Friday, July 22, 2005

Jethro Tull

Today in Music History:

In 1979, Little Richard, now known as the Reverend Richard Pennman told his congregation about the evils of rock & roll music, declaring 'If God can save an old homosexual like me, he can save anybody.'
Jethro TullJethro Tull was an an 18th-century farmer/inventor. The group co-founded and led by wildman-flautist-guitarist-singer-songwriter Ian Anderson took it's name from this dude. Tull has a long and interesting history. I found myself really taking it all in when I was tuning up for this post. Jethro Tull was a unique phenomenon in popular music history. Their mix of hard rock; folk melodies; blues licks; and surreal lyrics; defied easy analysis, but that didn't dissuade fans. Over the years they have earned 11 gold and five platinum albums. Not to mention the controversial grammy award they received In February of 1989. The band won the Grammy Award in a brand new category, Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for Crest of a Knave, beating out favorite contenders Metallica. Critics buzzed for months over whether the group deserved it before finally attacking the voting for the Grammy Awards and the membership of its parent organization, the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. I would have to tip my hat towards Metallica I think. Really never crossed my mind that Jethro Tull was even close to Hard Rock.

When the band started out, their managers wanted to replace Anderson with Mick Abrahams as the center man. They were like, dude, that wild ass flute playing ain't going to get this band anywhere. Luckily for us Anderson told them hell no. They opened for Pink Floyd on June 29, 1968, at the first free rock festival in London's Hyde Park, and in August they were the hit of the Sunbury Jazz & Blues Festival in Sunbury-on-Thames. By the end of the summer, they had a recording contract with Island Records. Arguably their best album, and a must have for any collection is Aqualung. Personally I prefer most of their other work, with the exception of Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play. I just can't get into those one long song concepts.

I never tire of their music though even though critics rarely took them seriously, and they were off the cutting edge of popular music since the end of the 1970s. But no record store in the country would want to be without multiple copies of each of their most popular albums (Benefit, Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, Living in the Past), or their various best-of compilations.

My favorite album has to be Songs from the Wood. This album has a certain feel to it that I really dig, maybe best described as a hard Celtic feel. Todays track comes from that album and features everything that is cool about Tull. Some frenetic flute licks, an almost metal guitar riff, and some decent keyboards.

Hunting Girl by Jethro Tull

Buy this CD

Funny Toon

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