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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 24 November 2009
I wasn't sure about pre-ordering this double disc set. Firstly one of the discs ia a plain re-issue of the 2003 release "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album", which is good, but not great; too short on new material for me. Secondly disc No.2 is recorded during a cross between a JT acoustic concert and a carol service.

However, it is probably, to my ears the very best acoustic live concert that JT have ever done, sound is great, the vocal the best from Ian Anderson in many a year, despite his comment that he was suffering with some variety of Lurgy, and the playing by the band is, as ever, magnificent. Add in a sprinkle of readings, some nice choir and congregation carols, plus Ian Anderson doing a skilled job of being the host / MC and the whole ensemble makes a warm and uplifting Christmas treat.

Buy this, you will not be disappointed.
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on 3 January 2005
Armed with the open-minded realisation that they've earned the right to express themselves musically in any way they want, I left aside the selfish yearning for them to recreate the classic sounds of the 60s, 70s and to a lesser extent the 80s and 90s, and began to appreciate this CD for what it is. A wonderful expression of joy, fun and above all, a celebration of music. The mood is uplifting, the musicianship inspirational, and once again some of the new tracks (e.g. First Snow on Brooklyn) prove that Ian is far from a spent force. The Christmas Album is as welcome in my collection as all their other stuff.
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on 12 November 2003
This is not your typical and smarmy, sickly-sweet Christmas album. Rather, with this CD Jethro Tull have managed to capture in both verse and melody the spirit of giving, sharing, and perfunctory overindulgence that ostensibly goes with the Christmas season, contrasted with the melancholy and flat-out destitution that the less-fortunate among us actually experience during this time of year. This interplay of content and style are presented against a backdrop of earthly Pagan solstice symbolism, all of which Jethro Tull have managed to integrate as a kind of ecumenical "Birthday Card at Christmas," which not incidentally is the title of the introductory track. This combination is daring and bold, if not outright brilliant, and in my estimation they have pulled it off strikingly well. The musicianship, vocals, lyrics, production and overall execution (not to mention outstanding packaging) are commensurate with and at times exceed even Tull's impeccably high standards, showing this to be a band at the top of it's craft. Anderson's vocals, in particular, complete the album by sounding as warmly weathered as the bearded red-suit uncle himself. It's a decidedly Tull exploration of the seasonal space -- an effort that starts strong and improves with subsequent listens. May it continue to play well for you during the holiday season and throughout the year.
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on 14 October 2003
This beautifully packaged new album is a very welcome and utterly justified piece of self-indulgence and celebration on Ian's part - wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, and proving that after 35 years, Jethro Tull can still surprise and delight - whilst at the same time maintaining that essential Tullness. The album consists of a combination of re-invigorated old classics and rare tracks, Tullified Chrsitmas Carols and great new pieces......as well as some expanded flute improvisations that have hitherto only been heard as part of the live set or on rare box sets. Ian has once again proved that he knows exactly what the fans want; The Christmas Album demostrates perfectly the band's propensity for not taking themselves too seriously, whilst still challenging the listener and providing a few suprises. The highlight for me is "We Five Kings" - the most self-indulgent track on the CD is an inspired musical anagram of primary school standard "We Three Kings" and Tull classic, "Living in The Past; and it works brilliantly. The interpretaion of Faure's Pavanne is wonderful, as is that old favourite, Bouree. Jethro Tull made Bach's Bouree their own many years ago - and they have managed to come up with yet another superb version of it here. I'm sure that this album will, in the fullness of time, be considered a classic - alongside Aqualung and Songs From The Wood (from which it takes much influence). No Tull fan can miss this album - it is excellent in every way, and it reminded me of why I love this band. This album is a great Christmas present from Jethro Tull to their fans...I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on 8 December 2004
For those of us old enough to remember Jethro Tull from the 70's and 80's, this new CD is a delight. It also makes a wonderful change to the rather mundane Christmas carol selections that are usually dragged out at this time of year.
The familiar flute is heard throughout the CD as Ian Anderson performs jaunty seasonal songs along with gentle and lyrical classical songs. There are mixes of carols arranged in medleys together, such as The Holly and the Ivy which is mixed with Hark the Herald Angels Sing in an instrumental. Both Greensleeves and We Three Kings are given an arrangement that makes the original still recognizable, while at the same time the interpretation has a definite Tull flavor. Several of the original songs reflect a slightly cynical view of the season and our overindulgence, illustrating Tull's unique style, such as in Another Christmas song and The First Snow on Brooklyn.
One of the most beautiful tracks on the CD is Ring Out the Solstice Bells. The flute creates the sounds of the bells ringing, creating an almost Dickensian feel to the song.
Reviewers have declared that this is the best work of Jethro Tull in many years, and I have to agree with that. However, even if you are from the post-vinyl era, this makes an interesting change to the rather sugary renditions of seasonal songs, whilst staying within the spirit of the Christmas season. It has become a favorite for our house already and I suspect it will stay that way for many years.
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on 21 March 2004
Glad I bought this (but this time not from Amazon.co.uk I'm afraid).
Great album with great Christmas feel (funny that). Some lovely work from all the band on some old songs and some new ones. The songs (as opposed to the instrumentals) have a Songs from the Wood feel. Love the 'new' stuff especially Jack Frost & the Hooded Crow and Last man at the party. The instrumentals are just as wonderful. Great re-working of the Tull classic Bourée, some nice arrangements of traditional Christmas carols and lovely arrangement of Fauré's Pavane.
All in all another good from Ian & the boys. Don't wait until Christmas to buy it!
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on 5 November 2003
At first, I felt a little embarrassed playing this at the beginning of November, but soon the quality of the album forced me to crank up the volume.
The Christmas Album is packed with breathtaking moments, such as the reworking of the reworking of Bouree, you even get the original Bach version at the beginning.
As every minute passes, Ian Anderson and the band reward you with new material, classic moments, or superb reworkings of some of their most famous tracks.
Whether you are a die-hard Tull fan, want to give them a try after a long reprise, or simply want a great alternative to the usual christmas albums available, I strongly recommend you buy this.
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on 1 January 2010
This is an excellent album for those looking for an alternative to the endlessly repeated christmas pop music.
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on 7 July 2005
To restate the brilliant review from earlier on, this CD is not your typical and smarmy, sickly-sweet Christmas album, despite the self-interested comments of the quizzical reviewer below. Rather, with this CD Jethro Tull have managed to capture in both verse and melody the spirit of giving, sharing, and perfunctory overindulgence that ostensibly go with the Christmas season, contrasted with the melancholy and flat-out destitution that the less-fortunate among us actually experience during this time of year. This interplay of content and style are presented against a backdrop of earthly Pagan solstice symbolism, all of which Jethro Tull have managed to integrate as a kind of ecumenical "Birthday Card at Christmas," which not incidentally is the title of the introductory track. This combination is daring and bold, if not outright brilliant, and in my estimation they have pulled it off strikingly well. These qualities clearly at hand, the time and place of airing are rendered profoundly irrelevant. Moreover, the musicianship, vocals, lyrics, production and overall execution (not to mention outstanding packaging) are commensurate with and at times exceed even Tull's impeccably high standards, showing this to be a band at the top of it's craft. Anderson's vocals, in particular, complete the album by sounding as warmly weathered as the bearded red-suit uncle himself. It's a decidedly Tull exploration of the seasonal space -- an effort that starts strong and improves with subsequent listens. May it continue to play well for you during the holiday season and throughout the year.
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on 10 October 2003
A great new seasonal CD from jethro tull. features a good selection of previous tull christmas tunes , a few brand new songs and some well known christmas songs recorded tull style. Highlights are "A Christmas Song" re-recorded with Dave Pegg returning to the fold on guest mandolin, "Solstice Bells" "Weathercock" and "Fire At Midnight" all sounding superb having benefited from new digital 24bit recording, also being reworked is the classic "Bouree" which has a new arrangement for 2003. A few new tracks also grace the album, the best being "Birthday Card At Christmas" which is the albums opener and "First Snow On Brooklyn". Nearly half of the album is made up of instrumental tracks and all feature some very nice flute work from Ian. The final track on the CD is a Martin Barre instrumental called "Winter Snowscape" which is a differant version to that which was released on his latest album "Stage Left". Give yourself an early christmas present and buy it now.
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