Tag Archives: Jethro Tull

I can’t get out !

In my series off ”Classic” 70’s masterpieces I could not, and wouldn’t dream of forgetting the mighty Tull, the main creator and dominating factor in the world of (Progressive) Folk Rock. It would be obvious to pick “Thick as a Brick” or “Aqualung” which is undeniably brilliant albums, but personally my favorite has always been “Minstrel in the Gallery” may not be that “early” 70’s but….anyway it will be my first Tull masterpiece to cover.

The opener functions as a great sum-up of what is to come later, with the mix of an acoustic opening and the harder rock finish, great melodic song parts and long instrumentals sections.

The next two tracks on side one includes a very evident and gracefully use of strings conducted by David Palmer, “Cold Wind to Valhalla” has already been covered here, on “Black Satin Dancer” the combo of Rock and Classic instrument is even more evident and brilliantly used to its full potential.

The first side of the album is perfectly rounded off with a completely low down acoustic. In my opinion one of the best quiet Jethro songs “Requiem”

All that was just amazing, but what lifts “Minstrel in the Gallery” sky high is the 16+ minutes “Baker St. Muse” epic, taking up most of side 2, a long track like that will make or break an album, and this one just makes my day every time I listen to it, and after more than 40 year that still happens very frequently.

The combination of Hard Rock, melodic song writing, acoustic passages and the strings is beautifully woven together into perfection.



The Cold Winds of Folk

Now to some winter inspired folk rock music, first Jethro Tull, with their wonderful blend of folk and rock. On “Minstrel in the Gallery” (1975) Anderson (frontman and songwriter) is recreating the Norse and Anglo-Saxon poetry traditions, in this wonderful piece about the myth of Valhalla, of course with a hint, that today “Valkyrie maidens ride empty-handed” due to a lack of sword fighting Heroes. Its not actualy a song about winter, but it is filled with hints to cold, Frost and Ice. Reflecting the perception of the Myth of the Norse, as a cold ice world.

Jethro Tull was and is the one band, defining folk rock as a part of the progressive rock scene. The band, have had a huge following and a loyal fan base, ever since the early 70’s. Jethro Tull have sold more than 60 million albums worldwide.

More direct and grounded, was The Decemberists (2011) “January Hymn”, from “The King Is Dead”, a simple yet very beautiful song, set in cold winter scenery. The Decemberists are an indie, folk rock band from Oregon, known to use the accordion, Hammond organ, upright bass, cello, bouzouki and other instruments not common in rock. The band just like Jethro Tull lyrically favors a storytelling approach, often with historical perspective or inspiration. Even though in this case it seems we got a song about lost love, or at least lost connections.