Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jethro Tull - Aqualung [Full Album]


After veering sharply from the blues inluences of their debut, This Was, Jethro Tull's sound quickly coalesced around jazz-tinged English folk influences and the antics of frontman/flautist Ian Anderson. But it was guitarist Martin Barre's swaggering riff off the title track of the band's fourth album that would become Tull's indelibly clichéd trademark--and the band's entrée into a long reign as arena-rock perennials. But there's a lot more to Aqualung than the riffage of that cut and its cousins, "Cross-Eyed Mary" and "Locomotive Breath." In an era when pseudo-Christian spirituality was a de rigueur, if cheap, musical commodity (from the overblown operatics of Jesus Christ Superstar to one-hit pop wonders such as "Spirit in the Sky" and "Put Your Hand in the Hand"), Anderson and company openly challenged the value of organized religion with a thematic album savvy enough to layer its thought-provoking lyrics between heavy strata of FM-friendly guitar bedrock. A cliché, perhaps; a landmark, no doubt. And a record many maintain is still Tull's finest hour. --Jerry McCulley
"Aqualung," to many, is Tull's masterpiece. The title track and "Locomotive Breath," with their catchy riffs, would be joined by "My God," "Cross-Eyed Mary," and "Hymn 43" as classic rock staples. There's no arguing with its commercial success, having sold more than seven million copies and continuing to outsell anything in the back catalog.

from left: Martin Barre, Clive Bunker, Jeffrey Hammond, Ian Anderson, John Evan. Photo by Barry Plummer. All Rights Reserved.Yet, "Aqualung" is arguably Tull's most misunderstood album. Critics dubbed it a concept album, particularly for Anderson's critical, skeptical views of organized religion, mostly on side B ("My God"). Anderson has disputed, almost resented, the assessment seeing the record as "just a bunch of songs." The labeling lead the band to really give the critics a concept album with the following studio release "Thick as a Brick."

"Aqualung" has a dominant theme but is certainly more, much more, than a concept album hindging on a solitary subject. Anderson explores the struggles of the less fortunate in our society (e.g., "Aqualung," "Cross-Eyed Mary," "Up to Me"), teenage angst and formal education difficulties ( e.g., "Wind Up," "Mother Goose"), and returns to his parental themes with "Cheap Day Return, a tune encompassing Anderson's feelings while traveling to visit his sick father.

"Aqualung" also cemented the exaggerated image, especially to those only casually acquainted with the band, that Tull was a "heavy rock" group. Years later, a Grammy for best heavy metal album (viz., "Crest of a Knave") would officially sanction the misconceived stereotype. Yet, "Aqualung" is where Anderson really begins to develop his personal style for acoustical guitar songs with "Cheap Day Return," "Mother Goose," and "Slipstream."

"Aqualung" did establish one of the most notable features of Tull's music: songs varying with intensity, mixing medium to heavy electrical sounds with lighter acoustical passages (e.g., "Aqualung," and "My God"). Indeed, every album up to "Under Wraps" (1984) would have at least one such styled number.

At the end of a brief U.S. tour, drummer Clive Bunker left to get married and form a band called "Jude" with Robin Trower. Anderson recruited Barriemore Barlow. Barlow remained drummer for the next eight years.
  Ian Anderson - flute, acoustic guitar, vocals
    Martin Barre - electric guitar and descant recorder
    Clive Bunker - percussion
   John Evan - piano, organ, mellotron
   Jeffrey Hammond - bass guitar, alto recorder, and odd voices

1. Aqualung (00:00)
2. Cross Eyed Mary (06:36)
3. Cheap Day Return (10:45)
4. Mother Goose (12:08)
5. Wond'ring Aloud (16:01)
6. Up To Me (17:57)
7. My God (21:12)
8. Hymn 43 (28:25)
9. Slipstream (31:44)
10. Locomotive Breath (32:57)
11. Wind Up (37:23)
12. Lick Your Fingers Clean (43:31)
13. Wind Up (Quad Version) (46:17)
14. Excerpts From The Ian Anderson Interview (51:40)
15. Song For Jeffrey (01:05:39)
16. Fat Man (01:08:30)
17. Bouree (01:11:27)

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