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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tull are definitely not 'Thick'!
One of Jethro Tull's most impressive, memorable, yet strangest albums from the early '70s. The concept of a continuous song (but suddenly changing here and there), was clever at the time. Based upon the theme of a young poet acclaimed then denounced because of his 'strongly-worded' entry in a competition. The replica newspaper describing both articles - and much more...
Published on 21 Feb 2000 by pavane@robertsflat.fsnet.co.uk

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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thick as a brick
I had this on vinyl so thought I'd get it..a great album...as was really looking forward to the live version....but the live version is completely ruined by the constant crowd noise...why do they think we want to listen to some stupid yanks whistling throughout the entire track ?..re-mix it and get rid of it !!!!!
Published on 12 Aug 2011 by garyjk


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tull are definitely not 'Thick'!, 21 Feb 2000
By 
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
One of Jethro Tull's most impressive, memorable, yet strangest albums from the early '70s. The concept of a continuous song (but suddenly changing here and there), was clever at the time. Based upon the theme of a young poet acclaimed then denounced because of his 'strongly-worded' entry in a competition. The replica newspaper describing both articles - and much more besides! - was included with the original vinyl version. Yet two more extras were added to the 25th Anniversary of 'Thick As A Brick - LATE EDITION' CD: 'Live at Madison Square Garden' and 'Exclusive Interview with...'; the former can also be found on Tull's 20th Anniversary Video, (the first Live Transatlantic Recording) while the latter concerns Ian, Martin Barre, and Jeffrey Hammond offering insight to the uncertain, sufferable times during its creation in '72. Following the success of 'Aqualung', Tull were by this time sunning in the limelight, having achieved tremendous popularity in the music world, with one of the most important albums of their career. I deem this a five star classic wonder because of the Anniversary Package bonus tracks - although Jethro Tull really went to town by designing the realistic 'St. Cleve and Herald' community newspaper! Thus proving themselves multi-talented, Ian insisted that live performances resemble 'Monty Python' sketches, and add a little humour to the throng. Although Britain's audiences were doubtless rolling in the aisles, it was met with much puzzlement in Europe and Japan where early 70's bizarre British humour hadn't yet caught on. But that didn't matter - the band was there to earn money, perform (in more ways than one) to eager fans, and enjoy the good old days!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'So Where the Hell was Biggles, When You Needed Him Last Saturday?" Tull's most cohesive & complex work - with some great tunes!, 9 Oct 2007
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
When I was getting into Jethro Tull in the mid-to-late 70s, I was drawn to both the newer albums of the time ('Songs from the Woods', 'Heavy Horses' etc.) as well as the classic earlier albums ('Aqualung', 'Stand Up' etc.), but wasn't sure if buying an album with my prized pocket money with apparently no track listing, and a newspaper for a cover was going to be a major disappointment or not. I'm pleased I took the plunge, because for me it remains their best album and the one I return to even in my older years!

Firstly, the whole thing just flows... from its classic acoustic guitar start through all the guitar and keyboard-orientated sections (some amazingly powerful) and then takes you back home right at the end. Great recurring themes and tunes (very melodic at times), a variety of time signatures, and an engaging lyrical theme - make this not only a Prog Rock concept album masterpiece, but a Classic Rock one too!

Do I follow all the lyrics? - well, not really. But I can see it's about a boy's journey towards adulthood (autobiographical by Ian Anderson?) into the world where freedom is despised and conventionality is praised. In fact, I always think Ian did a better job with this album than Roger Waters did with parts of 'The Wall' in expressing this anti-establishment sentiment.

What the album really benefits from are some really great tunes that stay in your head and have you humming the notes for hours after listening to them (something lacking in the likes of 'A Passion Play' and some later albums). However, I agree with an earlier reviewer that despite this melodic accessibility for a concept album, the album needs to be focussed on (rather than played in the background) to get the most out of it.

On the new CD version itself and in recent interviews, Ian likes to treat it as a humourous attempt to make the ultimate 'tongue-in-cheek' prog rock concept album. Well I just don't buy that (well not all of it anyway) and think for credibility reasons he's trying to distance himself (in hindsight) from what is often a mocked concept by the music industry (to be fair some concept albums deserve it!). The idea of 'creating' a concept might have been a fun one for the band at first, but you only need to listen to the complexity and exhurbence of the playing and most importantly the acidity and bite in Ian's lyrics to know they were well into the concept. Whatever the thinking behind it, it's a 70s masterpiece and well worth a few pounds of anyone's money, especially those younger listeners rediscovering 70s prog via Yes and Genesis reissues or the likes of 'Spock's Beard'. It's just a shame the CD can't give you all the 'Monty Pythonesque' newspaper articles - but long live Gerald 'Little Milton' Bostock (wherever he is!)
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (one of/even) The best album by Tull I have heard, 19 Jun 2001
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
I have been listening to my Dad's Vinyl collection and I asked my Dad about this particular record. He played it to me and I was astounded at how well the music was played. The strange time changes add to the superb playing of Anderson, Hammond, et al. The lyrics are so cleverly done (and in some places downright weird). I really like the sleeve that came with the vinyl, especially the way it really is like a local newspaper with poorly spelled words and bad typing, accompanied with a brilliant crossword (with which Me and my dad have struggled). Overall I have to say that this is, along with Aqualung, one of the best albums I have heard by Tull. I also recommend to any budding Tull fans to check out Gentle Giant ("In a Glass House" or "3 Friends"). Hope you enjoy this album (and others) as much as I did.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thick as Brick, 5 Oct 2002
By 
MR ROBIN N BINGHAM (High Wycombe United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
As the proud owner of a vast array of Tull albums most of which are all on vinyl, I have to say that without a doubt the most magical masterpiece of all was and still is Thick as a Brick. Tull is unique in the fact that if you work your way steadily through their albums, whilst there is a common characteristic which threads its way through the centre - each piece is amazingly quite different. Thick as a Brick encapsulates all the flexibilty, ingenuity and music genious of Tull and even 30 years after its production could still be mistaken for a brand new release. It is timeless and is as exciting now as it was when first created and I would say has to go down in music history as one of the top compilations ever produced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Concept Albums of all time, 23 Mar 2010
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
I can't see me bringing much new to the table in this review, I'm sure the old Proggers have said everything there is to say about this bad boy before. But still, it's one of my all time favourites so I wanted to chip in my two pennies :)

If you are unfamiliar with Jethro Tull (shame on you), then to briefly sum them up; they are a very listenable combination of prog rock and folk. Ian Anderson (vocals & flute) has one of the most passionate, honest voices you could hope for and all the musicianship is top notch.

This album sees Tull stretching out a full forty minute suite of just one song... but it is one of the best songs you will ever hear.

Musically, there is a lot of changes to tempo and dynamics, but it always feels like a natural progression; none of these jerky King Crimson time signatures that will give you a headache trying to follow them. The music is deep and varied, but always relaxing. Mostly a standard rock setup of drums, bass and guitar but also expect to hear a bit of fluting around and even a nice hammond organ based movement.

The lyrics are fairly bizarre, and for the most part a tongue in cheek jibe at the pomp and pretense of other prog bands, that said, many of the lyrics are very poetic and well written, and at least some will invoke some emotion in you. Lyrical themes span a lot of aspects of life from military service to the judicial system to lost childhood and so on and so forth. Lots of things get mentioned, but they are all done in a way that is a joy to behold.

I cannot do this album justice in a review, it is (to quote a horrible cliche) more than the sum of its parts. You don't have to take my word that it is one of the best things ever... but you'll be well rewarded if you do ;)

Dom x
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ah - the days of the concept album, 13 Jan 2003
By 
David Socha "fanofalias" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thick as a Brick (Audio CD)
This is, indeed a concept album. As the story goes, it was apparently made because the previous effort 'Aqualung', while certainly exploring a common theme through most of the songs, was misinterpreted as a concept album, royalling pi**ing off Mr Ian Anderson. 'Thick as a Brick' was his "so you want a concept album then?" reply.
Doesn't make it a bad thing though. But it does mean that if you like your songs to come in 3-minute easily-digested slices this is not the album for you. At least on vinyl you'd get a break at the end of the side, but you don't even have that chance on CD!
Bits of this album still regularly appear in Tull's live set and various edits are always on the compilations. It is great music, typical of Tull's ongoing progress from album to album - a point I need to make before telling you that it is pretty much a spoof album, taking the proverbial out of all those seeking deep messages in the artistic output of the bands of the day. A quote from the newspaper included in the sleeve notes should explain:
"The Society For Literary Advancement And Gestation (SLAG), announced their decision late last night to disqualify eight year old prize-winner Gerald (Little Milton) Bostock following the hundreds of protests and threats received after the reading of his epic poem “Thick As A Brick” on BBC Television last Monday night. A hastily reconvened panel of Judges accepted the decision by four leading child psychiatrists that the boy’s mind was seriously unbalanced and that his work was a product of an “extremely unwholesome attitude towards life, his God and Country”. Bostock was recommended for psychiatric treatment following examination “without delay”."
Tull of course decide to perform the poem. For the whole 43 minutes of the original album. But of course there was no such paper, no such poet, no such poem. And neither is there any deep meaning to 'Thick as a Brick'. Though now I come to think of it, there's probably a thesis in there somewhere.....
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A progressive rock masterpiece, 9 Aug 2007
By 
Lucas Biddle (Gold Coast, QLD Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
When my brother first introduced me to Thick As A Brick in the early '90s (he had an LP) I was captivated by it. Sometime later I bought it on CD and one day, on my way to work on the train, decided to listen to it through my earphones. A special bond was about to be forged.

This will sound melodramatic, but I mean it: I tell you that album was made for that train trip. The first three minutes of the music and the train ride are calm and easy. Suddenly, both music and train become loud and frantic. At various times throughout both, the speed and energy rises and falls in close synchronisation. Although it's far too difficult and lengthy to go into all the details, I must say it was quite uncanny how well the music in my ears was so appropriate to the vision in my eyes.

I will always remember those days fondly, and Thick As A Brick will forever occupy a very special part of my heart and mind.

It's a very pleasant, positive sounding album in many respects, thanks to the chord progression and the use of flute, xylophone (or is it glockenspiel?), acoustic guitar and the synthesiser of the day (was it the Moog? I'm not quite sure). At the same time, if one examines the lyrics, one finds them to be less than positive and very metaphorical, as they are concerned with society and its often absurd rules and ways, and there is an inferred criticism towards these rules.

Instructions for listening:

You must not put this on in the background and do other things that distract you from the music: you absolutely must give it your undivided attention. It deserves nothing less, especially if you want to get the complete feeling and imagery it delivers. Immerse yourself in this masterpiece and you will be richly rewarded.

This album went to number one in the US and number five in the UK. It's widely regarded as perhaps Jethro Tull's finest work - their magnum opus - THE concept album. One of my favourite albums, closely followed by their next album "A Passion Play", an album that polarises people, but that's another story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'and the love that i feel is so far away', 16 Oct 2009
By 
Deven Gadula (san francisco, ca, united states) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
This is by far my most favorite album of Jethro Tull. To be very honest I was mostly listening to entire albums of their music as they were coming out and I was growing up in the 70's and early 80's. Thick As A Brick was not only my first Jethro Tull album, but it was one of the very first albums in my collection. Thick as a Brick was a concept album, basically one song unlike anything else they have done, mixing hard rock with classical and folk music. It is a very strong piece of music of great structure and complexity and to me it is one of the most interesting pieces of its kind. Thick As A Brick was a true statement by Jethro Tull and it still speaks volumes today in 2009. Ian's vocals are great and the lyrics supposedly written by the 8th year old Gerald Milton Bostock are very intriquing. There is so much meaning in them that I find it hard to believe they were really written by an 8th year old...Anyway, if some of you are, like me, attracted to the softer side of Jethro Tull's music, you may like some of my favorite songs of Jethro Tull: Requiem, Elegy, From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser, Thick As A Brick, Aqualong, Wond'ring Aloud, Moths, The Chequered Flag, Home, Fly By Night, Heavy Horses, Cheap Day Return, Nursie, Slow Marching Band, Cherio, Reasons For Waiting, Too Old For Rock'n'Roll Too Young To Die, Grace.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The concept album to end all concept albums, 27 Sep 2001
By 
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
In the early 1970s Jethro Tull pushed musical boundaries as far as any prog-rock band while lacking the pomposity, cheesiness and tunelessness that make the likes of ELP, Yes and Genesis painful listening. The only band playing in a similar direction who could a candle to Tull in the early 1970s were Van Der Graaf Generator but 'Thick As A Brick' surpassed anything any other progressive band had done. It is a magical listening experience with more tempo and key changes than you can shake a flute-shaped stick at, moments of power and moments of quiet reflection and breathtaking musicianship, arrangements and lyrical content. Despite all this it rarely gives way to pomposity and almost never drags. Overall an astonishing achievement. So what about the CD reissue? Well, one of the great things about CD is that you don't have to turn it over half way through. The original vinyl album had a fade-out at the end of side one and a fade-in at the beginning of side two simply because a break was necessary after twenty three minutes. Yet these are still present on the CD which suggests that the original vinyl master had been used rather than the master tapes. The interview is good but the live 'Thick As A Brick' is from some years later and is anachronistic. I used to have a great bootleg performance from 1972 with all sorts of high jinks going on. A decent mixing desk recording from the same period would have made an excellent addition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brick to build on..., 18 Aug 2008
By 
This review is from: Thick As A Brick (Audio CD)
I was born in the early 80s, so obviously would have had some trouble catching this the first time round. I first got this as a stocking filler aged 14 and immediately fell in love with it. What makes it so special is that it's unlike anything else I know. I own a lot of other prog rock, but nothing really is so hard to define as this. What is it? A rock opera? A concept album? One song or a hundred?

I really don't know, but what is evident is that it has stuck with me without diminishing in any respect in my view - it sounds fresh, creative, unbloated (which is unusual for prog rock) and always inspirational and I never tire of it. I will play it to my kids one day.

"We'll have Superman for president, let Robin save the day".
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