Customer Review

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The goats from the sheep, 5 July 2014
This review is from: A Passion Play (An Extended Performance) (Audio CD)
I've always loved A Passion Play, so I'll just have to let it quietly pass that Ian Anderson himself thinks I should only be permitted day release from a mental institution.

The remastered stereo and 5.1 mixes here of both A Passion Play itself and the Château d'Hérouville sessions are quite simply glorious. APP is loud, crystal clear, sparkling, and full of depth and colour, not to mention two great new verses in 'The Foot of Our Stairs'. Ian Anderson suggests in the notes to this handsome package that on reflection APP was maybe all a bit one dimensional. That's a baffling observation. If anything, APP is the most complex and musically colourful of all Jethro Tull albums. Thick as a Brick is arguably more one dimensional by comparison -- and I love TAAB.

The CdH sessions, while much rawer but also with much greater depth of sound and no overdubs as per previous releases, reveal more fully than ever before the great album that might have been.

In retrospect, it makes sense, to me at least, to see 1973 as a year in which Jethro Tull suffered a lot of bad luck: the living conditions at the Château were awful, not the recordings; the subsequent abandoning of those recordings and the hurried recording of APP leading to the live performance of a complex, demanding piece before its release without, crucially, time for fans and critics alike to adjust and absorb. The bad reviews and the rest followed, as most of you know.

Ultimately, that was a great shame, because, taken together, APP and CdH speak to me of a band at its most daring, brave, experimental, risk-taking best. Ideas were just flowing in Tull at this time. No, they didn't all work and, no doubt, many of the CdH recording would have undergone considerable refinement has they been pushed further. With some better luck in 1973, things might have been different, not so reined in, thereafter.

But APP itself? I'm not sure I even buy the line any longer about it being brilliant but flawed. Listening to it a number of times over the past few days in these crisp new stereo and 5.1 mixes, I think I might finally conclude it is simply brilliant. There is simply not one section of it, one moment, one single phrase that I don't like. What's that you say? Oh, The Hare...? Well, if you don't get it, you don't, and fair enough.

I think I've decided to leave instructions that when the time comes for hush along my very own Fulham Road, A Passion Play will be played in full at my funeral. That'll sort the goats from the sheep and decide who benefits from my will.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Jul 2014 19:10:10 BDT
Great review. I concur with pretty much all you say here

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jul 2014 13:10:26 BDT
Mr. S. Frost says:
I will second that... "TAAB" used to be my favourite Tull album but over the years "Passion Play" has overtaken it.

Posted on 1 Aug 2014 14:54:09 BDT
Ca Marsh says:
Odd things, tastes. I love most of TAAB but APP? I don't know. I sometimes find myself falling for its charms but then..... Then something mars my enjoyment. The hare and his chums? No. I ALWAYS fast forward through that. I found that embarrassing when I was 18 and still do, 40 years later.

CdH though, that's a different matter. Heard these sessions long ago and hated them.

I'll buy this release, just to see if the new mixes will finally seal my affair with APP. And whether they'll make me like the rest.
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