Jethro Tull – Hard Times Of Old England (1982)

FrontCover1Jethro Tull are a British band formed in Blackpool, England, in 1967. Initially playing blues and jazz influenced rock, the band soon incorporated elements of classical music, hard rock and folk, forging a signature progressive rock sound. The group’s bandleader and primary composer is Ian Anderson, a multi-instrumentalist who mainly plays flute and acoustic guitar, and is also the lead vocalist, performing his own lyrics. The group has featured a revolving door of musicians throughout the decades, including significant contributors Martin Barre (the longest serving member besides Anderson) and Mick Abrahams on electric guitar, keyboardists John Evan, Dee Palmer, Peter-John Vettese and Andrew Giddings, drummers Clive Bunker, Barrie “Barriemore” Barlow and Doane Perry, and bassists Glenn Cornick, Jeffrey Hammond, John Glascock, Dave Pegg and Jonathan Noyce.

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After achieving moderate recognition performing in the London club scene, the band released their debut album This Was in 1968. After a lineup change which saw original guitarist Mick Abrahams replaced (briefly) by Tony Iommi, and then Martin Barre, the band released the folk-tinged second album Stand Up (1969). Stand Up saw the band achieve their first commercial success, reaching No. 1 in the UK, followed by regular tours of the UK and the US. Their musical style shifted in the direction of progressive rock with the albums Aqualung (1971), Thick as a Brick (1972) and A Passion Play (1973), and shifted again to contemporary folk rock with Songs from the Wood (1977), Heavy Horses (1978) and Stormwatch (1979). In the early 1980s the band underwent a major lineup change and shifted towards electronic rock, with the albums A (1980), The Broadsword and the Beast (1982) and Under Wraps (1984). The band won their sole Grammy Award for the 1987 album Crest of a Knave, which saw them returning to a harder rock style. Jethro Tull have sold an estimated 60 million albums worldwide, with 11 gold and five platinum albums among them. They have been described by Rolling Stone as “one of the most commercially successful and eccentric progressive rock bands.”

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The last works as a group to contain new material were released in 2003, though the band continued to tour until 2011. Both Anderson and Barre have continued to record and tour as solo artists, with Anderson saying in 2014 that Jethro Tull “came more or less to an end.”[7] However in 2017 Anderson announced plans for a tour to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of This Was. The current group—now billed as “Ian Anderson and the Jethro Tull band”—includes musicians who have been members of Anderson’s solo band since 2012, without Barre’s involvement; bassist David Goodier and keyboardist John O’Hara had previously been members of Jethro Tull in the last several years of their initial run. In March 2021, Anderson announced plans for a new album by the group, The Zealot Gene, the first new material to be released under the Tull name in 18 years.

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Following the end of the Stormwatch tour in early 1980, Jethro Tull would undergo their largest lineup shuffle to date, resulting in Barriemore Barlow, John Evan and Dee Palmer all leaving the band. Jethro Tull were left with Anderson (the only original member), Martin Barre and Dave Pegg.

Tull’s first album of the 1980s was intended to be an Ian Anderson solo album. Anderson retained Barre on electric guitar and Pegg on bass, while adding Mark Craney on drums, and special guest keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson (ex–Roxy Music). Highlighted by the prominent use of synthesisers, it contrasted sharply with the established “Tull sound”. After pressure from Chrysalis Records, Anderson agreed to release it as a Jethro Tull album. Entitled A (taken from the labels on the master tapes for his scrapped solo record, marked simply “A”), it was released in mid-1980.

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Jobson and Craney returned to their own work following the A tour and Jethro Tull entered a period of revolving drummers: Gerry Conway, who left after deciding he could not be the one to replace Barlow, Phil Collins (as a fill-in for the recently departed Gerry Conway, played with the band at the first Prince’s Trust concert in 1982), Paul Burgess (for the US leg of the Broadsword and the Beast tour) and permanent drummer Doane Perry.

1981 was the first year in their career that the band did not release an album; however, some recording sessions took place In 1982, Peter-John Vettese joined on keyboards, and the band returned to a somewhat folkier sound – albeit with synthesisers – for 1982’s The Broadsword and the Beast. The ensuing concert tour for the album was well attended and the shows featured what was to be one of the group’s last indulgences in full-dress theatricality. The stage was built to resemble a Viking longship and the band performed in faux-medieval regalia.

Among Jethro Tull’s very finest shows on this tour was their concert at the Stadthalle, Freiburg, Germany, on April 30, 1982, a performance also recorded for live FM radio broadcast. (jethrotull.proboards.com)

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Personnel:
Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, guitar)
Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin)
Gerry Conway (drums)
Dave Pegg (bass)
Peter-John Veltese (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01.Intro 0.50
02. Clasp (I.Anderson) 4.20
03. Hunting Girl (I.Anderson)  5.16
04. Fallen On Hard Times (I.Anderson) 4:08
05. Pussy Willow (I.Anderson) 4.55
06. Broadsword (I.Anderson) 5.14
07. One Brown Mouse (I.Anderson) 3.36
08. Seal Driver (I.Anderson) 5.34
09. Weathercock/Fire At Midnight (I.Anderson) 4.43
10. Keyboard/Percussion (Veltese/Conway) 3.50
11. Sweet Dream (I.Anderson) 4.29
12. Watching Me, Watching You (I.Anderson) 3.40
13. Band introduction 1.39
14. The Swirling Pit (Pegg) 2.26
15. Pibroch/Black Satin Dancer (I.Anderson) 6.50
16. Aqualung (I.Anderson/J.Anderson) 7.36
17. Minstrel in the Gallery (I.Anderson) 4.18
18. Locomotive Breath/Black Sunday (I.Anderson) 4.50
19. Cheerio (I.Anderson) 1.08

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