The Jethro Tull Christmas Album

Jethro Tull

Fuel 2000, 2003

http://jethrotull.com

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/25/2006

Be honest. How many of you thought Jethro Tull was the type of band to record a Christmas album?

Yeah, that's what I thought. So everyone was quite surprised when this rolled along in 2003. Needless to say, I was skeptical that the band that record the 40-minute “Thick as a Brick,” a band known for obscure lyrics and a flautist who danced on one foot, could do something as standard as a Christmas disc.nbtc__dv_250

But it works. Many of these songs vaguely revolve around the notion of Christmas but are not the typical songs you hear at every mall in America. What's more, the band is able to recall its olde English underpinnings and somewhat melancholy passion that underscored their best work in their heyday.

A handful of Tull songs are re-recorded, most notably “Bouree” and “Ring Out Solstice Bells,” and half of the 16 tracks are instrumentals. Throughout the many original songs, the performances are top-notch and recall the classic Tull sounds; Ian Anderson, in particular, proves that age has not diminished his singing and flute-playing skills. This is Tull’s best-sounding album since Songs From The Wood, which this album strongly recalls in its nearly-medieval, slightly sardonic and melancholy way.

Even those who never liked Tull will be pulled in by the music here, and if the originals don’t grow then the classical trappings of “Greensleeves” or the jazz stylings of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” will do the trick. “A Winter Snowscape” is another beautiful song, helping elevate this album to not only an essential Tull purchase but one of the most original Christmas albums you will ever hear.

Much like other Tull albums, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album runs on a bit too long for its own good, diminishing the overall impact. But as far as recent Christmas albums go, it’s tough to beat for pure enjoyment.

Rating: B+

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