Jethro Tull
Songs from the Wood


4.0
excellent

Review

by vanderb0b USER (63 Reviews)
August 1st, 2010 | 70 replies | 11,505 views


Release Date: 1977 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A welcome change in sound results in a refreshing and uplifting album marred by some dull melodies and a tendency to meander.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

It’s nice to have places like the English countryside. Amidst the frantic noise and disorganized confusion of modern life, knowing that such calm, tranquil places still remain brings much solace. Instead of looming, hulking buildings, hurrying cars, and seas of people haphazardly rushing to get somewhere, there are serene fields, small, still cottages, and lush forests. Never, unlike in cities, is there an air of hostility or haste, but rather there is a perennial peacefulness and placidity. After releasing Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young To Die! (which was swiftly devoured and maimed by ravenous critics), Jethro Tull’s frontman, Ian Anderson, was finally able to escape to the countryside, which led to the release of the folky Songs From The Wood, his most pleasant and pretty composition thus far.
Let me bring you songs from the wood,
to make you feel much better than you could know.
From those first words, phlegmatically sung a capella, one can tell that Songs From The Wood is certainly different from Jethro Tull’s previous effort, the loud, rowdy Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young To Die!. It’s quite obvious that the band was always inspired by folk music, but never before has this influence manifested itself to such an extent. The lively minstrel, Ian Anderson, sings melodies that would not seem out of place in an Elizabethan court, accompanied by lovely flute leads and delightful acoustic guitar play only helps to conjure up images of forests and meadows. Although Songs From The Wood does show Jethro Tull going in a more acoustic-oriented direction, guitarist Martin Barre makes sure that his input remains significant, as his soaring riffs and solos can be often seen intertwining with Anderson’s acoustic guitar or flute. Lyrically, the album also is more woodsy, as the songs now speak of things like fireplaces and aimless trips through woodlands, a sharp contrast to Anderson’s ancient musings on London life and bitter attacks on organized religion.

Indeed, Jethro Tull seem to be in their natural element playing folk-rock, and so Songs From The Wood is their most unforced album in years. Not only does it never feel like the band struggles to sound genuine and sincere, but it is irrefutable that Anderson and co. truly enjoy playing this bright, cheerful music (something that can’t be said about a large amount of the Tull discography).

While parts of Songs From The Wood show Jethro Tull at their most adventurous, experimenting with beautiful orchestration and innumerable tempo and mood changes, much of the songwriting comes across as immature. Compositions such as the forgettable Ring Out Solstice Bells only manage to meander and overstay their welcome and, while certainly pretty, many of the melodies simply aren’t particularly interesting or enthralling.

Songs From The Wood is (not without reason) the first Jethro Tull album in ages that received a noteworthy amount of positive feedback from professional critics. Happy that for the first time in years, one of their albums was well received, Jethro Tull would continue down this direction with their next two albums, Heavy Horses and the underwhelming Stormwatch. With their next release, the compositions would become more concise and would nearly never descend into aimless drivel, as they often tend to do here. As such, while certainly worthy of a purchase, Songs From The Wood cannot be recommended with the same fervor as its successor.

3.8/5

Recommended Songs
The Whistler
Hunting Girl
Jack In The Green
Velvet Green



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user ratings (207)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
vanderb0b
August 1st 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Part 4 of the Jethro Tull discography, surprised this didn't have a review yet. This was the hardest one to write yet.

scissorlocked
August 1st 2010



3508 Comments


this is a great review.maybe I need to check this out.

a pos for you

Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

vanderb0b
August 1st 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, man. I'd definitely suggest that you check this out, or at the least the recommended songs.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2010



5918 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ vanderb0b

congrats man, this is one of my all-time favorite prog rock albums.

Pos'd.



Edit: and thanks for the tip regarding Heavy Horses, because i see it all the time at my local record store and always hesitate to purchase it.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

Jethro42
August 1st 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review is a very good read as always, vanderb0b. I've noticed few typing mistakes;
in 3rd paragraph,
- 'Jethro Tull seem to be
- '...their most unforced album album
Finally, in the last sentence: '.. the same fervor as its successor.
Who would have thought that one day, the french guy that I am, would make corrections in English ; )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faj9z71Ji9Y
This link is 'Hunting Girl' from 'Bursting Out'. Enjoyyy!!!


vanderb0b
August 1st 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks!

@Voivod
If you liked this, I'm pretty sure you'll love Horses, it's much better.

@Jethro
Thanks, man! I wrote this incredibly tired, so despite my proofreading, it seems that some mistakes remained. You're English has gotten much better lately, you write better than many/most native speakers. The video is great, Bursting Out is awesome.

Jethro42
August 1st 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh!..Thanks a bunch, bro, I'm flattered. But keep in mind I still need Nagrarok to correct, trim and/or enhance my 'ProgJect' reviews.

cinaedus
August 1st 2010



26298 Comments


parts of Songs Form The Wood


fix that. good review though. i'm liking this JT discography



Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

vanderb0b
August 1st 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Jethro
When writing that comment I actually forgot about the ProgJect reviews (they're great, btw) and I was referring to your comments.

@Lakes
Thanks!

Jethro42
August 1st 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you for the compliments vanderb0b, buddy. My English is improving day after day with you all sputnikers, and it's pretty cool to have that sort of feed-back. Mucho appreciato maing!

vanderb0b
August 1st 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Sputnik also really helped me with my English, my writing is infinitely better now.

shindip
August 1st 2010



3536 Comments


funny, yesterday I was wondering when someone would review this

HenchmanOfSanta
August 1st 2010



1852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The title track from this is awesome. Only other song I know is the Whistler (meh).

Jethro42
August 1st 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'Ring out, Solstice Bells' is the only one I use to skip here.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2011



19993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent album, I love every song on here except 'Ring out, Solstice Bells'.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2011



5918 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haven't listened to this in quite a while.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2011



19993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Velvet Green is my favourite off here at the moment.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2012



19993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

LET ME BRING YOU SONGS FROM THE WOOD

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2012



1846 Comments


Yet another great jethro tull album, this time focussing more on the folk rock side of things, but it makes for an essential addition to anyone's progressive rock catalogue.

Digging: Black Anvil - Hail Death

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2012



19993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. Awesome album.



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