Schingle's Blog

August 20, 2017

JT Rankings #1

Filed under: Folk tales and songs — Tags: , , , , , , , , — schingle @ 4:06 pm

#1 Warchild

 

Undoubtedly, this will be an unpopular choice for number one.  Granted, this is certainly one person’s sentimental pick as it was the album that turned him on to the group, as a whole.  The critics from “Rolling Stone” panned it immediately, but the record still jumped to a number one rating in the album charts, even with RS’s admonitions.  Even hard core Tull fans will likely have a problem with the choice, but it is what it is.  And where does one begin to categorize this disc into a genre?  There are some acoustic moments, but one couldn’t use the term “folk” accurately.  “Bungle in the Jungle” was a top 40 hit, but to label the album “pop” would be unfair.  (Again, just ask the folks at “Rolling Stone”).  There are enough saxes and other horns as to give this an almost 40’s style big-band sound, but anyone would disagree that the album is of that genre.  In short, this album is all over the map.  Perhaps that’s the reason it was disliked by the critics at the time.  Oddly, in addition to “Bungle” the song “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day” also got some air play on, what was then called, “underground” stations and today would be called “alternative.”  With the exception of the “Aqualung” LP, the group almost never got two songs from the same album to get radio play.  The title song opens the album and is kind of a slow one but sets the tone with, as always, intelligent lyrics (“No unconditional surrender: no armistice day; each night I’ll die in my contentment and lie in your grave”).  “Queen and Country” almost sounds like a war era song and tells the story of pirates who risk life and limb to bring gifts to her majesty.  “Ladies” is an acoustic song which deals with the world’s oldest profession.  “Only Solitaire” is Anderson’s retort to the critics who had, by this time, turned against the group with razor sharp teeth, while only three years previously lavishing them with praise.  “The Third Hoorah” reprises some of the lyrics from the title song, but has a more upbeat, almost march-like, rhythm.  The disc closes with the tune “Two Fingers,” which was, reportedly, an outtake from “Aqualung” with slightly revised lyrics and tune, and deals again with Anderson’s views towards organized religion.  This was the band’s third album in a row with the same personnel:  Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitar and some sax), Martin Barre (Lead guitar), John Evan (Keyboards), Jeffrey Hammond (Bass) and Barrie Barlow (Drums/percussion).  Is this truly Jethro Tull’s “best” album?  Most would likely disagree.  However, if a person had never heard anything by the band, and chose this one to listen to first, they likely wouldn’t be disappointed, if for no other reasons than “Skating Away” and “Bungle in the Jungle.”  And, by hearing this one first, would likely want to go back through the catalogue and hear more.  At least, that’s one guy’s opinion.

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