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martes, 21 de julio de 2015

Jethro Tull - Aqualung (1971)


Artista: Jethro Tull
Álbum: Aqualung
Año: 1971
Género: Folk progresivo
Duración: 42:57
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. Aqualung
2. Cross-Eyed Mary
3. Cheap Day Return
4. Mother Goose
5. Wond'ring Aloud
6. Up To Me
7. My God
8. Hymn 43
9. Slipstream
10. Locomotive Breath
11. Wind-Up

Alineación:
- Ian Anderson / flauta, guitarra acústica y eléctrica, vocalista
- Martin Barre / guitarra eléctrica
- Clive Bunker /batería y percusión
- John Evan / piano, órgano, melotron
- Jeffrey Hammond / bajo, coros


Gracias a Carlos el Menduco seguimos avanzando en la historia de uno de los mejores grupos de rock de todos los tiempos. Y ahora tenemos a su primer clásico, y también creo que su obra clásica por excelencia, el venerado "Aqualung"... joya del rock, una obra maestra no de Jethro Tull sino del rock en general.


Aqualung es el cuarto álbum de estudio de la banda británica de rock Jethro Tull, publicado en 1971 por la compañía discográfica Chrysalis Records. A pesar de la desaprobación de la agrupación, está considerado un disco conceptual cuyo tema central es «la distinción entre la religión y Dios».4 El éxito de Aqualung marcó un punto de inflexión en la carrera del grupo, que consiguió difusión en la radio y realizó giras notorias.
El álbum, grabado en los estudios Island Records de Londres, supuso el debut de John Evan como miembro oficial y del bajista Jeffrey Hammond, y fue el último con el batería Clive Bunker.2 Aqualung cuenta con más temas acústicos que sus anteriores trabajos y está inspirado por fotografías de vagabundos realizadas por la esposa del líder del grupo Ian Anderson, Jennie. Además, abarca temas como la religión o experiencias personales del propio Anderson.
El álbum consiguió tres discos de platino de la RIAA, que certifican la venta de tres millones de copias en los Estados Unidos y según el propio Anderson, las ventas mundiales de Aqualung superan los siete millones, lo que lo convierte en el trabajo más exitoso de Jethro Tull. Ha recibido buenas reseñas por parte de los críticos y apareció con frecuencia en varias listas como uno de los mejores álbumes de rock.
Wikipedia

Hay los tres elementos recurrentes en este disco: Dios, la religión y la pobreza. El disco dirige una crítica hacia la religión organizada, en especial la Iglesia Inglesa. También hacia las clases altas y bajas, a todos les cae una crítica igualmente de ácida por igual. Otros temas son el egoísmo y la avaricia.
Conceptualmente, la obra guarda ciertos paralelismos con la lírica y temática de "Godbluff", glorioso álbum de Van Der Graaf Generator que ya hemos presentado en el blog.


El álbum está dividido en dos partes (correspondientes a las caras A y B del disco en vinilo), la cara A habla de la parte más humana del espíritu del hombre, representada en un vagabundo llamado Aqualung, viejo y harapiento, el estrato más bajo de la sociedad y el lugar en el que habría que buscar a Dios. Circulan y pululan otros personajes como en "Cross-Eyed Mary" donde una joven en edad escolar se prostituye a cambio de unas pocas monedas. Y no termina ahí, los personajes y hasta las situaciones personales se van sucediendo (hay una historia de un onírico viaje a un hospital donde estaba internado su padre, documentando unas situaciones muy bizarras), hay críticas e ironías, con ese estilo ácido tan eficaz en el grupo.
La cara B habla de la religión y es un ataque mucho más directo hacia el cristianismo organizado y hacia la iglesia, el lugar donde difícilmente nadie puede encontrar a ningún dios que no sea el egoísmo y la hipocresía. Aunque alegre y rítmica, "Hymn 43" es una canción dedicada a Jesús contándole la enorme cantidad de crímenes que la iglesia ha cometido a lo largo de la historia en su nombre. Hay temas que tratan acerca de la muerte, hay humor negro, eternos riffs grandiosos, enormes solos de guitarra y flauta, una enorme musicalidad que inunda cada sonido, cada segundo y cada recoveco.



El mismo Ian Anderson menciona que "Aqualung" es el disco más grande que hayan publicado. Antes de que la obra maestra de los Tull viese la luz hay algunos puntos que merece la pena resaltar para conocer la evolución del grupo en esos dos años que van desde el primitivo "Stand Up" hasta la genialidad de "Aqualung":
Los Jethro Tull triunfaban en los EEUU, sus giras son enormes y tanto la crítica como los fans los acogen muy favorablemente, hasta el punto de que los ensalzan como la segunda mejor banda del momento, por detrás de los Beatles y por delante de los Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd o The Who. La banda ve como "Benefit" y "Stand Up" triunfan cada vez más en yankilandia y no tanto en su país, donde se sienten un poco desplazados y terminan recordando la vieja máxima del profeta y su tierra. Así que deciden trabajar en su próximo disco con las miras puestas en el mercado americano.
La evolución musical en tan solo dos años es muy grande, debido a la inmersión del grupo en terrenos progresivos y mezclando influencias tan diversas como el jazz, el blues, la música clásica, la medieval, etc. Todas estas combinaciones se unen a la calidad de la banda como instrumentistas de tal modo que confirman a Jethro Tull como uno de los grupos más versátiles e imitados (imaginen que su influencia llega hasta grupos como Arbolito ya que son una de sus principales influencias), con un estilo propio y cada vez más definido.
Otros aspectos importantes en el sonido definitivo de Jethro Tull es la clara evolución como guitarrista de Martin Barre. Martin Barre no es un guitarrista común, toca en conjunto y para el grupo. Sus solos son cortos y puntuales, siempre en el momento indicado y cuando la música así lo requiere, nunca para lucirse. A pesar de que aquí ya da muestras del grado de tecnicismo al que había llegado, su personalidad de perfil bajo siempre hizo que su instrumento no resalte aunque sí, de aquí en más, siempre se lucirá por la calidad y el buen gusto. Seguramente esa característica de Barre, ese eterno perfil bajo, sirvió para no chocar con el eterno histrionismo de Ian Anderson y lograr una comunión adecuada en la mayor parte de la historia de la banda.
Otro elemento que determina el nuevo sonido del disco es el nuevo bajista, ya que ahora no está Cornick, que técnicamente era mucho mejor que Hammond (amigo de Ian que estaba pasando por una mala racha y a quien quería ayudar) ya que se descolgaba con improvisaciones y mayor soltura instrumental. Aquí el bajo se limita a la simple base, pero con un sonido muy potente y duro, para que todo el resto actúe sobre ella.




Vamos con algunos comentarios de terceros, en inglés y en castellano, de este gran discazo de todos los tiempos:

Aqualung. Ese disco del que tanto había oído hablar, ese disco que todos mencionaban cuando yo les hablaba de Jethro Tull; y que yo no conocía aún. El momento de remediarlo había llegado.
Lo único que conocía antes de emprender el viaje que este disco nos propone era Songs from the wood, disco que me introdujo a la banda, y Thick as a brick, viejo vinilo que compré por pura curiosidad en una feria del disco. Ambos me sorprendieron en su momento. ¿Que pasaría con Aqualung?
Primero, algo de documentación histórica: Aqualung es el cuarto disco de Jethro Tull, lanzado en el año 1971, y situado cronológicamente entre Benefit y Thick as a brick.El LP esta dividido en sus dos caras, la A titulada Aqualung y, la B, “My God”. La primera trata del mundo de la mendicidad mientras que la segunda habla de varios temas concernientes a la relación dios-hombre (se puede leer en la parte de dentro del vinilo: "In the beginning, Man created God...", "En el inicio, el hombre creó a Dios"), así como la hipocresía de la iglesia, como veremos mas detalladamente en el análisis canción a canción.
Hace falta destacar que este disco se considera, letrísticamente hablando, un disco cumbre de Jethro Tull, a la vez que uno de sus mejores trabajos desde el punto de vista musical. Es considerado por muchos fans de la banda el mejor disco de Tull, aunque esto es muy difícil de decir debido a la gran cantidad de discos buenos que sacaron seguidos. Lo que si puede asegurarse sin ningún tipo de duda es que nos encontramos ante un disco que dejó huella.
Aqualung: Parece ser que el orígen de esta canción es una fotografía de un vagabundo de Londres. Empieza con un magnífico riff de guitarra que se va agrandando a medida que se nos presenta a un mendigo, Aqualung. Con unos acordes de guitarra acústica y un piano empieza entonces una parte mas delicada que nos recuerda la existencia del vagabundo, su modo de vida. La canción sigue con un trozo más animado hasta dar paso a un sugerente y potente solo de guitarra, acompañado con el piano, que le da mas fuerza y plenitud. Entonces vuelve al motivo principal de la canción: “Aqualung, my friend…” y reaparece el riff que abría la canción para cerrarla, a modo de epílogo. Podria decirse que esta canción por si sola ya ofrece un magnífico viaje por si sola. ¡Y el disco no ha hecho más que empezar!
Cross-Eyed Mary: Esta canción empieza con una genial melodía de Ian Anderson a la flauta, a la que se van uniendo el resto de instrumentos gradualmente, subiendo hasta el momento cumbre en que entra la guitarra eléctrica y la voz de Anderson, como dejando atrás esta introducción, y sumergiéndonos de golpe en la historia de Cross-Eyed Mary: una especie Robin Hood. En la canción se menciona también, de nuevo, a Aqualung. La guitarra y voz de Anderson, principalmente, nos van guiando por la canción hasta la aparición de un virtuoso pasaje de flauta, seguido por otro fraseo de guitarra, después del cuál se repite el estribillo y concluye con una variación de éste.
Cheap Day Return: Se trata de una bellísima composición de guitarra acústica con la voz de Anderson, que transmite una extraña sensación de tranquilidad en comparación con las anteriores canciones, como un pequeño reposo, y enlaza rápidamente con el siguiente tema.
Mother Goose: Empieza esta canción con una guitarra, flauta, y un espíritu que encaja perfectamente con Cheap Day Return, aunque más alegre y animada, con un cierto aire Folk. La composición acústica más larga de disco que sin duda ya hace pensar en algunos de sus trabajos posteriores. Personalmente es una de mis preferidas, por su ritmo y sensación alegre que transmiten.
Wond’ring Aloud: Otra breve composición acústica, que se ve reforzada hacia el final por una sección de cuerda y el piano que le da más fuerza. Recuerda inmediatamente a Cheap Day Return por la instrumentación y la atmósfera, aunque tiene quizá un toque más relajado, seguramente por la parte con cuerda.
Up to Me: Energética canción que empieza con una flauta a la que se unen piano, batería, y una guitarra con cortos fraseos en lo que parece una breve y caótica conversación de los instrumentos. Enseguida llega Ian Anderson y una guitarra acústica para poner orden y empezar a cantar una bella melodía apoyados por la flauta, que enseguida vuelve al motivo del principio, esta vez con más fuerza si cabe. Hacia la mitad llega un trozo más relajado y tranquilo que desenvoca de nuevo en el motivo que abría la canción. Con ciertos aires de travesura, esta canción cierra de una forma magnífica la primera cara del vinilo.
My God: Una guitarra da la bienvenida a la cara B del disco, primero con unos ligeros fraseos hasta que toma un motivo más concreto, cuando se suma a él un piano que le añade profundidad y la voz de Anderson, con una letra crítica a la religión. Lentamente, el piano y la voz van aumentando su intensidad, que conduce en un escalofriante solo de flauta, considerado uno de los mejores pasajes de flauta de la discografía del grupo, en el que Anderson muestra su maestría en su instrumento, junto con unos curiosos coros y acompañado en alguna parte de piano. Sin duda una canción que debe ser escuchada, y, si tuviera que elegir a nivel personal, una de las mejores.
Hymn 43: Entramos ahora en una potente composición en que el piano es uno de los instrumentos dominantes, dandole una gran fuerza y dinamicidad, muy animada. La voz de Anderson suena algo diferente que en otras canciones. Las letras vuelven a ser una crítica a la iglesia (“If jesus saves - well, he’d better save himself from the gory glory seekers who use his name in death”). Tiene un toque bastante rockero en comparación con otras canciones del disco.
Slipstream: Otra corta pieza acústica con sección de cuerda que recuerda a Wond’ring around. Como un pequeño interludio, une la anterior canción con Locomotiva Breath.
Locomotiva Breath: Una de las canciones mas conocidas de Jethro Tull. La canción empieza con un bello, jazzístico piano al que se une la guitarra eléctrica, hasta que llega el primer verso, muy rítmico. Esta canción tiene otro destacadísimo solo de flauta, energético, casi frenético, en que Anderson muestra una vez más su dominio en la flauta. La letra habla de la vida de un hombre que se desmorona y el se dirige a la muerte, como una locomotora, sin frenos. Esta canción fue censurada en España en su época y substituida por “Glory Row”.
Wind Up: Empieza con un relajado pasaje con guitarra acústica y voz calmada. El piano entra a apoyarlo y luego entra la guitarra eléctrica y la canción se vuelve más hard-rockera, con partes de guitarra más dura, para luego volver a un delicado pasaje de piano. Este contraste entre la parte acústica y más rockera ha ido apareciendo a lo largo de todo el disco, pero en esta canción lo hace especialmente. Con un relajado final, Wind Up es la canción que cierra el disco.
Conclusión: Este disco, uno de los mayores éxitos del grupo, se ganó ese título por él mismo. Se trata de un disco que marcó en la historia de la banda y, sin duda, del rock, con una gran influencia en multitud de discos posteriores. Es una pena no poder compararlo con ninguno de los discos anteriores; cosa que intentaré remediar lo más brevemente posible.
Esta reseña, quizá demasiado subjetiva, es la vista del disco desde un humilde oidor que presta sus oídos a la sinfopedia; intenta transmitir lo que este disco le ha dicho. Se han perdido, por lo tanto, muchos otros datos que hubiesen podido surgir de haber hecho la reseña un oidor con más experiencia (seguro que los pondran en los comentarios), y la verdad es que dudé bastante antes de atreverme a intentar la reseña. La verdad es que, después de haberlo escuchado como he hecho estos últimos días, veo este disco como un maravilloso viaje, con canciones diversas todas ellas muy evocadoras, y lo único que me queda por decir es que no puedo esperar a escuchar algo más de este maravilloso grupo al que he ido entrado tan progresivamente.
Arekusu

"Aqualung" isn't only a great album, it's somehow a feel of live from the early 70's. Maybe not as ambitious and essential in progressive rock terms as "Thick As A Brick", but in terms of folk prog an absolute masterpiece concept record, too. I always feel like I am travelling back in the 70's when I listen to classic tracks like "Locomotive Breath", "Cross-Eyed Mary", "Mother Gose" or the title track. Still the heavily blues influences are involved on this album, but sound more throughout perfected in combination with their fokish attitude and delivered a masterpiece for a bigger audience. "Thick As A Brick" was only for a smaller circle of listeners, because of the far more prog-ish attitude and more edged compositions, but in look on quality there isn't quite a difference, all is just more accesible on here, and also interestening for listeners of hard rock and other styles. Thank you Jethro Tull for your classic albums!
Marc Baum

Another memorable album, sometimes very progressive, instead in other circumstances it's characterized by a normal classic rock-music genre, but anyway it depends on the use of scales and harmonic structures as well, by the "flutist of the flutists" Jan ANDERSON!! The title track was an hit-single at that èpoque, but it is a remarkable example of classic rock;instead "Cross-Eyed Mary" and the mythical "Locomotive Breath" are out of this contest...
Make your choice! To me this album is recommended!!
Lorenzo

Aqualung, the breakthrough album of JETHRO TULL, hardly needs introduction; right now its ranking number in PA's "Top Prog Albums" is 30. I'm just going o to kill some time writing the first (!) review for this single. Knowing that the two songs taken from that album actually need no introduction either.
'Aqualung' is among my Top 5 of Tull songs, as it undoubtedly is for the majority of us. It wouldn't be if it didn't have that slower, emotional B-part (featuring vocal distortion) that comes in turns with the hard- rocking, riff-centred A-part. Together they form an extremely affective, perfect rock song. The lyrics are credited to Ian Anderson's wife Jennie. Maybe Ian is the real writer but at least Jennie's photography of misfortunate people on the street gave inspiration to this and several other songs on the album.
One interesting anecdote about this song deals with the word Aqualung itself: Anderson didn't know it was a registered trademark, not a general word for a diving equipment. You know, the sonic association of the tramp's noisy breath from his diseased lungs...
On the flipside there's 'Hymn 43', one of the album's religion-themed songs, beginning with the lines "Oh father high in heaven / Smile down upon your son / He was busy with his money games / His women and his gun / Oh Jesus save me!". Musically I don't find it very interesting. It's similarily based on a cocky guitar riff as 'Locomotive Breath' (which I also find a bit boring). John Evan's piano is nicely heard in it too.
If there had been a non-abum track of good or even decent level, this would definitely be a five-star release. Even the cover art is the same as on the album.
Matti P.

One of the cornerstone on which Tull built its cathedral, this album sees Tull still studio-experimenting (as they did with Benefit), but on top of it, they were allowed a brand-new state of the art Island studio, that no-one was really sure how to exploit properly, least of all young musicians. This is one of the reasons why Aqualung is a flawed masterpiece: their inexperience and inaptitude at exploiting the possibilities of the then-modern technology; but in term of songwriting, the group is definitely reaching their apex. And the stunning artwork of the gatefold is so fitting to the album's propos.
Yes there are sonic dated oddities: such as that weird-voiced passage in the title track, those "stop-clicks" in Mother Goose or still yet those audible tape-splicing (different sessions) during the solo passage of My God and that weird rather unpleasant string dwindling (Slipstream) and questionable choices (sound levels-wise) in the closing Wind Up. Obviously, if Benefit had benefited ;-) from the modern studios, these "mistakes" would not have happened on this one.
Outside of the technical factors, aqualung presents the particularity of being a "conceptual" album (something the Mad Flauter would rather mystifyingly deny), presenting two themes vinyl side. Both sides would be built on similar pattern (alternating the electric and acoustic songs) and present views that alternates between personal views (clearly Cheap Day Return is Anderson's personal experience) and a general character's views which has been expressing his cynical views through the group's albums and his name is Jethro.
The first side explores the decay of morality and the impoverishing of a wider part of the population, presenting Aqualung as a semi-vicious tramp, Mary as a semi-victim and semi-willing-victim, searching for the sordid side of society, and a bunch of other "delightful" characters that makes Anderson's lyrics a pure joy for interpretation and have him indicted in the Pantheon of best prog lyricists. The second side has its own name (after the opening track) and as you my have guessed is about religion, but rather an attack on it. Yes, the Mad Flauter is obviously after those who filled his head with expectations and mislead the masses. His attacks are spiteful (if not vindictive) against the "moral mêlée" (more on that. next album ;-) supposed to show the example and lead the pack, yet miserably failing.
The music alternates between hard rock riffs and acoustic passages (both presented together in Aqualung and My God, but separately to different levels in subsequent tracks), giving excellent but too rare instrumental passages (the incredible intro on the Mellotron-laden Cross-Eyed Mary and the no-less great intro of Locomotive Breath) and somewhat similar patterns (the third track on each side is a short acoustic tune) of construction and the splendid musical drama of My God or its lyrical equivalent Mary (the mother of the son, this name is no fluke) in her street adventures from abortion to prostitution, rapes, murders and robberies.
The album has produced its fair share of classics (both radio and concert) such as My God, Cross-Eyed Mary, Locomotive Breath, Hymn 43 and the title track, but there are a few tracks right next to those which would've been highlights on other albums and are a bit over-shadowed here: the superb Mother Goose (and its cast of willing victims and potential wrongdoers and vengeful protectors of little girls or are they?) and Up To Me are separated by a good acoustic Wondering Aloud (again an Anderson thought, rather than a Jethro utterance) are both superb semi-acoustic/electric tunes which provide so much depth on that first side.
The second side holds three of the four longest tracks of the album, but does not allow for much more instrumental room (still quite significant, but.) than its predecessor. Off to an excellent start after that superb title track, and a rather hard piano-driven Hymn43, the album sort of runs out of steam with a weaker Slipstream (those weird string leading out), followed by a great jumping-on-the-religion-bandwagon Locomotive Breath (too close to Hymn's guitar riff for comfort, though) and a rather odd, forgettable (but only musically, not lyrically) Wind Up.
In terms of bonus tracks, this album is plagued by a poor selection of them, with an alternate take of the weakest track, an informative interview (but not bearing repeated listening) and a radio session of Stand Up-era tracks and a forgettable fingers track. Funny on how their best two albums (with TAAB) are loaded with inferior bonus material when most other album have worthy bonuses.
Yes, Aqualung is not perfect neither does it have the pretension, but its success would push the Mad Flauter (Ian) and its alter Ego, Jethro, to much greater things, most notably the flawless TAAB, where Jethro's spirit will work wonders both lyrically, but winning over the music as well. Meanwhile, we are stuck with this raw gem, that is Tull's most defining moment, even if it ends on a down note. Let that not deter you and jump in the game of life in Jethro's disturbing planet.
Sean Trane

Released at a time when a lot of bands were embracing pop-Christianity (à la Jesus Christ Superstar), Aqualung was a bold statement for a rock group, a pro-God antichurch tract that probably got lots of teenagers wrestling with these ideas for the first time in their lives. This was the album that made Jethro Tull a fixture on FM radio, with riff-heavy songs like "My God," "Hymn 43," "Locomotive Breath," "Cross-Eyed Mary," "Wind Up," and the title track. And from there, they became a major arena act, and a fixture at the top of the record charts for most of the 1970s. Mixing hard rock and folk melodies with Ian Anderson's dour musings on faith and religion (mostly how organized religion had restricted man's relationship with God), the record was extremely profound for a number seven chart hit, one of the most cerebral albums ever to reach millions of rock listeners. Indeed, from this point on, Anderson and company were compelled to stretch the lyrical envelope right to the breaking point. [In the digital age, Aqualung has gone through numerous editions, mostly owing to problems finding an original master tape when the CD boom began. When the album was issued by Chrysalis through Columbia Records in the mid-'80s, the source tape was an LP production master, and the first release was criticized for thin, tinny sound; Columbia remastered it sometime around 1987 or 1988, in a version with better sound. Chrysalis later switched distribution to Capitol-EMI, and they released a decent sounding CD, as well as a 25th anniversary edition in 1996. Fifteen years later, the 40th anniversary was marked with varying editions, most of them including a previously unreleased stereo mix of the album plus additional recordings from 1970-71.]
Bruce Eder

This record is just before "Thick As A Brick", and we can already feel the influence here. The songs are not as progressive as on the next albums, rather simpler, but they deserve good attention. Rythmic piano is omnipresent, and ANDERSON's voice is young, with less of those low frequencies he developed after. Those low frequencies make his voice warm. Martin Barre plays electric and acoustic guitars. The presence of David Palmer give some symphonic influence: you can hear some classical arrangements. The flute is also more modest than we use to listen, but still very good. The song "Aqualung" is absolutely excellent, starting slowly and increasing in intensity with a wonderful guitar solo.
greenback

This one comes just before the classic thick as a brick and you can see that this cd is leading up to it....still, it seems Ian and Co. are holding back a little for the better things to come. This pales in comparisson to Thick as a Brick but don't get me wrong, it is a very good cd! Make this your second Tull purchase!
Carl

"Aqualung" explodes like "Jesus Christ Superstar" sitting on a keg of dynamite, here starring Ian Anderson as our self-appointed conscience. Not everyone wanted to be preached to by a rock star, however, and the album found TULL losing some of their original fans even as they attracted new ones. The light and dark tones of "Benefit" are put into sharper relief this time by alternating disarming acoustic songs with a theosophical din of diabolical intent. The addition of JEFFREY Hammond-Hammond on bass (yes, the very same "JEFFREY" chronicled on their earlier albums) doesn't change the sound of TULL much, nor does the full-time addition of JOHN EVAN, who gets buried in the band's sonic onslaught most of the time. The blurring of IAN ANDERSON the performer and "Aqualung" the character may be alarming to some, but wasn't it just a natural outcropping of the rock opera movement? Music fans proved they were interested in the persona as much as the player, and ANDERSON gave them something to think about: a composite sketch of a demigod drawn from Jesus, Loki, and Merlin among others. Of course, no album could stand up to that sort of scrutiny, so take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. It's just that songs like "Aqualung", "Cross-Eyed Mary, "Hymn #43" and "Locomotive Breath" are such epic clashes of morality and reality that "Aqualung" assumes the scale of a Greek tragedy. The acoustic breaks are sometimes no more than lovely little bits of fluff ("Cheap Day Return", "Wond'ring Aloud") and sometimes a mortal analysis of the world around us ("Mother Goose", "Wind-Up"). Yet I won't proffer an explanation of "Aqualung".
The album clearly takes umbrage with institutionalized religion and reintroduces the "Aqualung" character on "Cross-Eyed Mary", but it's hard to say what it all means. (Unlike musicals, which are designed to juggle different players, rock bands just don't have a closet full of characters at their disposal.) "Aqualung" is a great leap from songwriter to storyteller, though some felt Tull slipped too far into the fabled woods for the inscrutable Brick and Passion. Me, I'd say this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between music and one man's illimitable fancy.
Dave Connolly

It's a concept album without narrative conceit, a classic rock album with many layers of philosophical depth. Dirty urban imagery and ancient pastoral glimpses, blues-rock grit and folk whimsy, bitter social critique and tender domestic odes; so many contradictions and yet such a complete and seamless, almost effortless musical execution. If JETHRO TULL hadn't recorded any other albums afterwards, this album could have easily been seen as a fitting culmination; luckily for us, that wasn't the case, but even on its own merits, "Aqualung" is a fully realized, flawless experience.
Maybe decades of rock refinement have colored my impressions, but every time I listen to this album I'm struck with how uniquely they aproached composition. For instance, you can count on one hand the number of times Clive Bunker uses anything like a standard rock rhythm, and the typical verse/ chorus/ bridge structure is always subtly subverted. Even when Martin Barre plays identifiable blues- rock leads, it's barely resembles anything Hendrix or the Yardbirds alumni brought to the musical table. Anderson's vision and energy motivates the tracks; this is not meandering experimentation, this is a thoroughly developed and immediate sound.
I'm pretty stingy with the five stars, even when I'm totally in love with an album. "Aqualung" deserves every bit of the masterpiece rating, achieving accesibility without sacrificing an inch of originality or musicianship. Though other JETHRO TULL albums may be personal favorites, this one is a unique and thoroughly well-developed statement without a millisecond of wasted space or unneccesary embellishment. The hard edge was as heavy as anything in music at the time, but the range is far wider than that; the beautiful, reflective pastoral qualities and insightful social criticism are but the most obvious indications of the band's flexibility. Between the ragged immediacy of the preceding releases and the more polished and deliberate recordings that followed, "Aqualung" is the perfect balance.
James Lee

Wonderful! My Dad bought this after I got "Thick as a Brick," so I gave it a few listens... The "Aqualung" song is a classic. It chronicles the lowest of life in society, a reject in all his disgusting pitifulness. Then "Cross-Eyed Mary" slips in afterward, a great hard rock tune about a schoolgirl prostitute (!). Next is the short piece "Cheap Day Return," a great classic guitar song about a trip Anderson took to see his dad in the hospital. The song "Mother Goose" is my favorite of the classic guitar pieces on the album: this one is the longest, as well. "Wond'ring Aloud" is a simple love song, and "Up to Me" is a nice flute/guitar song about the common man and his ignorance and lack of responsibility. This first half of the album is generally about the lower part of society.
Then "My God" enters like a BLACK SABBATH song. It sounds like one, too. It is a blues song for God, as he has been "locked in his golden cage" by those who try to define him in simple terms. "Hymn 43" is blues for Jesus, and the "gory glory seekers who'd use his name in death." The song "Slipstream" serves as an interlude classic guitar piece which tells about death as a peaceful way out of the "mess" (modern society). "Locomotive Breath" is an awesome song, an instant classic. It is also about death, with a rushing train as the metaphor for life. Then "Wind Up", uh, winds up the album by essentially comparing the lowly poor class with the hypocrisy of the upper, and saying effectively that the former is better and more worthy of saving than the latter (though both are equal in the eyes of God.).
I personally like "thick as a brick" more than this album, but this one is still very good. Essential to any classic rock lover, and not just limited to prog fans.
Dex F.

This was the album in which JT started to show their ever-developing musical ambitions with a touch of grandeur that, until the "Benefit" album's release, could only be glimpsed at occasionally. Coincidentally with the entry of new bassist and long-time friend Jeffrey Hammond (from now on, Hammond-Hammond) and the reaffirmation of John Evan as the band's keyboardist, Anderson created the "Aqualung" repertoire and the fivesome arranged and performed it with a bigger dose of energy and enthusiasm, and a refurbished sense of purpose. While not being a concept-album strictly speaking [and Ian Anderson sees himself obliged to state it in interviews over and over again], there is a recurrent concern toward the darkest side of religion and the lower side of social classes: Anderson, as a lyricist, has now matured into a poetic state, not unlike other brilliant wordsmiths such as Sinfield, Peart or Hammill. The opening namesake track is one of the most popular JT tunes ever, and it includes one of the most prototypical Barre solos ever. 'Cross-Eyed Mary' and 'Locomotive Breath' are other numbers that have passed the test of time and still nowadays are undisputed Tull classics - they are catchy and full of fiery flute ornaments and attractive guitar riffs, while keeping themselves far out of the habitual boundaries of vulgar rock. The progressive factor is most developed in the mini-epic 'My God', an anti-clerical manifesto whose climatic peak in met in the angry flute solo contained in the interlude: the parody church chorale (courtesy of Hammond- Hammond's multi-layered chants) that joins the last part of Anderson's flute solo adds some more fuel to the passionate disappointment towards hypocrisy and thoughtless formalism of religion-based morality. The same message is conveyed straight away by the more aggressive (both instrumentally and lyrically) 'Hymn 43' and the closure 'Wind Up'. The latter is the second longest track in the album: not build under the same epic drive of 'My God', it certainly shows the band exploring their penchant for combining folk and rock and expanding it to a more complex level. The folk thing is more crystalline in 'Mother Goose', whose captivating nuances result from the effective interplaying between acoustic guitar and dual recorders. The three brief acoustic ballads serve as moments of momentary relief among the general display of energy and sophistication: my fave one among all of them has got to be 'Wond'ring Aloud', in no small degree due to the amazing string arrangements that embellish the song, taking it from 'simply nice' up to a majestic level. This is an excellent album indeed, comprising much of the splendour that will be more developed in many of JT's following albums.
César Inca

This album has some very exceptional songs in it, but also some duller tunes which sadly drop the fifth star from it. This is still a very recommendable classic rock album, and the material is more like an artistic classic rock, there are no symphonic or similar elements present here. But this was the trade this band mastered in my opinion better that the epics! The A-side of the LP is wonderful, but I never got so much into the second side. This is not due to it's anti-religious themes though. Well, maybe I should try to check it out again someday (if I just had the time!). Covers are marvelous, and it was a nice act from the band to do an album themed of the outcasts of the society.
Eetu Pellonpää

Waiting for the promised new 2005 Aqualung-Live CD, I've decided now it's time to write about this MEMORABLE MASTERPIECE (oh!, don't worry, I'm not intending to suggest a special 6 stars rating cathegory or similar.). The fact is that truly this is an immortal opus. The greatness is both in the electric guitar of Martin Barre and in the (predominant) acoustic guitar of Ian Anderson. This is the last album for the drummer Clive Bunker (the next year replaced by Barriemore Barlow, my Tull's preferite drummer of all time!!) and the first album for the bass player Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, who was well known by the JT's fans because of the three songs that Ian had dedicated to him before (in order: 1968-A Song For Jeffrey; 1969-Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square; 1970-For Micheal Collins, Jeffrey And Me).
Cover Art: long bearded tramp painted in predominating green tempera colour.Ian Anderson, of course!! This is his legendary long coat I've seen him with, performing A Song For Jeffrey in the Rolling Stone Rock'n'Roll Circus (1968).
Aqualung: nothing to say in particular. All is just completely said! But what about the highest pleasure to listen to auch acclaimed and equilibrated song? P.S. Ironically, the best known song from Jethro Tull is one of the fews which are not flute-played!! I hope this is nothing more than a coincidence.(I like flute' sound very much). Ah! Words of the song by Jennie, the first Ian's wife.
Cross-Eyed-Mary: And what could be the better thing that the Good Lord would reserve to that tramp..? This is a classic Tull piece in a strong rock vein.so strong and classic rock that the iron Maiden played a famous cover of it changing the fluted-part into their baroque (and remarkable) running electric guitar!
Cheap Day Return: a nice short acoustic one in which Ian narrates when he went to visit his old father into hospital and the title track is derived from the name of the train ticket.
Mother Goose: beautiful acoustic oriented song with some enchanting electric guitar by "Monsieur Le Barre" in the second part. These last two pieces are findable in the recent live JT 2002 album Living With The Past (very good album!). It was also performed live in their splendid italian concert in Mantua (in the garden of the Gonzaga's "Palazzo Te" - Gonzaga was an important and rich dukes' family) the 16 july.
Wond'ring Aloud: another splendid track in acoustic guitar and piano (great John Evan!). In the Living In The Past album (1972) you can find another longer version of this one moderately and differently arranged (with also different lyrics) named Wond'ring Again.
Up To Me: mythic piece with that famous laughed-intro (rarely played in the live concerts, but played in the last Italian concert in Mantua.
My God: the real sure progressive piece in this album, with a great increasing acoustic arpeggio in the first part, great electric guitar parts and a memorable choral intermezzo. This song opens the second half of the album wich was concepted to be the summa of the Ian's opinions in God and religion.
Hymn 43: stunning electric played track which was also released as a single (also this was rarely live played!).
Slipstream: within Cheap Day Return this is the second of the two little (short) acoustic gems of the album...it shivers me each time I listen to it!
Locomotive Breath: the second historic immortal song after Aqualung! Great piano introduction by Mr. John Evan and sudden start of an explosive Barre's guitar!
Wind-Up: the third forgotten song in the live shows. "When I Was Young." so starts the filtered voice of Ian. The song is divided in two symmetrical parts of which the first begins in an acoustic slow guitar, the second in similarly slow piano.what an incredible song!!!
Andrea Cortese

Yes, very nice, but not very proggish. I guess they had not developed the proggish side of the band yet. Thats OK, this album still is very good...but not a masterpiece. Yes, the whole album has a very nice feeling and there is no bad or weak song...but still its not a 5 star album. I like the way the album is kind of separeted in two, one side its the Aqualung album and the other the Christian hypocrecy, nice! Best songs: Aqualung, Crossed eye Mary, Up to me, My God ( this must be, along with Aqualung the most "important" track of the album ), Hymn 43, Locomothive Breath and Wind up. In the remastered version there is a bonus interview to Ian, were he says that Aqualung is not that big thing for him...hehehe, just so you know
Matias Boettner

A classic album in Rock History!! And somewhat of a conceptual album. Combining rock, folk, and prog elements was a good idea. The result is my 2nd favourite album from the band, and their most accessible one. It is no wonder how many of the songs here are heard on the radio, and the number of albums sold. I will not review the short acoustic pieces, since they only are there to connect the big songs together and they would not sound impressive on their own. These songs are essential to the album though, and are very pretty.
"Aqualung" begins the album and it is a classic rock song that is often heard on the radio, despite its moderately long length. IT has a powerful 6-note guitar riff, folk-rock sections, great solos ... This song, like 'Minister in a Gallery' combines all elements of the band. This song is superior though. "Cross-Eyed Mary" is a good hard rock short song with memorable riffs. Mother Goose is a melodic folky tune with very good melodies and guitar lines. Up To Me has an outstanding flute/guitar unison riff. My God is the epic of the album, and it is pure progressive rock with a very dark and angry tone. It begins as a faint acoustic theme that will eventually increase in volume and depth until the them is played with an electric guitar and a desperate loud flute lick is played. Later, AN AMAZING IMPOSSIBLY FAST FLUTE SOLO is played with male angry choirs in the background. The main theme and verses are heard after Ian Impresses listener with his flute. Hymn 43 is an agressive track with yet another good riff and nice piano playing behind the guitar. Locomotive Breath starts with nice soft piano and builds up into one of the most known guitar-driven rhythms of Prog Rock. There is another flute solo in this outstanding hard rock song.
Zitro

To me the wonderful watercolour painting looks like Ian Anderson down the drain (I agree with JT freak Andrea), is this the Freudian nightmare of the typical upper-middle class: once well-educated and predestinated to belong to the happy few in the UK and now a sick and lost, TBC suffering tramp? It could have been a cynical, typical poshy British joke from Ian Anderson! Anyway, this is JT their finest hour delivering a captivating blend of several styles. Most of the compositions alternates between blues, rock and folk, topped by splendid electric guitar work from Martin Barre and powerful flute play and strong, very distinctive vocals (with that cynical undertone) from Ian Anderson. Other tracks have a more progressive rock sound.
"Aqualung": great changing climates (folky, swinging, R&R), strong omnipresent piano play, powerful vocals and in the second part a strong build-up, harder-edged guitar solo.
"My God": a compelling composition that starts with fine acoustic guitar, then piano and cynical vocals, culminating in a slow rhythm with propulsive electric guitar riffs, fiery guitar runs and swirling flute play. The cynical vocals and lyrics are splendid!
"Locomotive Breath": the intro features a classical, jazzy inspired piano intro, then a catchy rhythm with swirling flute, fiery electric guitar and swing piano. And another powerful appearance by Ian Anderson on vocals.
This album from Jethro Tull is a perfect one for a discussion about progressive rock. BUT IT REMAINS AN ESSENTIAL MASTERPIECE!
Erik Neuteboom

The album that thrusted Tull onto the airwaves, especially in the US. Any cover band worth their merit has to, or at least, try to cover 'Aqualung'. It's a mother of a song, heavy, plodding, an impossible song to dance to. But man oh man those lyrics. In fact, the main draw for me is the mighty pen of Mr. Ian Anderson, and here is some of his most biting work, and for/against religion no less. I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow review of the disc, since its been done ad neaseum. But like Hughes review, I tend to enjoy the songs least played, ('Mother Goose', 'Slipstream', 'Wind-up'). The disc I own is the 25th anniversary edition with extra tracks and an interview with Ian. The only reason I give this album less than five stars is the muddy sound. Some day I might pick up the re-mastered version, but for now I'll settle for this. To sum up, it's not overtly prog, it still has the bluesy balls like previous albums, but you can see how they are beginning to stretch out to more fertile regions. Hard, rocking, flute-driven masterpiece.
Ray Rappisi jr.

What to say about an album that contains an anthem and at least 3 other songs that can be rated as classics? Not so much, only to experience and enjoy.
"Aqualung", the album is really a splendid piece of contemporary music breaking the borders of labels and styles; this work helped - and helped too much to set the guidelines for what we today call prog-rock or simply prog.
The anthem, 'Aqualung', the song, is a timeless composition where changes in time and signature are marvelous; everything functions at its best in this music - and one can catch a glimpse of Anderson's elf-like face while performing this song.
The classics: 'Locomotive breath', the beginning is illusory, this is not a piano suite but a raw and dense rock; 'Cross-eyed Mary', an explosive combination of flute and piano supported by great guitar backing, and the singing is nervous, provocative; 'Hymn 43', again the piano and again the voice is crude, almost rude, nearly barbarous.
Other songs are average or better but I have a special care for the short and agreeable 'Cheap day return', pastoral and bucolic, contrasting with the powerful 'Aqualung' and its strong companion 'Cross-eyed Mary'.
This album is really a MASTERPIECE.
Atkingani

A masterpiece of classic prog!
This is a masterpiece of prog rock album that has now become a legendary one. It's a pity of you claim yourself as a prog lover but you don't have this album in your collection because this one is a must have. With their debut album full of blues influence, this album is more of a rocker with variations of styles and tempo. It was not hard for hard rockers to accept this album because it contains heavy guitar riffs which resemble typical hard rock music. Of course, you would hear a lot of flute-work throughout the album - that's has become the trademark of Tull's music.
The album opener and title track "Aqualung" has colored my childhood when this song was popularized by my illegal (oops!) radio station. It's relative accessible rocker with typical guitar riffs of hard rock combined with drums, unique vocal line and acoustic guitar as rhythm section. I remember that this track was my brother Jokky's favorite song because he always played this song everyday. I got used to it because he regularly played it and the first impression I got about this song was especially the "distant" vocal sound during chorus where the acoustic guitar rhythm accompanies. The song is very dynamic and it represents prog nature because it offers tempo and style changes throughout the stream of the song. "Aqualung my friend - don't you start away uneasy .." is a memorable lyrical part that I cannot forget since the first time I listened to it until now (Oh boy . 35 years have passed .!!).
"Cross-Eyed Marry" is another great track with soaring flute and piano during opening followed with energetic music. Again, I like when the vocal enters especially with the guitar riffs that accompany the vocal. Great! "Cheap Day Return" offers great acoustic guitar fills and melody. "Mother Ghoose" maintains the same acoustic guitar style that accompanies unique vocal line. "Wondering Aloud" is a nice ballad with heavy voval line and articulate acoustic guitar fills. "Up To Me" is another favorite of mine especially it has a unique laughs at the start of the track followed with powerful acoustic guitar fills, flute and unique vocal line "Take you to the cinema ..". It's a wonderfully crafted track that characterizes the music of Tull.
"My God" has a powerful melody and great acoustic guitar part at the opening. It's my favorite Tull's track as well. The music flows naturally with ambient vocal at the opening, moving up into an energetic style with drum beats and guitar riffs. I always repeat this track whenever I play this album like what I'm doing now. The combined work of flute and electric guitar is really excellent. The flute solo in the middle of the track is terrific! "He is inside you and me. So lean upon him gently ..".
"Hymn 43" is another great rocker with powerful riffs and good combination of piano and flute works. "Slipstream" is another nice ballad. "Locomotive Breath" is the band's legendary track with great piano solo opening followed with great electric guitar touch that brings the music into a dynamic style.
My CD is a Special Edition 25th Anniversary with luxurious and colored booklet and very nice CD case. I don't regret at all spending money to purchase this CD. The music is a masterpiece; the production and sonic quality are top notch! Highly recommended to all of you claim as prog lovers! Keep on proggin' ..!
Gatot Widayanto

Quite simply put, this is one of my favourite records of all time - one of those I know practically by heart, one I've never got tired of listening to. While some have questioned its progressiveness, and others seem to think it is a bit overrated (oh, no, not that word again!), to my mind it still represents one of the best examples of what was great about music in the Seventies - fantastic cover art, intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics, fearless blending of genres, even on-stage theatrics. Even though all these things still exist in some measure, there was an innocence to it that seems to be sadly lacking in today's corporate music world, where images are created on purpose and nothing is left to chance anymore.
While its status as a fully-fledged concept album is debatable (though it seems indeed to be built, however loosely, around a sortof concept - that is, criticism of the role of organised religion in modern society), "Aqualung" shows Anderson at its biting, lyrical best. His voice (not classically beautiful in the way of a Lake or a Sinclair, but highly expressive and always effective in its delivery) snarls and soothes in turn - as the album's musical content strikes the right balance between acoustic, folk-flavoured moments and fiery, hard-rocking numbers, enhanced by Martin Barre's aggressive guitar. Actually, "hard rock" is probably the most suitable definition for the album's overall sound. Barre, more restrained on the band's previous albums (where he was still the new boy), here pulls out all the stops and delivers some of the most incendiary solos in the history of prog - notably the one on "Aqualung", a real showstopper, allegedly done in one take in the presence of Jimmy Page. The contrast with Anderson's wistful, delicate acoustic playing on songs like "Cheap Day Return" and folk-rock masterpiece "Mother Goose" (also featuring nice flute parts ) is really one of the album's strenghts.
With so many reviews written before mine, I feel a track-by-track analysis to be quite superfluous. The standouts, though, are nothing short of superb - starting with the title-track, which veers from the crushingly heavy opening riff (one of the most immediately recognisable in the history of rock) to the melancholy, acoustic part in which Ian, at his most heartwrenching, bleakly illustrates the reality of the titular tramp's squalid life, to the galloping instrumental middle section and Barre's blistering solo, before the reprise of the initial theme. A masterpiece of songwriting if ever there was one. "Cross-Eyed Mary", about a day in the life of a teenage hooker, is another hard-rock-flavoured number - once covered by Iron Maiden, whose bassist Steve Harris has never hidden his love for JT; while the next three tracks see the tempo slow down and the folk influences come out to play.
The real masterpiece of the album, though, and my personal favourite, comes at the beginning of what used to be Side Two. With caustic, bitter lyrics decrying the hypocrisy of organising religion and the way it demeans the true meaning of God, "My God" features some of Anderson's best, free-form flute work in the middle, and some guitar work by Barre that would not be wrong to call heavy metal. The way his guitar kicks in at the beginning of the song, after Anderson has sung "So lean upon him gently/and don't call on him to save..." literally slices the air in two. Anderson spits out his words with genuine venom, and the lyrics are among the best he's written in a career spanning almost forty years. Then, of course, we have traditional concert encore "Locomotive Breath", a driving, hauntingly heavy song with great flute and guitar work, and rock-solid rythm backing. Album closer "Wind Up", probably the most traditionally prog song on the record, is also my least favourite, in spite of the excellent lyrical content.
The recently remastered edition contains some excellent bonus tracks, including early JT classics "Fat Man" and "A Song for Jeffrey", the evergreen "Bourée", and an interview with Ian Anderson himself reminiscing about the way the album came about. "Aqualung" is one of those records that get better with age and never go out of date. This is essential listening for every lover of great, classic, solid-gold rock music.
Raffaella Berry

"Just a bunch of songs", said Ian. Yeah, right. No-one trusts him. Maybe this is not a conceptual album; maybe all the songs are linked with that magic, invisible link by sheer coincidence. Maybe the Tramp was in some sort of mood for writing songs about religion, without any intentions to delve deep into the thoughtful philosophy of human existence. I guess nobody will ever know.
Isn't it ironic that the most essential Tull song is actually without a flute? And isn't this album actually overwhelmed with lyrical irony of the author himself? Isn't it weird that the milestone of one of the best progressive bands ever is actually an album that is not so terribly progressive musical-wise?
Some of the masterpieces are inspiring, beautiful, evolving, complex, in one word - a food for the mind and soul. I'm always furious, happy, touched, astonished when I am listening any of those masterpieces - I guess it's the same with you, just pick any of your favourite records. Dozens of times I wished to compose something that beautiful myself. Dozens of times I realised that I am discovering something new, realising that the pure genius of my favourite musician(s) is just a top of the iceberg, discovering two black faces on the place where I used to see a white candle-holder just moments ago.
Well, that is not the case with "Aqualung". No. This is something else. When I place the CD into the player, that is meeting with an old friend, and I'm smiling. You are glad because your old friend is here, and you are not complaining about his or hers little imperfections. Because he/she is a human being, an entity that lives and breathes. Nature is a miracle indeed.
This is not a masterpiece. This is someone's life.
Moris Mateljan

Aqualung is one of two masterpieces from the only prog-folk group I thoroughly enjoy, Jethro Tull. Aqualung is semi-conceptual, not in the sense of a story but the original sense where the album is built on a theme (think Zappa's Freak Out and We're Only In It For the Money). Side 1 seems to focus on hypocrisy, while Side 2 is linked lyrically as an organized attack on religion. Every track is gold, especially the venemous title track, Mother Goose, and My God are downright essential listening to fans of rebellious lyrics. Heck, these lyrics wouldn't sound too out of place on a Dead Kennedys release, though the arrangements sure would. Ian's rants against religion are some of the first put to verse. John Lennon, not to mention a host of metal bands, owe a debt to Anderson's pioneering lyrics.
While this album isn't as good as Thick as a Brick, or as progressive, it stands as one of the finest albums ever released. Side 2 is cohesive in its attack, but Side 1 proves that this is not a concept album. There is no unifying thread between the songs on Side 1, and there shouldn't be, as Ian wanted this to be a regular album. Aqualung proves that Jethro Tul is the only prog-folk band that truly knows how to rock. Barre's guitar matches the bite in Ian's vocals, and Anderson's flute is always spell-binding. New bassist Hammond shows that he is Tull's best bassist with his solid work that would only improve on the group's magnum opus. Clive Bunker seems incapable of making a predictable drum pattern; instead he crafts some of the weirdest and coolest kitwork this side of Bill Bruford.Evans is a good rythm pianist, and I don't mind that he doesn't take up the room than symphonic keyboardists like Wakeman and Emerson do. Don't get me wrong, I idolize both of them but sometimes structure is ruined by too much of a good thing.
Jake Cole

Aqualung was my first confrontation with the Tull. I got acquainted with it on a Belgian radio programme aired on Wednesday afternoons (school off time). I was then aged twelve and I felt in love with "Aqualung". Some people have been bored with the title track or "Locomotive Breath" because they have been so much heard. IMO, but they are ones of the greatest Tull songs ever. It is always a pleasure to listen to them again and again.
The album, of course, does not only features two songs, and "Cross-Eyed Mary" is a bloody good track. The fabulous flute intro that builds crescendo is incredible. Give me more of that kind, please ! Strong rock song. This reflects the hard side of the Tull which I like so much. On the contrary, the next track "Cheap Day Return" is a prog-folk accoustic ballad in which Barre excells in his guitar work (unfortunately just over one minute track). "Wond'ring Aloud" is quite similar : short and folkish but with a very nice melody and very subtle vocals from Ian. A nice moment. A bit mellow with the background orchestration (I never understood why Ian was so found of this, though).
"Mother Goose" has a very nice chorus flute tempo, which is so recognizable. Not a highlight but not a weak track either. "Up to Me" shows the electric side of the Tull mixed with the purest flute sound. Always a great combination.
With "My God" the Tull reaches again the masterpiece level : the subtle piano & accoustic intro lead to a heavy rock piece of music in the vein of "With You ..." from "Benefit". The instrumental section is just wonderful. Ian's flute job at his best, leading to a classical choir segment : what a great combination ! The structure is complex. It is amazing how the Tull switches between hard / heavy rock to the lightest acoustic part. This is the Tull trademark and this is how I love this band. One of their best song in their repertoire. It will already be featured in their 1970 tour (as soon as in March / April) way before the release of Aqualung. It will be a key track in those live sets.
"Hymn 43" is a great piece of hard rock music : heavy keys and bass, great drumming and strong vocals. Another great Tull moment. "Slipstream" is the third short track and probably somewhat weaker.
"Locomotive Breath" ... : what can I say about this one ? I saw the Tull live in 2001 and when they played it it was like I travelled in time, back some thirty years ago. A fabulous song. Slow intrumental intro (almost jamming session) , which builds up to a quite hard rock tune with a fabulous riff : just great man.
The closing number "Wind Up" is the fourth masterpiece of the album. Ian's emotional vocals are very powerful in this song : again a crescendo building. Acoustic intro (guitar and vocals) : very slow tempo. Then, the piano joins after one minute. The drum after another thirty-five seconds. Then, all of a sudden (around minute two), Barre switches from acoustic to electric guitar to offer us one of the most harmonious hard-rocking part of a Tull song. Absolutely brilliant. After 4'15", the listener is brought back again to square one. So, there is only one thing to do after such a great album : "Let's harmonize these lines", right ?
This is by far the best "side B" of a Tull album. FABULOUS.
The remastered version which I re-purchased in 2003, has lots of bonus tracks as well as excerpts of an interview (from 1996) in which Ian's explains the recording of the "Aqualung" (about 14 minutes). You may think that it is long and boring, but the very first time I listened to it, I really appreciated these anecdotes about his album. This is not History of mankind, but the history a great album that will deeply influence some of the mankind.
One will learn i.e. that Tull recorded this masterpiece sharing the studio with Led Zeppelin. There's a bit of confusion in the interview about which Led Zep album it was. The interviewer mention III, Ian answering that he doesn't remember. Actually, it is impossible that it was Led Zep III (it was released in October 1970, while the Tull entered the Island studio in December). The only option is that Led Zep were recording their fabulous Untitled album (another masterpiece, by the way). Dates correspond since both albums started in the studio in December 1970.
Although they had toured with Led Zep in 1969, there were some tension between the bands. While they could get along pretty well with Jimmy and Peter Grant (Led Zep's manager) the mood with Plant was not great. Ian even mentioned to Melody Maker that : "If he would write the lyrics and with their music, they could be a good little rock'n'roll band..." !
They recorded this masterpiece in about three or four weeks. Ian's says, that he did not feel they were producing a great album (sorry, Ian : you were wrong).
In terms of musical bonuses : "Lick Your Fingers Clean" is a great number. It should have deserved to be included on the original. It shows, again, the hard side of the band. Since I do not have the appropriate equipment, I can only say that this quad version of "Wind Up" is a good one. It is less achieved than the final track. The bass is more proeminent. Barre plays more in the background while here and there some keys are to be noticed. the quad version for "Wind Up" is very good.
It is quite a good surprise to have those bonus tracks being something esle than fillers for die-hard fans spending their money again. This will be typical of the Tull remastered albums. Great work. Bravo.
"Song for Jeffrey" is an alternate version. Quite average. "Fat Man" is also poor (I did not like the original very much either). "Bourée" 's alternate version is harder oriented than the original. Great rendition. The three tracks were recorded during a BBC show (in August 1968 for the former one, and in June 1969 for the latter ones).
Only one rating possible : five / five stars.
Daniel

Y me cansé de copiar y pegar, hay mucho más pero no hace falta que pierda tiempo, todos dicen que el disco está buenísimo!


En palabras del propio Anderson, la mixtura de estilos que logran en el disco: "es deliberado, no queremos ser etiquetados en un único estilo. Lo único que tenemos ahora para identificarnos es mi imagen tocando la flauta y apoyado sobre una sola pierna. Eso está bien hasta cierto punto, pero no creo que la gente se lo tome demasiado en serio y por ello intentamos tocar nuestra música y no la que nos gusta escuchar, que son grupos como Mountain o Cream. Pero no queremos ser como ellos."
Así presentamos una obra tan emblemática y tan inmensa como "Aqualung", uno de los mejores álbums de Jethro Tull, y eso ya es decir mucho. Y el clásico indiscutible de la banda.
Imagino que no hace falta decir que esto está recontra super recomendado, no?





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