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4.5 out of 5 stars26
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2004
This is the great ignored Tull LP. Released amidst the chilly winds of the punk fall-out in the late 1970's, 'Stormwatch' is one of the Tull's more coherent and pertinent statements, both lyrically and musically. The vague concept about renewable resources, global climate change and political intervention is as relevant today as it was back then (the LP was released just as the UK began benefitting from - and squandering - the income raised from the oil fields in the North Sea). Songs such as 'Dark Ages', 'North Sea Oil' and 'Something On The Move' are all highly melodic, strong pieces, mercifully lacking the Tull lack of focus that sometimes made their songs a bit unwieldy. Here the band were right on top of their craft and Ian Anderson hadn't sung this convincingly for many a year.

It's not all strident either, 'Dun Ringil' is as beautiful as anything on 'Songs From the Wood' and the closing instrumental piece 'Elegy' is simply delightful. Indeed, there are so many great songs here, long time fans will particularly enjoy 'Orion' and 'The Flying Dutchman'.

It's time to replace that old vinyl, or to get to know a lost Tull classic.
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on 8 September 2010
In the 11 years from 1969 to 1979 Tull released 11 studio albums of original material written by main man Ian Anderson. That's right, 11 albums in 11 years- how many musicians would even attempt that nowadays? This album was the 11th so you would expect a dropping off of standards, right? Wrong. This is a superb album which is often overlooked in the Tull canon but which epitomises so much that was great about the Tull of the 70's.
Here you will find driving but always melodic rock alternating with gentler acoustic numbers, some with subtle orchestral backing that complements but never overwhelms the songs. A number of the songs display concern for environmental issues long before it became fashionable to do so.
This reissue includes bonus tracks including the single "A stitch in time" which, though worth having, were previously released on the "20 years of Jethro Tull" box set released in 1988; however since that box set is now only available at an extravagant price, this is the most sensible way to get these tracks nowadays.
Few people would suggest this as the album to start off a Tull collection with "Aqualung", "Songs from the Wood" or even "Thick as a Brick" being the likely candidates, but frankly I think a newcomer to Tull could do much worse than choose this as their starting point.
After this album there was a major shake up in the Tull line up with only the faithful Martin Barre on guitar remaining with Anderson for the next album "A" and Tull never sounded the same again; you could argue they never sounded this good again.
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on 17 October 2011
Just like is predecessor, Heavy Horses, Stormwatch's original vinyl release was met largely with indifference - Tull were seen as a spent force, going backwards rathere than forwards. However, it isn't till you hear the remasters of their mid and late 70s albums that you appreciate their complexity. Much comes out that was missed before, the sound limitation of vinyl being the main factor in the way music was mixed in those days. I always refer to Stormwatch as Tull's "Scottish Album" - not because the concept is in any way scottish or even celtic, but because the musical styles involved typify the folk-rock scene north of the border - elements later taken up by Runrig. The two long tracks stand out immediately - Ian Anderson's vision never dulled, it was simply edited rather harshly at times - and a number of the shorter tracks were released as singles, without charting, they're a little too intelligent for 7-inch fodder. The bonus tracks have all come out on several previous collections, but always good to have them gathered as they were recorded during album sessions, and as is often the case, some of these passed-over tracks are actually as good if not better than those included on the album. All in all a very strong album in retrospect, melodic and musical and not relying solely on huffing down a flute, many different instrumental dimensions evolved during this period.
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on 16 April 2012
Jethro Tull turned to a more serious approach with this album, indeed this is Anderson at his most melancholy and brooding at times. There was good reason as the bassist John Glasgock was suffering congenital heart problems and this was his last album before his tragic death. Other members of the band were departing so it was a genuine changing of the guard. The songs were reflecting the troubled economy with the oil crisis being at the forefront of the lyrics. I prefer this darker Tull than the whimsy of "Too Old to Rock N Roll (Too Young To Die)" or "Songs From the Wood". However it is reasonable to understand why many reviewers see it as a letdown, whereas others hail it as a masterpiece. I sit somewhere in the middle as the musicianship is well up to standard especially Martin Barre's driving guitars which are heavier on "Stormwatch".

Anderson is terrific on the flute with tracks such as 'Orion' and 'Flying Dutchman'. His vocals are seriously conveyed which is a nice change. The melodies are catchy and grow on you, particularly on the upbeat 'Kelpie' bonus track. The bonus tracks are actually all very good, some were released as singles, such as 'Stitch in Time' or B sides such as the medieval inspired instrumental 'King Henry's Madrigal'.

The packaging of the album is effective with snow bears, binoculars and album covers of the Eps and singles. All in all this is a fine album that definitely marks the end of the 70s decade. The golden era was well and truly over and now Jethro Tull were about to encounter the 80s as they verged off into new rocky territory.
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on 10 April 2008
I have been listening to Jethro Tull regularly over the last 30 years, and have to say I like most of their massive back cataloge. If I was to pick one album though as 'the best Tull sound' it would have to be this stunner. Production, instrumentation and orchestration (to my ears) are superb. I have read much about Stormwatch, and I'm constantly surprised and disappointed at the bad press it generally gets - in my opinion hugely undeserved. It is such an underated album. I was fortunate to see this great line up on the Stormwatch tour, just two days before it broke up, and I remember sitting in the audience open mouthed in awe at the show in front of me! No other band has had that effect on me since. Back to the album, my personal favourite track is probably 'Flying Dutchman' atmospheric Scottish sounding with beautifull flute and mandolin and of course John Glascock's bass, but every track (original album) is wonderful. Other absolute stand outs are 'Old Ghosts' with it's brilliant baseline, 'Dark Ages' a 9 minute monster which I think contains the best sounding Tull rock passage from their entire cataloge (second guitar break), 'Home', as warm as sitting by the fire in your favourite slippers, 'Dun Ringill', most peoples favourite from this album, a beautiful acoustic piece, which indeed always transports me to the west coast of Scotland, and 'Orion', with it's infectious chorus. This also of course was the last album by Tull that included the amazing Barrimore Barlow on drums, plus John Evans, John Glascock and David Palmer. Such a shame that John Glascock died soon after this album was released, he only played on three tracks (Orion, Flying Dutchman and Elegy). Such a shame we couldn't have experienced another album with this band line up. Best of the bonus tracks is 'Kelpie', but the quality of the bonus tracks are not on the same level as the original album. So to sum up, I think out of the many great Jethro Tull albums (most of which indeed were from the 1970's) this one sits on top of the pile. Just compare the overall rich sound and incredible musicianship of this one with the others. Also check out these Tull albums: 'Thick as a Brick', 'Passion Play', 'Minstrel in the Gallery', Live-Bursting Out', 'Benefit', 'Broadsword', 'Heavy Horses' and 'Stand Up'.
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on 30 July 2007
As I moved out to the woods and decided to make green decisions i wanted songs which reflected my life style so to speak. I always have fond memories of my dads Stand up album as it popped open as a child, but never recalled the songs, but happened to stumble across Songs From The Wood which gave earthly spirited conitations of where i was and the thought of making love on velvet green ooh er. Storm Watch which i have just bought captures the feeling of global warming and the wicked weather patterns of this decade so Storm Watch goes in to it's second cycle as the heavy rain has hit hard. Stormwatch is dark though somewhat comforting. Stitch In Time is a lighter ditty which i find uplifting in this gassly summer but i'm really yet to relish the albumn as i have only heard this twice! Even so, it stands out as a true gem amongst Songs Of The Wood & Heavy Horses. I'd just like to say as a newbie to TULL is that i feel i was born in the wrong era i'd love to had been there back in the day but so glad Jethro Tull have rekindled my love to good music. Please Ian and crew if you just happened to read this can you pay the recording studios a visit and bring it to us once again. If you have yet to add Stormwatch to your collection press by this product now no NOW go on then click the mouse you know you want to
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on 26 February 2004
I didn't know this album until I received it 2 days ago. I must say it was a very pleasant suprise. In my opinion it is one of the better Tull-albums. Altough it has some dark lyrics on it, this album is the third in the trilogy of Songs from the wood and Heavy Horses with a nice folk-rock feel to it. Highly recommended.
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on 22 March 2004
Stormwatch is an excellent if somewhat uneven album, the track in Dark Ages in particular being among the greatest Tull songs; brilliant lyrics with a musical play on the opening notes of Beethoven's (Anderson's favourite composer) 5th to indicate how far Britain was in the Winter of Discontent from the Enlightenment. (Of course, it is even further in these days' 'consumer haze'.) My problem with this album, both on vinyl and cd, was that it also sounded as though it had been recorded in the dark ages. All the tracks were muddy and lacking focus, warmth and bite. The remastered version rectifies this problem. The album now sounds massively better and well worth the £6.99 or so to hear properly.
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on 10 October 2010
Way back in the 80's, I was a keen young teenager who wanted lots of mad Nicko McBrain style drumming and Alex Lifeson type guitaring from his music. Whilst I had heard of Jethro Tull, back then I would have probably dismissed it as a bit too folky. However, in one of the late Tommy Vance's more esoteric rock show moments, he changed my outlook when he played the swooping, melodic Dun Ringill. On the strength of that song I went out and bought Stormwatch. This is such an underrated Tull album and I still listen to it a fair bit. It was my first ever Tull purchase and made me want to hear more from Ian Anderson ... I will conceded to other reviewers that it doesn't reach the giddy innovative heights of some of JT's early work but it is an accomplished album and quite simply I like it. A more than half-decent purchase that has stood the test of time.
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on 4 March 2004
With the possible exception of Broadsword and the Beast, this is the last of the great Tull albums.
(those being Songs From the Wood, Heavy Horses , Bursting Out (Live) and Stormwatch ).
Stormwatch is the heaviest/most guitar oriented of three studio albums but still contains plenty of great melodies and softer moments.
North Sea Oil and Dark Ages sit at the rockier end of the spectrum while the instrumental 'Warm sporran' and the hauntingly beautiful 'Dun Ringill' show Tull are still in touch with the folkier/more pastoral themes.
The extra material is also of a high standard and fits in well with the main album. "A stitch in time" being a personal favourite that I bought as a single on white vinyl.
Even though the lyrics are imbued with the politics of the day the music hasn't aged badly at all and as I listened to this album for the first time in many years, I was transported back to the cold winter of 1979.
Magical stuff.
Where Old Ghosts play right enough.
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