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This review refers to the 40th Anniversary "The Country Set" edition, released in May 2017.

This generous package is a fine example of how to do a deluxe reissue of a classic album. There is a lot packed in here, all presented in a compact hardback book case.

Now, to the details. There are three CDs and two DVDs. The first CD is a 2017 remix of Songs from the Wood by the remarkable Steve Wilson, musician and prog rock enthusiast as well as an audio engineer. I love the remix, which has more clarity and much richer bass than the original. I also appreciate that full dynamics are preserved; you may find it slightly “quieter” than your existing CD, but just turn the volume up to appreciate it!

You also get 7 outtakes; I am just getting to know these but they are far from filler. Old Aces Die Hard is a highlight, nearly 9 minutes and really good, rejected because its theme is too dark according to the notes. And the US single mix of The Whistler.

Next comes a complete November 1977 concert at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland USA. Well, the first four tracks from a Boston concert a few weeks later but it hardly matters. A great concert; haven’t decided yet whether I prefer it to Bursting Out from the 1978 tour but it is excellent.

There is also a video of the November 1977 concert at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland USA. There is quite a story here. The concert was not filmed with the intention of ever releasing it, but rather for showing the live performance on a big screen, as is commonplace today in larger venues (18,000 seats in this case). It was also recorded to 8-track audio tape for a possible live album. The video is essentially a marriage of the two, technically tricky as they do not synch exactly. However the challenge was even greater for the first four tracks, where the audio tapes are missing. Audio was available from Boston though. Jakko Jakszyk (himself a musician with King Crimson) managed to blend all these sources, using various techniques, with impressive results. Considering the date, the video quality is good and the complete concert a 2-hour treat for Tull fans.

The other DVD has more treats: a new 5.1 mix of the album and outtakes, a flat high-res (96/24) transfer of the original mix, and a quad mix of four tracks (Songs from the Wood, Jack-in-the-Green, Velvet Green and The Whistler), which I presume is from back in the day.

The book is great too. 96 pages in all, with the first 51 pages giving the full story of the release, interviews with band members and colour photos. Then you get Ian Anderson notes on all the tracks, including the outtakes. Then lyrics to all the tracks, including the outtakes. Then some notes from Jakszyk on the video editing, and notes on the DVD from Don Needham.

Wonderful reissue for Tull fans at a very reasonable price. If only more deluxe sets were done this way!
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on 19 May 2017
I bought Songs from the Wood as a 15 year old having just watched Barriemore Barlow drag his tabors and nakers ("but we like to call them our knackers, don't we boys") front stage on BBC's Sight and Sound for Velvet Green.. I'm an out and out Zephead but God I love this LP - its fun, full of fantastic musicianship, showmanship, and with tunes for all seasons. I still play my original LP...

So, 40 years gone and what gives? A great memory dropped through the letterbox today, stunningly repackaged and with near 2 hours of Tull's 1977 Songs from the Wood tour on DVD. Barlow, kilt, nakers and all... And I haven't stopped grinning all night!

If you like this LP you've got to treat yourself to this, for the DVD if nothing else. For me it captured Tull in their finest hour including "Whole Lotta Brick", the tricky little bugger "Songs from the Wood", the brilliant Hunting Girl and, damn they were having fun, Locomotive Breath.

Stunning songs & fantastic memories! And I'm still smiling watching the DVD for the third time this evening... Go on, fill your sail!
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on 21 May 2017
An absolutely awesome offering.
For £19.94 you get 2 DVDs and 3 CDs plus a presentation book - that's great value in anyone's book.

Songs from the Wood is one of the classic Tull albums and - in my opinion - captures them at the peak of their powers in the hiatus from 1971-1977 and the discs are worth it just for the concert footage alone. In fact, that was my main reason - the audio copy is just gravy.

Sure, the Video is 4:3 and old - one camera in particular on the 1977 concert suffers from green streaks - but it was great to see them captured at the peak of their powers, with the definitive lineup - including John Evans and leading into the final concert tour before the sad loss of John Glascock.

I never tire of watching Martin Barre - then or now - he is surely one of the best guitarist of all time and an unsung hero.

Happy memories and an awesome collection. Even if you are a peripheral Tull fan, it's got to be worth it to see a PERFORMANCE and great musicianship. Today it's all about the image OR the musicianship.. this is when you could get both, with meaningful lyrics and honesty.
CD/DVDs/Book for £18.94, delivered within 20 hours... how can you go wrong?
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on 20 May 2017
The other reviews prior to this have really said it all - an absolutely superb reissue of, for me, their finest album. I have everything that Tull and Ian Anderson have ever put out but my favourite 'era' is undoubtedly the folksy/pastoral/bucolic feel of this, Heavy Horses and, to a certain extent, moving into Broadsword and Stormwatch. All Tull fans will know the sad decline of IA's voice post-Under Wraps (their worst album IMO!) and it has been painful to see him several times since then both as Tull and solo.

What a joy, then, to hear and see the newly-discovered 2hr concert covering this very period and with Tull and IA's voice in prime form. True, the video isn't exactly 4K HD - but who cares! This brought it all back (not that it really went away) - the concerts of the 70s and early 80s - it's good to be back home with you - magic and congrats to all involved with this package showing how it should be done.
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Lavish and Loony are the words that come to mind.

I must admit by the time Tull's 10th studio album came out in February 1977 - my mind and musical interests were elsewhere. As I recall I bought the UK Chrysalis Records LP as an afterthought later that year and reckoned it was good rather than great. But my God this extraordinary 2017 five-disc reissue has made the country squire in me sit right back up and take notice (pass the jugs of mead boys). Everything about this fan-pleasing '40th Anniversary Edition' Reissue is utterly exceptional and at an opening gambit of twenty-two pre Brexit quid represents genuinely good value for money in my manure patch. Time to ring out those Solstice Bells methinks...

UK and USA released Friday, 19 May 2017 - "Songs From The Wood: 40th Anniversary Edition - The Country Set" by JETHRO TULL on Parlophone/Chrysalis 0190295847876 (Barcode 0190295847876) is a 3CD + 2DVD Reissue and Remaster with Stereo and 5.1 Surround Remixes by Steven Wilson in a 96-page Hardback Book Pack that plays out as follows:

CD 1 (76:55 minutes):
A Steven Wilson Stereo Remix
1. Songs From The Wood [Side 1]
2. Jack-In-The-Green
3. Cup Of Wonder
4. Hunting Girl
5. Ring Out, Solstice Bells
6. Velvet Green [Side 2]
7. The Whistler
8. Pibroch (Cap In Hand)
9. Fire At Midnight
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 10th studio album "Songs From The Wood" - released 4 February 1977 in the UK on Chrysalis CHR 1132 and 21 February 1977 in the USA also on Chrysalis CHR 1132. Written and Produced by IAN ANDERSON - it peaked at No. 13 in the UK and No. 8 in the USA

Associated Recordings
10. Old Aces Die Hard - Previously Unreleased Studio Outtake (Take 3) recorded October 1976 (working title was "Dark Ages")
11. Working John, Working Joe - Previously Unreleased Studio Outtake (Take 5) recorded September 1976
12. Magic Bells (Ring Out, Solstice Bells)
Track 12 is a Studio Outtake recorded September 1976 - first appeared on the November 2016 "Ring Out, Solstice Bells" UK 7" double pack on Chrysalis CX 40 - a Record Store Day Limited Edition Reissue (2000 Copies only) with Different Tracks to the December 1976 UK 7" double-pack originally on Chrysalis CXP2.
13. Songs From The Wood (Unedited Master)
14. Fire At Midnight (Unedited Master - Previously Unreleased)
15. One Brown Mouse (Early Version - New Mix)
16. Strip Cartoon - non-album B-side to the UK 7" single for "The Whistler" released 4 February 1977 on Chrysalis CHS 2135
17. The Whistler - Original 1977 US Stereo Single Mix - released March 1977 in the USA on Chrysalis CHS 2135 (peaked at No. 59)

CD 2 - Live In Concert 1977 (Part One) – Mixed to Stereo by Jakko Jakszyk (52:09 minutes)
1. Wond'ring Aloud
2. Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day
3. Jack-In-The-Green
4. Thick As A Brick
5. Songs From The Wood
6. Instrumental
7. Drum Solo Improvisation
8. To Cry You A Song
9. A New Day Yesterday
10. Flute Solo Improvisation/God Rest Ye Merry gentlemen/Bouree
11. Living In The Past

CD 3 - Live In Concert 1977 (Part Two) – Mixed to Stereo by Jakko Jakszyk (59:49 minutes):
1. Velvet Green
2. Hunting Girl
3. To Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die
4. Minstrel In The Gallery
5. Cross-Eyed Mary
6. Aqualung
7. Instrumental Improvisation
8. Wind-Up
9. Back Door Angels/Guitar Improvisation/Wind-Up (Reprise)
10. Locomotive Breath
11. Land Of Hope And Glory/Improvisation/Back Door Angels (Reprise)

DVD 1 (Audio) - NTSC, Region 0 Coding (All Regions)
(i) Contains "Songs From The Wood" album with all associated recordings on CD1 except Tracks 13, 14 and 17 - Remixed to 5.1 DTS, AC3 Dolby Digital Surround Sound and 96/24 LPCM Stereo
(ii) "Songs From The Wood (Unedited Master)" and "Fire At Midnight (Unedited Master)" as 96/24 LPCM Stereo
(iii) The original 9-Track Album as 96/24 LPCM Stereo
(iv) Original Quad Mixes for "Songs From The Wood", "Jack-In-The-Green", "Velvet Green" and "The Whistler" with DTS 4.0 and Dolby Digital AC3 4.0 Surround Sound

DVD 2 (Audio/Video) - NTSC, Region 0 (All Regions)
(i) Jethro Tull live on video for almost two hours at the Capitol Centre, Landover MD, 21 November 1977 - Mixed to Stereo, 5.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital Surround
(ii) Beethoven's Ninth (Original Audio)
(iii) Promotional Footage of "The Whistler"

Like all of these Jethro Tull Book Packs so far - the visuals are truly spectacular and put most other reissues from major labels firmly in the 'D' for dunce corner. A 96-page booklet attached to a Hardback Book Pack assaults your senses with essays and a memorabilia collection that borders on 'W' for worry. Using lyrics from the title track - Pages 8 to 51 start proceedings with a lengthy and definitive new set of liner notes entitled "Let Me Bring You..." It features reminiscences on the mythology surrounding the songs (Anderson living as a 'country squire' in the UK and how the set would be written in-between gigs and influenced by books he was reading whilst on the road), the record's launch, public and press reaction (good and bad) and the subsequent US Tour – all of which was told to MARTIN WEBB by principal band members Ian Anderson (Lead Vocals, Flute, Principal Songwriter), Martin Barre (Guitars and Vocals), David 'Dee' Palmer (Keyboards) and Barrie Barlow (Drummer).

The memorabilia stuff is amazing and exhaustive - Barrimore Barlow draped in suitable Tull attire in front of his kit for a full-page advert selling 'Rose-Morris Ludwig' Drums - differently designed Backstage Passes for Detroit, Toronto and Maryland's Landover (where the live gig on CDs 2 and 3 was recorded) - trade adverts for the album that played on the pun of trees - colour photos from the tour, the lyrics in suitably pretty script, repros of reviews, master-tape boxes, foreign picture sleeves, Chrysalis promotional photos, Dee Palmer's orchestration charts, a day-by-day tour date guide and finally interviews with Trevor White and Jakko Jakszyk about the 21st Century problems of remastering 1977 tapes with inherent audio faults (the live stuff). They've even got a photo of Morgan Studios and the mixing desk used.

But for most fans it will be the STEVEN WILSON Remixes and Remasters that draw. And once again his legendary empathy with Prog Rock and a mixing desk do his growing legend proud. I had the 2003 variant for a while but sold it and I honestly can't A/B this. But I'm thinking I don't need to because my ears are opened. The Acapella voices that begin "Songs From The Wood" are beautiful - the madrigal instruments that usher in the song so clear - those Prog Rock keyboard flourishes from John Evans and David Palmer are everywhere. "Jack-In-The-Green" is sensational - Anderson's slightly echoed vocals perfectly aligned with those acoustic strums - it sounds just huge. "Cup Of Wonder" is the same - the instruments alive and swimming in your speakers - amazing to think that this much musical complexity and precision was Take 1. Synth sounds open "Hunting Girl" which for me is the most Prog sounding romp on the LP - those rattling Barrie drums - that flanged guitar - now right up and in your face. You feel that Bass in the festive "Ring Out, Solstice Bells" - kitchen prose and gutter rhymes indeed. "Velvet Green" is probably the most impressive of tracks improvement-wise - that final Flute and Piano battle - those acoustic strums that hark back to "Living In The Past" Tull - brilliant. At 3:32 minutes and sporting a vaguely usable melody (treated vocals and a bop-Irish beat) - "The Whistler" was issued as a 45 in March 1977 and amazingly its Gordon Giltrap vibes pushed it all the way up to No. 59 on the US singles charts. The mad Prog guitars that open "Pibroch (Cap In Hand)" take no prisoners - floating in and out of the soundstage until they settle into a familiar Tull shuffle. The album ends on the ethereal drums of "Fire At Midnight" - so eccentrically Jethro Tull.

Fans will flip for the near nine-minutes of the Previously Unreleased "Old Aces Die Hard" - gorgeous acoustic guitars - brilliant vocals and choppy rhythms alternating between Folk and Prog. It's almost like an "Aqualung" outtake as the electric guitars build and build towards the end in a very Yes kind of way (nice touch to include the lyrics on Page 64). Someone sawing wood opens the second genuine outtake offered here - "Working John, Working Joe". Again it's shockingly good with fantastic guitar chops from Martin Barre – the character in the song waxing angry about how he slaves while others sloth - working thirteen hours when most work only eight. And as far as I know this is also the first CD appearance of the November 2016 Record Store-only 7" single track "Magic Bells (Ring Out, Solstice Bells") – a rarity in itself after less than a year in the vinyl marketplace. "Old Brown Mouse" is a great Anderson acoustic jangle and if it is 'probably a Demo' as the liner notes suggest – it's an amazingly accomplished one. Fans will appreciate the B and A-side singles of "Strip Cartoon" and "The Whistler" - both of which bring a near perfect CD1 to a close.

I suspect that some judicious editing was done on the two live CDs (not that I'm complaining) because they work so well thematically and the Audio is also shockingly good. Introducing every song with his customary witticisms and broad English squire voice - Ian Anderson opens proceedings by announcing himself as the support act 'Arnold Stirrup'. He then promptly thrills the crowd with a one-two of Acoustic goodies - "Wond'ring Aloud" and the US hit single "Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day". Even though the audience seems miles away if not entirely removed from the tapes - the band and the instrumentation feel live and in your living room - superbly cleaned up and with their playing prowess as impressive as ever - something that becomes very evident when they go into the complexities of "Thick As A Brick" (announced with a Led Zeppelin jab) and the Medieval Acapella beginning of "Songs From The Wood" (John Evans has Bronchitis so he’ll be crap Anderson teases). The same applies on Disc 2 with the "Aqualung" tracks "Cross-Eyed Mary" and "Wind-Up" eliciting frenzy. Jakko Jakszyk did the Stereo masters and Audio transfers and I think Tull fans will be licking their lips at the thought of "Bursting Out - Live" Part 2 – because that’s what this 100-minutes of primo JT feels like.

After the high of the three CDs - DVD 2 comes as a slight letdown. The Audio is the same top-notch job but the video is blurry (so very Seventies) and is best described as a really good bootleg rather than anything better than that. With his red bowler hat, half beard, acoustic guitar and mad bug eyes - Ian Anderson's witty ad-libs between songs suddenly start to make sense when you see what accompanied them - his band looking like a troupe of woodland gypsies that have gorged on too many wild mushrooms or extras from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest". But the concert is great and it also allows you to pick three Audio options from the Menu - Stereo LPCM, DTS 5.1 Surround and Dolby AC3 5.1 Surround.

To sum up - Jethro Tull are very much a Marmite band - they engender true collector's passion amongst fans whilst others will develop a fatal Ebola rash at the mere mention of their Minstrel Name. But there's no doubting in my mind that like 'em or no - this is already a contender for 'Reissue Of The Year' 2017. Well done to all involved and please apply the same lavish lust to 1972's "Living In The Past" double-album - 45 years young this very year.

"...Let me bring you love from the field..." - Ian Anderson sang on the title track to "Songs From The Wood". Job done mate...
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on 21 May 2017
Four CD's and one two hour live DVD plus 90 odd pages of information and photographs for less than twenty quid. Unreal.
The presentation package is well wrth the money alone.
I forgot how good this album was. Brilliant Music signature time changes that few bands could imitate let alone play and clever intelligent lyrics from Ian Anderson word smith par excellance.
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on 23 May 2017
Well you may have read all the other 5 star reviews, so who am I to disagree. It really is a fantastically packaged and put together set. Well done all involved! Now can we look forward to the Heavy Horses and Stormwatch reissues? Here's hoping.
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on 2 June 2017
the audio on this set is very good. the dvd audio is superb. the quality of the visuals is very much of their time and as such does not really stand up to viewing on hi def equipment. the 96 page booklet is a great read and a window on the creative processes that took place to produce the original album and the 40th anniversary edition. a textbook example of what an anniversary edition should include and leave out.
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on 1 June 2017
The quality of this is amazing. All Tull fans will love it. And having 5 discs, including 2 DVD's is quite remarkable for the money. Steve Wilson does a brilliant job. Anyone who thinks otherwise is having a laugh. Great stuff.
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on 27 August 2014
Song from the Woods is without doubt my favourite Tull album.
The inclusion of two bonus tracks is a nice addition, but overall I've found the re-mastered cut a bit too forward, especially in the upper registers. I'm sure many will prefer this version, but I'll be spinning the warmer, better balanced original release more often.
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