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Jethro Tull - Songs From The Wood
Chyrsalis/Capitol
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2003-08-07
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Artist: Jethro Tull (www.j-tull.com)
Title: Songs From The Wood
Label: Chyrsalis/Capitol (www.hollywoodandvine.com)
Genre: Rock/Progressive, AOR, Art, Hard, Celtic
Release Date: 1977/2003

The perfect combination of electric and acoustic instruments blend together on the Jethro Tull album Songs from the Wood. This radiant and lucid remaster is an absolute joy to listen to; in fact, I could not get it out of my CD player, which actually delayed getting this review completed. The theme of this album is the great outdoors, specifically the woods, and all its mystery and wonder. The stuff dreams and fairy tales are made of is what Ian Anderson, the modern day court jester and Robin Hood, and his band of merry men bring to you. Inspired by living in the country and reading about the folklore of his ancestors, Anderson took the group in decidedly more folk-rock direction. This did not hurt the band's image or reputation one iota. This is an outstanding album with the consummation of a marriage between Martin Barre's electric and Ian's acoustic guitars.

The Celtic and medieval influences prevailed once again for Mr. Anderson and company on this fine outing. The first two tracks set the atmosphere and mood beautifully. The classic tracks "Songs from the Wood" and "Jack-In-The-Green," which are in concert favorites of mine, find Anderson following his muse and loving every minute of it, and it shows in his brilliantly spirited performances on literally every song on this album. "Pibroch (Cap in Hand)" will satisfy those that enjoy the more electric JT and those that are just as pleased to hear both sides of their musical personality. I for one enjoyed the airy feeling of "Velvet Green," a live bonus track and the quick switch of atmosphere to the rocking "Beltane" and "Hunting Girl." I am not hard to please when it comes to JT music; I love it all without any respite. In addition to the music, I found some pleasant humor on the back cover of the liner notes…A picture of a tree stump with a record player arm following the lifelines of the tree, which was an interesting metaphor. There are many more thought provoking things going on inside of this album that make the images click inside your head where that little switch is located, and the music flips that internal switch. As with all of this remastered series, the liner notes get the loving care of Ian Anderson himself.

Some truly fantastic tunes that have ever-changing music and lyrics bring you right into a living room in the countryside where Ian conjured up the principle of this album. I think what is most significant about this release is that it digs down and exposes all of the band's talents and influences all at once on one album, nothing is held back. I loved every second of it.

1. Songs from the Wood - 4:55
2. Jack-In-The-Green - 2:31
3. Cup of Wonder - 4:33
4. Hunting Girl - 5:12
5. Ring Out Solstice Bells - 3:47
6. Velvet Green - 6:04
7. The Whistler - 3:31
8. Pibroch (Cap in Hand) - 8:35
9. Fire at Midnight - 2:33
Bonus Tracks:
10. Beltane - 5:19
11. Velvet Green (Live) - 5:56

Jethro Tull: Arranger
Ian Anderson: Vocals, Flute, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, Whistles
Martin Barre: Guitar (Electric), Lute
Barriemore Barlow: Drums, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Bells, Tabor, Nakers
John Evan: Organ, Synthesizer, Piano
John Glascock: Guitar (Bass), Vocals
David Palmer: Synthesizer, piano, Portative Organ


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