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NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS
27 November 1976
CHRISTMAS EP OF THE WEEK
JETHRO TULL: 'Ring Out, Solstice Bells' (Chrysalis)
Ian Anderson apparently feels we might celebrate the Winter Solstice on December 22 instead of Christmas, although that might prove less than fun. Imagine opening your packets of socks and underpants three days before everyone else. Joyless, that.
Still, Anderson has a thing about Christmas. His delightful parody of 'Once In Royal David's City' is one of the tracks on this EP, but for all its charm 'Christmas Song' perhaps offers and unnecessarily sour view of the festivities. It is, nonetheless, a Tull milestone that deserved re-release.
The title track is the one that will get the promotional push, however, and that's a little less satisfying. Anderson has resolutely refused to compromise his creative instincts over the years, but 'Ring Out, Solstice Bells' seems a touch too fussy and complicated in its arrangement to cut it as a seasonal singalong.
It's interesting to note, in the meantime, that there's been no loss of inspiration when you compare Tull's early work with their latest output, whatever the consensus view of the band among critics.
Thanks to Mike Wain for this article.