Martin Barre – MLB Celebrates 50 Years Of Jethro Tull (2019)

EPSON MFP imageAs the lead guitarist for Jethro Tull, Martin Barre has been joined at the hip to Ian Anderson since 1969, when he replaced Mick Abrahams in the group’s lineup. His playing has provided much of the energy that allows the band to soar on record and in concert amid the beauty of Anderson’s melodies and the complexity of his lyrics, and played no small part in helping the veteran band (some would say “dinosaur”) win the 1988 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Album for Crest of a Knave. Anderson himself has been quoted as saying, “Without Martin Barre, Jethro Tull could not exist.”

Barre’s solo work was confined to his home studio until he assembled a band to play some charity gigs in the early 1990s. Since then, he has recorded a pair of albums that allow him to stretch out in directions that Tull normally doesn’t permit, and to put his instrument into new sounds, genres, and musical contexts. (by Bruce Eder)


Wot No flute? Well very little anyway.

What can I say about this, do we really need it, probably not, but news that he was releasing this certainly caught my interest and uncustomarily quite excited, momentarily anyway and touring this Celebration with additional members Clive Bunker and Dee Palmer in the band has certainly provided some long overdue publicity. Well the next question is is it any good?


Disc 1 Live at the Factory Underground (Studio?) is a band effort by that I mean Martin Barre, guitars, mandolin, mandola, flute and Hammond, Dan Crisp, vocals, guitar, Alan Thomson, previously with John Martyn on bass, Derby Todd, drums. Disc 2 are Studio tracks, tracks 1- 6 an Acoustic Set where his female backing singers Alex Hart and Becca Langford take centre stage on all tracks up to and including One White Duck and also Locomotive Breath, John Carter, Martins childhood friend with whom he made the Grand Union album takes on Waking Edge, Dan Crisp, Still Loving You Tonight and Slow Marching Band. Other participants are Paddy Blight, Double Bass, Josiah J, keyboards and Frank Mead, the albums flute solo on this disc on Home.


Disc 1 the Live set has Mr. Barre in full hard rockin’ electric mode, of course initially it’s hard not to make comparisons with the originals in fact it’s impossible, Dan Crisp’s vocals have come in for some criticism, and on first play on disc this seem justified but Martin has stuck by him and having seen him live a few times and with a little mental readjustment, the initial concerns have diminished. It’s not that he is a bad vocalist I just think singing Tull songs is not his natural style and in any event is nigh on impossible to emulate Mr Anderson in his prime but ultimately this album is all about Martin Barre and his interpretation of these songs, putting his stamp on them and keeping them fresh of which I must say in this department is an unqualified success. Having seen him play these tracks live his enthusiasm is totally infectious, he seems to be having the time of his life, in fact he and the band are an absolute joy to watch. How he has narrowed it down to these 13 tracks who knows because if one looks at his set lists this is a very small portion of what he has being playing live.


After a rather tentative start with a jazz flavoured My Sunday Feeling, things pick up with For a Thousand Mothers and it all becomes clear what a crucial element he was in Tull’s classic sound. Hymn 43 has that wonderful chugging riff and then we come to Love Story where Dan Crisp earns some plaudits, this rendition is a little slower and grittier than the original and candidate for best on this disc and so it continues with perhaps an unusual choice in Sealion, Song for Jeffrey is rather lumbering but inherits a couple of hard rock riffs and guitar solo. Back to the Family gets heavy. I could go on, but what’s the point suffice to say although the songs are familiar to all, these versions have balls, played at full volume, the guitar work exceptional.


Disc 2, I was a little shocked when I heard the female vocals, but then again not, having seen them do the acoustic set, and they carry the songs effortlessly, with some wonderful accompaniment. Life’s a Long Song, Cheap Day Return, Under Wraps and One White Duck are standouts. I won’t say the quality dips hereafter but it’s a hard to follow on from those girls, suffice to say that they take it down a bit with the remainder including the mandolin driven Locomotive Breath where the girls come on board again

If this album does anything it shows what a creative writer Ian Anderson is or was depending on opinion and what a classic guitarist Martin Barre is.


Of course if one is looking for reasons to knock this, one doesn’t have to look far, it would be easy to shred it for any number of reasons, it can’t match the originals, the vocals may not be to everyone’s taste (I suspect the most likely criticism), it’s a good but not great album, the anticipation was greater than the reality but taken for what it is, this Celebration of Tull as a rock band reignites music much of which the punters would never expect to hear live again, is reason enough to make this is a worthwhile exercise. If nothing else it’s an advert for people to go check out Mr Martin Lancelot Barre live. My only disappointment here is that there is no third disc. (by oldrock)


Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin, mandola, flute, organ)
Paddy Blight (bass)
John Carter (vocals)
Dan Crisp (vocals, guitar)
Alex Hart (vocals)
Josiah J. (keyboards)
Becca Langsford (vocals)
Darby Todd (drums)
Alan Thomson (bass, vocals)
Frank Mead (flute on CD 2/09.)



CD 1 – Live at Factory Underground:
01. My Sunday Feeling 3.32
02. For A Thousand Mothers 4.34
03. Hymn 43 3.31
04. Love Story 4.11
05. Sealion 4.07
06. Song For Jeffrey 3.42
07. Back To The Family 4.05
08. Nothing To Say 5.44
09. Hunting Girl 5.35
10. Teacher 5.53
11. Steel Monkey 3.46
12. Nothing Is Easy 4.58
13. New Day Yesterday 4.50

CD 2 – Studio Tracks:
01. Wond’ring Aloud 1.53
02. Someday The Sun Won’t Shine 2.02
03. Life Is A Long Song 3.29
04. Cheap Day Return 1.30
05. Under Wraps 3.06
06. One White Duck 2.20
07. Still Loving You Tonight 4.54
08. The Waking Edge 3.17
09. Home 3.16
10. Locomotive Breath 4.09
11. Slow Marching Band 3.28

All songs written by Ian Anderson



Martin Barre talks about this album:


Martin Barre – Order Of Play (2014)

FrontCover1.jpg2014 release from the Jethro Tull guitarist. On ORDER OF PLAY, the band set up just as they were performing a live gig. Every song on the album is a first take. Martin’s guitar playing has earned him a high level of respect and recognition; he was voted 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK for his playing on Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’. His playing on the album Crest of a Knave earned him a Grammy award in 1988. As well as numerous Jethro Tull albums, Martin has worked with many other artists including Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa and Chris Thompson and has shared a stage with such legends as Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. As Jethro Tull are taking a long break from touring, Martin has put together a band to play the classic music from the Tull catalog. His band is a total commitment to give the Tull fans and a broader audience the chance to hear tracks not performed for many years. (Amazon Editorial Review)

Martin Barre01

..but he certainly is a hero of the guitar. Never one to seek the spotlight, Martin lets his guitar do the talking, and he can say more with one note, put more emotion into it than any other guitarist I’ve heard. Separated from Jethro Tull after more than 40 years, he is now back to playing the music he loves: that blues-drenched rock that defined the early Tull sound before synths and squeezy things squeezed him to the back of the stage. So here on this live in the studio recording Martin is back with a vengeance, playing a “dirty, nasty, low-down blues” take of A New Day Yesterday, a rocking Song for Jeffrey, and even Fatman from Stand Up, and To Cry You a Song and Teacher from Benefit. We’re also treated to a nice slice of Thick as a Brick, and an excellent version of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads on the mandolin.
I can’t help missing the flute here and there, but Richard Beesley’s sax fills in nicely, without ever dominating. Dan Crisp too sounds out of place at first, as Ian’s voice is inseparable from these songs, but after a few plays you come to realize his Crisp’s voice too is well suited to the music.


While it can be rightly said that Ian Anderson is the creative force behind Jethro Tull, and his quirkiness, humor and eccentricity have kept the music adventuresome and unpredictable, Martin was the engine that powered the band, a guitarist extraordinaire, a true virtuoso who can shred with the best but favors tone and control over speed. It is wonderful to hear him playing the music he loves, and if, like me, you love it too, you will thoroughly enjoy this set.
There are a lot of high profile guitar heroes out there, but Martin Barre is a name few recognize. Give this album a listen and you will wonder why. (by Matthew Bush)


Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin)
Richard Beesley (saxophone, clarinet)
Alan Bray (bass)
Dan Crisp (vocals, guitar)
George Lindsay (drums)


01. A New Day Yesterday (Anderson) 5.15
02. Fatman (Anderson) 3.20
03. Watch Your Step (Parker) 4.16
04. Crossroads (Johnson) 3.46
05. Minstrel In The Gallery (Anderson) 4.36
06. To Cry You A Song (Anderson) 4.49
07. Steal Your Heart Away (Parker) 4.20
08. Thick As A Brick ( Excerpt) (Anderson) 8.50
09. Sweet Dream (Anderson) 3.40
10. Song For Jeffrey (Anderson) 3.29
11. Rock Me Baby (Traditional) 4.43
12. Teacher (Anderson) 4.42
13 Still Loving You Tonight (Anderson) 4.59
14. Locomotive Breath (Anderson) 5.19




More from Martin Barre:


Martin Barre – Back To Steel (2015)

FrontCover1.jpgDescribed by Martin Barre as the “most important work in my career as a musician” sets the, er, bar high for this much loved and respected guitarist. When it is set by the man himself, listener expectation is bound to be high too.

For the past couple of years or so Martin has been bedding in his current band. I spoke to him at the start of an extensive and surely gruelling European tour in September 2014 and of course at that time we were still asking about his departure from Jethro Tull.

With ‘Back To Steel’ he further carves out his own niche and a trajectory which, in truth, started back in 1994 with “Trick Of Memory”. But this is also a more integrated band album, rather than a true solo album. Perhaps it should even be billed The Martin Barre Band?

Martin’s fans will lap this up again. There is always great attention to detail in the arrangements. He doffs the cap to his former employer/heritage with fairly straightforward – if attractive – versions of ‘Skating Away’ and ‘Slow Marching Band’ whilst the inclusion of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ will delight those who have caught Martin on tour as this is one of the highlights of his recent set. It is to Barre’s credit that the Beatle song is the closest thing to Tull on the album, apart from those Tull covers.


The tone is blues rock throughout, a smorgasbord of Martin’s cumulative influences, and there is some rather nice female harmony vocal work from Alex Hart and Elani Andrea whilst Dan Crisp further consolidates his position on lead vocals.

Throughout his guitar work is immaculate but, as previously, supportive rather than overtly spectacular. We know he can let rip and is one of rock’s finest but Barre-watchers may be dismayed that his approach – for the most part – is restrained.

There are only three instrumentals – the very short ‘Chasing Shadows’ and ‘Calafel’ echoing the tone of a previous offering ‘Away With Words’ and the more expansive ‘Hammer’. As ever, a few more of these more frenetic electric workouts would have been very welcome.


The mix of the powerful and the pastoral is ever present with songs like ‘You And I’ (reminiscent of ‘Protect & Survive’ ) and ‘Sea Of Vanity’ (Fairports?) rubbing shoulders with the heavyweight ‘Moment Of Madness’, a potential single (!).

One can’t help wondering what would happen if Barre had taken a different musical direction, perhaps a bit more proggy or even hard rock/AOR. There are elements of course – ‘Moment Of Madness’ also shows a rather appealing commerciality – but for me the album is a little too diverse and as a result less cohesive. Its main appeal will therefore be to “the faithful”.

‘Back To Steel’ finds Martin Barre further escaping from the shadow of the Pied Piper and we can report he is in rude good health, and thriving.

Martin Barre is an English rock musician best known for his work with progressive rock band Jethro Tull, with whom he recorded and toured from their second album in 1969 to the band’s initial dissolution in 2012. In the early 1990s he went solo, and has recorded four studio albums and made several guest appearances. He has also played the flute and other instruments such as thesaxophone, mandolin, both on stage for Jethro Tull and in his own solo work.


Martin Barre is one of those guitarists who often misses out on the awards and recognition but who, when you hear him, is one of the best musicians around. This album celebrates 50 (yes 50) years of playing saxophone and guitar and returns him to his roots, playing electric guitars with steel strings. Right from the title track he mixes it up, playing with fluidity and flexibility whether he is playing rock or edging towards prog and throws in some sterling melodies and riffing alongside his songwriting which is generally excellent. The main instrument throughout is Barre’s guitar but his vocals are pretty tasty, especially on numbers like Bad Man where his growled vocals go perfectly against a resonator acoustic. Back To Steel is pure rock with shrieking guitar set against a dark and heavy bass line while Hammer reaches an almost jazz like melody. When he softens his stance, as he does on the lovely Chasing Shadows, he shows a remarkable lyrical side to his playing. (unknown source)


Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, flute, keyboards)
Dan Crisp (vocals, guitar)
George Lindsay (drums, percussion)
Alan Thomson (bass, vocals)
Alan Bray (bass on 15.)
Patrick James Pearson (organ on 01.)
Alan Thomson (slide-guitar on 14., organ on 11.)
background vocals:
Alex Hart – Elani Andrea


01. Back To Steel (Barre) 3.37
02. It’s Getting Better (Barre) 3.31
03. Bad Man (Barre) 3.14
04. Skating Away (Anderson) 3.25
05. Chasing Shadows (Barre) 0.58
06. Hammer (Barre) 3.13
07. You And I (Barre) 2.54
08. Moment Of Madness (Barre) 3.07
09. Calafel (Barre) 1.53
10. Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney) 3.17
11. Peace And Quiet (Barre) 3.59
12. Sea Of Vanity (Barre) 2.55
13. Smokestack Lightning (Burnett/Barre) 4.02
14. Without Me (Barre) 3.12
15. Slow Marching Band (Anderson) 3.28



Martin Barre – A Summer Band (1992)

FrontCover1Martin Lancelot Barre (born 17 November 1946, Kings Heath, Birmingham, West Midlands, England) is an English rock musician.

Barre was the guitarist for rock band Jethro Tull, starting with the band’s second album in 1969. Barre once said that he tried not to listen to other guitarists so that he would not be influenced by them. He said he never took guitar lessons so that he would not sound like other players. He has also played the flute, both on-stage for Jethro Tull and in his own solo work.

Martin studied architecture for three years, not finishing his studies due to failing in Spanish and Atomic Science, two subjects Martin thought “had little to do with designing buildings”. After doing one job in the area, Martin found being an architect was a “boring career”, opting for music instead.

On the first album that Barre recorded with Jethro Tull, Stand Up, he said that he was: “terrified because I had just joined the band. It really showed a change in direction for the band and when it was accepted and became a successful album, we gained a lot of confidence. We extended that confidence into the making of Benefit, in which we were a lot more at ease”. On the next album, the world success Aqualung, Martin was more confident, stating that in the recording: “Everybody [the band] had input into the making of the album”.

MartinBarre1972Martin Barre in 1972

In the following period, his solos blended virtuosity with classical music, like on Minstrel in the Gallery, where the opening track has a four-minute solo, or his piece (shared with Barrie Barlow) “Conundrum” and “Quatrain” in Bursting Out. Martin declared that much of the material from Jethro Tull catalogue was written by himself and Ian Anderson, with Ian getting the credit for writing the lyrics and having the initial idea for the music, which: “then I, or someone else in the band, contribute parts to it”. One album he is credited for having put “aditional material” is the classic Songs From The Wood. Curiously, his favourite album in Jethro Tull is the most controversial of the band’s career, Under Wraps, which contains two tracks co-authored by him. On his work with Jethro Tull, Martin also stated: “I’m quite pleased with my playing on Crest of a Knave, which was basically me, Ian and [bassist] Dave Pegg working in the studio for two months, so I had ample time to put a lot of myself into that album”. He is credited in only another two tracks of Jethro Tull albums: “Hot Mango Flush”, from J-Tull Dot Com and “Winter Snowscape” from The Jethro Tull Christmas Album.

MartinBarre1992On one track of 1994’s A Trick of Memory, Barre plays a guitar given to him by friend Mark Mancina. In the album, King Crimson alumnus Mel Collins blows the sax, and Fairport Convention’s Martin Allcock and Ric Sanders appear on a couple of tracks, and Andy Giddings completes it with Hammond organs. According to the AllMusic review: “the dominant sound is Barre’s guitars, soaring, crunching, grinding, or noodling gently, either blues or English folk tunes”, to the reviewer, the album is “a decent debut album”. “A Summer Band” was released only in limited edition.

In 2003 on his album Stage Left, Barre used an unusual electric guitar style shaped by folk/acoustic and hard rock elements. It was his first album to be released in the United States. In the album, Martin shows his style of playing with “tricky and complicated” melodies, being always “elegant, even when he’s rocking hard”.

In 2014, Martin announced that he is going to tour as an acoustic quartet (including Dan Crisp and Alan Bray) to promote Away With Words, which already was well received by the Prog Magazine, saying that in the album: “Barre has taken an imaginative approach to his own past by readdressing many of his favourite, often more obscure, nuggets from lull’s [sic] vast cache, chiefly on acoustic guitar”. Still in 2014, a new album was announced to be released in September, called Order of Play.

His best-known guitar work includes “Aqualung”, “Cross-Eyed Mary”, and “Locomotive Breath”. Barre’s signature solo on the 1971 Jethro Tull standard “Aqualung” was voted by the readers of Guitar Player magazine as one of the top rock guitar solos of all time. Also, in 2007, this solo was rated one of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos by Guitar World magazine. Still on Aqualung, Martin earned the 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK.

Dire Straits’ leader Mark Knopfler, in a 2005 interview, called Barre’s work with Ian Anderson “magical”.

Joe Bonamassa includes Martin Barre as a direct influence, especially in the blues playing of the early albums. Other guitarists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson also include Martin Barre as their influence. (by wikipedia)

AboutTheSummerBandMartin Barre about The Summer Band in 1992

This is the first official recording from Martin Barre, famous guitarist from Jethro Tull.
A compilation of live recordings from 1992, with a selection of classic blues, in great performances.
This was a limited edition, of just 1000 CDs and Cassettes, released by A New Day fanzine, through the Presshouse label, and was sold only for the subscribers of the fanzine.

I include the official _Souvenir Program from the “Jethro Tull Convention Festival” in 1992 … Listen and enjoy the other side of Martin Barre !

Recording location/date:
11 July 1992 at “The Summer Party” somewhere in Devon,
15 July 1992 at Verbeer Manor, Collumpton,
16 July 1992 at the Exeter Arts Centre,
18 July 1992 at the “Jethro Tull Convention” Milton Keynes.

Martin Barre (guitar)
Rob Darnell (percussion, harmonica, vocals)
Tom Glendinning (drums)
Craig Milverton (keyboards)
Matt Pegg (bass)
Maggie Reeday (vocals)
Joy Russell (lead vocals)
Mark Tucker (electric guitar)

01. Ain’t That Peculiar (Holland/Whitfield) 3.49
02. Too Tired (Watson/Davis/Bihari) 3.09
03. Born Under A Bad Sign (Jones/Bell) 3.05
04. One Love (Bett/Carpenter) 5.45
05. Georgia On My Mind (Carmichael/Gorrell) 4.56
06. Cold Feet (King) 2.22
07. Better Lying Down (Slick) 3.59
08. I Shot The Sheriff (Marley) 3.29
09. Barefootin’ (Parker) 3.21
10. Mustang Sally (Pickett) 4.30
11. Nutbush City Limits (Turner) 2.52
12. Faith Healer (Harvey/McKenna) 5.52


Martin Barre – Stage Left (2003)

FrontCover1“The first solo album from Jethro Tull’s legendary guitarist,” reads a back cover note, but that isn’t true. Stage Left is actually Martin Barre’s third album made up primarily of guitar-driven rock instrumentals, following Trick of Memory (1994) and The Meeting (1996). But it is the first of his albums to earn release in the U.S. Barre’s sound will be familiar to anyone who’s been listening to his playing with Jethro Tull since he joined the group in 1969. He takes a highly textured approach, playing electric rock guitar much of the time as if he was playing English folk music on an acoustic. Sometimes, of course, he is actually playing an acoustic, and then the music is steeped in tradition while also having rock trappings. Yet Barre is anything but a typical rock guitar god. He has no real interest in soloing. When he does go for a heavy rock tune such as on “Murphy’s Law,” the melody, while often tricky and complicated, is logical and strictly followed. Barre’s playing is always elegant, even when he’s rocking hard, and always sounds like it’s been worked out far in advance. Employing Jethro Tull members Jonathan Noyce and Andy Giddings, along with Darren Mooney on drums and, on the final track, “Don’t Say a Word,” Simon Burrett on vocals, Barre often recalls the sound of Jethro Tull, especially when he throws in some of his own flute playing. His music defeats the notion that the band is simply a vehicle for leader Ian Anderson, but on the other hand it can sometimes feel incomplete because one is used to hearing it married to Anderson’s voice and lyrics. (by William Ruhlmann)

Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, flute)
Simon Burrett (vocals)
Andrew Giddings (keyboards)
Darren Mooney (drums)
Jonathan Noyce (bass)

01. Count The Chickens (Barre) 2.40
02. As Told By (Barre) 3.29
03. A French Correction (Barre) 4.35
04. Murphy’s Paw (Barre) 3.50
05. Favourite Things (Barre) 4.04
06. After You, After Me (Barre) 4,34
07. D.I.Y. (Barre/Gabriel) 1.55
08. Spanish Tears (Barre) 4.32
09. Stage Fright (Barre/Robertson) 4.08
10. Winter Snowscape (Barre) 4.46
11. Nelly Returns (Barre) 3.39
12. Celestial Servings (Barre) 2.57
13. I Raise My Glass To You! (Barre) 2.06
14. Don’t Say A Word (Barre) 4.08