It is frightening to think about TAAB being 50 years old soon. I mean I was a youngster, but 50 years on from that package and LP with no banded sides on Reprise Records and Tapes! I had the cassette first, and it sounded weak. A green label US LP with full newspaper came next around 1977.@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!
Sometimes I think that side 2 is a little weak and repetitive, compared to the plethora of great ideas, melody lines, playful but challenging lyrics, and instrumental chops in the first half. Then I listen to it, and I totally enjoy it all the way through.A comment about TAAB. Let me be the dissenting voice. I love it, music and cover concept included. But let's face it
too few ideas stretched over 2 sides.
Let the stoning begin.