Schingle's Blog

August 18, 2017

JT Rankings #2

Filed under: Folk tales and songs — Tags: , , , , , , , , — schingle @ 1:57 pm

#2 Songs From the Wood

In 1977, Jethro Tull put out their 10th studio album, “Songs From the Wood.”  To this day, it remains one of their very best efforts ever.  This was the first of three in a row by the group that had a decidedly folky feel.  The disc’s title song is the opener and begins with the first verse sung a capella in four part harmony.  A fan who was already into the band by this time could tell less than one verse in that the group was veering some from their previous rocking material such as “Too Old to Rock n Roll…” and “Aqualung.”  This was the second disc in a row with the same (and many believe, best) lineup.  Of course, Ian Anderson maintains as lead singer, flute and acoustic guitar player and is joined by Martin Barre (lead guitar), John Evan and David Palmer (Keyboards), Barrie Barlow (Drums) and John Glascock (Bass and backing vocals).  (On a side note: Anderson plays all instruments on the record’s second offering called “Jack-in-the-Green”).   While the music has a rustic feel throughout, the lyrics deal with a number of different themes.  “Hunting Girl” depicts the story of a naïve working class lout who is taken advantage of (and abused?) sexually by a rather kinky (though refined?) woman on horseback.  “Velvet Green” similarly details a fellow who takes advantage of a young lady sexually then leaves her (wanting more?). “The Whistler” got some airplay in its day and the title pretty much tells the story.  “Ring out Solstice Bells” had come out as a single in time for Christmas (1976) before being included on the early January album release.  As always, the lyrics are well written and with a humorous tone (from “Hunting Girl” we get the line, “…whilst I appreciate, you are no deviate, I might come to some harm…”).  A word or two should be mentioned about the song “Pibroch (Cap in Hand).”  There is some searing guitar work by Barre which shows his amazing, yet understated, talent with an electric guitar.  That was one of the things that JT could do.  As a whole, they put out this simple, largely acoustic and definitely folk-oriented, disc but managed to include some amazing, rocking electric guitars and, yes, included synthesizers for musical effect rather than sounding like canned, computer driven, pre-programmed music.  Oh yeah, if you want to get turned on to one of the best albums this group ever put out, go ahead and give “Songs from the Wood” a try.  No disappointment—-guaranteed.

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