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Mr. M. D. Smith "Bigmatt" (Hampshire, England)

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The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
Offered by hifi-media-store
Price: £5.75

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try before you buy...., 19 May 2007
You rarely, if ever, find an album that pleases everybody, and perhaps because of this you may find reviews of this collection elsewhere saying "this is a weak song" "that's not up to standard" and so on. I prefer to take a slightly different view.

What you actually have here, (and I think Ian Anderson said as much in the sleeve notes), a kind of Jethro Tull "try before you buy" sales brochure introducing you to their back catalogue. The CD spans JT's illustrious career, starting with their single "Living in the Past" and progressing in a fairly non-chronological order through some classic Tull and some less obvious choices.

I think this gives Tull newcomers a chance to dip a toe tentatively into this unique band and get a feel for their various musical directions, prior to taking the plunge proper. Once you've found a track that grabs you, all you need do is a little research to find out what album it came from, then go get that album if you want to find out more.

For example, if folk rock is "your thang", you may find "Heavy Horses" or "Songs from the Wood" do it for you, and as luck would have it, these are title tracks from their respective albums. Aqualung, with it's changing time signatures, is more prog rock and the album it's from went in an entirely different musical direction.

That's not to say you may not grow to like either style, but with such a diverse back catalogue to choose from, why waste time trying to get into something that doesn't quite do it for you at first listen? In this respect, it's almost an ideal "first" Tull album.

The other way of viewing this album, is that it's almost like a live Jethro Tull gig in layout. I bought this album after seeing Tull live in 2001, and for me, it's like having a Tull gig in my living room everytime I put it on, with the added benefit I can sit in a comfortable seat and don't have to queue for the bar! I put it on when I'm in the mood for some Tull, but don't necessarily want to hear a whole CD of similar songs - much the same feel as when you go and see a gig.

If you're a long time Tull fan, and have all their previous albums, you might only want this CD if you feel you absolutely have to have everything they ever put out, in chronological order, for the sake of completing you collection. However, you might just want it to put in the car so you can have a bit of Tull without having to carry loads of CD's around with you.

Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £5.94

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and the meek shall inherit the earth......., 12 Dec. 2006
This review is from: 2112 (Audio CD)
What can you say about Rush? Bear in mind when you listen to this album, there's only three of them. God knows how they make the sounds they do, but you'd swear blind there should be at least five in a band that sounds like this. For my money, this is the definitive Rush album, it has everything from searing solo's to gentle acoustic moments of serenity. The title track "2112" is riff-laden wig-out structured like an opera, describing a society reaching armageddon, rising from the ashes to become a quasi-religious dictatorship, and ultimately perishing when the new order arrives to take over.

The second group of five songs, unconnected with both "2112" and each other, cover subjects as diverse as the hippy trail ("Passage to Bangkok") to a ballad ("Tears") that seesm to be about lost love.

People seem to get hung up on two things with this album - "1" it's a concept album. Yeah, So what? The 70's were full of concept albums, big deal. It doesn't alter the fact there is brilliant playing on this record. Lifeson's guitar drips emotion throughout 2112, you can hear it cry and scream, particulary in the segment "Presentation" when Geddy's character offers the newly discovered "guitar" to the priests, is rejected, then flees. Listen to the guitar howl at that point and tell me that's not raw despair being wrought from the frets. Listen also to Geddy Lee's galloping bass lines, then remember he's singing the melody over the top at the same time. Which brings me on nicely on to point "2". Geddy's voice. So many people can't seem to get past the fact he has a high pitched voice. This may be so, but it's never strained or out of tune, and carries over the music so you can hear the lyrics. Bon Scott and Brian Johnson of AC/DC both have "unusual" (screechy) voices, but never suffer the same criticism as Geddy Lee does. Just what is the problem here? Can't fathom it myself, it just helps create Rush's distinctive sound.

Ignore the "stigma" of concept albums, get over the singer's unusual (but still tuneful) vocal style, this is an ideal album to get "into " Rush with. I still love this 20 years after I first heard it.

Sacred Spirit:Chants and Dances of the Native Americans
Sacred Spirit:Chants and Dances of the Native Americans
Price: £7.24

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just listen......, 29 July 2006
Right, first let's make one thing clear - ignore the Amazon review, it's psycho babble. Here's an example. '"Elsewhere, synthetic elements are overwhelming, detracting from a song's essence, as with the spongy nervosity of "Elevation".' Spongy nervosity? What does that mean? What does it tell you about the music?

There isn't a bad track on this CD, and who cares if traditional native american music has been watered down by the addition of contemporary instruments and arrangements -it works, leave it at that. The tracks are all credited to "The Fearsome Brave", but no further information is given, so one must assume that this work is by a native american producer who wants to make his (or her) traditional music more accessible to "western" ears. A fine job he (or she) has done with it. The modern arrangements complement the often haunting vocals, and in my view, each one does a great job at setting the mood of the particular song or chant it's been mixed with. Straight away it becomes apparent whether this track is "sad" or that track is "uplifting" (another psycho babble word - what's wrong with happy?)

I heard Wishes of Happiness and Prosperity (Yeha-Noha) on British prime time radio in the late 90's, bought the album on the strength of that alone, and I'm happy to report it was money well spent. It matters not whether you perceive yourself to be a fan of New Age music, Native American music, World music or Tribal music, ignore the reviewers, do your ears a favour, give any of the tracks a listen (and Amazon have even been kind enought to let you preview them on the site) then buy the album. You won't regret it.

Heavy Horses
Heavy Horses
Price: £5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it's as well we tell no lies....., 5 May 2006
This review is from: Heavy Horses (Audio CD)
Jethro Tull are a band who defy categorisation. They've been accused of folk rock, prog rock, jazz rock, blues rock, and they are all of these things and more. If you must categorise, rock is a broad enough spectrum to cover all their incarnations, leave it at that and don't waste energy trying to pigeon hole them. Instead, simply enjoy this album of beautifully crafted stories set to music, presented by supremely talented musicians. OK, there is an element of "folkyness", in as far as the songs tell stories of prosaic matters - the hunting habits of a cat ("And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps") a father dealing with his child's nightmares ("No Lullaby"), the daily commute by train ("Journey man") or broader social issues such as economic decline ("Broadford Bazaar" & "Living In These Hard Times")or the passing of traditional agricultural methods in the face of mechanisation ("Heavy Horses"). To my mind this is the most "typical" Tull album,if there was such a thing from a band who have had a career spanning 4 decades, and probably one of the more accessible in their catalogue. The styles on the album range from acoustic balled (Broadford Bazaar) to full on prog rock (Heavy Horses) but they all mesh together seamlessly, presenting a sometimes wistful but fond view of life in the British countryside in the late 1970's.

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