REVIEW: Jethro Tull’s “The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull”

Jethro Tull are one of those bands over the years that longtime fans will always find endearing. Turn on the radio, and you will generally hear the songs known for their powerful riffs, be it “Aqualung” or “Cross-Eyed Mary”. But the diehard Tull fans know that some of the best songs are the ones that don’t get much recognition, those album tracks that meant listening to an album and consuming it in full.

Tull fans also know that along with those powerful riffs, you also have the lighter, acoustic side, and this new compilation caters to those rootsier moments.

The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull proves that even when they lowered the electricity, Jethro Tull, or more specifically singer/songwriter Ian Anderson, were more than capable of creating powerful and intense songs. If you are a fan of the lighter side, you’ll be happy to know this features such songs as “Mother Goose”, “Wond’ring Aloud”, “Fat Man”, “Life Is A Long Song”, and “Cheap Day Return”. The full “Thick As A Brick”, in its original form, was spread over two sides (that’s vinyl speak for you non-analog types) clocking in at a little over 40 minutes. Plus the album cover unfolded to a mock-newspaper. On this CD you get a mere four minute “intro”, but this was one of many ways it received radio airplay, and is a small but nice hint of what’s to come for those who want to embrace the full song/album.

The album, compiled and selected by Ian Anderson himself, features what he calls crowd favorites, along with songs that may have been ignored over the years. These include selections from albums when Jethro Tull immersed themselves in folk music goodness, which did turn some fans off (they started out as an electric blues band, after all, with a frontman played the flute on one leg). In retrospect, not many bands could pull it off well, that’s the key word: “well“. Hard rock and progressive rock went into many different directions in the 1970’s, and while none of the bands would consider themselves as “leaders of the movement”, Jethro Tull managed to make it through the trends and changes. The CD may also work for those who feel they have matured beyond the heaviness, and may want to enjoy the band’s acoustic side instead. The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull is one perspective of this band’s exciting career, and a perfect primer for new fans who may want different introduction to what they’re about.