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17 January 1970

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Jethro Tull: The Witch's Promise / Teacher (Chrysalis)

The new decade hasn't exactly got off to an inspiring start in the singles market, but the return of Jethro should help reverse the backward-looking charts. This new one, a double A-sider, could be a signpost to 70's singles in other ways besides the music — both sides, giving almost 9 minutes of material, are in stereo and it's being sold in a colour sleeve.

'The Witch's Promise' is a Jethro I can't remember on record before. Slower and less rhythmic than previous singles, it is mainly a vehicle for the lyrics and distinctive vocals of Ian Anderson who, needless to say, wrote both sides.

It opens in a short flute passage with a fine Martin Barre acoustic guitar taking over to subtly highlight Ian's vocal. Typical rhythmic Jethro breaks link the verses with piano and strings emerging effectively as it progresses.

'Teacher' is more the Jethro we know; more rhythmic; more a group number. A surprise is the use for the first time of organ, and it blends extremely well. I loved too the use of guitars, intricate and overlaid, and the compulsive riff pushing it along. Also the powering instrumental ending.

'Teacher' for me just gets the edge, but either way this could carry Jethro to their first No.1.



Many thanks to Glenn Cornick for this article