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10 April 1971
Jethro Tull: Aqualung
(Chrysalis ILPS 9145)
There are two qualities in particular that make this album Jethro's finest: taste and variety, neither of which were present in such abundance in their work before. The material ranges from gentle love songs — 'Wond'ring Aloud' — to the percussive rock cuts like 'Locomotive Breath' with others in between like 'Mother Goose', an old English flavoured song, cutely phrased and unusually delivered. Even in 'Locomotive Breath' and 'Wind Up', the other heavy track, there's light and shade with John Evan's piano introductions providing a contrast to what follows.
Produced by Ian Anderson, who wrote all the selections with the exception of the title track lyrics written by his wife, and manager Terry Ellis, the whole album has been handled tastefully. David Palmer's orchestrations on 'Wond'ring Aloud' and 'Slipstream'; Martin Barre's guitar licks on 'My God'; Anderson's flute fills and the varying echoey effects on 'Aqualung' are all interesting but never intrude. Anderson's acoustic guitar work is another revelation: he has no pretensions of greatness in this department, but he does the job admirably and the five members of the group are a very solid unit now.
From the packaging to the music it contains, this album is a complete work and this is from a group who were considered basically a live act. They improve every time out.