This was originally a birthday present from my wife back when I collected LPs. And now she has bought it again. This time on CD including extra tracks. How can I not love it (and her)? By the way: The CD is very good. Buy it.
Following from their late `80s hard rock successes `Crest Of A Knave' and `Rock Island', Ian Anderson and co seem to have decided to take a bit of a step back in time with Catfish Rising. Harking back to their earlier jazzy/folky albums of the `70s, a series of catchy tunes with Anderson's usual meaningful lyrics have been put together, with a tinge of rock still flavouring the music.
My personal favourite is the mournful `Still Loving You Tonight', but this is an album so full of good songs it's hard to pick a favourite. `Doctor to my Disease' and `This Is Not Love' are also standouts, displaying Anderson's trademark wry wit. But it's not just Anderson's show, Martin Barre does his usual sterling work on guitar, and the band come together well to produce some great music.
Definitely one that will appeal to those who like the late '80s Tull rock albums, or their mid `70s folk output.
As a fan of the 'classic' JT music up to around Heavy Horses, I sort of trailed off, only buying one or two later releases. I picked this up in a 3 for £10 deal and was pleasantly surprised as it contains Anderson's usual quality lyrics and a predominently rock style set of tracks. If you've been put off buying later Tull by other reviews that focus on 'not like it was' aspects, I'd strongly recommend paying a few quid for this CD. Entertaining and great in the car.
"We`re all kinds of animals coming here: Occasional demons too."
So sings Ian Anderson on the second track of this 72-min(!) disc in the admirable remastered reissue series of Tull`s back catalogue, with notes by IA himself - he was always a good man for sleevenotes and all these reissues are graced with his often wryly witty musings on times past. In an oblique way, the quote above sort of sums up both the subject matter & personnel of Tull and their music over the decades since they potently announced their arrival with This Was over forty years ago. Tull are one of the few `prog` rock bands of the late 60s/70s vintage whose records still sound good, rarely at all dated. Anderson was and is a canny cove who knew what he was doing. There have been a few duds in their prolific output over the years, one or two almost good ones, some excellent - Roots To Branches, Minstrel In The Gallery - and a handful of classics, eg. Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses, Benefit, Stand Up. Catfish Rising is frustratingly quite good, very good in parts, often a tad underpowered. As a collection of songs, its lengthy running time (which includes two extra `bonus tracks`) tells against it; the Tull-meister might have done better to rein himself in. What we get is a highly listenable set of lyrically intriguing, catchy songs that rarely come truly alive. It`s all a little too slick, too tidy. The opener is a terrific song, This Is Not Love, a single that should have been a big hit, though Tull were always more of an album band who occasionally had a surprise hit. (When they did, their presence brightened up the charts no end.) Not much else to say really, and I wish I could be more enthusiastic. In certain moods, this sounds like one of the better Tull efforts. I think it falls between two stools: it isn`t quite what I call `English pastoral` Tull, and it doesn`t quite rock out either. Standouts are This Is Not Love, Like A Tall Thin Girl, and the blistering Doctor To My Disease. The slower Still Loving You Tonight is a pleasant enough Tull ballad, but it could have been so much better somehow. 7 out of ten. I'm giving it a generous four stars, but newcomers to Tull may well like it a lot, and I`d recommend this to a Tull fan who hadn`t heard it, though not as heartily as I would, say, Roots To Branches, another later album, and a much better one. Worth hearing. Not Tull at their best, but nowhere near their worst.
This is a great cd and one that sits comfortably amongst any of Tull's best work during the 1970's despite being released in 1991. "Roll your Own" and "Rocks on the Road" are classic Tull. But what makes this such a special cd however is that this really is the natural progression of a brilliant band maturing in its songwriting and playing. Its like they took the very best parts of the 1980's material and finally worked out how to marry it to the magic of the 1970's genius. The music is stronger than the previous decade and the lyrics and tone perfectly reflect the experiences of a hard working band. There's an honesty in this collection of songs that was lacking in their 1980's music. "Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall", "White Innocence", and "Occassional Demons" are cracking tracks and have great stories within. Right through to "When Jesus Came to Play", all the songs have strength.Whilst there is a thread running through the album, ultimately its just a damn fine collection of individually great songs. Its also wonderful to hear Anderson's voice so strong, more than ably supported by Barre's sublime guitar work and his own flute playing. This is a great Tull album! Don't be fooled, 1991 was a vintage year. You can buy with confidence.
Lost my way music wise over the last 20 years but recently dusted off my vinyl albums, just what have i been missing, Tull collection from This Was to Broardsword then the gaps, so i bought this on c, it's well dare i say very good luved it classic Tull alright i'm very biased but each to there own and my own say's buy it well worth a listen or two.