Jethro Tull's 11th studio album, Heavy Horses, is one of their prettier records, a veritable celebration of English folk music chock-full of gorgeous melodies, briskly played acoustic guitars and mandolins, and Ian Anderson's lilting flute backed by the group in top form. 2018's 40th Anniversary "New Shoes Edition" is a three-CD/two-DVD box packaged similarly to the anniversary versions of Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, Minstrel in the Gallery and Songs from the Wood. It includes a Steven Wilson stereo remix of the album and nine "associated studio recordings" – seven on the first disc are previously unreleased – and a 1978 concert from Berne, Switzerland spread across discs two and three, remixed by King Crimson's Jakko M. Jakszyk. The two DVDs feature 97 audio and video tracks, with studio work (including bonus tracks) remixed to 5.1 (and stereo) by Wilson, with the live material handled by Jakszyk. The latter two discs also include a flat transfer of the original album's mix, some promotional video footage, and two period television ads.
Despite its age, this collection remains the best introduction to the wonderfully bizarre sounds of Jethro Tull – a unique combination of folk music, progressive rock, heavy metal, and of course, Ian Anderson's ubiquitous flute. Drawing exclusively from the band's '70s heyday, opener "Living in the Past" sets the retrospective tone, leading the way into the signature guitar riff of "Aqualung," the band's multifaceted pièce de résistance. Though lyrically indecipherable, "Locomotive Breath" is equally timeless, and the moment when John Evan's fanciful piano intro gives way to Martin Barre's guitar feedback remains thrilling. With his acoustic guitar in hand, Ian Anderson becomes a medieval bard, drawing the listener into worlds of legend both threatening ("Sweet Dream," "Witches Promise") and joyously carefree ("Thick as a Brick," "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day"). The unbelievable kaleidoscope of sound which makes up "Songs from the Wood" is simply too original and intricate for words to describe.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
“Aqualung” isn’t only a great album, it’s somehow a feel of live from the early 70’s. Maybe not as ambitious and essential in progressive rock terms as “Thick As A Brick”, but in terms of folk prog an absolute masterpiece concept record, too. I always feel like I am travelling back in the 70’s when I listen to classic tracks like “Locomotive Breath”, “Cross-Eyed Mary”, “Mother Gose” or the title track.
Excellent addition to any Prog-Rock music collection
Really good follow up to Heavy Horses despite all the difficulty surrounding the band, and reminds us not only how prolific and accomplished Ian Anderson is, but the impact Jethro Tull’s music has had on everything from folk rock and pop to minstrel metal and symphonic cheese. It doesn’t chart much new territory, the songs resembling classic Anderson shanties more than something thematic, leaner than previous work and though not outstanding like Horses, it’s one of those albums that catches you off-guard with the quality of the material. Thanks, Ian, for being there in hard times and good.
Original album plus seven bonus tracks (six previously unreleased), two mixed to 5.1 surround, and all to stereo by Steven Wilson. The 40th Anniversary edition of Jethro Tull’s Minstrel In The Gallery. The album has been expanded to include the b-side Summerday Sands, several studio outtakes, and alternate session material recorded for a BBC broadcast. The second disc features a live recording of Jethro Tull performing at the Olympia in Paris on July 5, 1975, a few months prior to the release of Minstrel In The Gallery. During the show, the band played songs from several of its albums, including War Child and Aqualung, as well as an early performance of Minstrel In The Gallery. It was mixed to 5.1 & stereo by by King Crimson guitarist Jakko Jakszyk.
If Steven Wilson’s remixes of albums by Yes and XTC aren’t enough surround sound excitement for you, then check this out: Jethro Tull’s third album, 1970′s Benefit, is being reissued as a 2CD/1DVD set featuring the talents of the Porcupine Tree frontman. Benefit was, perhaps, the first step in Tull’s immersion in the greater world of progressive rock. The quintet moved away from the blues influences of their last two records toward a more heavier sound.
This special edition of the 1976 album will contain new Steven Wilson stereo remixes on CD 1, although this is of the version of the album re-recorded for a TV Special. Only five multi-track master tapes for the actual album could be located and new stereo remixes of those tracks are also appended on the first disc. The second CD consists of a complete flat transfer of the original stereo mix, and eight bonus tracks (seven of which are 2015 remixes). This bonus material includes two unheard songs: Salamander’s Ragtime (not related to album track Salamander), and Commercial Traveller. A third outtake Advertising Man was planned to be included but was not sufficiently complete to merit inclusion.