The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album is a tasteful 16-track collection with a few brand new nuggets, revisited holiday-flavored Tullian treats from the past, and a handful of traditional Christmas hymns to keep the festivities flowing. "Birthday Card At Christmas," "Last Man At The Party," and "First Snow On Brooklyn" are among the glorious fresh additions to Ian Anderson's hefty cache. There are also a bevy of instrumentals to go around including Mendelssohn's "Holly Herald," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (a jazzed-up take on "Bourée”), Gabriel Fauré's "Pavane," and guitarist Martin Barre's excellent acoustic piece, "A Winter Snowscape." Even though "We Five Kings" sounds vaguely similar to "Living In The Past," much of the CD is actually reminiscent of the Songs From The Wood/Heavy Horses period of the late 70s. Such were the days when Tull were awash in mandolins, acoustic guitars, flutes and accordions.
Coincidentally, three songs from those albums have been re-recorded for this disc. Other reworked Tull Christmas classics include "Bourée" (from 1969's Stand Up), "A Christmas Song" (from 1972's Living In The Past), "Another Christmas Song" (from 1989's Rock Island) and "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow" (from 1988's 20 Years Of Jethro Tull box set). In the spirit of spending the holidays with family, the core Tull line-up (Anderson, Barre, keyboardist Andrew Giddings, drummer Doane Perry and bassist Jonathan Noyce) is joined by former bassist Dave Pegg, who strums a little mandolin, and drummer James Duncan, who happens to be Anderson's son. "If you like 'Bourée' and Songs From The Wood, you'll love this album," Anderson writes in the liner notes. You can't get a more credible testimonial than that.
~ Shawn Perry