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Thursday, August 28, 2008

BY THE WAY, WHICH ONE'S JETHRO



So, having all these Jethro Tull CDs fall in my lap prompted me to explore the Tull thing a bit more deeply. Being a fan and collector of 70's Rock, I already owned a fair number of Jethro Tull records on vinyl, namely: 'Benefit', 'Thick as a Brick', 'Aqualung', 'Too Old for Rock and Roll', 'Minstrel in the Gallery', 'Songs From the Wood', and 'Warchild'. That leaves 'Stand Up', 'This Was', 'A Passion Play', 'Live, Bursting Out', and 'Stormwatch' as the the albums I didn't already have, which I do now.

On the phone yesterday Tony Alva made an astute observation. He said Jethro Tull was good stuff, but after listening to a whole album, it's best to move on to something else. Bravely tossing Tony's sage advice to the wind, I've been listening to Tull for two hours straight.

It is true that Jethro Tull can wear on you after a while. Surprisingly, in my case, it's not the flute that starts to grate on me, nor the baroque arrangements, but Ian Anderson's voice. I like his voice, but there's a threshold of tolerance I'm afraid.

I've never really been prone to listening to entire Tull records, mostly I'd just play the hits, and in so doing avoid the effect of prolonged exposure that Tony so aptly described. I decided to venture into the uncharted territory.



At any rate, I began with 'Aqualung'. Easily the most well known, and I would venture to guess, the best selling Jethro Tull album on the strength of the Classic Rock staples 'Aqualung', 'Cross-Eyed Mary', 'Locomotive Breath', and 'Hymn 43', I figured 'Aqualung' would be my best bet for hidden nuggets of joy and bliss. I was wrong. The remainder of the record consists of the acoustic guitar and voice driven whimsy type drivel that I had been wise to avoid all these years.



Jackson is made of strong stuff. I can take it. I put on 'Minstrel in the Gallery'. Other than noting that by 1975 Jethro Tull had secured a better drummer, 'Minstrel in the Gallery' is a rather unremarkable record.



Undaunted, I gave 'Benefit' a spin. Aha! I found one. 'Benefit' boasts two 'hits', 'Cry You a Song', and 'Teacher', but the big news here is that the rest of the record doesn't suck, in fact it's a fairly strong record overall.



Feeling somewhat justified in my pursuit by the success of 'Benefit', I whipped out 'Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die', the title track of which is probably my all time favorite Tull tune. While not as good as 'Benefit', it's not too bad. The title track is by far the best thing on it.

After that I had to stop. I bet you thought I was going to go through them all. Not even the mighty Jackson is up to that task. I do plan on listening to them all, but I need a break, for like a month or two.

Comments:
Ever hear Iron Maiden do Cross Eyed Mary?
 
Tull...the only good thing to ever come with a flute.
 
I laud your effort to get as far as you did in one sitting. I'm sure the legal diva was relieved that you've taken a break. Tull gets mad props from me overall, but the formula is tough in big batches.
 
Hazmat, see 'Pope' and 'Catholic'
 
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