Jethro Tull’s been around since late 1967, and started out playing blues and a little folk music. In 1971, they recorded Aqualung, which the critics clained was a concept album, which rankles vocalist-flautist-leader Ian Anderson to this day. The band’s response was to record an actual concept album, Thick As A Brick, a single song that spanned both sides of a 12″ LP, what Anderson later called “the mother of all concept albums.” The story behind the album was that it was co-written by twelve-year-old Gerald Bostock, an imaginary schoolboy. The album jacket was designed as a newspaper with Gerald’s story on the front page and a number of other bizarre news items on the inside, a nod to the influence of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The band officially broke up in 2011, with guitarist Martin Barre saying that year that he didn’t anticipate any further work as Jethro Tull. Anderson has released two albums under the Jethro Tull name (2012’s Thick as a Brick 2 and 2014’s Homo Erraticus), and said in an April 2014 interview that all his future releases will be under his name and not the band’s.
The first song today is from the Aqualung album, “Cross-Eyed Mary.” It’s the second song on the album, after the title track. Though Ian Anderson says Aqualung isn’t a concept album, He does admit that it’s based around several themes, and “Mary” fits the theme introduced by the title song. Personnel on the track are Anderson, flute and vocal; Martin Barre, guitar; John Evan, keyboards; Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, bass; and Clive Bunker, drums.
In 1977, Jethro Tull released Songs From The Wood, signaling a move to more folk-oriented music that lasted through the next two albums. Here is the title track; musicians on the track are Anderson, Barre, Evan, John Glascock on bass, David Palmer on keyboards, and Barriemore Barlow on drums.
Jethro Tull, your Two for Tuesday, January 26, 2016.