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JETHRO TULL

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Jethro Tull biography
"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 dissolved after which Anderson and bass player Glen Cornick joined up...
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Stand Up (The Elevated Edition)(Limited Edition)(2CD/DVD)Stand Up (The Elevated Edition)(Limited Edition)(2CD/DVD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2016
Audio CD$27.30
$29.89 (used)
Very Best of Jethro TullVery Best of Jethro Tull
Parlophone 2001
Audio CD$2.72
$0.99 (used)
Stand Up (Steven Wilson Remix)(180 Gram Vinyl)Stand Up (Steven Wilson Remix)(180 Gram Vinyl)
Import
Rhino/Parlophone 2017
Vinyl$18.32
$7.99 (used)
Jethro Tull - The String QuartetsJethro Tull - The String Quartets
Import
BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd 2017
Audio CD$13.98
Aqualung 40th AnniversaryAqualung 40th Anniversary
Parlophone 2011
Audio CD$14.84
$11.12 (used)
Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)(180 Gram Vinyl)Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)(180 Gram Vinyl)
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
Vinyl$16.39
$8.47 (used)
Thick As A BrickThick As A Brick
Parlophone 1998
Audio CD$6.91
$5.21 (used)
Living in the PastLiving in the Past
Import
EMI Europe Generic 2003
Audio CD$3.14
$3.53 (used)
Triple Album Collection (This Was/Stand Up/Benefit) - Jethro TullTriple Album Collection (This Was/Stand Up/Benefit) - Jethro Tull
Import
Chrysalis 2015
Audio CD$7.71
$38.99 (used)
Benefit (Deluxe)(2CD/1DVD)Benefit (Deluxe)(2CD/1DVD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2013
Audio CD$18.04
$17.95 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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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 | 715 ratings
This Was
1968
4.05 | 1054 ratings
Stand Up
1969
3.90 | 891 ratings
Benefit
1970
4.33 | 2224 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.63 | 2870 ratings
Thick As A Brick
1972
4.01 | 1255 ratings
A Passion Play
1973
3.29 | 697 ratings
War Child
1974
4.01 | 1024 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery
1975
3.08 | 642 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
1976
4.17 | 1207 ratings
Songs From The Wood
1977
4.02 | 981 ratings
Heavy Horses
1978
3.47 | 622 ratings
Stormwatch
1979
3.21 | 517 ratings
A
1980
3.27 | 556 ratings
The Broadsword And The Beast
1982
2.23 | 439 ratings
Under Wraps
1984
3.02 | 128 ratings
A Classic Case
1985
3.23 | 498 ratings
Crest Of A Knave
1987
2.69 | 387 ratings
Rock Island
1989
2.62 | 361 ratings
Catfish Rising
1991
3.66 | 437 ratings
Roots To Branches
1995
3.04 | 368 ratings
J-Tull Dot Com
1999
3.52 | 350 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
2003

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

4.16 | 363 ratings
Live - Bursting Out
1978
2.87 | 48 ratings
Live At Hammersmith '84
1990
3.64 | 162 ratings
A Little Light Music
1992
3.03 | 42 ratings
In Concert
1995
3.63 | 108 ratings
Living With The Past
2002
4.09 | 143 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2004
3.46 | 93 ratings
Aqualung Live
2005
3.75 | 80 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
4.21 | 14 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall 1970
2015

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

3.84 | 48 ratings
Slipstream (DVD)
1981
3.73 | 35 ratings
20 Years of Jethro Tull (VHS)
1988
3.41 | 73 ratings
Living With the Past
2002
3.03 | 45 ratings
A New Day Yesterday - The 25th Anniversary Collection
2003
3.83 | 85 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
2005
3.11 | 59 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
2007
3.95 | 21 ratings
Slipstream (9 song version)
2007
4.33 | 27 ratings
Classic Artists Series: Jethro Tull
2008
3.32 | 28 ratings
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany
2008
3.75 | 21 ratings
Songs From Bethlehem
2008
4.44 | 93 ratings
Live At Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD + CD)
2009
3.88 | 32 ratings
Live at AVO Session Basel 2008
2009
4.52 | 27 ratings
Around the World Live (4DVD)
2013

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

4.13 | 288 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.09 | 70 ratings
M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull
1976
3.16 | 45 ratings
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II
1977
3.19 | 65 ratings
Original Masters
1985
3.60 | 74 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box
1988
4.53 | 73 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (The Definitive Collection)
1988
3.73 | 46 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (USA release)
1989
3.63 | 143 ratings
Nightcap
1993
3.80 | 44 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection
1993
4.39 | 72 ratings
25th Anniversary Box Set
1993
2.63 | 23 ratings
A Jethro Tull Collection
1997
1.50 | 28 ratings
Through The Years
1997
2.99 | 65 ratings
The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
2001
2.52 | 14 ratings
Essential Jethro Tull
2007
3.38 | 49 ratings
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull
2007
3.79 | 43 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas At St Bride's 2008
2009
4.66 | 44 ratings
Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2011
4.84 | 61 ratings
Thick As A Brick - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
2012
4.89 | 47 ratings
A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
2014
4.45 | 29 ratings
War Child - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition
2014
4.80 | 32 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery - 40th Anniversary: La Grande Edition
2015

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

3.79 | 14 ratings
Love Story
1968
4.14 | 21 ratings
A Song For Jeffrey
1968
3.12 | 15 ratings
Sunshine Day
1968
4.11 | 26 ratings
Sweet Dream / 17
1969
4.16 | 19 ratings
The Witch's Promise
1969
4.63 | 28 ratings
Living In The Past
1969
3.88 | 16 ratings
Inside
1970
4.63 | 32 ratings
Life Is A Long Song
1971
4.13 | 16 ratings
Hymn 43
1971
4.40 | 21 ratings
Aqualung
1971
4.00 | 2 ratings
Locomotive Breath
1971
4.18 | 28 ratings
Living In The Past
1972
3.57 | 23 ratings
Bungle In The Jungle
1974
3.20 | 21 ratings
Ring Out Solstice Bells
1976
4.00 | 2 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll; Too Young To Die
1976
4.24 | 25 ratings
The Whistler
1977
3.75 | 4 ratings
A Stitch In Time
1978
4.07 | 26 ratings
Moths
1978
4.00 | 5 ratings
Warm Sporran
1979
2.70 | 18 ratings
North Sea Oil
1979
4.44 | 16 ratings
Home E.P.
1979
3.13 | 20 ratings
Working John, Working Joe
1980
3.23 | 20 ratings
Fallen On Hard Times
1982
3.37 | 19 ratings
Broadsword
1982
3.05 | 19 ratings
Lap Of Luxury
1984
4.50 | 2 ratings
Bourrée
1985
3.92 | 13 ratings
Coronach
1986
3.77 | 13 ratings
Said She Was A Dancer 12''
1987
3.60 | 15 ratings
Steel Monkey 12''
1987
5.00 | 2 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
2.67 | 18 ratings
Rare And Precious Chain
1995
3.25 | 16 ratings
Bends Like A Willow
1999
3.22 | 9 ratings
The Christmas EP
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Living in the Past
2013

JETHRO TULL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Passion Play by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1255 ratings

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A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by CapnBearbossa

5 stars A controversial work in the TULL gallery?

Probably, but it shouldn't be. The controversy turns almost exclusively on how many times the album has been listened to before the audient decides, "WOW, Great!" or "Ugh, total rubbish...." Those who purchase it on the heels of falling in love with its considerably more celebrated predecessor, Thick As A Brick (TAAB) , may be disappointed upon hearing it the first time; this is an almost universal reaction, and yet there are many out there who have moved past that first listening because of some kernel of value they heard, despite their shocked first impressions. So it was with me - JETHRO TULL fan boy that I am - I must admit to having hated the record on first hearing. IAN ANDERSON's creative output is incredibly varied, and I was used to that, but A PASSION PLAY's histrionic vocal delivery, abstract lyrics, and near tunelessness (as I perceived it at the time) made me think I'd never learn to like it. And what were they thinking with that story interlude about the Hare and his Spectacles, anyway?

A PASSION PLAY (APP)'s instrumental parts definitely avoid giving a cohesive, or even pleasant, impression, at first. The music is as esoteric and hyperactive as the vocals are manic, and it never stays in one place for very long. Though it takes a page from TAAB's playbook in terms of setting up an album-long song in a stunning symphonic web of sound, using an array of different instruments many of us have probably never heard (never mind heard of !), it is really a work of astonishing complexity that puts it beyond TAAB, if not at the absolute pinnacle of Mr. ANDERSON's musical achievements. The flute is given a lesser role than in most other TULL albums - I guess Ian wanted to try his hand at sax a bit instead - and many more rules are broken than would be typical in the cycle of presenting a work of rock music to the listener. Is this really rock'n'roll? No, in fact: We have left that world almost totally behind, and we're coming pretty close to a jazz structure here, even if played with predominantly rock instruments -- in a similar vein to how TAAB appropriates the structural and stylistic attributes of traditional English folk .

APP offers many rewards for a dedicated listener, but those rewards only are yielded with time and attention, so ... there you are. In this day and age how many people entering the fold as newbie prog fans (or fans from other prog lands just giving Tull a try because they've heard it's good) are going to give the time and attention that such a work demands? I write this in 2017, and much of the new work out there that passes for 'progressive' seems to take more cues from the accessible works of Genesis, Yes, and Rush -- the more accessible and pop-oriented bands of the 70's prog scene -- than from anything ambitious like this. And I suspect that the disease of our age, namely the rampant ADHD fuelled by action movies and ultraviolent video games, is driving us away from our ability to appreciate a sublime piece of music that develops itself across a span of 50 minutes. All I can say is this: if one reads reviews that throw shade at A PASSION PLAY, one might be inclined to give up on it immediately, but a better idea would be to play it in the background while reading a good book (oh wait, do we still have those?). Having taken this advice, by time you get done with it I will guarantee you will find its appeal has matured a bit. Or maybe it will have become more selective ... or at least you will have earned the right to pawn the record off on a friend!

 A Passion Play by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1255 ratings

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A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars "Ambitious Concept Albums 2: Electric Boogaloo"

After the smash mega-hit "Thick As A Brick", I suppose that, in an almost Hollywood-like fashion, Ian Anderson was just seeking to one up himself. And, in much the same way that many a blockbuster sequel bombs in comparison to the source material, "A Passion Play" has certainly not maintained nearly as much respect as its predecessor. However, unlike many a b-movie flopper, Jethro Tull's most notorious work isn't quite so crippled in awfulness, and does still have some redeeming features. As with "Thick As A Brick", though, it suffers from many of the same plights.

After "Thick As A Brick" firmly established Tull as a band capable of competing in the world of progressive rock, "A Passion Play" took this prowess a step further. The typical folk influences in Jethro Tull's music are toned down, and the album seems to be the nearest to symphonic prog as they ever got. The playing on here is even more complex and technical than on "Thick As A Brick", and the arrangements even more erratic. However, it seems that, being swept up in chart success, the band didn't think critically on how they could move forward and improve what they did the first time around. Indeed, the technicality is usual for nought. As I've always maintained, technique and virtuosity should only serve to augment already strong music; it should never serve as the be-all, end-all. And just like in "Thick As A Brick", if you look past the concept, the abrupt and erratic musical changes seem to be done more as a sleight of hand, to distract from the fact that the music has no emotional grounding.

Speaking of the concept, "A Passion Play" is a definite step down from "Thick As A Brick". While the latter was actually quite clever, I'm honestly not even sure what this one is supposed to be about. The lyrics are utter nonsense. Normally I don't have any problem with that. Take Yes for instance: Jon Anderson's lyrics may be cryptic and have no literal meaning, but it's very clear how his words and phrases augment the sentiments and mood of the song, and his angelic voice blends with and even carries the music. The same can be said for many other prog bands where the voice serves as just another instrument. This is problematic for Tull, though, because frankly, Ian Anderson just isn't a good singer. In addition to having no charisma in his voice, it sounds like he's straining (even suffering) to sing even the simplest of phrases. As a result, the vocal-driven sections of the album are plain unenjoyable, just as they were on "Thick As A Brick", and virtually all Tull material for that matter.

In all, it's easy to see why prog gets attacked as pretentious when albums like this are being put out. Unnecessarily over-the-top arrangements, with little more charm to go by than flipping through the dictionary to see the longest words they could find (e.g. surreptitiously) and assaulting the listener with unrelenting English-ness. If you're into prog just to appreciate technical performances, or to sit in the den, stroking your chin while admiring how smart you are, then this should be right up your alley. But if you actually enjoy mood, atmosphere, or genuine pathos, then look anywhere else but here. If you're a Jethro Tull fan and loved "Thick As a Brick", you might enjoy this one as the endearing sequel, but there are no guarantees. While the intricate performances on the album demand so much more, I find this one straddling the line between 2 and 3 stars for a rating. I'll be conservative and err towards the lower end of that. There are many Tull fans who consider this work near and dear to their hearts, but this certainly isn't something anyone should go out of their way to get into.

 A Passion Play by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1255 ratings

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A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Sgai Friend

5 stars I was surprised to find "A Passion Play" currently rating lower than "Thick As A Brick" and "Aqualung". I was in the (fortuitous?) situation of hearing PP first among JETHRO TULL's albums, in the year of its release. So I have tended to measure their other albums - and in fact all prog rock albums - against this one. For me, ever since, and despite Ian Anderson's embarrassment about it, this has simply stood out as a masterpiece of music.

It is less folky than TAB, less rocky than "Aqualung", with a richer and more varied sonic language than any of JT's other albums. I believe part of this is due to a fortuitous mix of band-members, with the humor of Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and John Evan, and the bewildering inventiveness of Barriemore Barlow. In addition, I believe that Ian Anderson was more experimental, less inhibited and inhibiting, more concerned with making a parody of "art rock", all the while (perhaps unwittingly) guiding the work to an apotheosis of the same.

One thing which struck me was the oddly operatic, absurd-dramatic sense pervading the "scenes". I admire the way the lyrics don't quite describe anything directly, but still convey curious vignettes. This was true of TAB as well, but in PP I feel more a sense of the archetypal and mythical. But then tinged with the class-system gutter V courtyard style of many of Anderson's lyrics. I find many prog epics in the list are way too pedestrian in their texts, let alone subtexts, by comparison.

Of course there are stunning instrumental passages and interesting changes of flavor throughout the two-sided epic. And I really enjoy the Interlude story, a brilliantly scored musical cartoon. But, being a drummer myself, what struck me most among the good performances on this album was Barlow's contribution. His drum parts on this album are among the most "musical" applications of a drum kit I have ever come across (his work on the shorter tracks for "Minstrel In The Gallery" is also excellent).

After many years of listening to this record, I still find it enthralling. It may lose a half-star for a slight lack of momentum in the final scenes, but I found that lack was even more noticeable in its popular sibling "Thick As A Brick". In any case, this for me has everything I seek in prog rock - or "art rock" as it was once called.

 Thick As A Brick by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.63 | 2870 ratings

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Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars I'll begin by citing Rolling Stone's commentary on THICK AS A BRICK, which I find absolutely curious: "Miffed that many critics mistook 1971's Aqualung for a concept album, Tull leader Ian Anderson decided to follow it up by parodying the entire concept-album concept. [...] It was a brilliant prank ? one so seamlessly executed, in fact, that most people didn't get the joke. Not that they needed to in order to enjoy it." (from 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time)

When one meets the eerie THICK AS A BRICK and its famed lengthiness (although, honestly, it's no shocker for prog rock veterans) they might become apprehensive. For comparative purposes, we have THE DEVIL GLITCH, by CHRIS BUTLER, which is an hour long alt/pop-rock epic, which possibly has all the flaws our aforementioned "one" fears: repetitiveness and incapability to keep you focused the entire song. Well, if THE DEVIL GLITCH have those characteristics, then it's the perfect antithesis of THICK AS A BRICK.

The album is ever changing from mellow to ecstatic pieces; from flute-ridden solos to keyboard-guitar duos (especially the magnificent Pt. I outro); from guitar solos to vocal-drums-keyboard accompaniment. There's constant tempo and time signature changes, emphasis on the constant. Another point to compare to THE DEVIL GLITCH is the lyrically superb production. You get rich, vast, often satirical, often acid, often philosophical, often metalinguistic, often metaphorical lines. JETHRO TULL utilizes a wide array of literary features to bring a vast experience, lyrically speaking.

THICK AS A BRICK is - as many hundreds of thousands of people agree, and a few thousand attest publically through nominal reviews - a masterpiece of the progressive genre. Literally one of the gems of the "progressive genre" crown.

10/10

 Under Wraps by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.23 | 439 ratings

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Under Wraps
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by johntetrad

5 stars I have never understood what Tull fans have against Under Wraps. It's arguably, in performance terms, the finest album in the whole of the Tull catalogue, with Anderson's voice never better, Barre's guitar thoughtful and Vetesse's keyboard arrangements always inventive and amusing. Anderson embraced the technology of the earaly 80s and truly mastered it, his drum programming and use of the Fairlight being particularly skilful. Now, yes, this album owes a deep debt to some other contemporary LPs of the time, not least The Golden Age of Wireless by Thomas Dolby and those by the post-John Foxx Ultravox (Chrysalis label mates of course). But these new influences refresh the Tull sound greatly and the whole band sound enthused and engaged.

The full 15 track CD version is the version to seek out. Highlights include the superbly brooding "Later That Same Evening", the thuggish strut of "Saboteur", the rollercoaster ride of "Heat" and the earworm riff of "Paparazzi". Had any of these songs appeared on "Warchild", "Stormwatch" or even "Broadsword and the Beast", with a 'real drummer', they would have stuck in the Tull live set for years. As things turned out, the Tull fan base took its collective ball home and refused to play, which was a real shame. The 1984 live renditions of the UW material (with added 'real drummer'!) are spirited and infectious. Sadly, the band seemed to lose confidence in the material and by the time Tull returned in 1987, they had all been dropped. True, Anderson struggled to sing much of the material live, contributing to the throat problems which have plagued him ever since (although I can't help musing that a 24/7 pipe smoking habit probably wasn't the best idea for the lead vocalist of a rock band), but the material could have been re-arranged, lowered in pitch, played instrumentally and so forth.

Under Wraps is not my favourite Tull album - that would be A Passion Play. But I enjoy UW almost as much... the different sound, instruments and arrangements are just part and parcel of the eclecticism of JT - and truly great progressive artists generally. The album rewards repeated, non-judgemental listening. Don't approach this LP with an insatiable craving for soprano sax and hammond organ; just enjoy it for what it is - an album of fantastically enjoyable progressive pop.

 The Jethro Tull Christmas Album by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.52 | 350 ratings

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The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars In the era of extreme over-commercialization of the Christmas holidays, it seems that everyone and their mother has capitalized on releasing a musical album that commemorates one of the world's most popular holiday seasons which every single year gets pushed harder and earlier in the hope that Santa will be kind to the stock markets. It's all gotten a little too much and with albums being released by everyone from Dolly Parton to Twisted Sister, it can be a little difficult to find that true Christmas spirit. Well, what in the world is a progressive rock lover to do? It seems that the only game in town for the longest time was the Yuletide alter ego of the progressive metal outfit Savatage when they put on their Santa hats and took on their Trans-Siberian Orchestra identity to give the world a true taste of "Jingle Bell Rock." Well, at long last in 2003 one of progressive rocks most revered cohorts came through and delivered us their own take on Christianity's most consecrated occasions. I speak of course of the great JETHRO TULL and with their final album as an official band they went out in the most interesting way by giving us THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM and bestowing upon their fans a new way to add some class to their holiday listening season when listening to "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" just won't cut it any more.

This final and fairly unique album in the band's canon is a mix of completely new material and re-recordings of previously released tracks. While most of these tracks were created for the special occasion, Ian Anderson found it appropriate to simply adapt oldies but goodies to the occasion and as a result "A Christmas Song," "Another Christmas Song," "Jack And The Hooded Crow," "Weathercock," "Fire At Midnight" and "Ring Out Solstice Bells" find themselves newly recorded and given a holiday makeover to sit side by side with the newly constructed tracks. And also on board is the long time classic "Bourée" which was given a complete identity change and now feels as it was totally created for holiday cheer in the first place. Although it was originally a Johann Sebastian Bach creation that was originally the fifth movement from "Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996," Anderson deliveries it in his famous style and by attaching an "F" to the lute part. He flautist skills shine on this one and the track is much more upbeat and contains other key arrangements.

THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM is a bit surprising in that it doesn't sound like a holiday tribute really. It sounds like a one of the laid back folkier albums such as "Songs Of The Wood" plus extra symphonic and instrumental embellishments. In addition to the standard TULL lineup there are a number of extras on board offering mandolin, violin, viola, cello, accordion and choral vocals adding a very refined frosting to the band's acoustic folk rock foundation. The tracks are as catchy as anything JT has dished out in the past and although Ian Anderson's vocals may be showing signs of being past their prime, his flautist flair has never been better as he takes on the role of melodist in chief and like a pied-piper of Christmas leads his musical assemblage to add the twists and turns of their established sound to bring it into holiday mode. While many of the tracks clearly have a wintery solstice feel to them, very few actually convey the holiday season in a blatant way other than the occasional lyrical content that clearly depicts certain aspects. There are key moments like at the beginning of "A Christmas Song" that have sleigh bells which is clearly brings Christmas to mind but they soon subside and allow the mandolin based folk track to shine.

When all is said and done, THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM sounds to me exactly like what Christmas would have been like in the English countryside long before the commercialization machine so successfully infiltrated every aspect of the holiday season. The folk rock mixed with acoustic symphonic touches very much corresponds to the wintery grey sky world as depicted by the album cover. This is the kind of album that you could rightfully put on any time of the year as it doesn't sound significantly different from the lighter and airier offerings by JT but should best be experienced with mulled wine, good friends and family as a nice supplement and more serious soundtrack to interrupt the regularly scheduled program of stale kids' songs and cheesy parodies that have outstayed their welcome for quite some time. While this will probably never achieve any top status in the JT canon, it certainly does attain a true respectful and non-commercial representation of the Christmas season and a brilliant way to end a most successful career and for the listener a most stressful year. Highly recommended for those who find themselves not digging the holiday music scene very much. This just might work for you.

 Live - Bursting Out by JETHRO TULL album cover Live, 1978
4.16 | 363 ratings

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Live - Bursting Out
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars As much success as JETHRO TULL had releasing one huge successful album after another throughout the 1970s, it wasn't until 1978 that they put out their first official live release in the form of the double album BURSTING OUT which would only come out after the release and tour of their eleventh studio album "Heavy Horses". As a result of waiting so long the playlist is quite the sampling of the band's entire canon up to the point that this particular live release only contains two tracks from that album. The performances are from the European segment of their tour although the individual tracks remain uncredited for any specific venues so it's likely that instead of an accurate representation of any given night, this is sort of a compilation of the best tracks of the lot and then were compiled and tidied up for this special 93 minute and 31 second celebration of their energetic live performances as an offering to those who were unable to attend their fantastic fun filled folk rock parties in the flesh. As with many albums of the period, this one happens to be one of those that was released differently across the pond having one double album release in the UK originally and once released on CD in the US omitted three tracks ("Quatrain," "Sweet Dream," "Conundrum.") in order to be cheap and throw it all on one disc. This has since been corrected with newer double CD versions retaining the original song listing.

BURSTING OUT begins the festivities with a welcoming introduction in a few European languages before the band members jump right into action on the hard rockin' "No Lullaby" which serves as a sort of warm up practice where they improv around the basic melody on their instruments before Ian Anderson finally kicks in his poetic singing bearded bard persona with his unmistakable vocal signature and then never lets up for the entirety of the double album. BURSTING OUT jumps all over the place as far as representation of their career is concerned. While it does begin with a "Heavy Horses" track, it jumps into the past with the non-album single "Sweet Dream" all the way back from the "Stand Up" days and then into the unavailable anywhere else track "Jack In The Green." The album continues cranking a track or two from almost every album except for "This Was" and "A Passion Play." There is even an outstanding performance of "Thick As A Brick" although it is wisely edited it down to a manageable 12 and a half minutes but nonetheless a power display of their majesty and their ability to pull off all their studio antics in a live setting.

While the band pretty much play together in cooperative and intricate symbiosis there are moments where the occasion allows the performers strut their stuff as when Anderson dishes out a beautifully compelling flute solo on the "Bourée" Medley and Barriemore Barlow is allowed to demonstrate his drums and glockenspiel talents that wouldn't be appropriate on the studio recordings. The band generally play together quite organically and sound on top of their game which at this time they were. This album could also be considered the last of the good old days since shortly after this release, bassist John Glascock would quickly deteriorate from a congenital heart defect, leave the band and pass away only a year later. The band's popularity would begin to wane after BURSTING OUT although they would continue on in new uncharted folk rock directions and never really wash out. Despite the release of BURSTING OUT, JT would not overindulge in the release in a flood of live albums and it wouldn't be until 1990 that they released another live offering in the form of "LIve At Hammersmith '84." Luckily there have been quite a few stellar JT live offerings since then but this is the best of the lot and one of the most important live recordings of their 70s appearances.

 Aqualung by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.33 | 2224 ratings

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Aqualung
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by ProgMirage1974

4 stars REVIEW #2 - "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull (1971)

Having been a vehemently blues rock band, Jethro Tull sought a new direction after recording of their 1970 album "Benefit", as bassist Glenn Cornick left the band - replaced by Jeffrey Hammond (subject of a few Tull songs) and John Evan joined the band on keyboards. Their next album would take them out of their comfort zone; ditching the upbeat and careless tones of folk in favor of the serious themes of prog. Band leader Ian Anderson spearheaded this lyrical approach, providing lyrical insights on issues from homelessness to the Church of England. The result is a transitional album that features infectious riffs and thought-provoking lyrics.

SIDE ONE: "Aqualung"

The album's title-track opener (5/5) is arguably the most famous song of Jethro Tull in general, and still receives radio airplay to this day on classic rock stations. Inspired by a photograph Anderson's wife took of a homeless man, it deals with a lonely old vagabond and his pedophilic tendencies. A strong track with a powerful message, it also features great guitar work by Martin Barre - especially the guitar solo, which is one of the best in prog. Following this impressive track is another piece of hard rock "Cross-Eyed Mary" (4/5), which is a slight continuation on the theme of the opener. Referencing "Aqualung" in passing (a move that spurred speculation that the album was a concept, which Anderson and Barre denied), a schoolgirl prostitute is now the protagonist. With abstract lyricism, the track can be childish lyrically, but is a great example of heavy classic rock, as the track has been covered by heavy metal bands Metallica and Iron Maiden among others. The rest of side one is a collection of lighter, acoustic pieces, beginning with the beautiful "Cheap Day Return" (5/5), a one-minute piece about Anderson visiting his sick father in the hospital. Save the similarly short and beautiful "Wond'ring Aloud" (5/5), the rest of the material on the first side is unfortunately mediocre, with "Mother Goose" (3/5) being average and "Up to Me" (2/5) being forgettable and a weak closing track. With the inclusion of unreleased material on the 40th Anniv. deluxe edition, it is odd that there was not stronger material on the final product, such as the longer edition of "Wond'ring Aloud" and "Lick Your Fingers Clean", which would eventually be drastically reworked and included on the album "War Child."

SIDE TWO: "My God" (A collection of songs critical of organized religion - very conceptual in nature.)

The first track of side two, "My God" (5/5) is equally as strong as the title track. With inflammatory lyrics critical of Christianity and very strong guitar work by Barre, this song is an instant classic. The serious lyrics of this track thrust the band onto a new plateau, out of the realm of blues rock and into prog. Followed by the hard rock staple "Hymn 43" (4/5), which would be the band's sole single off the album, the second side already reigns superior over the first - featuring a cohesive theme that borders on conceptual. A beautiful intercalary titled "Slipstream" (5/5) follows before leading up to another seminal work by the band, the behemoth "Locomotive Breath" (3/5), which, despite being regarded as a classic for the band, does not resonate with me very well. It strikes me as an average and even boring track, and I consider it over-rated as a result. Closing out the album is the track "Wind Up" (4/5) - the last great stab at organized religion on the album. Drifting between quiet and loud, this track also does well at capturing the listener due to Anderson's lyrical ability. It also is a fitting choice to end the album, as the ending lyrics are delivered powerfully and emotionally.

"Aqualung" walks the line between prog and blues rock. In some cases it is groggy (Aqualung, My God), and in some cases it can be more folk-based (Cheap Day Return, Mother Goose). There are even elements of contemporary classic rock (Cross-Eyed Mary, Hymn 43). The overall product is a very musically diverse album, consisting of both abstract lyricism and serious concepts that attract the intellectual prog fan. This album would shoot Jethro Tull into the mainstream and establish it as one of the seminal rock bands of the seventies. Its tendencies to behave like a concept album also drove the band to mockingly work on their next album, a parody of pretentious prog rock that would ironically become their most loved (at least on this site) album. A great step forward by the band, and one of the essential albums in the genre due to the title track alone, but it is barred from perfection by its weak ending to side one and a couple boring songs.

OVERALL: 4.1/5 (B-)

 A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance by JETHRO TULL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.89 | 47 ratings

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A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Depending on your mood at any given moment, Jethro Tull's lofty 1973 LP represents either a) the nadir of self-indulgent Prog Rock pretension, or b) an underappreciated masterpiece. It's of course entirely possible the album was both, simultaneously: a flawed epic of high-minded musical imagination that aimed too high and overshot its target. You may love it or hate it, but either way the year 2014 "Extended Performance" draws a welcome silver lining around a cloudy historical legacy, adding so much invaluable hindsight and clarity that it has to be rated as an essential five-star experience.

The original 1973 album shouldn't require any introduction here. Suffice to say it arrived at the moment when Progressive Rock had reached its apex of grandiose ambition, followed within months by "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery" (and, only a year later, by the Genesis "Lamb Lies Down" saga). Some sort of shared contagion must have been in the air at the time: check out Martin Barre's unmistakably Steve Howe-inspired guitar licks in the "Magus Perdé" curtain call of the Play.

The album was a lot to swallow in a single sitting, not least because of the pompous concept behind it: a meditation of Life (and the Afterlife) as theater, complete with gatefold proscenium cover layout and mock-program insert. The earlier "Thick as a Brick", likewise presenting an unbroken 40-minute suite, was designed in part as a concept album parody; this one demanded to be heard seriously, despite the oddball comic intermission about a Hare Who Lost His Spectacles.

Another divisive issue may have been Ian Anderson's over-reliance on synths and saxophone, instead of the more traditional guitar and flute. The results were predictably vilified in the pages of an increasingly conservative music press, expressing a (stupid) sense of betrayal by a group that had strayed too far from its Blues Rock roots.

But the passage of time has been generous to the album, and this lavish package makes it easier now to recognize the classic in the clutter. Besides a sympathetic stereo remix of the original LP by (who else?) Steven Wilson, you'll find copious essays, photos, and production notes in an 80-page (!) digibook, plus the inevitable surround-sound DVD, plus video clips of "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" (crude, but amusing), plus an indispensable second CD with the aborted 1972 Château d'Hérouville sessions, unabridged and undoctored but again remixed by Wilson.

You may already be familiar with some the so-called Château d'Isaster tapes, previously featured (with belated Ian Anderson overdubs) on the late '90s "Nightcap" compilation. But hearing the full set in tandem with its final "Passion Play" realization adds essential perspective to a difficult and misunderstood chapter in Tull history, which would extend to the 1974 "War Child" album: another beneficiary of the scrapped Château sessions.

Hindsight is 20-20, of course, even to hares without their spectacles. But the bottom line to this overlong appraisal is simple: "A Passion Play" has never sounded better, and with all the bonus material has never made as much sense.

 A by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.21 | 517 ratings

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A
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars JETHRO TULL was never one to rest on their laurels even when a formula such as the megahit "Aqualung" proved to be an irresistible sound that probably could have been replicated and recycled to infinity. However Ian Anderson was in it for the passion of it all. He was a true forward thinking musician who had the urge to evolve into new arenas and take serious risks along the way. While a few duds were dropped along the way (do you hear me "War Child" and "Too Young To Rock?"), most others were surprisingly cohesive and brilliantly composed. Originally slated as the very first Ian Anderson solo album hence the title of the album, A (for Anderson), it was released under the name JETHRO TULL upon request of their record label Chrysalis wanting to increase record sales. Sounds familiar, huh? In the end, it really doesn't matter because everyone knows JETHRO TULL is Anderson under the guise of a band anyway. What really matters is the music and what a surprise A is for me. This is one i had simply not been exposed to for the longest time and never really had the urge to seek it out. It turns out it is quite the catchy and well-crafted album that may not excite those who only limit themselves only to the most complex offerings of the band but for those who find the songwriting and melodies to be Anderson's most seductive force in the music, then A will not disappoint.

While this could never be mistaken for anything other than a JETHRO TULL album with Anderson's signature vocal style accompanied by the expected folk rock display of Martin Barre wailing one catchy guitar riff after another, the rest of the band is completely different from the heyday of the early 70s and after 1979's "Stormwatch" the band literally imploded leaving only the two original members carrying the musical torch. Barriemore Barlow had left the band due to severe depression, bassist John Glascock left to start his own band and keyboardists John Evan and David Palmer were simply fired for unknown reasons. In the wake of the big change was the addition of bassist Dave Pegg who only appeared on a couple tracks on "Stormwatch" now on board full time, new drummer Mark Craney who added a totally new percussive style to the mix and the most noticeable differences of all with the inclusion of Eddie Jobson who not only added Keith Emerson type symphonic pomp and new wave keyboards to the mix but contributed his sophisticated electric violin skills as well. The result is that A is simultaneous more symphonic prog sounding at times, more folk infused at times and even dips into bluegrass all the while maintaining the catchy folk rock catchiness in the songwriting department. It also takes the modern era into mind and seamlessly weaves new wave type keyboard melodies into the mix. Anderson's vocals are still top notch and this album excels in extreme progressive time signature work outs, more frenetic and demanding than almost any album before or since.

For me the progressive qualities of JETHRO TULL have never been their greatest attraction. Yes, they managed some serious progressive behemoths in their days with albums like "Thick As A Brick" and "A Passion Play" but for me the true magic lies in the simplistic beauty of the songwriting where even the simplest albums are fun fueled trips into their folk rock playground. The album A is absolutely no different in that regard. True that it will never compete with the progressive crowd's expectations of such complexity but this album has plenty of satisfying progressive time sig workouts while never for a moment sacrificing all the addictive folk rock melodies that made this band the superstars that they were. With all the new musicians on board delivering new experimentations especially with Eddie Jobson's excellent keyboard and violin contributions, this album displays the full maturity of a totally new sound for the band and one that should have steered throughout the 80s. Personally i find this album to be quite exciting and definitely the best thing released under the JETHRO TULL moniker of the entire 80s. This is quite the really brilliant album that not only takes the folk rock aspects of what came before but seamlessly fuses them with Emerson type symphonic prog, new wave type rhythms, bluegrass and touches of adventurous and complex progressive workouts. It more than works for me.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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