Released in 1971, this is one of the few progressive-rock albums that made its way to the Top Ten. I cannot find ways to describe the power of this album. When you put this album on and listen to it, it is almost as if you can feel the barrage of all of the instruments clashing together. The dark guitar riffs clashing with the droaning sound of the keyboard encompassing Anderson's Voice that soon goes into flute leads and solos that are so powerful that you can hear Anderson pounding out the high notes as fast as he possibly can while trying to breathe.
This album created a few singles that still receive considerable airplay today. The singles were "Locomotive Breath", "Cross-Eyes Mary", and the title track. In the 70s Jethro Tull were a big Arena act. This album is what caught the attention of many of their fans. Another reason why this album was so important because in this album Jethro Tull challenges the values of organized religion in their songs.
- The most recognizable part of this song is the dark guitar riff. The acoustic guitar playing is excellent and flows with the song perfectly under Anderson's voice. The best part of this song is the guitar solo: It speeds up the song one last time until the acoustic chorus begins again. This is probably the darkest song on the record. This is a great song but not one of my favorite.
2. Cross-Eyed Mary
- The flute intro gives a very ambient feel to the song but it develops into a harder rock song as the flute climaxes and leads into the song. The song has a pretty catchy chorus with heavily distorted guitar. The Interlude in the song starts with a flute solo and switches to a guitar solo. This is one of my favorites on the record.
3. Cheap Day Return
- This is a very short song that has a great double acoustic guitar line. It is very folky sounding and the singing in it is great. This song is really just a transition from the two harder sounding songs to the acoustic Mother Goose that follows this song. I love Anderson's voice in this song, His singing in this song is very uplifting.
4. Mother Goose
- The acoustic rhythms in this song are great as well as Anderson's voice which has great harmony with the band at the chorus. The chorus is the best part of the song, but the flute fills are excellent. This is one of the folk songs on the record. Cheap Day Return is more of an intro to Mother Goose.
5. Wond'ring Aloud
- Another great acoustic song. The piano and string accompaniment in this song is excellent as well as the lyrics about the one he loves. This song is depressing and uplifting at the same time. One of my favorites.
6. Up To Me
- This song has a great line that the piano, guitar, flute, and bass follow. The electric guitar fills are great as well as the acoustic rhythms. In this song Anderson's voice rambles and then goes into a bluesy yell which is great.
7. My God
- The song starts with classical guitar playing which switches to a Minor Key. The lyrics in this song are very provacative, I'm not going to sit here and recite them to you so listen to the album. The song changes to somewhat of a chant from the Middle ages under very heavy flute playing under the piano. The guitar riff is dark and excellent. This is My favorite song on the record because it is such a different rock song, everything about the song is from what I usually listen to.
8. Hymn 43
- A great guitar riff and solo. This song speaks of the corruption of Christians and people who use Jesus' name for the wrong reasons. The piano seems to stand out to me the most in this song for some reason.
- The Lyrics in this song seem to be the deepest out of all of the songs on this album. The violin goes great with the song as well as the melodic classical guitar. The strings kind of move up and down giving almost a siren sound as the song comes to an end.
10. Locomotive Breath
- An excellent piano introduction which moves into an electric guitar accompaniment. Then the song finally heightens and the band goes into full blow. The flute solo is probably the best and fastest flute playing on this album and that I have ever heard in my life. This is probably the most heard song on the radio off of this album because it is the most "radio-friendly" song on the album.
11. Wind Up
- This is the final song on the album and also the conclusion to the stories which have been told on this album. It explains the way he was raised and what he was taught to believe. In then explains what Anderson's vision of God is. The song starts off as a slow song and then finally climbs up to a very heavy part of the song as Anderson explains what kind of God he believes in. His God is "Not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays".
If you are a heavy believer in Organized Christianity then maybe you won't like this album becuase it makes you question some things about the way it is practiced. Overall this album is excellent. It has some great playing and some great storytelling. Overall I give this album a 5/5. To those who haven't listened to this album yet, Enjoy!