Minstrel in The Gallery - last really great Jethro Tull album ?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Baron Von Talbot, Aug 12, 2009.

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  1. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Minstrel In The Gallery was actually the last Jethro Tull LP I bought, when it came out. After Deep Purple and Black Sabbath this was the third group that really hit me hard with AQUALUNG. That album was pure magic and the lyrics, artwork etc. impressed me enormousely. Then came Thick as a Brick, same amount of greatness and I discovered the back catalogue. Today i think their best song is A New Day Yesterday . heard that today on an iTunes shuffle adventure..
    A Passion Play left me a bit colder already and I passed on Living In The Past.
    By the mid 70ies - 1975 to be exact I was nearly beyond Jethro Tull and Deep Purple musiclly anyway, but I ordered MIG by mail order and liked what i heard. The only let down was the muddy sound of the cheap pressing i received for 11.99 DM or something.

    So i was happy to get a good sounding CD copy of this very album for the first time last week and oh man what a revelation! I didn't even know there was a string section involved. The acoustic guitar and vocals are sounding so brilliant. Magic engineering, just brilliant overall... Don't know how they got that recordings to sound that good, but somehow they managed and it is not even a special gold disc or something... a regular priced copy ...
    I like both Heavy Horses and Songs From The Wood also, but never owned a copy of those albums myself.
    So that brings me to that thought - the last strike of fresh inspiration, from 1 to 10 (plus 2 live bonus trax) all songs are good ? Cold Wind To Valhalla, and the long Baker Street Muse being the highlights on a superficial listening session. No filler in sight....
    Let's hear it...
  2. Dr. Bogenbroom

    Dr. Bogenbroom I'm not a Dr. but I play one on SteveHoffman.TV

    Anchor Point
    Hear critiques of Minstrel In The Gallery? Or hear whether or not it was the last really great album?

    The last REALLY GREAT as in start to finish pure awesomeness is saved for Heavy Horses. :D

    As far as Minstrel, well what can I say? It's one of my favorite of Tulls. I find Black Satin Dancer to be wearisome from time to time and I can even grow tired of the title track. Those two songs don't stand up too well under days of repeated listenings but the rest of the tracks do for me. I'll counter your two highlights with my own - One White Duck / 010 = Nothing At All and Grace :cheers:
  3. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    Nevada, USA
    Minstrel In The Gallery is my favorite Tull recording, but it did take awhile to grow on me. Ian was in peak form vocally, and Martin unleashed some great stinging solo guitar throughout. I wish Steve could remaster this one.

    I do think Tull achieved this level of greatness one more time with Songs From The Wood. Heavy Horses isn't too far behind.
    CrombyMouse likes this.
  4. McGruder

    McGruder Eternal Musicphile

    I liked everything up to Songs From the Wood (yes, even Passion Play with the Hare that Lost its Spectacles), except for Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die. For me, Songs From the Wood was a really strong record. I still remember how fresh it sounded when it first came out. I especially like the tunes Velvet Green, Hunting Girl, and Pibroch (cap in hand). Some really good work by Martin Barre on that record. Heavy Horses was good too, but was a cut below everything before it.

    I also have the LP Stormwatch and A somewhere, but haven't really listened to them in years. I like the live release A Little Light Music a lot.
  5. McGruder

    McGruder Eternal Musicphile

    You guys are right on target with the best tunes on Minstrel :cheers:
  6. KLM

    KLM Senior Member

    I love Minstrel In The Gallery. Funny, I went into the music library the other day to see if I wanted to add any of the 90's Tull I have in my collection to my Ipod. While not as great of an album, I like Crest of A Knave and think it's the last good album from them.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al Senior Member

    Long Island, NY
    I also would vote for Heavy Horses as the last great Tull album. No Lullaby is a good example of Tull dabbling in prog...

    Funny, I never warmed up much to Minstrel (although it's a good album; just not a great one IMHO). A lot of it may have to do with the lousy sounding US vinyl which seems muddy and compressed (I even bought a second copy about 2 years ago, and it sounds about the same). I think side 1 works fairly well, but Baker Street Muse dominating the second side kills the album for me. It seems like a collection of disjointed songs, none of them weighty enough to stand on their own. and kind of clumsily thrown together.

    Minstrel is light years better than Too Old to Rock n' Roll anyway.
  8. Meng

    Meng Forum Resident

    I love the album, and the title track is my favourite Tull track.
  9. Geoman076

    Geoman076 Sealed vinyl is Fun!!

    Minstrel also has a special place in my heart. If you're a vinyl guy, track down a UK copy. Spectacular!!
  10. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    Great Tull album, but no, Songs from the Wood was the last great Tull album.
  11. user19351

    user19351 Active Member

    I think this is one of the best Tull records...easily in my top 5 Tull.

    Last great Tull record? Hmmm. Songs from the Wood is very good, as is Heavy Horses, though not as good as Minstrel IMHO. I also really enjoyed Crest of a Knave, though the opening track is a bit dated with the busy electronic work. It was certainly a nice return to form after Under Crap, er, I mean Under Wraps.
  12. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    I agree with those who say "Songs From The Wood" is the last great Jethro Tull album.
    Minstrel, however, is my favorite.
  13. RussellG

    RussellG Forum Resident

    Another vote for Heavy Horses as the last great Tull album. However the previous album Songs from the Wood is even better.
    CrombyMouse likes this.
  14. In a way I agree. Though there are some really good ones later than that too. MiG also holds a special place in my heart as the last album from the REALLY classic Jethro Tull mark II (the Abrahams line-up cannot honestly be compared - apples and oranges). Because David Palmer is still relegated to his role as string arranger, and here he is sublime!! Once he will get into the band as co-keyboardist, these little string boxes and synths begin to appear to replace some string sections and change the sound of the group quite dramatically (...and sometime annoyingly, to my taste!). And because this is the farewell album of Jeffrey. Some will say that he exerted an influence as an artsy-weirdy person who happened to be a close friend to IA. This is probably true. But to me he is also a TERRIFIC unsung bass player! Not a virtuoso, just a great, great player, with exquisite tone - listen to how his sound builds up so cleanly and efficiently in Black Satin Dancer... never a micro-second too long or too short... And in the instrumental section of the title track, he rocks!!

    I also appreciate this album a lot because IA, in a midst of a separation (or a divorce I am not sure), opens his heart and speaks of things personal (a little bit like on Benefit, another one of my top faves), instead of hiding behind characters and mythos. His prose in this respect reminds me a lot of Joni Mitchell's. ...And those vintage acoustic Martin guitar tones are awesome!!
    CrombyMouse likes this.
  15. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    +1 one for Songs being the last great, essential Tull long-player...:love: though I love it a bit less now then when I was a huge Tull head... :angel:

    But I pretty much agree with all that McGruder said above regarding these records and their rankings, only 2O2RnR is a dud through 77... After that its a patchy-mess... :winkgrin:

    I'd rank them 'early peak years' gems thusly:

    Living In The Past (72) early comp.
    Benefit (70)
    Thick as a Brick (72)
    Stand Up (69)
    Minstrel in the Gallery (75)
    Aqualung (71)
    Passion Play (73)
    Songs From The Wood (77)
    Warchild (74)
    This Was

  16. Marvin

    Marvin Forum Resident

    Minstrel was when I stopped buying Tull albums. I like the title track but not much else.

    To me, the last really great Tull album was Aqualung.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Baker Street Muse is probably my favorite Tull track at the moment. Been listening to tons of tull this month and having the best time with it all. A fave artist of mine since growing up with my Thick as a Brick 8 track...:eek: so it was in 4 parts.

    Heavy Horses closes the book for me, but I do happen to LOVE this 1992 live recording and highly recommend it.

  18. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    No love for Thick or Passion....

    Funny, the title track is maybe my least fave on Minstrel, the epic and brooding Baker Street Muse and the sublime One White Duck both float my boat much more than that bombastic title track... Ever Summerday Sands, that sweet B-side makes me smile more than all of side one of Minstrel, although I do like a few of them hearty mid-tempo proggish-rockers... :winkgrin:

    To each his own Tull then.... :righton: :wave:

  19. TimB

    TimB Pop, Rock and Blues for me!

    The last one I really liked was Catfish Rising.

    Between Songs From the Woods and it was a bit hit and miss. Some I like others were just blah. I always felt Catfish Rising was the last great Tull album, it really rocked.
  20. Scope J

    Scope J Senior Member

    I used to love Minstrel ,
    but played it way,way too much
    on my last real Tull kick ,
    twenty odd years ago ,
    have not much love
    for Aqualung these days
    either , my current Tull
    faves , by far , Stand Up
    & Benefit .
    Last really great album
    Benefit .
  21. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    That is why you need this fine 2002 remaster on Chrysalis . http://www.discogs.com/Jethro-Tull-Minstrel-In-The-Gallery/release/755483
    For the first time you can hear the music the way it was meant to sound = the strings sound like from a classical LP, the guitar sounds superb and the voice is clear like never ever before.
    Plus you get Bonus Trax formerly only released as a 7" EP
    http://www.discogs.com/Jethro-Tull-...st-Christmas-Song-Pan-Dance-EP/release/476740 and another 4 songs you can only find on the 5 LP box set 20 years of JT,,

    This is really a great CD and one of the few real valuable remasters, that actually give you much more than the LP did.
    Doubt Steve could make this sound much better - he could try though...LOl
  22. Parkertown

    Parkertown Tawny Port

    Cold Wind To Valhalla rocks my world! :agree:

    Some intenseness from Barriemore Barlow... :edthumbs:
  23. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    and we laid together upon summerday sands...

    Minstrel has a moody introspective intensity which is lacking, or at least absent, from the other Tull offerings before and after it, which makes it unique. Ian has himself said he felt it too personal an album, but, I for one, like the imtimacy and personal passion play-like existenital angst of 'stray dogs' like PigMe and the Whore...OWD 010=NAA, Black Dancer, etc... There are precious too few Tull tracks like these, Anderson at his Most Harperesque, him being also from 'Up The Pool' and a big early influence on his style, see Flat Baroque and Berserk etc...These ingredients is what make Minstrel to special and maybe oddly divisive at time, deep ending on what one owns of a state of mind and expectations upon spree lease... Nespa?

  24. bhazen

    bhazen Yes, this IS a Beatles forum.

    While I favour other Tull albums (Benefit, Aqualung, Living In The Past) if someone unfamiliar were to ask me what album was the most representative of Tull's long and illustrious career, I'd say Minstrel with no hesitation. It's the precise moment where their proggy tendencies were brought into balance with a latent English/Celtic folk influence, and a stonker to boot. It's actually gained lustre over the years in my estimation; in fact I just listened to it yesterday, and the side two tracks in particular sounded pretty great. The title track in particular is taut, powerful and musically rewarding.

    IMO, the remastered CD is the way to go.
  25. Todd W.

    Todd W. It's a Puggle

    Well, I guess I am one of the few who think Stormwatch was the last really good Tull album. I think Orion, Flying Dutchman, Somethings on the Move and Dun Ringill are all good songs. It seems to be kind of a dark album and an environmental theme. I saw this tour in 1979, I believe, with the big stage and ship. I think it was the last time Tull did such an elaborate show. I also just graduated high school and the album and show had a big influence on me.
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