Jethro Tull

This Was Jethro Tull - This Was (Chrysalis) 1968

1."My Sunday Feeling" (3:38)
2."Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You" (2:42)
3."Beggar's Farm" (4:19)
4."Move on Alone" (2:00)
5."Serenade to a Cuckoo" [instrumental] (6:01)
6."Dharma for One" [instrumental] (4:11)
7."It's Breaking Me Up" (4:56)
8."Cat's Squirrel" [instrumental] (5:36)
9."A Song for Jeffrey" (3:18)
10."Round" [instrumental] (:50)

Recorded during the summer of 1968, Jethro Tull's debut album is an impressive blues-rock affair, with tons of instrumental jams. A noticeable exception to the blues structure is "Dharma for One" which features a fast and furious drum solo, that has more in common with the psychedelia of the day than blues. However, the very next song, "It's Picking Me Up" returns with some cutting blues complete with harp jams. "Serenade to a Cuckoo," yet another standout cut, has a very jazzy sound with some cool flute work, as one would expect from a Tull album. I have read that this was the first song Jon Anderson learned to play on flute. Overall, an impressive debut album.

Stand Up Jethro Tull - Stand Up (Chrysalis) 1969

1. "A New Day Yesterday" (4:08)
2. "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square" (2:03)
3. "Bouree" [instrumental] (3:45)
4. "Back to the Family" (3:45)
5. "Look into the Sun" (4:18)
6. "Nothing is Easy" (4:20)
7. "Fat Man" (2:48)
8. "We Used to Know" (3:55)
9. "Reasons for Waiting" (4:00)
10. "For a Thousand Mothers" (4:12)

I really have a hard time believing this album is from 1969. Man, I am getting old. Anyhow, Jethro Tull's second album, with Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards), Martin Barre (electric guitar, flute), Clive Bunker (drums), and Glen Cornick (bass), is really outstanding and solidified the band's sound and style for years to come. There are some great bluesy tracks on here, but there is much more in the way of English folk music and progressive rock than blues. "Fat Man" which is a funny song, and "Bourée" are outstanding tracks and both were played live by the band for many years after the release of 'Stand Up.' This album is a classic and stands the test of time, sounding as good today as it did years ago.

War Child Jethro Tull - War Child (Chrysalis) 1974

1. "WarChild" (4:33)
2. "Queen and Country" (2:59)
3. "Ladies" (3:16)
4. "Back-Door Angels" (5:30)
5. "Sea Lion" (3:35)
6. "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day" (4:02)
7. "Bungle in the Jungle" (3:34)
8. "Only Solitaire" (1:29)
9. "The Third Hurrah" (4:47)
10. "Two Fingers" (5:07)

After two songs that were more epic and progressive in nature, Jethro Tull returns to shorter songs and a slightly less powerful sound. "War Child" slightly returns the band to their 60's sound, delivering a mixture of pop, blues, and a bit of folk music. This disc features a few classic rock stapples in "Bungle in the Jungle" and ""Skating Away." I also particularly like "Sea Lion".

Minstrel in the Gallery Jethro Tull - Minstrel in the Gallery (Chrysalis) 1975

1. Minstrel In The Gallery (8:13)
2. Cold Wind To Valhalla (4:21)
3. Black Satin Dancer (6:53)
4. Requiem (3:45)
5. One White Duck/010 = Nothing At All (4:39)
6. Baker St. Muse (16:40)
       Pig-Me and the Whore
       Nice Little Tune
       Crash0Barrier Waltzer
       Mother England Reverie
7. Grace (0:37)

"Minstrel in the Gallery" is Tull's eighth studio album. The band had several hit records under their belts and were at the height of their popularity and at the top of their game musically as well. Though "Minstrel in the Gallery" doesn't contain any hit singles, the album as a whole is a fan favorite and one of Jethro Tull's most successful albums. The album contains all the characteristics of a classic Tull album including Ian Anderson's unique vocals, Martin Barre's eclectic, electric guitar, the flowing flute passages, sparkling acoustic sections, the rhythm section of Barlow and Hammond, and the superb John Evans on piano and organ. The music is progressive in nature, though never forsaking songwriting over technical prowess.

"Baker St. Muse" is definitely the stand alone track on this collection. It is a phenomenal, progressive and epic song clocking in at over sixteen minutes. I'd put this in the same category as Yes' "Gates of Delirium" and Genesis' "Supper's Ready". Not only is it one of the best songs on the album, but one of Tull's best overall. I am also partial to the hard rockin' "Minstrel in the Gallery" and the dynamic "Cold Wind to Valhalla." "Requiem" is a nice acoustic number featuring Ian Anderson singing and playing an acoustic guitar along with a small string orchestra.

"Minstrel in the Gallery" is an amazing work and a rock and roll classic.

To Old To R n R Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Too Young to Die (Chrysalis) 1976

1. "Quizz Kid" (5:07)
2. "Crazed Institution" (4:45)
3. "Salamander" (2:49)
4. "Taxi Grab" (3:51)
5. "From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser" (4:07)
6. "Bad-Eyed and Loveless" (2:11)
7. "Big Dipper" (3:32)
8. "Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Too Young to Die" (5:39)
9. "Pied Piper" (4:29)
10. "The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)" (5:25)

"Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Too Young to Die," the song, is one of my favorite Tull songs of all time. Don't know why but it just sticks in my head like superglue whenever I hear it. Reading reviews on a few Tull fan pages, "Too Old to RnR" doesn't seem to be a favorite. This is probably due to the absence of any epic-length, progressive pieces of which Tull had become known for with "Thick As a Brick", "Minstrel in the Gallery" and "A Passion Play". As for me nostalgia plays a major role, and I love this entire disc. Had it when I was a kid on vinyl, and sure am glad to have in on disc as an old man. So, I guess the title track is now applicable to me too. "Too Old to RnR" is a good collection of classic rock 'n' roll.

Songs... Jethro Tull - Songs from the Wood (Chrysalis) 1977

1.  Songs From The Wood (4:55)
2.  Jack-In-The-Green (2:32)
3.  Cup Of Wonder (4:34)
4.  Hunting Girl (5:13)
5.  Ring Out, Solstice Bells (3:47)
6.  Velvet Green (6:05)
7.  The Whistler (3:31)
8.  Pibroch (Cap In Hand) (8:38)
9.  Fire At Midnight (2:27)

Jethro Tull "With Kitchen Prose, Gutter Rhymes and Divers-Songs from the Wood" is the full title of this 1977 record from Tull. It is the band's tenth studio album. "Songs from the Wood" was an obvious attempt to get back to the more progressive and organic sounds of albums that preceded "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young to Die". For whatever reason, fans seemed to dismiss "TOTRNR" as 'ordinary'. (I liked it.) As the title and artwork may imply, "Songs from the Wood" is folky, acoustic and even slightly symphonic. Each song is an interplay between the guitars, percussion and those signature flute sounds. Rarely does the music stray into hard rock, though at times the sounds are intense and have a heavy vibe. Frankly, it's classic Tull.

"Songs from the Wood" is considered to be the first of a trilogy of folk-rock albums from Tull along with "Heavy Horses" and "Stormwatch". The album didn't really generate any big radio hits, though the single for this album "The Whistler" did chart. The lack of 'hits' may be a deterrent to some, but I find "Songs from the Wood" to be a solid album and good listen from front to back. It's just one of those albums to kick back and relax to as opposed to "rocking out!"

Heavy Horses Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (Chrysalis) 1978

1. ...And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps (3:13)
2. Acres Wild (3:26)
3. No Lullaby (7:55)
4. Moths (3:27)
5. Journeyman (3:58)
6. Rover (4:16)
7. One Brown Mouse (3:23)
8. Heavy Horses (8:59)
9. Weathercock (4:03)

The second release of the Jethro Tull "folk trilogy". Heavy Horses is a very organic, complex, progressive and somewhat dark album. Songs like the nearly eight-minute long "No Lullaby" are very dark. However, there is a lighter side to the record as well. Songs like the uplifting "One Brown Mouse" and the short, folky and bittersweet "Moths" offer a lighter fare. "Rover" is another standout track featuring great vocals and trademark flute from Ian Anderson, and more superb orchestral accents from David Palmer. This song could very well define 1970's progressive rock. However, I think the title track is really the centerpiece of this record. The nearly nine-minute long song engages all the band's musical styles, fierce hard rock, organic folk rock, some nice lead work from Martin Barre, more majestic flute work and an astonishingly tight rhythm section. Remember, this is 1978, long before ProTools putting every drum beat and every note into it's proper place.

Much like "Songs from the Wood" and the follow-up "Stormwatch", "Heavy Horses" is not an album that casual fans looking for hit singles is going to enjoy. Those who appreciate the art of making an album and also like the progressive, organic sounds of Tull will find much to like here.

Stormwatch Jethro Tull - Stormwatch (Chrysalis) 1979

1. North Sea Oil (3:11)
2. Orion (3:58)
3. Home (2:45)
4. Dark Ages (9:14)
5. Warm Sporran (3:35)
6. Something's On The Move (4:27)
7. Old Ghosts (4:23)
8. Dun Ringill (2:42)
9. Flying Dutchman (7:45)
10. Elegy (3:34)

Tull's twelfth studio album is considered by most fans to be the last in the folk-rock trilogy that started with "Songs from the Wood". Frankly, I've always been of the opinion that "Stormwatch" was a return to the more classic Jethro Tull sound. While most Tull albums have elements of fold, those elements are kept at bay here. However,  "Stormwatch" was the last album to feature the 'classic' line-up of of the 70's and would be the last album that focused primarily on the interplay of the guitar and flute as keyboards would begin to play a more important role as the 80's rolled around. It was also the last album for longtime bassist John Glascock, who is only featured on three of the albums tracks. ("Flying Dutchman", "Orion", and "Elegy") Ian Anderson performed the bass parts on the remainder of the album. Glascock passed away shortly after the album's release to do a congenital heart defect.

As is the case with any of the classic 70's Tull albums, vocalist and mad flautist Ian Anderson is the key to the band's sound, though guitarist Martin Barre also plays an important role. In fact, the guitar tone on "Stormwatch" is a bit heavier than in the past, giving some of the album a hard rock edge. It is the interplay between the guitars and the flute that make much of the album interesting. This is especially true of the epic "Dark Ages" in which there is a fantastic jam in the middle of the song. Unlike much of the album, I found "Dark Ages" to be a slightly darker number. Likewise, "Orion" is a bit darker and even more aggressive than the rest of the album. The orchestral arrangements are still present as well, courtesy of David Palmer. Palmer performs keyboards and synthesizers on some songs and wrote the instrumental titled "Elegy". "Home" and "Dun Ringill" are two of the more endearing tracks on the album. "Home" is one of my personal favorite Tull tracks. I can recall listening to that song over and over again until I wore the grooves off the record back in the day.

In general "Stormwatch" isn't held in as high regard as albums like "Thick As A Brick" and "Aqualung", most likely due to it lacking any hit singles.  Having owned this album since I was a kid, I find it to be one of my favorites.

Broadsword & the Beast Jethro Tull - The Broadsword and the Beast (Chrysalis) 1982

1. "Beastie" (3:55)
2. "Clasp" (4:16)
3. "Fallen on Hard Times" (3:12)
4. "Flying Colours" (4:37)
5. "Slow Marching Band" (3:38)
6. "Broadsword" (5:01)
7. "Pussy Willow" (3:53)
8. "Watching Me, Watching You" (3:38)
9. "Seal Driver" (5:09)
10. "Cheerio" (1:10)

Jethro tull entered the 1980's with an album that would prove to be one of their strongest of the decade. As is usual with Jethro Tull, this CD is chock full of progressive songwriting that includes that majestic sounding flute. The difference between this album and the band's classic 70's catalog, however, is that Peter-John Vettesse's synthesizers/keyboards became as important to the songs as Martin Barre's electric guitar or even Anderson's flute. Of course, in retrospect, this gives this album a feel that was more in tune with the 80's. The tone here is slightly more ethereal than a lot of Jehthro Tull's past albums. The folk feel to the music isn't really all that present, save for a few songs like "Broadsword", "Fallen on Hard Times" and "Pussywillow". However, it's not as though these songs don't fit in with the album overall. Actually, I find this to be an enjoyable listen from beginning to end. If I were to pick out favorites, "Beastie" would probably be at the top of the list. "Broadsword and the Beast" was a transition album of sorts for the band. Those that were looking for the Tull of old may have been a bit disappointed with this album. Those willing to allow for changing with the times, probably could appreciate the mixture of old, classic Tull and the newer 1980's influences. I must also make mention of the cover, which I think is one of Tull's finest. The cover, depicting Ian Anderson as a mythical elf creature with wings and a sword, is probably one of my favorite album covers.

Catfish Rising Jethro Tull - Catfish Rising (Chrysalis) 1991

1. "This Is Not Love" (3:56)
2. "Occasional Demons" (3:48)
3. "Roll Yer Own" (4:25)
4. "Rocks on the Road" (5:30)
5. "Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall" (5:21)
6. "Thinking Round Corners" (3:31)
7. "Still Loving You Tonight" (4:30)
8. "Doctor to My Disease" (4:34)
9. "Like a Tall Thin Girl" (3:36)
10. "White Innocence" (7:43)
11. "Sleeping With the Dog" (4:25)
12. "Gold-Tipped Boots, Black Jacket and Tie" (3:39)
13. "When Jesus Came to Play" (5:04)

A quick check on the net and I soon discovered that this album is either loved as "one of Tull's best" by fans, or it is loathed as "the worst album Tull has ever released". To be quite frank, I am not as familiar with Tull's work after albums like "Aqualung", "Thick As a Brick" or "To Old to Rock and Roll". While this album was released in 1991, it wasn't until 2007 that I had heard one not of "Catfish Rising". Shame on me, I know. However, apart from the hype of a new release that is created by both fans and record companies, "Catfish Rising" is a good Tull album. To say it's his 'best' is a bit of a stretch, but to say it's his worst, is just a shame. The album starts off with the hard rocking "This is Not Love" then quickly moves itself off into bluesy musical territory, mingling with folk, rock, and some other odd influences. Lots of acoustic moments peppered throughout, along with that signature Ian Anderson flute. Standout cuts, "This In Not Love" and "Thinking Round Corners", which features a cool guitar solo. "Catfish Rising" may not be Tull's best, but it's far from a bad album either.

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