Jethro Tull - The Very Best Of...

Year of Release: 2001
Label: EMI
Catalog Number: 7243 5326142 9
Format: CD
Total Time: 78:10:00

Similar to what I wrote regarding ELO, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash, Jethro Tull is mainly an album band, having delivered so many different moods and atmospheres scattered over tons of albums that it is next to impossible to fit the "best bits" on one single CD, even if its length gives you more possibilities than the "old" vinyl album. The proof of that difficult task is given by the inclusion of three different "edits" in order to fit them onto this 20-track compilation. Indeed, "Too Old To Rock'n Roll, Too Young To Die", "Heavy Horses" and "Minstrel In The Gallery" have all been moulded in the three to four minute bracket serving almost as "teasers" for the actual, "real" recordings.

In his liner notes Ian Anderson admits it is next to impossible to create a "best of" as indeed every Jethro fan will probably have a different tracklisting altogether. However he also admits that his personal record collection consists of almost 50% of "best of" and compilation albums to get "the cream of the crop on one disc." It is true that for certain situations it is difficult to fully appreciate an original release, whereas a compilation of the best cuts probably will be a much better option. Imagine a day out with the family with a seaside resort as the destination. How long will it take one of your "partners" to make a comment when you put A Passion Play or Thick As A Brick in the CD-player? Much better chance that everyone will be happy when the average playing time for each track will be slightly under four minutes (and sadly they'll be even more happy when you put that dreadful Eminem under the laser once again!).

In the "old" days, when vinyl reigned our cupboards, the listener could chose whether he/she would play all of the album or only one side. The average playing time of a vinyl side clocked in at around 18 minutes. So when you were not pleased after the 18, you could decide whether to play the B-side or put on another album by the same artist or, better still, an album by a completely different artist altogether. That way, the diversity was larger than the CD monotony. With every "greatest hits" package now also sporting unreleased outtakes (the main reason for them never to be released in the first place was because they were not good enough!), the average playing time is between 60 and 70 minutes, which sometimes is way too long to digest in one single go. This is not the case with Jethro Tull, however, because on this The Very Best Of, although it concerns the same band, there is indeed a great diversity to be found. Mainly acoustic, it ranges from symphonic to folk, from bluesy to classical. On top of that, Ian's voice doesn't bore you one single minute, whilst each of the twenty songs here are superb compositions. All penned by Ian Anderson except for "Bour?e" which he borrowed from Johann Sebastian Bach, it certainly illustrates the great talent of our minstrel!

Opening with the wonderful "Living In The Past" we are given a tour through the interesting and original world of Tull by means of classics such as "Aqualung", "Locomotive Breath", "Thick As A Brick" and the logical "Bour?e," but luckily, a lot of not so obvious choices have been added as well. Unpredictable with each release they even introduced a brass section in "Sweet Dreams," roaring lions in "Bungle In The Jungle" and stunning ideas, such as one of my all-time favourites "Too Old To Rock'n Roll, Too Young To Die". Just how much of Ian Anderson is in that title anyway? The Very Best Of includes 20 tracks that have been re-mastered. In most cases this results in clear detail yet in the case of "Life Is A Long Song" I get a dropout a mere thirty seconds before the end. Maybe the mastertape has slightly started to deteriorate? On the other hand, re-mastering 20 tracks might finally lead to re-mastering the entire back catalogue. Who knows, maybe EMI will finally re-release all of Jethro's material in those tasty replica sleeves. What a nice treat that would be!

Living In The Past (3:19) / Aqualung (6:35) / Sweet Dream (4:02) / The Whistler (3:28) / Bungle In The Jungle (3:35) / The Witch's Promise (3:49) / Locomotive Breath (4:24) / Steel Monkey (3:36) / Thick As A Brick (3:) / Bour?e (3:44) / Too Old To Rock'n Roll, Too Young To Die (Edited) (3:54) / Life Is A Long Song (3:16) / Songs From The Wood (4:51) / A New Day Yesterday (4:08) / Heavy Horses (Edited) (3:19) / Broadsword (4:59) / Roots To Branches (5:11) / A Song For Jeffrey (3:17) / Minstrel In The Gallery (Edited) (3:49) / Cheerio (1:10)

Ian Anderson - flutes, vocals, composer
Past & present members:

Mick Abrahams - guitars, vocals
Don Airey - keyboards
Martin Allcock - keyboards
Barriemore Barlow - drums
Martin Barre - electric and acoustic guitar, flute
Clive Bunker - drums
Paul Burgess - drums
Gerry Conway - drums
Glen Cornick - Hammond organ
Mark Craney - drums
John Evan - keyboards
Andy Giddings - keyboards
John Glascock - bass
Jeffrey Hammond - bass
Eddie Jobson - keyboards, electric violin
Dave Mattacks - drums
Jonathan Noyce - bass
David Palmer - keyboards, saxophone, string arrangements
Dave Pegg - bass
Doane Perry - drums, percussion
Peter Vettese - keyboards
Tony Williams - bass

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: June 21st 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1016
Language: english


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