suggests Cat Stevens' influence on his style.

With its sheen restored and an attempt to fill in some important missing pieces, Warchild is easily one of the best releases of the classic progressive era and this gorgeous reissue comes highly recommended.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Of all Tull albums, "War Child" might be the one that best integrates progressive song structures with his Elizabethan fixation, without succumbing to it wholeheartedly like on "Songs from the Wood". It's also an album that relies less on an appreciation for Mr Anderson's voice than most. Not to say he isn't utterly and overly dominant as per normal, but that the music contains more subtleties that allow you to forget he is singing often enough, and to be able to listen more than once without feeling saturated.

The juxtaposition of different styles and tempos is handled well in the track sequence, so that even though the opening title track might be a bit boring, its juxtaposition with the bouncy "Queen and Country" brings out the best of both. Likewise for "Skating Away" vs the excellent pop hit "Bungle in the Jungle". "The Third Hurrah" was actually my intro to Tull back in the days when a local FM station would form the soundtrack for the cable channel when programming was lacking. I actually thought for months that it was the title track due to its lyrics. Sure there are some less interesting songs but nothing really bad or out of whack. I suppose in retrospect it did show the effete side of prog in that little here is really rocking, but it did so without self consciousness if that makes any sense.

I'm not a big Tull fan, and even less one of Ian Anderson's often abrasive vocals, but "War Child" might be the first Tull album I would recommend to a general rock music aficionado who wanted to know where to start exploring this long lived and respected group.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tull dances the days and nights away.

After the (IMO) superb A Passion Play, which was not exactly well received, Tull decides to revisit the subject, but on from different angle. The result is the first song-based album since Aqualung, but they've apperently forgotten how to write short prog songs. What winds up coming out of the mix is an enjoyable rock album, but not a great prog album by any standards, especially Tull standards.

The album was originally supposed to be another concept album, unfortunately it did not turn out that day, and a lot of the instrumentalism was stripped down in order to make songs more radio friendly. And they are! In fact, in the Americas this album is highly regarded as a classic rock album. But I'll get back on their case as a prog album. WarChild as an album is good, but doesn't introduce anything new, as they so well did with Thick as a Brick, and did too much on A Passion Play. Some of the songs are catchy and good, with the title track, SEALION and SKATING AWAY... being some major standouts. the rest are mediocre at best, with songs like LADIES and BACK DOOR ANGELS traveling a very similar road, which works on a concept album, but not so much here. Quirkyness persists on songs like QUEEN AND COUNTRY and THE THIRD HOORAH or TWO FINGERS, which is usually okay, and in many of my reviews you'll find me defending quirk, but here it doesn't do Tull any justice. I will, however, stay true to my character and say that BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE is a great song! As a prog song, maybe not, but as a rock song, it's catchy, it's mildly quirky, it's got melody, and it's just fun! (So there, I get to be a hypocrite, yay!).

So, overall, this /is/ a very good album, but that's what it is, good. Nothing extraordinary or particularly new here. Luckily their next album would be much better than this one. Nothing left to say. Three stars, non-essential, but enjoyable.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A somewhat strange album, which I bitterly disliked at first. With time and patience some quality material emerged out of it, to my great relief. I sense the lack of direction after the two epics TAAB and APP in the music. Many different approaches which just runs out of steam, or more precisely, just lack the energy to make some. Perhaps it's the result of the uncertainty surrounding their next album, most prominently its nature and concept.

Well, this is what we got. War Child. Bland, a little experimental and incoherent. Yet surprisingly great tracks in the mixture. Here, the band (or most likely Anderson) decides to use saxophone and accordion for that extra power in the music. Personally, I've never been the biggest fan of saxophone, and it feels really out of lpace in Tull's more folk-oriented instrumentation. I can live with the accordion though. From time to time it's really enjoyable. But this is all just matters of taste. What fails on this album is, surprisingly, the classic powerful pieces, mastered to perfection on aforementioned albums. Hard to adjust to shorter song lengths, perhaps? The title track, Queen and Country, The Third Hoorah and to some extent Two Fingers suffer from this syndrome, aiming for something way bigger than they achieve. No intensity, presence or emotion involved. Bungle in the Jungle is the poster child of these problems. Bored, anyone?

It is when turning to their roots Tull finds those vital ingredients that make things work once again. The folkish acoustic guitar on songs such as ladies, in perfect marriage with Anderson's flute and heartfelt vocal delivery is in fact top class music. And here the presence of orchestrated strings feels perfectly in place. Other light, but lofty efforts include the charming Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of a New Day) and the short and sweet Only Solitaire. It's great to hear that the confidence somehow shines through again on these tracks. In the sometimes very heavy Back-Door Angels there's more 'oldies'-feeling. Could have been something out of Benefit, with great soloing from Martin Barre. One should not miss the varied and slightly quirky Sealion either (love the accordion!).

Without any doubt, this is a transitional album, a vacuum between to great albums. Not recommended unless you are a fan of the band, and if you are, and want to hear more of these giants, look elsewhere. But when you've done that, War Child might be a nice album after all. There are hidden gems to be found.

//Linus W

Review by TGM: Orb
2 stars Review 23, War Child, Jethro Tull

StarStarStar An album with more merit than I perhaps originally gave it credit for, and plenty of high moments. However, there are some recurring problems. The band do not seem to be very good at ending the songs very well, the concept has clearly been mutilated quite a lot, and yet retained on some of the pieces, leaving the album with a somewhat half-baked feel, and also there are a lot of pretty generic song structures that could have been spiced up a little. Lastly, I'm not a big fan of the string arrangements that pervade the album. On the plus side, all the tracks have at least some merit, the lyrics are occasionally entertaining, and the band is usually doing something interesting, even if it doesn't quite work. The saxophones and accordions incorporated frequently sometimes pay off nicely and sometimes fall flat. Not a true disaster, but not the resounding success that it could have been made into.

Warchild begins with siren-howling, and bursts into centre stage with a surprisingly musical soundscape and a nostalgic 1930s-feeling sax part. The verses are amusing enough, with some highlights in John Evan's piano-playing, but the chorus simply sounds like it's trying too hard, with ineffectual, spineless sax and pop strings. There is a good sax solo at one point, but that's cut short for more chorus repeats.

Queen And Country is a pop song, basically, with a couple of additions on accordion and some vocal stops and strings. However, it's a good pop song. The chorus is catchy, the verses are fairly memorable, while the lyrics aren't very sophisticated, it's fun to sing along to. The strings fit very neatly, and Barriemore Barlowe manages to stand out with his percussion performance, which seems to place emphasis by sudden stops.

Ladies has a distinctly medieval feel, but the folky. For the opening part, the acoustics are fine, the basic vocals/lyrics are rather mindless and unexceptional, and the chorus part with its tame sax is just irritating. However, it springs off into a section with a rather cha-cha-cha feel that is a delight to hear every time, with a much better incorporated sax.

Back-Door Angels is the closest thing to a Tull classic song on this album, with heavy guitar, bass and organ parts, as well as the surreal, atmospheric lyrics and attacks on religion that characterise Ian Anderson's best lyrics. The small sax and flute additions are very conducive to the atmosphere, accompanied by a very interesting drum part. All the players somewhat stand-out and the acoustic-primed ending actually works pretty well, which is unusual for the album.

Sealion enters in a pretty standard way for a heavier Tull song, with kicking flute and electrics, and continues in the same vein. The unfortunate problem of this song is that it's simply not memorable, with the same basic riff repeated a lot, fairly undistinctive vocals and it fails to evoke any atmosphere or interest for me.

The humming at the start of skating away reminds me somewhat of that on Supertramp's 'easy does it' and provides a slightly neat atmospheric effect, even if it seems out of place in a collection of mostly unrelated songs. Skating Away begins with a pretty standard positive Tull fairly sophisticated acoustic piece, which is gradually added to with cheerful accordion and glockenspiel, and eventually thick chords from Martin Barre. It develops into something with a bass and flute part and a slightly Latin feel. For no apparent reason, it shifts very abruptly out with a keyboard part. Great song, terrible ending.

The album's hit song, Bungle In The Jungle, isn't really that bad. Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond provides a great bass line, which is accented by John Evan's piano. The verses are good, with strong additions from the Barre-Anderson duo, good, distinctive vocals and amusing, whimsical lyrics. The instrumental sections are excellent, with the strings being more effectively added than they are on the rest of the album. The choruses, even if the average progger will hate it, are varied upon enough for my liking. The fade, even if I don't love them, doesn't hurt it. A great pop song.

Only Solitaire is Ian Anderson's first brilliant riposte at the critics, mocking their attitudes with a delicious acoustic piece, harmonised vocals and classic lyrics. A short gem, but a gem nonetheless.

The Third Hoorah seems a little unneeded for me. Despite the quality organ and bass, it feels bland and repetitive, with the flute, accordion and electric additions seeming more like gimmicks to disguise the song's essential weakness than clever variations.

I don't particularly dislike the variation on Lick Your Fingers Clean. While the original was a hard-rocker, this is a slightly more unusual version, with admittedly rather ineffectual sax and accordion additions, even if everything else works pretty well. The biggest plus is that the vocals are slightly easier to hear and enjoy, and the 'When you slip on the greasy platform...' section sounds slightly more interesting. It's not exactly ruined the song, but it's not as consistently strong as the original.

Onto the bonus material, Warchild Waltz and Quartet are both is great, though the first is a classical waltz (surprise!) with a couple of themes from the album, and the second is a cross between a standard old American song, an organ solo showcase and random noise. John Evan provides some exceptional organ and bass pedals for our delectation, and I feel this track was stronger than many that made the cut. The Paradise Steakhouse isn't at the same level, I think, and it feels a little too sludgy and messy, despite some great moments from the piano, vocals and drums. The ending, however random, is hilarious. Sea Lion 2 is truly random. Just so random. I can't describe it. I really can't. Some twists on the earlier Sea Lion, but that's about all I can say.

Rainbow Blues is a great catchy song, with a very nicely incorporated string section, some good guitar and bass work, and a very warm feel. The drumming ain't bad, either. Glory Row feels like an unfulfilled song, with very weak choruses bringing down mediocre verses. The saxophone just feels sterile or even redundant, and the song's short highlight comes from the standard instrumentation of Tull. Saturation has a little of the sort of shiny Hammond playing that I love to pieces and is highlighted by a menacing bass throb from Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and bizarre, haunting verses with shifts from whimsical to remotely serious to whimsical again. Martin Barre provides a great solo for the fade. I don't think it quite fits for the end of the album, and might have been better suited to a different position.

Overall, not a bad set of bonuses, even if they drag out the album longer than most of us would like.

War Child is an unusual album, and perhaps requires (despite the cheerful pop songs) a little time to get into properly. It's not a true classic, but it has enough gems to be worthwhile for anyone who doesn't mind decent pop songs or particularly loves Jethro Tull.

Rating: Three Stars

Favourite Track: Back Door Angels

Edit: I felt maybe a 2 was more reflective of how I really feel about this one and how often I feel compelled to throw it in the CD player... relatively even weak track: good track ratios should probably be in the 2-zone. Maybe better than it's verbally given credit for, but perhaps the rating is pretty fair.

Review by The Quiet One
2 stars WARNING! Every Tull album with only Ian's face in the cover is not a good quality album.

So what is this? A classic?

This is a Jethro Tull album in the boderline of being disastrous. By no means it's a classic. The album has some fans around at cause of A Passion Play that wasn't very well received. So people who didn't like that surely would get into this being sort-of a return to form, though not quite a good return as some would say. An excellent return to form is Minstrel in the Gallery, but that's another story. To the album!

The album starts with the title track. It's a peculiar track. It's a rock song. It has some not-so common features, like the sax, a soft piano and some orchestral arrangements. The song is not that strong overall, and ends up like if it needed some back-up, while that back-up will never come along the album. Not a great opener I have to say.

Then we go with Queen & Country. Similar to the title track, Ian's voice is cut with the drums and with the rhythm of the song. You'll hear something peculiar on this one too, the accordion. The chorus is catchy, but still needs the ol' hammond or the fantastic ol' bass Tull used to have, even if Jeffrey is still here.

We go on with Ladies. A nice acoustic tune. We got Ian's flute, at last. Again the sax is giving a kind of pecculiar style. The song at the end gets a classic rock style with a piano going on. It's a nice tune with no real interest in it.

Now after uninteresting tunes we got at last a tune that gives you some shiver. This is Back-Door Angels. The song has nice keys going on, like a mini-part from A Passion Play. In general it's a rockin' song with some good change of moods, like they would do in the future Minstrel in the Gallery. With very good playing by Martin Barre. The song it's not that convincing though, but has interesting guitar sections as well as keyboard ones. The song finishes soft with Ian's acoustic guitar.

After an interesting track we got the highly claimed rocker, Sealion. As Back Door Angels, this has stunning electric guitar sections. The orchestral arrangements give a very bad role here, I must admit. In the end, a fine rocker with a mix of acoustic guitar over the electric one. Some accordion here and there. Another sort of unique piece, but, again, not well achieved.

Then we got Skating Away on the Thin Ice. This is a very well achieved acoustic tune with good orchestral arrangements, giving it a very pleasant touch.

Now we get to the humorous Bungle in the Jungle. While being simple or pop, it's a hell of a fun track. Opening with some animals roars, and then soon we got the Tull's trademark instrument, the flute. As interesting as Harold the Barrel by Genesis, both short tunes, and catchy, but still having each bands elements.

Now we go ahead with another folky tune, Only Solitaire. It's nonethless a very short track with nothing interesting to show. Just Ian's voice and acoustic guitar going on. Similar what they'll do on Too old to Rock, Too young to Die.

Now we get to one of the most indegistibles Tull songs, The Third Hoorah. As you may see, already the title is stupid. While it is a stupid song, bringing some irrelevant bad joy to it. It does contain acoustic, acordion, orchestra, electric guitar and flute, but really the mix in here is awful, Ian's voice get's painful cause the way he wants to bring joy on the song.

The album finishes with Two Fingers. I must say this song is Excellent, well at least compared how the album was going. This song is powerful. With some good bass melodies. A good electric guitar fullfilling the scene. A very good riff. Still we got the lacking orchestra, but the song isn't completely ruined by it. This song saves the day of the albums destiny.

Well, so? The album is quite lacking of GREAT material and gets to a dull, boring one. Having useless orchestra and acordion. Ian's voice seems somewhat depressing without joy, but not the joy in Third Hooray, please not that one, but the one from TAAB. The album is by no means prog. And being a rock album, it's a bad one.

You want a return to form? Get Minstrel in the [%*!#]ing Gallery, that'll blow your ears out.

So is this album worthy on your collection? NO! Can you like it? Well yeah, but I don't, even if I were drunk.

The only songs that give me interest, at least a bit, are: Back-Door Angels and the final track, Two Fingers. Then we got songs that I like too, but aren't really interesting tracks, just nice tunes that anyone can like them: Bungle in the Jungle and Skating Away in the Thin Ice.

A 2.5. Rounded to 2. Just for collectors!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Another passion play, but with less passion

At the time of its release, War Child was the weakest Jethro Tull albums since the band's early days as a Blues Rock band in the late 60's. The previous A Passion Play had already constituted a big step down from the lofty heights of Thick As A Brick and Aqualung, but War Child is an even lesser album than A Passion Play. Like Ian says in the liner notes to the CD reissue, these two albums are connected thematically and some material that ended up on this album was actually written before A Passion Play. Like virtually all Jethro Tull albums, it has some good moments, but it is still one of my least favourite albums by the band together with 1968's This Was, 1984's Under Wraps, and 1991's Catfish Rising. The problem is simply that the material is among the band's weakest and a far cry from their other 70's albums.

In 1974 one would perhaps rightly have wondered if Jethro Tull was quickly running out of steam on a permanent basis, but in retrospect we know that this would be very far from the truth and indeed that this would be only a temporary glitch. Already the next album, Minstrel In The Gallery, would be a true return to form. And there would, of course, be many other albums in the future that would be up to the high standards we except from this great band.

The only song on this album that belongs to the best of Jethro Tull is Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day. This song together with Bungle In The Jungle and Only Solitaire were recorded before A Passion Play, while the rest of this album was done after. Ironically, the newer songs sound more like leftovers than the ones that actually were leftovers! The live version of Skating Away from the excellent live album Bursting Out is even better than this original version. Bungle In The Jungle sounds like it could have fitted on the much later Crest Of A Knave album from 1987. The Third Hoorah is a nice instrumental, that sounds a bit like Celebration by PFM.

Among the bonus tracks on the CD reissue of this album you can find more tracks that were recorded before they started to work on A Passion Play. Among these songs is one called Rainbow Blues which is really good. This song was actually covered by Ritchie Blackmore for Blackmore's Night recently!

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars I find this release a bit underrated and slandered too much.

Truth be told, this is the best album spanning the gap between Thick as a Brick and Songs from the Wood. Not all the songs may be incredibly progressive, the folk aspect might be downplayed a bit, the flute a little low in the mix, and the vocal melodies sometimes a bit uncreative, but if you want to pick up an interesting and entertaining Jethro Tull album from the mid 70s, there truly is nowhere else to look. The songs might be a bit unimaginative, honestly; however, what they lack in raw originality they make up for in quality hooks and wonderful band interplay. Also of note are the clever keyboard arrangements throughout, which in conjunction with Ian's flute prove that this is not remotely a normal rock album.

Tracks of note come pretty thick. The title track is a high quality rocker in the vein of Living in the Past. I enjoy listening to the next three tracks quite a bit, though as far as reviewing goes, suffice to say they are good tracks but nothing terribly inspiring or creatively remarkable. Sealion has a wonderful vocal melody and band sound, with a wry sense of humor pouring out of Ian's voice. Skating Away is an odder song, but it nevertheless is one of those you'll get stuck in your head for a long time. The album's major single, Bungle in the Jungle, features some intense flute and keyboard sounds, providing a lot of depth and power to what might just be an average track otherwise. The Third Hoorah is built on some terrific instrumentation, including bagpipes. The folk is very strong for this song in particular.

Overall, a fairly average release, but on the high side nevertheless. This one is wavering on the edge of four stars by way of recommendation. Do not get the impression that this is a terrible transition album by Jethro Tull. It may not be a prog rock masterpiece, but it certainly is a great album by a bunch of prog rock masters. Any fan of Tull needs to own this.

Review by J-Man
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

I can't help but think that his album is underrated. Though I kind of have a special spot for this album, being my first J-Tull album, it really is underrated musically. Sure it's not their best, but for this short period where Tull kind of lost some of their quality, it's the best from the era. The closing track fits perfectly, and is a highlight of the album. I particulary like the theme to this album, even though there is less flute and less reasons to make it called prog folk. I also tend to think that Ian Anderson's voice sounds the best here, even though other musicians aren't shining as brightly. Sure the music isn't as proggy, folky, or has as much skilled musicianship, but it does not deserve a lot of the negative reviews it gets. It's not great or anything, but for anyone looking for good music, if you like prog folk, or if you're a Tull fan, you won't think it deserves the reviews it gets.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars War Child, hmmmm. This is a difficult one. The best thing about this album is the story telling vocals of Ian Anderson. The whole album was intended to be a soundtrack for a movie that just did not get off the ground. An interesting idea but must have looked better on paper than as a real project. Within this framework is a mixture of serene acoustic passages, juxtaposed with monster rock riffs and scintillating flute as only Anderson can play. So what else is new? As always with Jethro Tull, the album should be listened to in its entirety to appreciate the intricate structure and heavy multi-layered instrumentation. But it is not classic.

The album begins with a nice cup of tea in the true English way - almost a parody of what it means to be English. Then it kicks in with the entertaining 'War Child' track.

It is all a bit of a blur then with one track sounding similar to another until we have the quintessential Tull tracks 'Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day' and 'Bungle In The Jungle'. I had heard Bungle when it was first on the radio charts. I was rather taken aback, as a young child, with the lions roaring and the overall ambience and lyrical content. I am still astounded at how great this track is and how it has stood the test of time. Simply brilliant music and melodies, radio friendly and yet quirky enough to be Jethro Tull. Really Tull have done nothing like it before or since. I memorised the lyrics when I was a child - it introduced me to Tull all those years ago. My favourite verses are:

Just say a word and the boys will be right there: with claws at your back to send a chill through the night air. Is it so frightening to have me at your shoulder? Thunder and lightning couldn't be bolder. I'll write on your tombstone, ``I thank you for dinner.'' This game that we animals play is a winner. and

The rivers are full of crocodile nasties and He who made kittens put snakes in the grass. He's a lover of life but a player of pawns --- yes, the King on His sunset lies waiting for dawn to light up His Jungle as play is resumed. The monkeys seem willing to strike up the tune.

Lots of fun, so why is the rest of the album so dire and tiresome?

'Skating' is always a fan favourite and has some really nice melodies that linger in the mind well after the song has ceased. The rest of the tracks are... well, forgettable unfortunately.

The bonus tracks are not that great and I found myself wanting to put on other Tull CDs such as 'Thick as a Brick' or 'Stand Up' as quick as possible. So while this album has moments of brilliance there are too many moments of mediocrity. However still a good addition to a Tull collection for certain for the standout tracks.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After the two ambitious single track epics of Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play Jethro Tull returned to the simpler format of ten shorter songs. Nothing wrong with that in itself but despite a handful of good tracks it turned out to be one of my least favourite Tull album of the decade.

All the essential Tull elements are in place where rock riffs sit alongside the folk and acoustic parts in complex arrangements. It is however, relatively speaking, one of their more straight rock orientated albums where Martin Barre's electric guitar work gets lots of space; but still room for acoustic moments like the excellent Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day and Only Solitaire. Of course Ian Anderson's instantly recognisable flute playing is present, though now occasionally replaced by his less appealing saxophone which first appeared on A Passion Play. There are occasional orchestral moments too, arranged by David Palmer but it's primarily a rock record, but of course a Tull rock album is never going to be a straightforward heads down, no nonsense mindless boogie approach. The music twists and turns as you would expect but ultimately many of the songs are lacking a strong hook and melody and come across as a little dull and lifeless. There are some better tracks, not least the title track and Back Door Angels brought to life by Barre's powerful guitar work including an excellent solo.

Overall though the highs are too sporadic to make a great Tull album and despite being better than much of what would follow in the eighties and nineties it's a record that doesn't come off the shelf for a spin too often. 2 ½ stars for this average album.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars With War Child, Jethro Tull returned towards more concise and regular song writing. The album continued the playful and circus music styling of A Passion Play but, for starters, it misses that album's inspiration to call it anything better then just good.

But there is more. I miss another essential element that used to make Jethro Tull so exciting. I hear no heart in this music. In fact, War Child is the first in a series of 3 albums where Jethro Tull sounds like a worn out band that goes through the motions with little or no interest in the music they are playing. Actually, except for the album Songs of the Woods, this would remain a continuing flaw in all of Jethro Tull's music that I have heard. I think it gradually made them uninteresting to anyone but the most ardent fans.

Back on topic, I can be very short about the album itself, as only War Child and Skating Away can please me. The remainder of the music leaves me completely untouched, both due to its scanty musical qualities and for its disinterested performance.

Review by Chicapah
2 stars Even if I live to be a hundred I'll never figure these guys out. Sometimes they're the undisputed prog world wrestling champions and at other times they're like a bunch of renegades from the local high school "Jazz 'R Us" ensemble who've put together an experimental, avant garde combo just to bug their teacher. After creating two of progressive rock's most adventurous endeavors back-to-back (the amazing "Thick as a Brick" and the somewhat misunderstood but nonetheless brilliant "Passion Play") Ian Anderson and his merry men took a drastic detour back into the cultural mainstream and I'm puzzled as to why. It's not as if they weren't selling LPs and cassettes by the truckload. Both of those epic albums reached #1 on the Billboard chart. Perhaps it was a matter of success going to their heads because the only thing they lacked was a hit single in heavy rotation on the AM radio dial. It's like their prog-minded muse took a leave of absence to tan on the sunny beaches of Barbados and was replaced by the stogie-chewing, megalomaniac General Jack D. Ripper from "Dr. Strangelove." Maybe it was the distraction caused by Ian not being happy with being a revered rock star and yearning to become a movie mogul. Who knows? But whatever the reason, this record is such a drastic downgrade, especially in the quality of the material, that it boggles the brain.

Let's start with the hideous cover art, shall we? It's not only one of the most unappealing ever to appear in the record bins; it's easily their most unflattering since the bizarre band photo that appeared on their debut in '69. Looks like someone dropped a tab of purple haze and locked themselves in the photo lab. In any case, it serves well as a warning for the low-rent compositions that lurk inside the sleeve. With only a few bright exceptions, the songs are barely above amateur status in fidelity and reveal a dearth of both imagination and inventiveness within the group at the time.

At least they put a good foot forward with the title cut, "War Child." The listener is greeted by the sound of WWII air raid sirens and death-carrying missiles streaking across the sky, leading one to think that you might be in for another intriguing concept album from the boys. This piano-based tune features an unusual chord progression and a lively melody to go over it. Anderson's raw saxophone offers a break from their normal flute-heavy approach and the luscious string score gives the number a pompous bravado befitting the satirical lyrics. I get the feeling that Ian was disgusted by the carefree, devil-may- care "dance the days and dance the nights away" attitude that permeated hip society in the mid 70s. "No unconditional surrender, no armistice day/each night I'll die in my contentment and lie in your grave," he sings. Alas, that opening cut is one of the few perks to be found. "Queen and Country" is next and despite the inclusion of a playful accordion the song is too weak to fend for itself. Ian strains his voice repeatedly to hit the loftier notes and the plodding beat is a drag to endure. The words have something to do with sailors at sea for "five long years" but it has no pertinent point to make.

When JT opts for a more acoustic approach the results are rewarding more often than not and such is the situation with "Ladies." The number's prog folk slant is satisfying and Anderson's observations about girls involved in the oldest profession are cleverly tongue- in-cheek. "With a smile and a glimpse of pink knees and elbows/of satin and velvet/good ladies, good fortune," he warbles with a wink. Yet, for some strange reason, they tack on a rock & roll coda that has nothing to do with anything. Oddness for odd's sake doesn't impress me. "Back-door Angels" starts out well enough but the inexcusable looseness of the track efficiently erodes any charm the tune might have possessed. Martin Barre's grating guitar is predictably distracting and the song's jerky arrangement is atrocious and incoherent. It's the bad side of Jethro Tull bulging out rudely like the belly of a couch potato. "Why do the faithful have such a will to believe in something?" he asks. Methinks he was addressing his loyal fans who thought the group walked on water.

On "Sea Lions" Barriemore Barlow's drums have the tone of cardboard boxes, retarding the number's attempt to be a rocker because there is absolutely no groove to be found. There's no cohesiveness in the writing and it comes off as a collection of random musical ideas forced to try to live together in an efficiency apartment. Ian compares himself to a circus performer. "But you know, after all, the act is wearing thin/as the crowd grows uneasy and the boos begin/but you balance the world on the tip of your nose/you're a sea lion with a ball at the carnival," he muses. That line may be the key to understanding why this album is such a mess and if not for the next cut the whole project would have crashed and burned like the Hindenburg. "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day," is like a brief glimpse of glory. It's an excellent tune all the way around and a prime example of how this band can combine a variety of acoustic instruments to conjure magic. It gradually picks up momentum like a sled on a gentle slope and the lyrics are stunningly poetic. "Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's too damn real/and in the present tense/or that everybody's on the stage/and it seems like you're the only person sitting in the audience?" he expounds.

The infamous "Bungle in the Jungle" follows and it's a slap in the face. This trite ditty's memorable melody is wasted on the prog equivalent of "Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got love in my tummy." This demeaning staple of classic rock radio is even the butt of jokes on TV sitcoms and an ugly blemish on Jethro Tull's legacy. It's as embarrassing, if not more so, than the Doors' egregious "Hello, I Love You." You fellas want a hit single? So be it. Careful what you wish for, that's all I gotta say. As the inane words state plainly, "the monkeys seem willing to strike up the tune." To be involved in the music biz (especially in the prog category) an artist has to have a thick hide when it comes to critics in general but evidently they burrowed under Anderson's skin and he felt compelled to pen the acoustic "Only Solitaire" as a rebuttal. It lasts less than a minute and a half yet that's long enough for him to get his sucker punch in by imitating their brutal assessment of himself. "Court-jesting, never-resting/he must be very cunning/to assume an air of dignity/and bless us all with his oratory prowess," he croons snidely. I'm sure the reviewers at Rolling Stone were truly humbled that he would pay so much attention to their heckling.

"The Third Hurrah" sports a militaristic marching beat as it reprises the catchy "War Child" theme. John Evan's employment of a harpsichord and David Palmer's stirring string orchestration is refreshing, making me wish more of this album was as entertaining. "Seek that which within lies waiting to begin/the fight of your life that is every day," Ian sings with rare insight. The closer, "Two Fingers," belies the truth that the band was running low on material (it's a reworking of an "Aqualung" reject). It sounds like a 4- track demo and is yet another instance of too many disconnected snippets and riffs that don't play well together. Even the lyrics hark back to the tired railing-against-God motifs that Anderson plundered three albums earlier. "I'll see you at the weighing in/when your life's sum total's made/and you set your wealth in goodly deeds/against the sins you've laid," he sings. Life's a bitch and then you die. We got it, bro, move on.

I've said it before in other reviews and I'll say it again. Being a defender of Jethro Tull's music isn't easy because for every "Stand Up" masterpiece there's a dud like this one to try to explain away. Consistency was just not one of their outstanding characteristics, it would seem, so traversing the open field of their aural art requires keeping a keen eye out for land mines. When they were on their game they were superbly unique and beyond reproach but when they were in a creative slump like they were on "War Child" they were grossly mediocre and average, at best. Bungle in the Jungle, Ian? Come now. Surely we deserved better than that. Take it back. Please. 2.3 stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Jethro Tull's return to short songs after releasing two consecutive single song albums (Thick As A Brick & A Passion Play) is a mixed bag. It has some great tracks (WarChild, Back-Door Angels and Sealion), one of the finest folky songs Ian Anderson has ever written (Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day) and probably the best orchestration work David Palmer has done with Tull. It also includes Bungle In The Jungle, the closest thing Tull could create to a bubblegum pop hit. I suppose after three spectacular albums in a row, this band was due for a letdown. At least with Jethro Tull letting down, you just get an average album, not a piece of junk.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars If I remember correctly, this was the first ever Jethro Tull album I heard, when I was 15 and I borrowed it from a school friend. I remember I dind´t think it was all that good and kind of forgotten about it. After all I had so many other better JT albums to pick up, this one was not a big deal. Or so I thought. Some 25 years after that War Child was one of the first JT CDs I bought when the new remastered versions became avalable. I was curious if it made any difference after all these years and after hearing so many other works of Ian Anderson & co (including seeing them live in my hometown in 1988).

Well, I think this is a good album. Not excellent. It was clear that the band (Anderson in particular) was intimidated by the critics onslaught on their previous A Passion Play and decided, consciously, to write an album in the more ´normal´ format of several short songs instead of the long one suite of Passion Play and Thick As A Brick. Which sounded like something not really natural for them to do. The two former CDs are JT´s best and going back to the times of Benefit was not - in my vision - the best choice for a band that was always surpassing themselves with every release. But it was not a disaster either.

There are many good songs on War Child that I enjoy a lot: Back Door Angels (a very good hard rock number that reminds me of their best CD Thick As A Brick), the delightful single Bungle In A Jungle is a highlight and should have been a greater chart success than it was then, Skating Away and the funny Sealion are also first rate JT stuff. Queen and Country was nice too. But the album is clearly uneven. Some tracks annoying sounding like fillers. And there are some leftovers that should be on the original album like Glory Row, Paradise Steakhouse and - specially - Rainbow Blues. Fortunatly all 3 are now included on the CD remastered version as bonus tracks, along with four more (two of them orchestrated pieces for a movie that never was). The band´s perfomance is top notch, as it was Robert Palmer´s string arrangements and the production.

After all this time I came to the conclusion that War Child has its meritis, but it´s also a letdown when you think it came just after such masterpieces like A Passion Play, Thick As A Brick and Aqualung. So if you´re new to this great band, be sure to get all their classic stuff before tackling this one. Good, ok, but far from essential. 3 stars.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I guess that it was inevitable for Jethro Tull to return to the shorter song format after the two album-exploration of the lengthy one-song material, even though I always have considered A Passion Play merely a collection of shorter tracks fused together for all the wrong reasons.

According to what I could gather, a few of the songs that made it to War Child were actually written during the early A Passion Play sessions in France only to be stored in the vaults until further notice. This could suggest that the band had more time to work on this follow-up album but listening to this final product doesn't reveal any such qualities. Still, it was a pleasant experience to finally hear a few glimpses of something that resembled excellent material in comparison to the previous offering. The opening title-track is a great example of such an occasion featuring a catchy chorus and a nice build-up to the rest of the album.

It does take a while until the next truly excellent moment which Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day definitely represents in my humble opinion. This very beautiful ballad sets a great tone for the next couple of tracks from those same early 1972-1973 writing sessions. It seems to me that Ian Anderson was uninspired when he added the last two tracks titled The Third Hoorah and Two Fingers to the album. These weaker tracks do make up a large portion of the record which ultimately is the main cause behind my decision of not awarding War Child any rating higher than the one you see above.

War Child is another strong Jethro Tull album that gets spoiled by quite a few uninspired moments simply making it only another good, but non-essential album on the part of the band.

***** star songs: Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day (4:12)

**** star songs: War Child (4:37) Queen And Country (3:01) Sealion (3:41) Bungle In The Jungle (3:37) Only Solitaire (1:39)

*** star songs: Ladies (3:19) Back-Door Angels (5:27) The Third Hoorah (4:52) Two Fingers (5:20)

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Such differing opinions on Warchild. This is for me a very accomplished release and a great concept album to boot. As the title suggests, growing up with war sirens blaring must have an effect on any individual, an end of innocence perhaps? There is an air of unity with the songs that seem to mesh together nicely. A precursor to Songs From The Wood or even Heavy Horses although the latter more the finished product. " Ladies" has some lovely guitar work from Martin Barre and nice harmonising from Mr. Anderson, with a good clap along. Ian Anderson invests heavily in the saxophone on Warchild which is a refreshing direction. " Sealion" has some great flute work and more rock to it with real cynical lyrics. Welcome to the human circus folks! " Only Solitaire" again offering no sympathy to a certain individual, I wonder who that might be Steve? Anyhow a great album that works for this reviewer and definitely better than it's follow on release a year later.
Review by Warthur
3 stars Tull's first studio album of conventional songs (as opposed to album-length suites) since Aqualung (or, if you're up for counting compilations of mostly non-album tracks, Living In the Past) sees the band taking a more hard rock slant on their music. This can't quite cover for the shakiness of the material - even filling the album out with reworked versions of songs from the infamous Chateau D'Isaster tapes (as they were dubbed on the Nightcap compilation) can't quite disguise the fact that the group's knack for writing shorter, pithier songs had atrophied in the years they spent producing seamless album-long epics. The almost proto-metal take on the material shakes things up just enough to keep things entertaining and it's worth a listen, but there's no getting around the fact that this is an album with an issue or two.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "War Child" was the unfortunate album that had to follow up what many would consider JT's most creative moment, with "Aqualung", "Thick as a Brick", and "A Passion Play", the last two being album-long suites. When "A Passion Play" got wrecked by the critics, Ian Anderson announced that the band was done. But 2 weeks later, JT was recording again. Following such excellent albums, this album would be panned by critics and fans alike. But, in reality, it is not as bad as everyone would make you believe.

The band was planning on releasing a double album and film to accompany this album originally, but that project got scrapped because of music and movie business politics. It makes me wonder what we would have ended up if things were able to continue as planned by the actual artists. Many of the tracks that were planned for the film are now available on remastered versions of the album. Before these were available however, the album we ended up with is this one, and it is, in my opinion, an excellent progressive album. Yes it carries the excellent classics "Bungle in the Jungle" and "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day". But it also has the hard prog of songs like "War Child" and "Queen and Country", the playfulness of "Sealion", and the acoustic flavor of "Only Solitaire" and "The Third Hurrah". It is loaded with tricky rhythms, it has plenty of amazing instrumentals, and it never, in my opinion, gets boring. Yes, it is true it doesn't live up to the bar set by the previous albums, but if you give it a good chance, the songs stick with you just like they did on previous releases. It also may not have the excellent prog folkishness of "Songs of the Wood", "MInstral in the Gallery" and "Heavy Horses" either, as it is more prog rock oriented, but that Baroque- ish feel is still there, and there is not doubt what band this is. And it is definitely better that "A" and a few others. The band definitely did not go from masterpieces to just "Good" back to masterpieces either. This is still an excellent album in my opinion and it has all the prog traits that we love.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Jethro Tull has been and will (most likely) forever be a favorite band of mine. From humble beginnings on "This was" with it's very blues rock approach they certainly developed over the coming years into something completely unique and excentric, thanks in no small part to the chieftain himself, Ian Anderson. The progression was swift and breathtaking. Moving across the full spectrum of music, drawing on classical, folk, jazz, hard rock they thusly took full control over the genre known as progressive rock. I dare say no other band sounded like them.

"Warchild" came right after two of progressive rocks finest achievements: "Thick as a brick" and "A passion play". In my book these two albums with sidelong suites are five stars and utterly brilliant. The problem with "Warchild", as I see it, is not the musical content but the albums it followed. The grave complexity of "A passion play" was left behind on this one which meant taking a different turn on the highway explored for the last few years. The music was instead made up of shorter tracks, a noticable accessability and lighter textures. This did not mean they abandoned the progressive genre or complexity, they simply smoothed it out a bit. The problems I had with the album, initially, was down to exactly the things previously mentioned. All of a sudden the overblown pomp and darkness of "A passion play", which seemed like the crowning achievement of Tull, was abandoned. My thirst for ever more mindblowing concept albums with loooong suites and themes seemed unsatisfied. It took me some time to come 'round.

For me "Warchild", nowadays, is just as brilliant as anything before or after. It is an album of a unique sound. True, the sidelong suits were gong but the complexity was not. Some tracks are easily digested but not less brilliant. The album holds many of the bands best tracks. In my book "Warchild" came to be a one-off in their discography. "Minstrel in the gallery" saw them returning to the elongated tracks in "Baker St. Muse" but also the highly complex in the title track. "Warchild" is a hard rocking, folky, raw and rough and witty album with quite a dose of frustrated energy (possibly due to the bad reviews "A passion play" received) that adds accordion to the procedings. They never sounded quite like this again. Anderson sings with power and gusto and the band delivers in spades.

The album had some sort of concept, so Ian Anderson hadn't quite abandoned that idea, but is more a collection of individual songs. If you don't know the concept it doesn't matter. You will enjoy it just the same. And as far as songs go I find it hard to pick out specific tracks. Despite the obvious or supposed lack of concept it holds together very well and acts as a tapestry where every motif adds to the whole experience. The air raid sirens of the title track (which opens the album) is simply genious and the song gives quite a good idea of what to expect. Slightly askew and intense it is a bit more stripped down than the sound on the previous album but that makes it all the more powerful. And yes, listen to "Queen and country". There's a song for you. Well, to be honest I could go through every song saying the same, "Listen to...", but that would be tiresome for everyone involved.

I love this album. I do. It is great and sees Jethro Tull swagger and rock out in a majestic haze of power. It's like they wanted to shut the critics up and deliver a massive blow to everyone that didn't get "A passion play". It may take some time to warm to this album if you, like me, listened to their discography from "This was", over "Stand up" and "Benefit" and so on but do not dismiss this album as a throwaway preceeding "Minstrel in the gallery", "Songs from the wood" and the brilliant "Heavy horses". Give it a go and open your ears to some truly magnificent music.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nº 289

Jethro Tull is a British band formed in Blackpool, Lancashire, in 1967. Initially, they played blues rock, but later the band developed their own sound that incorporates elements of hard and folk rock to forge a true progressive rock signature. Jethro Tull became as one of the pioneers of what would be known as progressive rock music. Jethro Tull has been referenced in the popular culture and they became as one of the most influential progressive rock bands ever.

'War Child' was originally supposed to be another conceptual album of Jethro Tull. The story of 'War Child' was written as a metaphysical black comedy and was based on a teenage girl in the afterlife who meets some characters based on some religious Christian figures like God, St. Peter and Lucifer, depicted as if they were shrewd businessmen.

'War Child' is the seventh studio album of Jethro Tull and was released in 1974. Originally, the music of the album was meant to accompany a film project, and initially, the album was planned to be a double album. But, in the end, it was released only with ten tracks after some failed attempts to find a movie studio that was interested in finance the film.

The front cover of the album is a picture of Melbourne in Australia, with a photo of Ian Anderson in negative and the back cover of the album features photographs of people, connected to the album, including the five band members, and people related with the titles of the songs, such as friends, wives, girlfriends, staff and even the manager of the band.

As I said before, 'War Child' is an album with ten tracks. All songs were written by Ian Anderson. The first track is the title track 'War Child'. It starts with some strange sounds of an aerial bombardment. This is a very interesting song with the use of some weird instrumentation, very classic and with some good piano and saxophone works. The second track 'Queen And Country' is a very folk song with a violin and an accordion that sounds very nice. I know that it's a bit repetitive song, but it has a good orchestration and sounds very well to my ears. The third track 'Ladies' is a remarkable very good traditional Jethro Tull's song, which reminds me some of their best studio albums. It's a medieval style ballad song, with good guitar and violin works, with good acoustic parts and it has also nice vocals and choral parts. The fourth track 'Back-Door Angels' is another classic traditional Jethro Tull's song. This is a hard rock song with some heavy parts and other acoustic parts, in the same vein of 'Aqualung'. It has heavy guitar, bass, drums and keyboard parts, with the addition of some small saxophone and flute parts. Once more, the lyrics attack some religion concepts, which is a traditional landmark in some of Ian Anderson's best lyrics. This is one of the best songs on the album. The fifth track 'Sealion' is another great song in the traditional Jethro Tull's style. It has a folk rock atmosphere with some good electric guitar sections and with some accordion parts during the song. It has also some fine acoustic guitar work too. The sixth track 'Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day' is a very well achieved acoustic song with a fantastic orchestral arrangement, which gives to the song a very interesting and pleasant touch. It's one of the favourite songs of the band that usually become performed live on their live shows. This is a great song and is with 'Back-Door Angels' one of the best tracks on the album. The seventh track 'Bungle In The Jungle' is a melodious song very well orchestrated composed in a pop commercial style. This is a great pop song, very simple, very humorous and nothing pretentious. It's the typical hit song made to sell an album but with nothing more special. The eighth track 'Only Solitaire' is a very short, sweet and beautiful acoustic ballad with good lyrics, enjoyable voice and nice acoustic guitar work. The ninth track 'The Third Hoorah' is another song with a folk rhythm and in the style of a military march. It has some interesting musical performances by all band's members but the song sounds to me a bit repetitive and boring. It's the weakest song on the album and is absolutely unnecessary. The tenth track 'Two Fingers' is a song in a fairly straight rock style. It's very interesting the constantly change from the acoustic to the electric all over the song. This is a powerful song with good rhythm and well orchestrated. Of course it isn't as good as the original version 'Lick Your Fingers Clean' on my version of 'Aqualung'. Still, it isn't a bad song and represents a good way to end the album.

Conclusion: I really never paid much attention to 'War Child', especially because three reasons. First, I never liked soundtracks for movies made by progressive rock bands. Second, I never liked particularly of the cover of the album. Third, the album was released in the middle of two of my favourite albums of them, 'A Passion Play' and 'Minstrel In The Gallery'. However, I must confess this isn't a bad album, really. It's an album well balanced with two great songs 'Back-Door Angels' and 'Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day', and where all the other songs are somehow interesting with the exception of 'The Third Hoorah'. Just one last word about the seven bonus tracks. As usual, I don't review bonus tracks. However, I must say that they are very good and they're an excellent addition that increases the global quality of 'War Child'. So, in my opinion, this is an excellent pretext to buy the digitally remastered CD version.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Hector Enrique
3 stars After the enormous structures that distinguished the developments of "Thick as a Brick" and "A Passion Play", Jethro Tull redirected their efforts towards the creation of a work with the aim of being the musical backdrop for a film devised by the restless Ian Anderson. The project did not come to fruition and was shelved. However, the band had already begun to work on it, generating pieces for that purpose with orchestral elements guided by the solvent David Palmer. The result of that failed cinematic attempt ended up becoming "War Child", the band's seventh album.

And that approach somewhat defines the overall mood of the album. Beyond the interesting subject matter addressed from the opening "War Child" with its painful indifference, the acid criticism of "Queen and Country", the ruthless competitiveness of "Bungle in the Jungle", to the stark "The Third Hoorah" with Celtic reminiscences, the accompanying orchestrated instrumentation mixes keyboards, flutes, saxophones, accordions and diverse percussive elements that generate the sensation of being in front of something that differs from an expected work of the British, and overshadows it a little.

Despite this, the band's inalienable folk vein is present, both in the first vindicatory phrases of the delicate and blushing "Ladies", in Anderson's beautiful acoustic arpeggios in "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day", and in the ephemeral beauty of "Only Solitaire"; and the rock energy, present in dribs and drabs throughout the album, is provided by "Back-Door Angels" with Anderson's flutes, John Evan's keyboards but, above all, Martin Barre's guitar riffs and solos, in the highlight of "War Child".

The excellence of the musicians brought the album forward, but starting from an initially different goal may have compromised the final product, preventing it from reaching the superlative level of its predecessors.

3/3,5 stars

Latest members reviews

3 stars War Child was released in 1974 and saw Tull return to much shorter songs. The longest track here clocks in at a mere five-and-a-half minutes. This was also the band's spottiest release to date. Two of Jethro Tull's biggest hits were spawned off this album: "Bungle in the Jungle" and "Skating Away ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903228) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A divisive album among fans, but I find it mostly excellent. Although the album starts out a bit shaky with the first couple tracks having somewhat odd and less appealing melodies and arrangements, the album takes off from there with the rest of side 1 delivering unique and interesting songs, and th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2873005) | Posted by BBKron | Wednesday, January 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Absolute classic. Jethro Tull in their most playfull and lighhearted mood. Which seems to be in contrast to war- connected title and opening sirens associated with threat. But soon enough lady's voice speaking of another cup of tea sets the mood for the rest of the album. By the way: the returnin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2544696) | Posted by Artik | Friday, May 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Review #64 Would you like another cup of tea, dear? "War child" was definitely another big change in JETHRO TULL's musical style, this time their music was more oriented to short hard rock-y songs (kind of an attempt to bring some of the Aqualung style back) but with less catchy and classic pi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2484439) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Saturday, December 12, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Overlooked Tull albums, vol. 2. "War Child" was one of the least played LPs in my family home. Kinda weird since everything's in place, it seems: we're in the middle of most cherished Jethro's lineup, orchestrations are numerous, saxophone leads in abundance, all served in well known ten songs fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2109416) | Posted by thief | Friday, December 21, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of Tull's Best Albums! This album doesn't get the respect it deserves. While I like Thick as a Brick and Passion Play better, this album sits in a third tier in Tull's catalogue, in the same league as Horses/Wood/Stand Up. This album is very musical, and even though the pieces are shorter and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1695723) | Posted by Walkscore | Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After writing about some of this year's prog I'm going back to 1974 and telling my first opinion of a Jethro Tull record. Jethro Tull has never been my favourite style of prog music but I can't deny they're playing very handsome music in their very own way. They are one of the most famous prog ... (read more)

Report this review (#1028665) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Despite the seemingly disconnected themes, "War Child" was planned as a movie soundtrack. The screenplay, loosely based on "A Passion Play," featured the afterlife experiences of a little girl killed during an auto accident. Anderson had gone so far as to enlist John Cleese, Sir Frederick ... (read more)

Report this review (#990604) | Posted by VOTOMS | Monday, July 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A change from the previous two albums - a much more light hearted album. I enjoy the first track with its "air raid" sequence to start leading into a straight forward if enjoyable rock number with an anti war sentiment. Many fans were disappointed with this release but Tull couldn't have follo ... (read more)

Report this review (#942556) | Posted by sukmytoe | Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Finally my review of War Child!!! Why did I took it so long? Maybe its exactly because of the nature of this album. War Child is a failed concept album. Planned to be a soundtrack of a movie, in the first place, it was released anyway a "normal" album. But there is so much thing inside the music ... (read more)

Report this review (#897362) | Posted by GKR | Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is where it started going downhill for Jethro Tull. While I don't really dislike this album, it's a big disappointment, as, apart from a few pretty weak songs, even the good tunes are drenched in over-arrangements and canned production. I like stringed instruments, and I'm very respectful ... (read more)

Report this review (#505299) | Posted by Ludjak | Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars War Child ? 1974 (3.4/5) 11 ? Best Song: Bungle in the Jungle And so Ian Anderson takes his social soldier papers and cashes them in for his lifetime ticket to the old-time café across the street. After two gargantuan records in a row, coming off as nearly impenetrable and fiercely overblown ... (read more)

Report this review (#441644) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After the previous two long song albums, THICK AS A BRICK and A PASSION PLAY, Tull returns to a more traditional song approach with this release, WAR CHILD. While not a terrible album by any means, this has not garnered the praise of other works of this phase of TUll such as MINSTRAL IN THE GA ... (read more)

Report this review (#394059) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars War Child is a highly underrated album by many fellow proggers. I think the main problem here is that the band had put a bunch of songs together for a soundtrack and the music wasn't as progressive as Thick As A Brick or Passion Play. For those who thought this was a weak album, you should reall ... (read more)

Report this review (#335384) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I treat this remaster as 2 separate albums. The first part is the original soundtrack album which is the original 10 song release. The second part is the bonus tracks section which I consider to be the actual Tull album. The original 10 songs are made for a comedy movie so they are specifically ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#284431) | Posted by PROGMONSTER2008 | Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars War Child is incredibly enjoyable! ...If you start listening half way through like I usually do. The first half of the album does kick of pretty well with War Child, a solid if not overly original piece. The next four songs also indelibly carry the Jethro Tull stamp. They are smothered in mo ... (read more)

Report this review (#264165) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You know, I really don't understand why this album is rated so low. Sure, it followed on the heels of the spotless Thick as a Brick and Passion Play, but it is, in my opinion, a fantastic product. A little different, perhaps. But fantastic nonetheless. I look at it as a sort of "Aqualung, pt. ... (read more)

Report this review (#255340) | Posted by Tarquin Underspoon | Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars We all know that Ian had a lot of ideas about Warchild, a 3rd concept, the film, a lot of work and go on... well I've warchild in my collection since 2001, but I've not given him a look even to the back sleeve, what a waste of money it isn't? So 2 months ago I've said do myself boy put it on at l ... (read more)

Report this review (#187464) | Posted by Erik Nymas | Friday, October 31, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There are some good moments here that I am sure seasoned JETHRO TULL fans will love. However, I must digress, and warn those new to prog or JETHRO TULL to stay away from until they become more familiar with the band. Sure, someday you may find this album enjoyable, but if you are reading this ... (read more)

Report this review (#170767) | Posted by kabright | Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars First impressions are often quite tempting, though everything isn’t always turned out as expected. This is the first Tull and prog-folk album that I got. Why did I pick ‘War Child’ of their entire discography, instead of some other of their works who considered being better? T ... (read more)

Report this review (#128994) | Posted by kazansky | Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of JETHRO TULL "War Child"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.