Jethro Tull Catalog Goes Digital The entire EMI Music catalog of veteran rock band Jethro Tull will make its digital release debut on March 19. Capitol/EMI’s digital campaign will premiere 29 catalog albums and a new collection, The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull. Compiled by Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull collects 24 tracks representing the band’s finest acoustic work across their 39-year career, including two new live recordings making their release debut. The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull will also be released on CD on May 8.
While Ian Anderson’s flute is one of the most recognizable trademarks of Jethro Tull’s identity, what also distinguishes Tull from most other bands is the frequent use of a vast array of acoustic instrumentation. For The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull’s tracklist, Anderson selected tracks from the band’s best-known acoustic work as well some of his own personal favorites, presenting a variety of styles, tempos and moods in chronological order, with the exception of “Jack Frost,” which was recorded in 1982, but not released until 1988.
“The dynamics and juxtaposition of electric with acoustic has been the inspiration for decades of humble fumbles,” says Anderson in The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull’s liner notes essay. “The hushed playing of an old Martin guitar or whispered flute in many a hotel and motel room (lest I annoy my fellow guest and weary traveler) seemed then and now so simple and natural.”
Many Jethro Tull songs feature acoustic instruments alongside their electric brethren. The song “Aqualung” includes extended acoustic sections delicately poised in the midst of rock riff mayhem, while on the Thick As a Brick album, there are several interlaced passages of acoustic guitar-led meanderings.
Mandolins, bouzoukis, balalaika, mouth organ, acoustic piano, harpsichord, accordion, celeste, glockenspiel, marimba, bongos, tabla, assorted kit drums and percussion, saxophones, solo violin, acoustic bass and the perhaps more obvious flutes and whistles have all made their mark on the Tull and Ian Anderson catalog. Recently, as well as historically, many instruments of the symphony orchestra have added a broader, richer color to the songs.
“The subtle slipping and sliding of humanly executed music from fretboard and keyboard are still exciting,” says Anderson. “The flute, like the violin, is never going to be perfectly in tune. But the induced expression, vibrato, tone colors and dynamics are what make it all come alive.”
The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull Track Listing:
1. “Fat Man”
2. “Life Is a Long Song”
3. “Cheap Day Return”
4. “Mother Goose”
5. “Wond’ring Aloud”
6. “Thick As a Brick (Edit No. 1)”
7. “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day”
8. “Cold Wind to Valhalla” (intro)
9. “One White Duck/0 = Nothing At All”
12. “Velvet Green”
13. “Dun Ringill”
14. “Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow”
15. “Under Wraps No. 2”
17. “Broadford Bazaar”
18. “The Water Carrier” (Ian Anderson)
19. “Set-Aside” (Ian Anderson)
20. “Rupi’s Dance” (Ian Anderson)
21. “A Christmas Song”
BONUS TRACKS (newly recorded material)
23. “One Brown Mouse” (new recording, 2007)
24. “Pastime with Good Company” (live in Denmark, 2006)