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6 May-19 May 1982
(Issue no. 15)


Jethro Tull
'The Broadsword And The Beast'

(Chrysalis CDL 1380)

I've never been able to get to grips with Jethro Tull. All that folk music and what-have-you. So I approached this latest offering from Ian Anderson's mob with more than a little scepticism.

An elfin Tull leering malevolently from the cover surrounded by Tolkienesque hieroglyphics didn't exactly do much to allay my fears. But, with former Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith at the production boards (a departure for the normally self-produced Tull) the folk element is played right down and the harder side of the group's music becomes apparent. Nothing on this album could be realistically termed heavy metal but it slips into a broad-based hard rock niche quite happily.

'Beastie', the opening track, comes on good and hard and is easily the side's best number. The rest of the songs don't quite match up to the power of this strange ditty to secret fears.

With 'Broadsword' Anderson unfolds a 'Sword & Sorcery' epic and is duly given the full Cecil B. deMille production job by Samwell-Smith. This side closes with a silly slice of hokum called 'Cheerio', basically just an excuse to play some flute (and why not?). In between are the romantic 'Pussy Willow' and 'Sealdriver' and the slightly menacing 'Watching Me, Watching You'. I've got no sour words for any of them. They are ignorable, easy-listening or moving, emotional pieces of composition depending on how much attention you are prepared to give.

If you're a fan, buy it, it may have some pleasant surprises. If, like me, you're not, borrow it from someone who is. You might be surprised too.