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JETHRO TULL – THE BEST OF ACOUSTIC JETHRO TULL - EMI
Record Rating: *****

JETHRO TULL – THE BEST OF ACOUSTIC JETHRO TULL Led by its inimitable flautist-singer-songwriter Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull blazed a wholly original trail in the rock world. Boasting back-to-back #1 albums in the early 1970s, the band turned the music world inside out on its ear as codpiece-clad rock gods making eco-friendly concept records.

A 24-track distillation of the band’s catalogue of forty years, this collection has a few rarities, yet its main focus is on songs every casual fan knows and loves. For after decades of being critical of the band’s previous compilations, frontman Anderson decided to get involved with the making of this CD and actually choose the tracks for this album. The repertoire is a decent representation of the group’s history, going all the way back to fan favourites like Fat Man from 1969’s Stand Up and up through to the band’s 2004 Christmas Album. Stops along the way include staples like Aqualung’s Wond’ring Aloud, the Thick as a Brick intro & Warchild’s Skating Away, while going down some less well-trodden paths as well, stopping at forgotten vistas like the poignant Velvet Green from Songs In The Wood. Also included are two ‘new’ songs, a new acoustic version of their classic One Brown Mouse and a live performance of the English traditional song Pastime With Good Company.

All said, this is a good intro to the band, but doesn’t do too much more than scratch the surface of the group’s sound at its most popular points. Since Tull is a band like Pink Floyd that made cohesive concept albums, there will always be an audience that believes it is impossible to assemble a coherent anthology like this one, and they will stay away. For the casual and new listener who doesn’t want to invest in a series of the band’s concept records, Acoustic Jethro Tull is an entertaining listen.

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