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 Jethro Tull-A Passion Play

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Easy Target
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PostSubject: Jethro Tull-A Passion Play   Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:52 pm

It's strange to me that when discussing Thick As A Brick, it's always mentioned that it was intended to be something of a spoof of prog rock, stretching all the tropes of the genre to ridiculous heights. The fact that it became a classic of the genre in its own right speaks to how incredibly talented Ian Anderson is.
But what I find strange is that almost nobody discusses its follow up, A Passion Play, in the same terms. It seems incredibly unlikely that it was ALSO intended to be a satire, even though the formula makes comparisons inevitable (one album-length conceptual song split into two parts, released immediately afterward). And also, it seems largely forgotten or generally disliked, but that might just be because it is so closely tied with its superior predecessor.

So I'd just like to hear some opinions on this album, because honestly I enjoy it almost as much as Thick As A Brick, and Part 1 is essentially flawless from start to finish. I like the greater emphasis on brass instrumentation, the whole piece feels more jazz-influenced than TAAB. Also, while the lyrics aren't as poetically ornate, they do succeed in telling a much more concise story. Also, having Jeffrey Hammond take on a fairly large vocal role on the wonderfully random introduction of the second half is enough to set the piece apart from most of Tull's catalog ( plus who could forget his immortal "and your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George!").

It's not perfect, there are definitely some moments on the second half where it feels a bit drawn out for its own sake, and the end is really quite anticlimactic. Still, for being what I imagine was a more genuine attempt to play in this style than its predecessor, I think it's a wonderfully enjoyable album, one that deserves some re-evaluation from critics.
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chewie

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PostSubject: Re: Jethro Tull-A Passion Play   Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:18 pm

This is actually my favorite Tull album. I also like the fact that he dumps the flute for the sax which makes the opening song sound a little like Gentle Giant. I made a different mix of the song/album where I cut the amusing tale out and just played the Play straight through.

I have listened to this way more than TAAB. In fact, as soon as I started reading your post one of the sections started playing in my head. When my daughter was younger and I had to drive to go pick her up in San Jose(from Sacramento) this was played in the car (It usually turned into a family trip). My younger boy, who is in his teens now, still sings about The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles!

I think that it's a great album that just got a bad rap back then. Why? I don't know......
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Akeldama
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PostSubject: Re: Jethro Tull-A Passion Play   Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:09 pm

Honestly, I pretty much burned myself out on Tull back in my early 20s and rarely listen to them but I may have to jam TAAB and APP and see.
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S.D.
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PostSubject: Re: Jethro Tull-A Passion Play   Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:02 pm

It was actually one of the last Jethro Tull albums I added to my collection so I haven't lived with it quite as long. The recent Steven Wilson remix gives track IDs to all the shorter segments which let me kind of study it piecemeal. That reissue also includes all the Chateau D'saster tapes (or whatever the spelling is) so everything is finally collected in one place, in much improved sound.

I really like the album, I'm not sure if it's quite as powerful of a record as TAAB overall but damn it's good. The saxophone carried over to the Warchild sessions as well.


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