Saturday, February 15, 2014

Master of His Craft

Ian Anderson and his cat Bhaj
From time to time here on the blog I like to give you a bit of a taste of the music I like. It's not always about aircraft.

One of the bands I grew up listening to was Jethro Tull. The leader of this ever changing band (both in members and in musical styles) has always been Ian Anderson. Many of you (of a certain age) might recognize this album cover -

Yup, Aqualung. Most people if they've heard any Tull have probably heard something off of this album. The title track, Aqualung received a lot of air play back in the day and still pops up from time to time. Other songs off of that album include Locomotive Breath and Cross Eyed Mary. Both of which have been heard over the radio waves back in the "old" days and nowadays as well.

It was my first Tull album and there have been many others over the years. What stands out for me is the sheer talent of Ian Anderson. Well, of course I shouldn't be too surprised. After all, he is a Scotsman and a cat lover. Not that I attribute any greatness to those two attributes. (Well, actually, yes I do, being of Scottish descent and sharing my home and heart with many cats over the years. Kindred souls and all.)

For my 50th birthday (ten years ago!!!!) my youngest brother, The Musician, took me out to Tanglewood* in Western Massachusetts to see Jethro Tull. That was a great experience. I've seen other bands in concert, some don't sound nearly as good in person as they do recorded. Jethro Tull, on the other hand, was superb, mayhaps even better in person. For the energy that was in it!

Here's a photo of the stage at Tanglewood. That's not Tull on stage but the yellow circle indicates where our seats were. Pretty awesome those seats. First concert I ever went to where I didn't need binoculars to see the band! The acoustics were also superb.

Tobias Hutzler Photo

Some early Tull -

He was quite the showman, then and now. Though as the lead-in picture indicates, he's matured rather well. Here's a clip from 2008-ish -

Listen carefully to the lyrics on that last one. There are a couple of anniversaries approaching which fill me with sadness. The death of my Dad nearly four years ago and the death of Lex, nearly two years ago.

Like the song says, "Life's a long song but the tune ends too soon for us all..."

Peace be with you my friends. Now and always...

*If you ever get a chance to get out to Tanglewood, take it. It's a beautiful place and they have good music.


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one affected by Lex's death. Thought I was being weird getting over grief for the death of a man I'd never met or even talked to. Very interesting.

    Liked Aqualung, but Creedence, Grand Funk Railroad and Moody Blues were my go to bands. Got to see Moody Blues live a few years ago, Seats weren't nearly as good as yours, and they looked ok from them. Then they fired up the jumbotron. MY! the years had not been good for them!

    1. No, you're not the only one affected by Lex's death. There are many.

      Loved CCR, some of Grand Funk Railroad's stuff and had a number of Moody Blues albums. Good music.

      I sometimes think about the old musicians and the way they look now. Before I start to ponder the ravages of time upon them, I look in the mirror and wonder how my grandfather got there!

  2. I think I have two Tull albums... Aqualung is definitely one and I think the other isBenefit and you know there may be more... but my vinyl and me have been separated since 1999. Anderson was certainly ahead of his time.

    1. I wouldn't be surprised if the other album you had was Stand Up. That album and the other two you mention were "must haves" for anyone who liked Tull back in the day.

  3. I like the flute. I used to play it. I still have it stashed in my closet.

    1. Oddly enough, when I first heard that the band used a flute I was a bit put off. Until I heard them.

      Of course, over time my musical tastes became a bit more refined. The flute is a brilliant, sometimes haunting, and evocative instrument in the hands of someone who can really play it.

      Long story short, the flute is awesome.

  4. One of my favorites is, And the mouse police never sleeps.
    From, Heavy Horses.

    1. Now there's one of their albums I have not heard in a long time. It's off to YouTube I am...

  5. Was never a huge Tull fan; I wouldn't turn it off but I've never owned any. It's enjoyable but not to the extent that I'll spend money on it. I do seem to be the dissenting voice here; I'm OK with that.

    As to Lex - no, Juvat - you are not alone. As the 2nd anniversary of his passing approaches, I feel that unwelcomed flesh-crawling sadness descending.

    1. Kris, your gentle dissent is always welcome here. Tull is definitely not for everyone.

      Ditto on the 2nd anniversary. The howling emptiness is there. I can feel it.


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