For those of a certain age, I’m sure you’ll remember the day when Jethro Tull released their Thick As A Brickalbum. Yep, 40 years ago!
Recorded in answer to the accusation that their previous release, and my all-time-favourite album Aqualung, was a concept album. Ian Anderson has always said this wasn’t so, that it was simply an album were a few songs were of a similar theme, notably God and religion, the remaining songs were wholly unrelated.
So he wrote TAAB to show the critics what a concept album is really like! Somewhat tongue-in-cheek lyrically, featuring the early years of a fictitious 10 year old boy named Gerald Bostock, the music is complex in the tradition of prog-rock with only two ‘songs’ one per side but the melodic qualities of the band’s previous albums remain.
So why am I telling you this? Well, after much encouragement over the years, Ian Anderson was finally persuaded to write a follow-up album which ponders what Gerald Bostock might be doing now, 40 years on.
Released April 2nd and simply titled TAAB2 and credited as Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson as no other members of the original Tull line-up are present, each song ponders an alternative career move or what might have become of him.
Sympathetically recorded to fit with the original and mixed by none other than Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree, the sound is astonishing. I feared an over produced, over played dud but have been rewarded with none of the like. There’s none of the 80’s kitch and electronic drums, hyper-bowl Dire Straits like guitar sounds here that for me ruined much of Tull’s later efforts, instruments sound like instruments. It was apparently recorded live in the studio in the main as was the original.
But the really good news is that the band are touring this but better than that, they intend to play the whole suite, yes, TAAB 1&2. Tull have not played the original since its first tour in 1972. Check out their site http://www.j-tull.com/ for dates a tickets I’ve mine for Reading in May.