Jethro Tull--List Your Top 5


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Stay Surrounded, Comrades!
QQ Supporter
Aug 25, 2018
Turtle Island
@Daniel John 's recent thread, Yes - List Your Top 5 albums, strikes me as such a great idea and has elicited wonderful responses; I thought I would start a few more threads for bands that have a similar longevity and even more of their output available in multichannel magic. So here are my top 5 for Jethro Tull, in chronological order (click on album title to link to QQ poll threads):

1) Aqualung (1971): WoW! Stone. Cold. Masterpiece. You couldn’t make it through the 70s with an FM rock radio station playing and NOT know “Aqualung,” “Cross-Eyed Mary,” “Hymn 43,” “Locomotive Breath,” . . . and those are just the tip of the iceberg--no filler on this one. But what really sets it apart for me is listening to it in historical context: until QQ turned me onto Steven Wilson and the work he did remixing the vast majority of the Tull catalog, this was the earliest Tull release I knew. Now that I can hear the three albums that preceded it--This Was, Stand Up, Benefit--the most amazing thing about Aqualung is the quantum leap that it is from what came before; the sophistication and complexity lyrically, musically, thematically are astounding!

2) Thick As a Brick (1972): And the progression continues, progressively so! This is the one for me. Nothing better in the Tull canon. Another one of those ritualistic HIGH school HEADphone staples. What Anderson and company are able to sustain for two epic album sides still astonishes. A revelation of the most astounding magnitude! I wonder if there will be a 50th anniversary edition--I can only imagine what Steven Wilson could do with this release given all that he has learned over the years. This is an album that continues to reveal and amaze--I simply can’t get enough of the brilliance that is TAaB!

3) Songs From the Wood (1977): Or do you prefer Jethro Tull With Kitchen Prose, Gutter Rhymes, and Divers Songs from the Wood? A wonderful mixture of folk and hard-driving rock n roll--possibly Tull’s most balanced and beautiful collection. What also makes this such a wonderful release is Steven Wilson’s continued improvement as a surround sound mixer; the fact that this is the highest-rated Tull release in the QQ polls is no accident.

4) Heavy Horses (1978): Another record of loveliness, building on SFtW, ratcheting up the intensity and earthiness and darkness. A really wonderful balance of folk and progressive rock. Some of Anderson’s best lyrics and Steven Wilson continues to amaze with his growing remixing prowess. This one is third on the all-time Tull QQ list (Aqualung is #2).

5) Christmas Album (2009): I was torn between A Passion Play and Minstrel in the Gallery when I remembered my favorite Christmas album, one that is so good it gets played all year long. If Steven Wilson would remix this one in surround, it would be the loveliest Christmas present I have ever received.

Looking forward to your top Tull. Stay Surrounded, Comrades!
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Aqualung - Classic Tull. Some heavy hitters.
TAAB - Another prog-rock classic with interseting arrangements (if I only had 2 choices this along with Aqualung would be my 2 picks from the Tull library).
Heavy Horses - Some interesting material, love the folk-rock.
War Child - great album.
SFTW - nice mix of rock and folk.
Thick As A Brick
Minstrel In The Gallery
Songs From The Wood
Stand Up

Tull might be my desert island band, if I had to pick one. Incredibly revealing to and influential on me as a teenager in the mid to late 70s. The albums listed above, that I struggled to choose and order, are all burned into my memory, along with others (Benefit, Living In The Past, Heavy Horses...) to the point that I didn't play them so much for awhile, until Mr. Wilson's surround mixes started to appear. I'm sure many others have made this observation before, but what an incredible job was done by all in putting those deluxe reissues together: the hardcover format, the generous volume and quality of the articles in the books, the bonus discs overflowing with outtakes and concert material, and the quality of the surround mixes... sure, lossless DVD-A or SACD formats would have been preferable, but they all sound great on my (relatively) modest hardware setup, and at their original pricepoints were incredible values.
1. Aqualung - A desert island disc that hasn't lost any of it's relevance 49 years later.
2. Thick As a Brick - This isn't one for background music. You have to sit down and LISTEN! And I always liked reading the news articles.
3. Stand Up - I think it was probably in the 80's when I finally bought this and it's grown on me ever since.
4. Benefit - One of the hippies used to bring this in to play during record club in high school. They always brought in good music.
5. War Child - My top two and this one I've listened to since they were released. They never get old.

The best part is all of these are available in 5.1 deluxe editions. And they all look good lined up on my shelf (well, almost all of them). :confused:
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I have never been a huge Jethro Tull fan but have certainly liked all the radio hits.
1. Benefit, Just because it was the first Jethro Tull album I bought in 1970.
2. Aqualung
3. Stand Up
4. Thick As A Brick
These 4 are the only ones I purchased as they where released.
That leaves one of the SW remixes that I learned of by being a member of QQ, and I pick :unsure:
5. Songs From The Wood, good music and sounds great in surround.