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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