on 19 December 2003
This album has become one of my favourites, not only of all Tull records but all records i have ever owned. From the beginning, the first tracks tilt toward the same style of rock as Crest of a Knave, another favourite, but it then changes style in Another Christmas Song - simply a beautiful song that won't leave anyone untouched. But what really made this album rise above the rest is Whaler's Dues. The first time i heard it, it brought me to tears, and i still need to fight them back whenever i hear it. Continuing on to Big Riff and Mando, with it's hillarious lyrics, and a beautiful sign-off with Strange Avenues, this album is definitely one I'd recommend to anyone regardless if they're fans of the old Tull or looking at a first purchase of their records.
on 4 December 2001
When Tull emerged with "Crest Of A Knave" it suprised the critics and pleased the fans. That album suggested that their was life yet in the old dogs and indicated a bright future. The Tull even famously and controversially beat Metallica to second spot in "Best Heavy Metal Act" at the MTV awards. Unfortunately, it was never to be and after that release they slipped back to a rather middling uninspired groove. Rock Island is a clear example of this, the old flute is there but the old magic has mostly gone. It is not that the songs are that bad, but they are not that good either. There is however one bright spark here in "Another Christmas Song" which is by far the best song on the album and stands up to Tull's best work. This is a truly wonderful track and even improves on the earlier festive efforts "A Christmas Song" and "Ring Out Solstice Bells." Put this track on, eat a minced pie and pour a glass of Port to toast the time when Tull could write songs like this at will.
on 25 June 2013
I bow to no-one in my respect and admiration for Ian Anderson and Tull. They deserve credit for having created some of the most ambitious and imaginative popular music of the past 50 years. However, life is too short to waste time on mediocre Tull albums, and this is possibly the weakest album they ever made. There has been too much stylistic chopping and changing in Tull's long career, and many fans wish they had continued to develop the progressive rock style that characterised their best work in the 1969-'75 period when they were consistently brilliant. Their output after the mid-1970s was much more variable, in direct proportion to the quality of Ian Anderson's songwriting and the extent to which this has inspired the band to give their best. Ian's illusion that the rest of the band were little more than dispensable session musicians seems to have been a large part of the problem.
Each to his own, but personally I would not waste time on this album. It was an insult to the fan base when it was released, and it has certainly not improved with time. The only memorable track is 'Another Christmas Song' and this is available separately on Jethro Tull's Christmas Album which is much better and definitely worth buying.