Jethro Tull - Songs From The Wood

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol
Catalog Number: 81570
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:16:00

Songs From The Wood (1977) is simply astounding. It proved to be a departure from the band's sound at the time, but it is a period that showed Anderson to be a master at the craft of writing and arranging. So much going on in each song; the arrangements are probably the most complex of Tull's career: lots of flute, acoustic guitar, piano and a great band playing. The songs have a folk feel to them, but the other thing that really strikes me with this record is the bass and drumming performances. The combination of John Glascock and drummer Barriemore Barlow is astounding, and is the strongest rhythm section of Tull's career. "Songs From The Wood" begins with a very folkish vocal arrangement and the song develops into a complex piece as progressive as anything Tull has done. "Jack In The Green" is based around a lot of acoustic guitar with some excellent percussion. "Cup Of Wonder" may be the most straight-ahead song on the record, but again a wonderfully complex midsection full of keyboards, flutes and guitars. Barlow's drumming can only be described as melodic; he really adds another dimension to the music. He rarely plays the straight-ahead drummer, but at the same time, he is subtle and not the least bit overbearing. The keyboard playing of John Evans also deserves mention - ok enough gushing, let's just say this is my favorite Tull lineup and we will leave it at that!

I always bring Songs From The Wood out every fall - probably due to the cover art, I just relate the music with the fall season. "Hunting Girl" has an amazing intro leading to a lyrical gem; Anderson's sexual tale is hilarious. "Velvet Green" is one of my all time faves, a very medieval sounding intro with harpsichords, flutes, recorders, and a great arrangement; it is a true Tull classic. I am an admitted Tull fan (I don't want to mislead anyone) but don't go by Tull standards such as "Locomotive Breath" or Aqualung, as this CD (and the subsequent Heavy Horses) are a departure from that classic sound. "Ring Out Solstice Bells" reappeared on last year's Tull Christmas album, is found in its original form here. Anderson admittedly wrote this CD in celebration of the countryside, and though a folk feel runs through it, there is more than enough rock to keep you active. Also, this is not your singer /songwriter folk, as the arrangements reach orchestral heights. The combination of acoustic and electric works to perfection, every nuance of this record belongs right where it is. Not as heavy as many of their more popular songs and not as poppy either. This is what a Tull record should be, and nobody does it better.

Songs From The Wood (4:55) / Jack-In-The-Green (2:31) / Cup Of Wonder (4:33) / Hunting Girl (5:12) / Ring Out Solstice Bells (3:47) / Velvet Green (6:04) / The Whistler (3:31) / Pibroch (Cap In Hand) (8:35) / Fire At Midnight (2:33) / Bonus Tracks: Beltane (5:19) / Velvet Green (Live) (5:56)

Ian Anderson - vocals, flute, mandolin, acoustic guitar, whistles
Martin Barre - electric guitar, lute
Barriemore Barlow - drums, glockenspiel, marimba, bells, tabor, nakers
John Evan - organ, synthesizer, piano
John Glascock - bass guitar, vocals
David Palmer - synthesizer, piano, portative organ

This Was (1968)
Stand Up (1969)
Benefit (1970)
Aqualung (1971)
Thick As A Brick (1972)
Living In The Past (1972)
A Passion Play (1973)
War Child (1974)
Minstrel In The Gallery (1975)
M.U. The Best Of (1976)
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die (1976)
Songs From The Wood (1977)
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull Vol 2 (1977)
Heavy Horses (1978)
Bursting Out - Live (1978)
Stormwatch (1979/2004)
'A' (1980)
The Broadsword And The Beast (1982/2005)
Under Wraps (1984)
Original Masters (1985)
Crest Of A Knave (1987/2005)
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (1988)
Rock Island (1988)
Catfish Rising (1991)
A Little Light Music (1992)
The Anniversary Collection (1993)
25th Anniversary Box Set (1993)
Nightcap (1995)
Roots To Branches (1995)
J-Tull Dot Com (1999)
The Very Best Of (2001)
Living With The Past (2002)
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)
Classic Masters (2003)
Stand Up/This Was (2003)
Essential (2003)
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (2004)
Aqualung Live (2005)
Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson (2005)
Extended Versions (2006)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2007)
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull (2007)
Living With The Past/Nothing Is Easy (2008)
This Was (expanded) (2008)
Nothing Is Easy - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (2004/2008)
The Anniversary Collection/A New Day Yesterday (2008)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2008)
Live At Madison Square Garden (2009)
Christmas Album (2009)
Live In Switzerland 2003 (LP) (2014)
A Passion Play - An Extended Performance (2014)
War Child - 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition (2014)
Minstrel In The Gallery - 40th Anniversary La Grande Edition (2015)

Living With The Past (DVD) (2002)
A New Day Yesterday: 1969-1994 - The 25th Anniversary Collection (VID/DVD) (1994/2003/4)
Nothing Is Easy - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (DVD) (2005) Live At Montreux 2003 (DVD) (2008)
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany (DVD) (2008)
Live In Bethlehem, PA, 2003 (DVD) (2008)
Their Full Authorized Story (DVD) (2009)
Live At AVO Session 2008 (DVD) (2009)
Live At Madison Square Garden (DVD) (rec 1978, rel 2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: October 24th 2004
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Artist website:
Hits: 1598
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]