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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull is one of my favorite musicians. Been to two of his concerts in Dubai and Toronto, I have come to know him more and more over the past few years. Just regret why I didn't discover his music earlier. You never get tired of his style either...

I just saw that he has written a pretty long note about his new tours, new ear phones, new band members and for sure his unique sense of humor:

    As you might guess, my old ears have been ringing for most of the 39 years of Tull touring and, although we are far from being the loudest band in town, it has still been pretty punishing over the years. The pleasures of the many quieter shows (on stage that is – still pretty loud for the audience) which I have been doing more recently has meant no more fuzzy hearing and headaches after shows. The difficulty in hearing myself in the midst of relative cacophony has been replaced by a much nicer way of doing business with you. Kept me in better humour too as some have noticed. Not that I’m cranky or anything. Who, me?

Jethro Tull is a great band and will always be one. Hopefully they'll be back in Toronto in October again.


Posted by Winston on January 20, 2007 in Music | Permalink


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All right! Jethro Tull at the Shotgun. When Mr. Anderson mentioned, "the difficulty in hearing myself in the midst of relative cacophony", I thought for a moment he was talking about blog comments ;-)

I think it is fair to say that Jethro Tull has earned its place in the pantheon of music history. Their's was one of the first "rock concerts" I attended, almost forty years ago, in Edmonton. But I've also seen Led Zeppelin, and Santana, in Munich, and Talking Heads in London, and Grace Jones and Nina Hagen in Los Angeles, and Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Tito Puente, and Tony Bennet, in Edmonton, and I wouldn't tend to mention Jethro Tull first.

Meanwhile, the thing is, bio-acoustically speaking, you want to stay away from bangs. Booms are much less trouble. It's one thing to dance inside a twelve foot high sub-bass speaker; do the same in a tweeter and you're deaf. That's why there are both dBa and dBc metrics. That's why my dear old dad is deaf (from the guns on the HMCS Prince Robert in the Pacific campaign in WWII), and I'm not (even though I've danced inside twelve foot high woofers).

Well, I probably shouldn't get into a perpetration of interminable dissertation of periphrastic circumlocution on my preferences here, on the Western Standard's dime, but if you're interested I do have a collection of what I consider to be significant musical works, courtesy of YouTube, over at:


the upshot of which is, this is my favourite song ever:


It works great at about 100 dBa and 200 dBc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2007-01-20 2:42:01 AM

Saw Jethro Tull in Ottawa in about 1971. I could hear fine at the time. Wish I could remember better, but it was kind of smoky...

I do recall the band being onstage dressed as roadies then peeling off the coveralls as a phone call came over the PA - paging Mike Nelson. (Sea Hunt --> Aqualung. It made sense at the time) and suddenly there they were, playing.

Fine band, and definitely part of the soundtrack of the era. My vinyl version of the album had a lot of background hiss right even when it was new; the remastered CD is much better.

Posted by: Halfwise | 2007-01-20 8:48:10 AM

Jethro Tull apparently also great vision of humanity's future.

Thick as a Brick, one of my favourites.

Posted by: Set you free | 2007-01-20 12:59:59 PM


Mediocre 60s band. One of many.

Posted by: Duke | 2007-01-20 8:16:23 PM

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Posted by: Halfwise | 2007-01-20 10:50:06 PM

Just so, Halfwise. It's like arguing about the relative merits of lager and ale, or tawny and vintage, or Shropshire Blue versus Appenzeller, or whether or not to eat one's salad with an undersized fork.

Discussing, sure, but arguing: I've never understood that one. Just tell me which you prefer, and I'll try to make sure there's some in the pantry when you visit.

My only proviso is that if all one is going to do is complain all the time, as seems to be the preference of some blog commenters, then one's not going to get invited to visit in the first place ;-)

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2007-01-20 11:24:05 PM

What was the name of the band more famous than Jethro Tull that was fronted by a saxaphone player?

That could be Duke's contention with Ian Anderson.

Flutes rule.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-01-21 10:34:21 AM

As I travel through life I have discovered that you do not so much choose the music that'speaks to you'as it chooses you.
J.Tull is indeed talented,they just didn't rock hard enough for my teenage years.

Now Speller,if you were talking Jon Anderson....

Posted by: Canadian Observer | 2007-01-21 12:19:40 PM

Flutes are nice, but I must say that my favourite pipe is the 64' contra-trombone described here: http://tinyurl.com/yofgdb

You can hear the bottom 15 notes of the contra-trombone rank in Sydney, Australia, here (mp3): http://tinyurl.com/yvz32p - well actually, you can only hear the harmonics, the fundamental frequency of the sub-subcontra-C pipe is 8 Hertz, and you can't hear that.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2007-01-21 3:54:44 PM

You and I had an exchange about cheese many months ago on some forum or another, and I will attest to the consistency of your message from then till now. It's good to talk about what is interesting and why it's interesting to us individually.

If there are topics of fact, rather than taste, then of course standards of truth must carry the day.

And if there are topics of wisdom, let the discussion multiply.

These forums are more engaging when ducal posters don't flourish smug pronouncements as if to say "this finishes the topic, peasants."

Posted by: Halfwise | 2007-01-21 9:15:37 PM

I wish you guys would speak plain English. You come across as elitist twits when you talk down to the rest of us.

Tull's edge was that he hummed or sang while he played the flute creating a larger and more sultry sound.

It was as though he wanted his flute to sound like something more than a flute ... more like an angry voice or even a saxophone .. who knows for sure.

His music was average for the time.

And by the way ... the Rolling Stones haven't improved their musical ability if fifty years, yet they are worshiped.

None of this is about music, it's about politics.

Posted by: Duke | 2007-01-22 9:39:31 AM


Grab your favorite CD,put on your headphones,lay back..........and relax.


Posted by: Canadian Observer | 2007-01-22 10:22:03 AM

I was just ribbing you, Duke.
The flautists name is Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull is just the 17th century agriculturalist(inventor of the seed drill) whom they named their band after.

Before the band became famous they changed their name often because they were fired out of many venues, where they had been booked, for being so bad.

Yes, this is a political blog.
The whole thread, though, is supposed to be a lark.
Maybe I am wrong.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-01-22 10:36:40 AM

Duke is entreating us to eschew obfucification in our missives.
All them hi-falutin' words is makin' him feel

Posted by: Anon | 2007-01-22 10:39:35 AM

You are all ageing yourselves dreadfully.

Next thing you know you will be shouting out just how sexy Buffy was back in the olden days... and how Janis sound rocked your world.

The Rolling Stones have always been way too gruff for my liking. And now they are The Senior Stones.... likened to the new movie dubbed Senior Balboa!

I prefer "Velvet Underground" as one of the oldies, and some of the more modern rock bands, who can actually play and sing at the same time....

Posted by: Lady | 2007-01-22 1:33:44 PM


What are you talking about?

Posted by: Lady | 2007-01-22 3:21:27 PM

For those of you who aren't perpetually petulant, here is a short clip of Jethro Tull from the The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus event in 1968. This concert is the only footage of Black Sabbath guitarst Tony Iommi performing as a member of Jethro Tull: http://youtube.com/watch?v=MDUT_BFjd_o

Also, for Lady, since I take requests, here's some rare footage of Velvet Underground working on developing their first album, in 1967: http://youtube.com/watch?v=kMqwQ4pWw_o

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2007-01-22 4:21:32 PM

What I meant was that Music is mostly about politics. It is the expressing of the views of the artist(term used loosely).

Most artists are political because they tend to hitch their careers to government largess. Ask Rick Mercer. Or those plump soft mediocre Bare naked Ladies.

Most of the the money wasted on so-called Canadian talent ... you know the one's with not enough talent to flee to the USA, comes from the left. The artists knows this.

The reason is because the left is very easily amused ... you know like cats with string n stuff.

Posted by: Duke | 2007-01-23 12:16:20 AM

I certainly am not in favour of the state funding mediocre artists willy nilly, Duke, but that is not a sin against art per se. For example, to the best of my knowledge, neither of these artists has been significantly state funded:

"Slave to the Rhythm" by Grace Jones

"New York New York" by Nina Hagen

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2007-01-23 12:30:23 AM

Tull were never average or Mediocre. One of the truly unique bands that had their own sound. High musicianship and interesting arrangements not to mention mature lyrics.

Their switch from styles between albums was as dramatic as their instrumentation.

Maybe not everyone's cup of tea but without doubt original.

Sadly, Ian Anderson isn't floating my boat these days with his current direction. At least we have the memories & the albums.

Posted by: Mix | 2007-02-03 8:08:31 AM

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