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JETHRO TULL

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Jethro Tull picture
Jethro Tull biography
Founded in Blackpool, UK in 1967 - Hiatus from 2012-2016


"I didn`t have to play it all the time, I just had to wave it around and look good" - Ian Anderson 2003.

Eccentric on stage yet rather thoughtful, reserved and even sombre at times when not in the limelight, the Jethro Tull image was the brainchild of flute wielding frontman Ian ANDERSON. Clad in scruffy vagabond apparel, and looking more like an anachronism out of a Charles Dickens tale, Anderson conveyed an old English aura during the band`s formative years in the late 60`s and early 70`s which would persist throughout the band's 40 year career both visually and musically.

Born on August 10, 1947 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, Anderson was augmented by a revolving door of colourful musicians over the years which added to the flamboyance of the Jethro Tull phenomenon. Conceived as a psychedelic blues band in late 1967 the music of Jethro Tull has always been dauntingly intricate embracing many styles including blues, jazz, folk, medieval, classical, hard rock along with forays into electronic music, sometimes referred to as "space age prog". The lyrics were equally as sophisticated and sometimes reached new heights of grandiloquence commenting on depressing world events such as drug abuse, the oil crisis, modernisation, third world troubles and a deteriorating economy.. Other topics included fads, spy novels, environmental and social issues as well as metaphysical musings. With lyrics and music which ran deep Jethro Tull have often been over-analysed by both fans and critics alike and many of their albums have been erroneously interpreted as autobiographical due to the fact that many of their record covers featured artwork which seemed to depict Ian Anderson's likeness, something which he has vehemently denied in numerous interviews.

Jethro Tull can trace their origins back to 1963 when as a young art student in Blackpool, England Anderson formed a band called THE BLADES (after a club in a James Bond novel). By 1965 as a 7-piece they had changed their name to THE JOHN EVAN BAND and subsequently to THE JOHN EVAN SMASH (his mother supplied their tour van) Evan, whose real name was Evans, would eventually become the band's keyboard player for most of the seventies. The band relocated to London in`67, the centre of the British blues movement of the sixties in search of more lucrative gigs. However the band was gradually d...
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JETHRO TULL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JETHRO TULL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 830 ratings
This Was
1968
4.05 | 1241 ratings
Stand Up
1969
3.91 | 1035 ratings
Benefit
1970
4.35 | 2621 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.63 | 3312 ratings
Thick As A Brick
1972
4.03 | 1445 ratings
A Passion Play
1973
3.33 | 828 ratings
War Child
1974
4.03 | 1199 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery
1975
3.09 | 764 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
1976
4.20 | 1415 ratings
Songs From The Wood
1977
4.03 | 1162 ratings
Heavy Horses
1978
3.46 | 735 ratings
Stormwatch
1979
3.20 | 604 ratings
A
1980
3.28 | 648 ratings
The Broadsword And The Beast
1982
2.24 | 511 ratings
Under Wraps
1984
3.01 | 151 ratings
A Classic Case
1985
3.22 | 573 ratings
Crest Of A Knave
1987
2.69 | 449 ratings
Rock Island
1989
2.59 | 418 ratings
Catfish Rising
1991
3.61 | 506 ratings
Roots To Branches
1995
3.01 | 423 ratings
J-Tull Dot Com
1999
3.49 | 402 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
2003

JETHRO TULL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.19 | 409 ratings
Live - Bursting Out
1978
2.90 | 53 ratings
Live At Hammersmith '84
1990
3.65 | 174 ratings
A Little Light Music
1992
3.06 | 47 ratings
In Concert
1995
3.65 | 120 ratings
Living With The Past
2002
4.16 | 156 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2004
3.46 | 97 ratings
Aqualung Live
2005
3.77 | 87 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
4.20 | 6 ratings
Live at Madison Square Garden 1978
2009
4.44 | 25 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall 1970
2015

JETHRO TULL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.85 | 52 ratings
Slipstream (DVD)
1981
3.78 | 42 ratings
20 Years of Jethro Tull (VHS)
1988
3.47 | 84 ratings
Living With the Past
2002
3.04 | 51 ratings
A New Day Yesterday - The 25th Anniversary Collection
2003
3.87 | 93 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2005
2.95 | 67 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
4.05 | 22 ratings
Slipstream (9 song version)
2007
4.39 | 28 ratings
Classic Artists Series: Jethro Tull
2008
3.31 | 30 ratings
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany
2008
3.64 | 23 ratings
Songs From Bethlehem
2008
4.36 | 103 ratings
Live At Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD + CD)
2009
3.79 | 34 ratings
Live at AVO Session Basel 2008
2009
4.53 | 34 ratings
Around the World Live (4DVD)
2013

JETHRO TULL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Jethro Tull
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sunday Best
1971
4.12 | 314 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.09 | 77 ratings
M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull
1976
3.18 | 52 ratings
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull Vol. III
1981
3.24 | 75 ratings
Original Masters
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Masters Of Rock
1986
3.65 | 85 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box
1988
4.56 | 84 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (The Definitive Collection)
1988
3.73 | 52 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (USA release)
1989
3.63 | 156 ratings
Nightcap
1993
3.82 | 51 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection
1993
4.43 | 78 ratings
25th Anniversary Box Set
1993
2.64 | 27 ratings
A Jethro Tull Collection
1997
1.54 | 31 ratings
Through The Years
1997
3.00 | 70 ratings
The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
2001
2.50 | 15 ratings
Essential Jethro Tull
2007
3.44 | 53 ratings
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull
2007
3.80 | 45 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas At St Bride's 2008
2009
4.71 | 52 ratings
Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
Essential
2011
4.86 | 78 ratings
Thick As A Brick - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
2012
4.89 | 65 ratings
A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
2014
4.67 | 42 ratings
War Child - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition
2014
4.87 | 43 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery - 40th Anniversary: La Grande Edition
2015
4.60 | 20 ratings
Too Old To Rock'n'Roll: Too Young To Die - The TV Special Edition
2015
5.00 | 6 ratings
Stand Up - The Elevated Edition
2016
5.00 | 5 ratings
Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Adapted Edition
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
An Introduction To Jethro Tull
2017
4.91 | 34 ratings
Songs From The Wood - 40th Anniversary Edition - The Country Set
2017
4.94 | 16 ratings
Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition)
2018
4.60 | 10 ratings
This Was (50 Anniversary Edition)
2018
3.00 | 5 ratings
50 For 50
2018
1.50 | 2 ratings
50th Anniversary Collection
2018
4.67 | 9 ratings
Stormwatch (The 40th Anniversary Force 10 Edition)
2019

JETHRO TULL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.81 | 16 ratings
Love Story
1968
4.09 | 23 ratings
A Song For Jeffrey
1968
2.71 | 18 ratings
Sunshine Day
1968
4.14 | 28 ratings
Sweet Dream / 17
1969
4.14 | 21 ratings
The Witch's Promise
1969
4.60 | 30 ratings
Living In The Past
1969
3.88 | 17 ratings
Inside
1970
4.57 | 37 ratings
Life Is A Long Song
1971
4.21 | 19 ratings
Hymn 43
1971
4.38 | 26 ratings
Aqualung
1971
3.80 | 5 ratings
Locomotive Breath
1971
4.17 | 30 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.56 | 25 ratings
Bungle In The Jungle
1974
4.25 | 4 ratings
Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day
1974
3.67 | 3 ratings
Minstrel in the Gallery / Summerday Sands
1975
3.18 | 27 ratings
Ring Out, Solstice Bells
1976
3.33 | 6 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll; Too Young To Die
1976
4.19 | 26 ratings
The Whistler
1977
3.50 | 8 ratings
A Stitch In Time
1978
4.07 | 27 ratings
Moths
1978
3.71 | 7 ratings
Warm Sporran
1979
2.68 | 19 ratings
North Sea Oil
1979
4.53 | 19 ratings
Home E.P.
1979
3.22 | 22 ratings
Working John, Working Joe
1980
3.28 | 21 ratings
Fallen On Hard Times
1982
3.40 | 20 ratings
Broadsword
1982
3.05 | 21 ratings
Lap Of Luxury
1984
3.67 | 3 ratings
Bourrée
1985
3.93 | 14 ratings
Coronach
1986
3.79 | 14 ratings
Said She Was A Dancer 12''
1987
3.63 | 16 ratings
Steel Monkey 12''
1987
4.00 | 4 ratings
Part Of The Machine
1988
3.74 | 18 ratings
Another Christmas Song
1989
3.58 | 17 ratings
This Is Not Love
1991
3.84 | 16 ratings
Rocks On The Road
1991
3.00 | 14 ratings
Living in the (Slightly More Recent) Past / Living in the Past
1993
2.71 | 19 ratings
Rare And Precious Chain
1995
3.29 | 17 ratings
Bends Like A Willow
1999
3.20 | 10 ratings
The Christmas EP
2004
4.00 | 3 ratings
Living in the Past
2013

JETHRO TULL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crest Of A Knave by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.22 | 573 ratings

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Crest Of A Knave
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Hector Enrique

3 stars It is difficult to find any kind of similarity between the Crest Of A Knave with any of the glorious works prior to the 80s. When you listen Said She Was A Dancer or The Waking Edge, for example, you don´t know if you are listen songs by Jethro Tull or Dire Straits, and said this without any contempt by the more than respectable group of Mark Knopfler, and up to that point we also find some similarity to the texan rockers ZZ Top in the most popular and promoted Steel Monkey or Raising Steam. An album more twinned with classic hard rock, which inexplicably won the Grammy for the best heavy metal album (¿?) of the year.

It is not a bad album, but it has almost nothing to do with the progressive, except for the brilliant Budapest, which in its 10-minute duration, Anderson and his band make a spectacular display of musicality by the most authentic Jethro Tull, and one of my favorites from his song catalog. I wish the rest of the album had taken that path. Budapest is the progressive oasis in the middle of the desert.

 Thick As A Brick by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.63 | 3312 ratings

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Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Hector Enrique

5 stars When I was in university many years ago, a friend lent me the cassette of a strange group that combined rock with something similar to folklore, a single song split in two by the physical limitations of the LP that today do not exist, made me have many doubts about what you might find with result. Finally listening to Thick As A Brick, I discovered that I was before one of the best conceptual works of progressive music. The combination of Ian Anderson's acoustic guitars and flute, the keyboards at times reminiscent of something similar to ritual music by John Evans, and Martín Barre's guitar, make up a powerful combination that blends perfectly, in a spectacular sample of the progressive at its summit for more than 43 minutes.

Beyond that Anderson originally intended to create a conceptual work as a parody, given that much criticism of the time placed the acclaimed Aqualung as a conceptual work, a fact that Anderson repeatedly denied, this time he decided to give Thick As A Brick that treatment. This is how he tells the story of a child prodigy (Gerald Bostock) winning a poetry prize at the age of 8, and after being stripped of it when the horrified society who pregnant a 14- year-old girl found out. The frontaman of the group always clarified that it was a fictional story, and from which he could only rescue similarities with not settling for a traditional life and for rebelling and trying to have a less boring life doing different things.

A masterpiece, in my opinion, the maximum musical expression of Jethro Tull.

 A by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.20 | 604 ratings

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A
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 338

'A' is the thirteenth studio album of Jethro Tull and was released in 1980. Initially, it was recorded with the intention of being an Ian Anderson's solo album. But, the record label decided that it should be released as a Jethro Tull's album to increase the sales of the album. So, I think it was the reason for the album's title, 'A' for 'Anderson'. 'A' marks a change in the sound of the band. After the three previous studio albums, 'Songs From The Wood', 'Heavy Horses' and 'Stormwatch', who had a more folk sound, they became known as the folk prog trilogy of Jethro Tull, the sound on 'A' is more a synthesizer based sound, a fact which created some controversy among many of the traditional band's fans.

'A' marks also a profound change in the line up of Jethro Tull. It features a dramatically different line up from their three previous studio albums. The former keyboardist John Evan and the organist David Palmer were fired from the group. The drummer Barriemore Barlow left the band due to the depression by the death of the bassist John Glascock and because he was unhappy with the direction the band was taking. He also had plans to form his own band. The only members who appear on 'A' and on those previous albums are, Ian Anderson and Martin Barre, and Dave Pegg, who had become a member of the band during the 'Stormwatch' live tour in 1979, replacing the deceased Glascock.

So, the line up on the album is Ian Anderson (vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), Martin Barre (electric guitar), Dave Pegg (bass and mandolin) and Mark Craney (drums). The album had also the participation of Eddie Jobson (keyboards, electric violin and synthesizer), as a guest artist.

''A'' has ten tracks. All tracks were written by Ian Anderson. The first track ''Crossfire'' is a great opener. It has an electric piano and a couple of other notes performed with a synth. The keyboard opening riff is nice and the chord change into the verse is really great. Great chorus, great song. The second track ''Flyingdale Flyer'' is even better. The opening keyboard riff works extremely well as a riff, and I really like the part where the two main riffs of the song are superimposed onto each other. The melodies are always great. Basically, everything about this song is extremely attractive to me. The third track ''Working John, Working Joe'' is another good song. It has some sort of acoustic guitar effect that sounds like a real cross between a sitar and a mandolin playing, and though the synths may be considered annoying, they're offering a fantastic catchy riff every few seconds and even get quite a good solo.This is another great song. The fourth track ''Black Sunday'' is one of the best Jethro Tull's songs, and it hearkens back to ''Stormwatch'', if only you replace all of the synths by guitars. Pretty much everything about the track is great and the various riffs of Anderson that came up are all really great. And so, it ends one of my favorite sides of Jethro Tull's albums. But, unfortunately, the things don't keep the same quality level on side 2. Despite the fifth track ''Protect And Survive'' have an opening catchy riff, a nice rhythm, some nice flute work and a good bass line, the song is repetitive and uninspired. It's the first low point on the album. But the things get worse on the sixth track ''Batteries Not Included''. This is one of the worst Jethro Tull's songs ever. The awkward intense synth opening with the awfully cheesy spooky synth riffs that pop up everywhere in the track isn't good. But worst of all is the ''siren-imitating'' melody. The seventh track ''Uniform'' has a nice violin line. The only keyboards that happen in the song are the two or three notes at the very end. Still, there are some good instrumental things going on too. This isn't one of the best tracks neither one of the worst tracks on the album. The eighth track ''4.W.D. (Low Ratio)'' is another weak track. It has an awkward funky blues groove. I'm not a great fan of those both music styles. But the sung parts are even worse, repetitive and aren't catchy too. The ninth track ''The Pine Marten's Jig'' isn't a fantastic song but it's really nice. It's one of the two songs not to feature keyboards, the other is ''Uniform''. It's a breath of fresh air on this side of the album. The tenth track ''And Further On'' has an excellent verse melody. It's a prog rock ballad that is delicate and powerful too. Besides, I've always been a great fan of corny power ballads. Finally we have a great track on the side two of the album. This is a nice and great closer for this album.

Conclusion: ''A'' is the Jethro Tull's album that begins the 80's. Those were times of changes and as happened with almost progressive rock bands, the sound of Jethro Tull begun to change to a more 'modern'' sound. This was surely the main reason why Ian Anderson fired Evan and Palmer. This was also the main reason why he invited Jobson, to have synths on the album and a different orchestration from the usual orchestration from Palmer. It was great because I always was a great fan of Jobson despite I always loved the work of Palmer too. So, 'A' is an album full of changes in many ways in the sound of the band. But unfortunately, not everything was well. 'A' has great moments, the four tracks on the side 1 and the last track on side 2. Still, all the other tracks aren't really great. Especially, 'Batteries Not Included' and '4.W.D (Low Ratio)' are even bad tracks. So, this is a good album but surelly a non-essential purchase.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 by JETHRO TULL album cover DVD/Video, 2005
3.87 | 93 ratings

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Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 334

'Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970' is a DVD of Jethro Tull and was released in 2005. It was recorded on the fifth and last day of the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, where Jethro Tull were the second on the bill between The Moody Blues and Jimi Hendrix. It was preceded by their live album with the same name which was released in 2004.

'Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970' contains a film of the Jethro Tull's outstanding live performance combined with a brand new interview with Ian Anderson. It also describes the dramatic and sometimes an almost violent ambient of that festival. In short, it brings to us all the festival moods, both backstage and also in the audience.

In the summer of 1970 it was held The Isle of Wight Festival in five days, between 26 and 30 August, on the Isle of Wight, a small island of the south coast of England, at East Afton Farm. It was the last of three consecutive festivals to take place on the island between 1968 and 1970. It was widely acknowledged as the largest musical event of its time, greater than Woodstock, possibly with 600.000 or 700.000 people. It soon became known as the English Woodstock.

In the 1970 festival of the Isle of Wight following the famous Woodstock festival in the previous year, took part on it names such as Kris Kristofferson, Supertramp, Gilberto Gil, Kaleidoscope/Fairfield Parlour, Chicago, Family, Procol Harum, Shawn Phillips, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Doors, The Who, Melanie, Donovan, Pentangle, The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen and Richie Evans. As most of us know, many of these bands are progressive or have links with this our beloved genre of music. However, the Isle Of Wight Festival represents also a sad mark to the progressive rock music. It marked the last UK appearance of Jimi Hendrix. Unfortunately, three weeks later he was dead. It was because of that, which Ian Anderson decided to dedicate the album and the DVD to the memory of one of the greatest musicians and guitarists of all time.

However, while the live album has all the live performance of the group performed on that festival, the DVD has only some parts of it. So, on the DVD we have an extract of 'Bour'e' taken from the sound check of the concert, 'My Sunday Feeling', 'A Song For Jeffrey' which is a curious and rare live performance taken from The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in 1968 with the participation of Tony Iommi the guitarist of Black Sabbath, 'My God' which is a new song that only would be released on 'Aqualung' in the next year, a complete version of 'Dharma For One', and 'We Used To Know/For A Thousand Mothers' which is a medley of two songs which were released on 'Stand Up'.

So, in relation to the CD, 'With You There To Help Me' and 'To Cry You A Song' haven't been included, and the medley 'We Used To Know/For A Thousand Mothers' has been shorted and 'Bour'e' represents only a small extract of the sound check. Instead, it includes the complete version of 'Dharma For One' and the extra track 'My Sunday Feeling'.

As for the concert footage itself, it was great to finally see early Jethro Tull in action on stage. The highlights for me are 'My Sunday Feeling', 'My God', and 'Nothing Is Easy'. We get treated to an early Ian Anderson flute solo during 'My God', completed with Ian's signature the famous flamingo like stance while he is playing the flute. Unfortunately, aside from getting a first hand look at an early classic performance by Ian Anderson, we didn't get to see much of the other members of Jethro Tull, unless you count Clive Bunker's drum solo during 'Dharma For One'. However, I must say that I was very impressed with his solo, especially when you consider that they didn't use the big fancy drum kits back then.

Conclusion: 'Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970' brings to us the beginning of Jethro Tull, the pre-'Aqualung' band. It appears in a special and magical era, even if we can't consider it a truly progressive musical era, really. It also appears in a very exuberant time where Jethro Tull was a vigorous band very powerful with their musical roots on blues, Rock'n'Roll and jazz. So, and in short, 'Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970' is a very fine and important musical document of the early Jethro Tull, just approaching to the prime and magical moment of their musical career. For me, the CD and especially the DVD, represents a very significant and nostalgic moment in my life. It also represents the end of a musical era but represents also the beginning of another. 'Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970' is an essential musical document to all Jethro Tull's fans because it shows a band playing superior and complex music in terms of composition, cleverness, adventurousness, maturity and a beautiful naivet', only possible in the beginning of the musical career of a great band. This DVD willn't goes down. It's a big addition to any music library.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Heavy Horses by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.03 | 1162 ratings

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Heavy Horses
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Lupton

4 stars Jethro Tull continued the rustic theme they began with Songs From The Wood with Heavy Horses -unofficially the second in their "Folk Trilogy". In some ways Heavy Horses is even more sophisticated than the previous record with dense and complex arrangements on tracks like the opener "And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps" and "Journeyman" which reminds me slightly of "Interview" era Gentle Giant although in execution rather than content. Elsewhere as on "Acres Wild" ," Moths" and "Weathercock" the songs have the same uplifting quality found on Songs From The Wood."Acres Wild" is almost a companion peace to "Hunting Girl".There are a few nods to their more straight ahead rocking past especially "No Lullaby" which would not have been totally out of place On "Minstrel In The Gallery"with its complex rhythms and surging guitar riffs.The real highlight on this album has to be the epic and melancholy title track itself. Rarely has Ian Anderson written such a heartfelt song and the group well and truly rise to the occasion especially Martin Barre with his achingly beautiful guitar lines .Anyone who comes away from this song without at least a bit of a lump in their throat is a heartless git. Overall as much as I enjoy this album it lacks the joie de vivre of its predecessor and I rate it slightly lower-just

A solid 4 stars

 Minstrel In The Gallery by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.03 | 1199 ratings

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Minstrel In The Gallery
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Lupton

3 stars I can't get OUT!!

I swear I have listened and re-listened to this album over and over again more than any Tull album, desperately trying to effectively force myself to like it. I have played it at full volume when my partner is out the house,I have played it cranked up to 11 while I am on my cross-trainer, I have played it at a more reasonable volume while furiously analyzing the lyrics, I have played it quietly while I am doing the dishes, I have played it even more quietly on my clock/cd player to lull me to sleep (does the trick) and I have compared the original CD pressing with the Steven Wilson remix thinking that maybe I am missing something. Guess what? I just cannot get into this album.I think I have finally worked out the reason why this album seams so two dimensional. One minute Ian Anderson is strumming the guitar and singing quite plaintively and the next minute the band comes crashing in like uninvited guests at a party.That is my overall impression.There is something almost schizophrenic about this album which I simply cannot get used to.In a nutshell it is the arrangements which lets this album down so badly. Having said that,the opening title track follows the quiet acoustic/loud rock template but on this occasion it works brilliantly probably because the whole composition is so well thought out and arranged. After two and a half minutes of Ian Anderson in full Medieval singer-guitarist mode, you can almost imagine him taking a small bow and letting Martin Barre take centre stage and let rip with an absolutely blistering series of riffs and rapid fire arpeggios ably assisted by the rest of the band. Finally the band settles down providing a great driving riff based backing for Ian Anderson singing the rest of the tune slightly more aggressively.Perfect. In fact hands down, this is one of their crowning achievements and a personal favourite by the Band.

Cold Wind To Valhalla also rocks along quite nicely but it is really on Black Satin Dancer that the cracks begin to show.What starts as a pleasant classical-like waltz gets repeatedly interrupted by loud rock interjections which seem out of place especially with David Palmer's elaborate classical string accompaniment also vying for attention. It is like hearing three different groups doing their own thing at the same time.I must admit I do like the way the instrumental break at the middle develops and speeds up before exploding into another killer guitar riff and I particularly like the way the organ an base follow the riff.The rest of the song continues rather chaotically however. Make no mistake the actual playing on this album is superb a lot of the times and frankly rocks harder than any of their previous efforts but the music seriously needed some more thought into the way it was arranged.

The next two (three?) tracks namely Requiem and One White Duck / 010 = Nothing At All, are purely acoustic and are quite pleasant if not particularly memorable but the actual sequencing always seems a bit odd coming right in the middle of the album (Ok last track side one first track side two but you get my drift) almost as if the band were invited to leave for a while and come back when they were needed.Compare this to Aqualung where the acoustic songs were interspersed with the heavier group tracks.

As for the epic length Baker St Muse, I was about to say the less said about it the better but that is probably a bit too mean spirited. However it really cannot be compared to TAAB which was brilliantly thought out and arranged whereas this just comes across as being thrown together or at best as a stream of consciousness.Either way the bottom line is it lacks any really memorable melodies let alone riffs and leaves me at the end (as some other reviewers have noted) almost immediately forgetting what I have just listened to. Always a bad sign.

Fortunately they finally got their act together a couple of years later with the peerless Songs From the Wood and Heavy Horses where the band really gelled.

As for this album, 3 stars-just.

 Living In The Past  by JETHRO TULL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1972
4.12 | 314 ratings

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Living In The Past
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 327

"Living In The Past" is a compilation of Jethro Tull and was released in 1972. It's a collection of Jethro Tull's songs that brings to us some new tracks, some previous released tracks and two live tracks, all combined on a double album.

Still, there are several versions of this compilation. From what I know there are five versions. So, we have the UK CD version with nineteen tracks, the US CD version with twenty tracks, the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab version with twenty three tracks, and the UK vinyl version and the US vinyl version, both with twenty one tracks. Besides the different number of the tracks, all the compilations have some changes about the tracks which were chosen to be part of them.

My version is the UK CD version. The tracks on my version are: "Song For Jeffrey", "Love Story", "Christmas Song", "Living In The Past", "Driving Song", "Sweet Dream", "Singing All Day", "Witch's Promise", "Inside", "Just Trying To Be", "By Kind Permission Of" (Live at Carnegie Hall), "Dharma For One" (Live at Carnegie Hall), "Wond'ring Again", "Locomotive Breath", "Life Is A Long Song", "Up The 'Pool", "Dr. Bogenbroom", "For Later" and "Nursie". All tracks were written by Ian Anderson, except "Living In The Past" which was written by Ian Anderson and Terry Ellis, "By Kind Permission Of" writtern by John Evan and "Dharma For One" written by Ian Anderson and Clive Bunker.

So, it's the UK version that will be the subject of this review. About the tracks which were previously originally released on their first four studio albums we have: "A Song For Jeffrey" and "Dharma For One" from "This Was", "Inside" from "Benefit" and "Locomotive Breath" from "Aqualung". So, on my version there's no track representative of "Stand Up". "A Song For Jeffrey" is a great track and is one of the best representatives of the first musical period of Jethro Tull. "Dharma For One" is an instrumental track with a rock feeling and is one of the most known Jethro Tull's songs. "Inside" is an intimate and soft song with some intricate rhythms, very relaxing and pleasant to hear. "Locomotive Breath" is truly a Jethro Tull's legendary track, one of the favourites by their fans and it's one of my favourites too.

About the remaining tracks previously unreleased, "Love Story" is a nice catchy blues rock track with Baroque melodies and folkie tendencies and represents the last song that Mick Abrahams did with the band. "Christmas Song" is a very beautiful track, the first track recorded without Abrahams and already with Martin Barre on board. "Living In The Past" is one of the highlights of Jethro Tull's career and it was a bit revolutionary at the time, especially for a single, one of the best prog rock singles ever. "Driving Song" is a quiet bluesy rock a track with a good rhythm section and because of that it would actually probably have been more fitting on "This Was". "Sweet Dream" is a heavy and somewhat experimental tune, a dizzying blend of a hard rock track, a bit pompous on the brass part, but I like it quite a lot. "Singing All Day" is a great song with very good keys and bass, one of the grooviest numbers that Jethro Tull ever made, a classic from the early days. "Witches Promise" is a ghostly orchestral folk number with a fantastic build and creepy flute that comes from everywhere and that could have easily fit on "Benefit". "Just Trying To Be" is a short, sweet and charming folk number with some little acoustic lullaby effects, one of the most beautiful short songs I've heard. "By Kind Permission Of" is a beautiful lengthy piano improvisation by John Evan of Johann Sebastian Bach, and it seems that the track is actually cobbled together from several different excerpts. "Wond'ring Again" is a nice folksy tune somewhat a longer reprise and more built up of the earlier version "Wond'ring Aloud" of "Aqualung", with somewhat more political lyrics. "Life Is A Long Song" is a beautiful acoustic symphonic track and represents one of the nicest things Ian Anderson ever composed. "Up The 'Pool" is an enjoyable folksy and goofy pop rocker with a nice choral section, about Blackpool, the place where Ian's lived. "Dr. Bogenbroom" is a forgotten classic track with some nice vocals, an organ psycho rocker, nice guitar work and great bass line. "For Later" is a short instrumental track with some nice and interesting moments. "Nursie" is a beautiful and painful acoustic piece, a mixture of folk and blues which became to be very typical of Jethro Tull's music style. This is a nice track to close this magnificent compilation.

Conclusion: Probably, like me, many of us have only the original studio versions of the first four Jethro Tull's studio albums, missing so the most of these songs. By the other hand this compilation has also two fantastic live songs, with a very good sound quality which is really remarkable in those times. Finally, it has also some songs unable to be found in any studio album of the group. So, "Living In The Past" is a seminal compilation and a must have for all Jethro Tull's fans, because is a fantastic completion to their first four studio albums, which belong to their first period. "Living In The Past" is the only compilation of the band that is a must own album and is also probably the only Jethro Tull's compilation that we can consider essential in the band's discography. So, I really recommend it to all prog rock fans.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Songs From The Wood by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.20 | 1415 ratings

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Songs From The Wood
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

5 stars ALBUMS BETTER THAN BREAD, PART I

After seven plus years of signing deals, recording, touring and partying, Ian Anderson decided to settle, and Buckinghamshire became his home. He moved in with his new wife, bought a four centuries old, 500 acre Pophleys Estate, and suddenly found a new source of inspiration - history of British paganism. But there was no malevolent intent behind it, I assure you: the book he read in 1976 made him interested from a cultural and historical, not a spiritual angle. The best way to find out is to actually give "Songs from the Wood" another spin.

Vibes of densely wooded hills and sparsely populated, mystical lands are omnipresent. It's strongly suggested not only by instruments of choice (very prominent acoustic guitars, mandolins, tabors, lutes and whistles), but also stylistic cues, such as frequent use of vocal harmonies ("Songs from the Wood", "Ring Out, Solstice Bells"), clearly Renaissance influenced melodies (especially "Velvet Green", "Pibroch", "Hunting Girl") and David Palmer's input - for the first time as a full member. David took care of portative pipe organs and synthesizers - but I've also seen him singing and playing saxophone on tour! Truly a gifted musician and enhancement of Jethro Tull's already rich sound.

So there is much complexity in this updated formula. I deem the opening track a bona fide progressive rock piece, just have a look and see how much is going on here. Numerous ingredients: sparkling chords, clapping hands, flutes and synths, powerful bass, and it all sounds coherent and logical. The instrumental bridge takes much room, but I think the band truly shines there, especially near the end. Another example, they're so confident in "Pibroch (Cap in Hand)" intro - with Martin's Les Paul wailing and dripping molasses, all those delays and echo effects on flute, creative Barlow's drumming. Jethro Tull were BOLD and pretty much all ideas turned out fine on the record. "Pibroch" goes 'full-minstrel mode' three minutes in, and then again - the part I call 'whistles utopia'. Both instrumentals are terrific, back-to-back touchdowns! Similar stuff happens right in the middle of "Cup of Wonder". The song begins with beautiful blend of rock and folk sensibilities, full of vigor and juicy vocals... and then, two minutes in, we're treated with that hectic, or rather BALLISTIC part of interlocking licks and claps. I'll just say, "Cup of Wonder" is the most fitting title; another gem (emerald?).

Second keyword to this puzzle: enthusiasm. I haven't heard Jethro this excited since "Thick as a Brick" days. You can hear it in shorter songs very well. Despite following simpler patterns, they are nonetheless engaging and full of detail ("Jack-in-the-Green"). "Fire at Midnight" runs for only two minutes, however the band managed to make them count - the unexpected bridge left a good mark. Perhaps my favorite short song here is "The Whistler". The enthusiasm is contagious and all ingredients mesh seamlessly, in spite of high tempos and uncomfortable chord progressions.

Speaking of technical subtleties, I've never heard Ian playing acoustic guitar with such agility. Altering strumming patterns, frequent chord changes, erupting dynamics, lovely arpeggios - this album has it all really. One of Ian's prime moments is the first interlude in "Velvet Green", the one he sings 'Won't you have my company, yes, take it in your hands'. The brightness and swag of guitar tone always make me jealous! I must say that "Velvet Green" in general is superb, marvellous piece of music, and I don't mind those renaissance melodies at all. On the contrary: Jethro Tull isn't recreating the old music note-for-note, but tastefully blends it with progressive rock and, well, folk.

Because folk, if you haven't figured it out already, is the strongest undercurrent on "Songs from the Wood". But not the folk of New York's bars or Appalachian slopes - it's much more primordial, joyful, festive in nature. Its complexity is a symbol, for me, a testament to all nature in its various forms. The trees, flowers, all ravines and brooks, each and every animal under the sun, men included.

I haven't said much about "Hunting Girl" and "Ring Out, Solstice Bells" yet, but I find it hard to heap so much praise in one hour. Certainly they're both worth your attention and belong in upper echelon of Jethro Tull songs. I just wanted to mention that the latter would be a great addition to your Christmas collection, it's so cheerful, good-spirited and bucolic.

Honestly, most of the songs are. There is just a huge, HUGE number of delicious moments on "Songs from the Wood"; it may take many listens to get them all. I find it one of my "go-to" Jethro Tull records, perhaps revisited more often (more eagerly?) than any other album. I'm definitely aware of small shortcomings - "Pibroch" being a tad too long, synthesizers & electric guitars too distracting at times - but they mean nothing in the Grand Scheme of Things. "Songs from the Wood" is the mightiest of Jethro Tull "comebacks", a perfect response to classic rock implosion of late 1970s.

And I'm very proud to have it as my first maximum rating album on Progarchives. Well deserved, you vicious scoundrels!

 Stormwatch by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.46 | 735 ratings

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Stormwatch
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

4 stars Have you ever heard about Jethro Tull's "folk trilogy"? I stumbled upon this term some years ago and was quite amazed to see these three consecutive albums - "Songs from the Wood", "Heavy Horses" and "Stormwatch" lumped together. There surely was a deep-rooted connection between the first two - but the latter seemed like a different animal to my ears. Thematic similarities between all three - or their absence - will be a recurring theme in this (and subsequent) reviews.

Jethro Tull was definitely a song-oriented band at that point. Translation: tracks are 4 minutes long on average. Is it a bad thing though? Not really, as long as they manage to make their point in a shorter span. "Stormwatch" features a whole bunch of slim-but-efficient compositions, opening with uptempo "North Sea Oil" and intense "Orion". The band once again proves its wide ranging abilities, effortlessly moving between lavish orchestral arrangements ("Old Ghosts"), overwhelmingly Scottish folk tunes ("Dun Ringill", "Warm Sporran") and edgier hard rocking detours ("Something's on the Move"). We've seen that aptitude before, but staying true to this well-tested formula commands respect, especially when we consider the musical landscape of 1979. The outlook was pretty grim, wasn't it?

I sense all these tensions - both real and perceived by reviewer's imagination - took a toll on band's members and pushed "Stormwatch" to a relatively darker tone. You'll be hard pressed to find anything as theatrically dramatic as "Orion" on previous releases, unless you go back as far as Minstrel era. It may sound overly emotional to present listeners, yet I don't find it jarring or naive. Stark contrast between hard-hitting riffs and wistful vocal melodies work very well due to Ian's charisma and not-so-obvious lyrics. Conclusion: if you'll ever come up with a sorrowful tune, make sure the words are mature and meaningful. The "Orion" way.

The other way is to have no lyrics at all. This is how "Elegy" gets away with heartbreaking melody AND stealing ideas from Bach - they don't go over the top, keep it trim and let Martin Barre do the talking. Weeping lead guitar and conservative rhythm section are elegant and thought-provoking, a rare trait indeed. The result is a powerful, soul-cleansing composition, a proper closing track for the album, or even for the era.

In my opinion, "Stormwatch" is a tale of nostalgia, but the woody, rural background of its predecessors is largely gone, now replaced with seafaring motifs. The album cover, oil rigs, sailors dreams of home, even Dun Ringill's location - they all have strong maritime undercurrent. Penultimate song, "The Flying Dutchman", is the obvious one. Majestic, spacious grand piano leads the way, soon joined by common suspects - mandolins, acoustic guitars, flute and powerful drums. You can sense buoyancy, high winds and candle lights trembling in the storm; the song feels very poetic and nocturnal. "Dark Ages" also shoots for the epic feel, yet takes a very different route - highly energetic, fast paced and bombastic - and it largely succeeds. I see these two as backbone of the album, where all ideas come together.

What's the root of "Stormwatch" nostalgia then? There are many sources, if you ask me. Ruined castles, age of sails and long gone Scottish ways are its fuel, but I always interpreted it as uncertainty of changing times. The last album of Barlow-Evan-Glascock crew, the last one without synthesizers, the final display of trademark Jethro Tull sound. These claims might seem overblown, but even staunchest supporters of "Broadsword" or "Crest" wouldn't mistake them for 70s classics of "Minstrel" or "Horses" mold. I suppose the band had a gut feeling it's all coming to an end in some way, back in 1979. While "Stormwatch" wasn't their most progressive or adventurous effort, it was recorded with the same mindset and breathed the same air.

The greatest sin of "Stormwatch" is being 'good' across the board - good, but not ingenious. Jethro Tull have many reasons to be proud, their genius transpired in mighty 15+ minutes suites as well as 3-4 minutes wonders, such as "Mother Goose", "Cup of Wonder" or "Moths". The brilliancy could wake up the dead from eternal sleep and change people's hearts in the blink of an eye. "Stormwatch" does have such moments, especially if you're willing to give it a chance... but it's not brimming with 'awesome' the way "Aqualung" does. We shouldn't expect perfection around every corner though. I can settle for a bit less, and I vouch "Stormwatch" delivers the goods. It's superbly arranged, poignant, rocking - refined experience full of variety.

So if you're up for a reflective blend of baroque, distorted riffs and nautical folk, look no further. In a gloomy musical landscape of 1979, "Stormwatch" will light your way.

 Living In The Past  by JETHRO TULL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1972
4.12 | 314 ratings

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Living In The Past
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by thief

3 stars "Living in the Past", what a strange album to review. The band certainly felt strong at the time: few months removed from "Thick as a Brick", showered with critical acclaim, touring all year long (bar summer break), selling tickets in New Zealand, United States and Japan... What better opportunity to come up with compilation album and make sure fans don't forget? The difference between "Living in the Past" and your run of the mill box sets is obvious though: instead of repackaging same ol' songs, Jethro Tull decided to put together a dozen of singles and previously unreleased tracks (read: rarities), with a sprinkle of live recordings on top.

In other words, "Living in the Past" was NOT redundant.

Personally, I've always seen it as a full-fledged studio album, perhaps a bit diluted with well-known material (few songs picked from "This Was", "Stand Up" etc.). In this case they could be treated as bonuses, I guess... I'll do my best to review this album in few words, side-by-side. Depending on your version, there is up to 90 minutes worth of music, so it's easy to get lost!

SIDE ONE (1968-69) Four UK singles and two re-releases. "A Christmas Song" and "Living in the Past" are especially yummy. The former would be a highlight on "Stand Up", string arrangements and mandolins sound adorable and successfully evoke times of Dickens and Tennyson, but in a light-hearted manner. The latter is instantly recognizable for pounding rhythm and characteristic flute melodies. The band sounds young and all instruments click together. "Love Story" is also invigorating, although fuzzed guitars and wah-wahs usually leave me cold. You feel sixties here, for better or worse. The only subpar offering is "Driving Song" - it sounds empty-ish even for blues rock standards. On a sidenote: I like how it all kicks off with "A Song for Jeffrey". Great opening track, makes sense to start there. "Bourree" is nice too, but you all know that.

SIDE TWO (1969-70) Things get really interesting here. Not everyone got to know "Teacher" since UK and US pressings of "Benefit" differed a bit. It just might be the best mid-paced rocker from that period, really a perfect blend of prominent basslines, crunchy arpeggios and exciting flute ornaments. "Sweet Dreams" will also grab your attention with marching rhythms and orchestral arrangements, tastefully intersecting with rockier choruses. And that galloping break in the middle! Side two is mighty strong folks... Of course there are small hiccups, such as "Singing All Day" (bit monotonous) or 90 seconds long "Just Trying to Be", but it's nitpicking. Actually, the latter is a fine piece - it sounds like a nucleus of "Benefit" era ballad - but it's sadly underdeveloped. Not the first time when Jethro Tull left us wanting with a sweet little morsel. The clear highlight must be "The Witch's Promise". Captivating since the very beginning, dancing smoothly on a thin line between good and evil, light and dark - the lyrics certainly remind me of traditional/retro doom metal bands i.e. Blood Ceremony, although sound is very tender and... peculiar. I thoroughly enjoy the moment when mellotron kicks in; rarely used by Jethro Tull, but here the legendary instrument is perfectly applied. The atmosphere and Ian's singing - so young and yearning, reminiscent of "With You There to Help Me" - is burnt onto my mind. Very underrated track!

SIDE THREE (November 1970) Twenty minutes worth of live material, late 1970, John Evan finally on board. "Dharma for One" is yet another take on established classic from Mick Abrahams days, easily recognizable by lengthy drum solo of "Moby Dick" or "Toad" proportions. It's basically Clive Bunker's playground, nice to hear from time to time, but is it essential? I find "By Kind Permission Of" a tad more interesting, although the buildup is disproportionately long. There is some admiration for bringing up Beethovens and Rachmaninoffs in me, but it sounds odd here. John Evan is a crafty pianist, no doubt about that, but the juicy part only comes at 6:30, when Ian joins him in the most touching melody. It dissipates quickly, but I adore this moment - go check it out now. The ending is also decent, though brief. "By Kind Permission Of" loses focus a bit too often.

SIDE FOUR (1971 EP & Aqualung) This is where "Living in the Past" comes back strong. I really need to check Jethro biography on this one, I'm not sure if 1971 EP songs were "Aqualung" outtakes or completely separate material, but let me tell you: it doesn't change zilch. These ~5 songs definitely live up to Jethro's lofty heights of early 70s, beautifully produced, brimming with ideas, full of life and juicy bits. Especially "Life is a Long Song" and "Dr. Bogenbroom", they belong with "Skating Away", "A Time for Everything" and other top tier three-minute pieces. I think Bogenbroom even references the latter in the melody... no difference really, it's good and honest. One caveat though: I don't know why it took so many years to put together "Wond'ring Aloud, Again" - the seven minutes version circling around the internet. Don't get me wrong - what we get here is a PRIME material, all "Aqualung" fans surely fell in love with LITP edit; I just wish both songs were merged together at this point.

SUMMARY I'm not quite pleased with this review, it took me much time to get through "Living in the Past" twice this week and to pen down some of my impressions... and yet, I feel like I haven't told you the important stuff. And to me, "Living in the Past" is usually an opener for December Jethro Season. The first day of snow, the day I bring winter clothing from the cellar, the day I start decorating the tree or looking for gifts - that's when "Living in the Past" works best, for me, as a kind reminder that there is so much Jethro Tull's stuff to hear in upcoming weeks. I genuinely believe the "original material" here (sort of original) looks as good as the bulk of "Stand Up" or "Benefit" albums, both highly acclaimed and praiseworthy. In the same time I feel the record would work much better if they got rid of "Locomotive Breath", "Inside" and other core JT songs, as well as a bit dull "Dharma for One". I even made such compilation for myself - all the goodsies bunched together (sweet dreams, witches, bogenbrooms & xmas) with the other live song in between - it flows much better and allows to appreciate "Living in the Past" for what it truly is, a collection of overlooked gems.

3.5 stars, rounded down.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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