Schingle's Blog

August 15, 2017

JT Rankings #4

Filed under: Folk tales and songs — Tags: , , , , , , , , — schingle @ 1:00 pm

#4 Thick as a Brick


In 1971, Jethro Tull put out an album that brought them great fame and notoriety.  That disc was entitled “Aqualung.”  However, to Ian Anderson’s mind, the critics wrongly labeled it a “concept album,” ostensibly meaning that the album was telling a singular story.  Anderson vehemently disagreed and decided to reply with “Thick as a Brick” (1972).  (Quoting Anderson himself, “If you think Aqualung was a concept album, well then…”).  This was the first of two LP’s in a row in which the group released an album as one contiguous piece of music.  To add to the entertainment (and confusion), the disc was packaged in a cover to look like a small town newspaper, complete with 14 pages of “news.”  If the listener takes the time to read the whole “paper,” (s)he realizes that the whole thing is a send up offering.  And, to top it off, the lyrics to the (45-minute) song are credited to one Gerald Bostock.  Of course, Gerald Bostock is an imagination and Anderson wrote all lyrics and tune (opus?).  This was the group’s fifth album and fifth different lineup.  Barrie Barlow takes over on drums from Clive Bunker, leaving Anderson (flute, acoustic guitar, lead singer, front man) as the last original member.  The band is rounded out with the rest of the same lineup from “Aqualung.”  Those personnel include:  Martin Barre (lead guitar), John Evan (Keyboards) and Jeffrey Hammond (bass, playing on his second album with the band).  Again, because there are no individual songs, it is difficult to critique the disc without looking at sections, or even individual lyrics.  Though 45 minutes in length, the band would break it down into smaller segments as the touring years went on.  The live album (“Bursting Out”—1978) has a 12-minute version, though as the years progressed, the live version got shorter each tour.   Most non-Tull fans know the beginning and end of the disc.  Some of the better parts are towards the middle and throughout the album, melodic parts (and some of the lyrics) are reprised.  This is one of those albums that are for the true Tull enthusiast or the truly adventurous.  If you’re willing to take a chance on something completely different, this is a good one.



  1. What’s not to love about this album 🙂

    Comment by stephrichmond — October 20, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

  2. Agreed. And, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.

    Comment by schingle — October 21, 2017 @ 2:08 pm

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