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A Hidden Gem Despite 1980's Style keyboards
on 16 August 2006
This is Ian Anderson's first solo offering and is an album overlooked by many. Released in November 1983 a year after Broadsword And The Beast I can remember at the time hoping that it would be of similar style but with possibly more of an acoustic edge. In short I had hoped for some songs similar to Wondering Aloud and Slipstream from Aqualung. Just Ian Anderson and guitar, that sort of thing. Sad then to report that the finished product turned out to be nothing of the sort, consisting of typical 1980's keyboards and of all things a drum machine. Even the album cover looks grey and rather dismal.
I can remember the day in 1983 when I purchased the record from Subway Records in Brighton and at the time feeling rather upset by the look of the cover. I felt sure that soundwise it was going to be similar to Tull's controversial 1980 'A' album which I was almost violently anti at the time. Even a friend of mine who I was with at the time refused to stand next to me in the queue such was the unfashionable look of the album cover and indeed the name Ian Anderson.
However, I went ahead with the purchase and now some 23 years on I think it a very good album packed with some very good songs and tunes. Yes, some of the keyboards and drum machine sounds do seem a bit dated now but somehow Ian Anderson gets away with it and the songs still manage to sound good. At the time Anderson was working with keyboardist Peter Vettese and to be honest the collection of songs is more a joint effort between the two of them rather than an absolute Ian Anderson solo effort.
In my opinion if Walk Into Light had been released as a fully fledged Jethro tull album of the Broadsword era minus drum machine, and made earthier and warmer with mandolins and more flute etc then we would be looking now at an absolute classic.
It's a fact that good tunes last forever regardless of the passing fashions of the instruments that make them. And it's the good tunes that keep this album very much alive today. In fact it's pretty much a perfect set from start to finish with standout songs for me being Made In England, Toad In The Hole and Looking For Eden.
Lyrically also it comes up trumps. A particular favourite line for me that paints a vivid picture is on Toad In The Hole..."Kicking through the wet leaves lying all along the Station Road. Past tired graffitti wailing, raw emotion to unload". Now that's good writing and worthy of a place on any classic Jethro Tull album.
Also of merit on Walk Into Light is the quality of Ian Anderson's vocals which sound superb. It's sad to reflect that only a year or so later his voice would become damaged and never be quite the same again.
So, to sum up Walk Into Light I would say that yes it has suffered a bit with 1980's style keyboard related fashion problems. However, that said it is still a hidden gem packed with instantly accessible tunes and definitely worth seeking out. In short no proper Jethro Tull fan should be without this record.