The Golden Age of Jethro Tull

This site is about the early years of Jethro Tull- the first ten years or so.  The recordings on their first 10 or thereabout albums exemplify the band’s most  important songs. We’re talking the high flying 60’s and 70’s when so much great music was in the air.  Sure, Tull has put out over 20 records over the years plus some Ian Anderson solo efforts, so  points for the prodigeous output.  And of course we can’t neglect the yearly and sometimes twice yearly tours  when we could enjoy the band in the flesh.  Yes, lots more to appreciate than just the early stuff, but it all can’t be great, so we highlight here the bands most compelling records.  Many beloved by millions of fans.   For this we are grateful; the unique, forceful, thoughtful, theatrical, and hardly ever boring music of a little band from Blackpool.

Editors note: This site is much less dull if while here, you play the music provided herein.

 

Song: click to hear

      01 My Sunday Feeling

Smoking Section

Here we light up the first three j.tull records, This Was (’68), Standup (’69) and Benefit (’70). Arguably the bands best efforts to some fans, given the blues influence of the first record, and the confident melody making and sure handed lyrical offerings in the next two. Is Stand Up or Benefit their best record? Surely of the early ones, but of all time? Go ahead, have a smoke with Ian, carry on the debate, take a trip back in time to the late 60’s, that seminal era of early rock ‘n roll. Sample a few tracks herein from those heady early days and enjoy the exuberance and originality of a truly unique band with millions of (mostly older) fans worldwide.

Hyde Park Festival, June 29, 1968, plus other photos from the early days.

This Was Players

Ian Anderson-vocals, guitar, flute
Mick Abrahams-lead guitar
Clive Bunker-drums
Glenn Cornick-bass

This Was Song List-1968

My Sunday Feeling
Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine For You
Beggar’s Farm
Move On Alone
Serenade To A Cuckoo
Dharma For One
It’s Breaking Me Up
Cat’s Squirrel
A Song for Jeffrey
Round

My Sunday Feeling (1968)

My Sunday feeling is coming over me.
Now that the night is over
got to clear my hed so I can see.
Till I get to put together
will that old feeling won’t let me be.

Won’t somebody tell me where I laid my head last night?
I really don’t remember
but with one more cigarette, I think I might.
Till I get to put together
well that old feeling can’t get me right.

Need some assistance. Have you listened to what I said?
Oh, I don’;t feel so good.
Need someone to help me to my bed.
Till I get to put together
that old feeling is in my head.

Song: click to hear

      09 A Song For Jeffrey

Why The Name Jethro Tull?

“The problem is if you’re selling a new band to a club owner, the only thing you could offer him apart from a 10×8 photograph, which we didn’t have, was the name. Ian said he’d leave it up to us to find a name that promoters liked.” “We had a booker at the agency called Dave Robson. One Monday morning he suggested the name Jethro Tull. Dave had heard the name on a radio program.”
-Terry Ellis, Manager

“I am sure we would have changed our name again after we found out who Jethro Tull was (a 17th century agriculturist). It just so happened that week was when John Gee, the manager of the Marquee Club, decided to book us for the following Thursday.” ” We were on our third or fourth attempt at the Marquee Club, and it would have been suicidal not to take up that chance of residency at the Marquee.” “It was too late to change the name so it stuck.” -Ian Anderson

Stand Up

The 2nd album of Jethro Tull features new electric guitarist Martin Barre, replacing This Was’s Mick Abrahams. Mick favored more blues oriented music, clashing with Anderson’s and the rest of the groups desire to expand into other areas. There were other issues: Anderson: “There were problems that arose in the band in terms of Mick’s commitment. He didn’t want to travel through other countries” and “only wanted to play three times a week”, and “there were very bad problems between Mick and Glenn. They didn’t like each other.”

Photo montage video w/ We Used To Know (Stand Up, 1969) as soundtrack

We Used To Know

Whenever I get to feel this way,
try to find new words to say,
I think about the bad old days
we used to know.

Nights of winter turn me cold-
fears of dying, getting old.
We ran the race and the race was won
by running slowly.

Could be soon we’ll cease to sound,
slowly upstairs, faster down.
Then to revisit stony grounds,
we used to know.

Remembering mornings, shillings spent,
made no sense to leave the bed.
The bad old days they came and went
giving way to fruitful years.

Saving up the birds in hand
while in the bush the others land.
Take what we can before the man
says it’s time to go.

Each to his own way I’ll go mine.
Best of luck with what you find.
But for your own sake remember times
we used to know.

Martin Barre Joins Tull

Martin Barre played guitar, tenor sax, and flute with a band called Gethsemane who had played on the same bill as Jethro Tull. Martin was asked to try out for the opening by band manager Terry Ellis but totally flubbed his initial audition. Barre called Ian afterward and asked for another chance. He was given another audition at a North London pub, won the job and had his first gig with the band at the Penzance Wintergardens on December 30, 1968.

Martin Barre: “Stand Up was the first real album I had ever made. A lot of the songs were written by Ian on guitar, so I jusr played his parts pretty much, since they were written before I joined. But that format would change a lot as the band developed through the years.

Song: click to hear
      10 For A Thousand Mothers

For A Thousand Mothers

Did you hear mother?
Saying I’m wrong, but I know I’m right
Did you hear father?
Calling my name into the night
Saying I’ll never be what I am now
Telling me I’ll never find what I’ve already found
It was they who were wrong
And for them here’s a song
Did you hear baby
Come back and tell you the things he’s seen?
Did it surprise you
Being picked up at eight in a limousine?
Doing the things he’s accustomed to do
Which at one time it seemed like a dream
Now it’s true
And unknowing you made it all happen this way
Did you hear mother?
Saying I’m wrong, but I know I’m right
Did you hear father?
Calling my name into the night
Saying I’ll never be what I am now
Telling me I’ll never find what I’ve already found
It was they who were wrong
And for them here’s a song

On working with Martin Barre

“Martin and I were both blank pages on which could be written the next chapter of Jethro Tull. Martin wasn’t fully formed as a guitarist. He could play some chords in a faltering way and some improvised solos ,but every time he picked up a guitar he got better, and every time I sat down to write a song he had a way of making it come alive. I remember writing A New Day Yesterday, thinking “Martin’s going to love this when I show him the guitar part.”

-Ian Anderson

Various early day images of the lads.

Song: click to hear.

      4-02 Back To The Family

Back To The Family (1969)

My telephone wakes me in the morning –
have to get up to answer the call.
So I think I’ll go back to the family
where no one can ring me at all.
LIving life has its problems
so I think that I’ll give it a break.
Oh I’m going back to the family
‘cos I’ve had about all I can take.

Master’s in the counting house
counting all his money.
Sister’s sitting by the mirror-
she thinks her hair looks funny.
And here am I thinking to myself
just wond’ring what things to do.

I think I enjoyed all my problems
where I did not get nothing for free.
Oh I’m going back to the family-
doing nothing is bothering me.
I’ll get a train back to the city
that soft life is getting me down.
There’s more fun away from the family
get some action when I pull into town/

Everything I do is wrong,
what the hell was I thinking?
Phone keeps ringing all day long
I got no time for thinking.
And everyday has the same old way
of giving me too much to do.

Nothing is Easy performed at the Isle of Wight Show 1970.

Stand Up Song List-1969

A New Day Yesterday
Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square
Bouree
Back To The Family
Look Into The Sun
Nothing Is Easy
Fat Man
We Used To Know
Reasons For Waiting
For A Thousand Mothers

“My attitude to drugs wasn’t because of morality. I just didn’t want to risk my addictive personality. I am not one of those people who could just smoke a couple of cigarettes a day. I was smoking as many as I could afford. That was a warning sign to me that I better stick with this habit and not try anything else.”
-Ian Anderson

Benefit – 1970

“I love Benefit. It has that bluesy feel to it. There are some great songs on that album. Of al the ones I can play and enjoy I think that is probably the one I enjoy the most. Sossity is also one of my favorite acoustic Jethro Tull songs.”

-Martin Barre

Various images of the band ’round 1970

Song: Click to play

      02 Nothing to Say

Benefit Song List-1970

With You There To Help Me
Nothing To Say
Alive And Well AndLiving In
Son
For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me
To Cry You A Song
A Time For Everything
Inside
Play In Time
Sossity: You’re A Woman

Nothing To Say 

Everyday there’s someone asking
what is there to do?
Should I love or should I fight
is it all the same to you?
No I say I have the answer
proven to be true.
But if I were to share it with you,
you would stand to gain
and I to lose.
Oh I couldn’t bear it
so I’ve got nothing to say.
Nothing to say.

Every morning pressure forming
all around my eyes.
Ceilings crash ,the walls collapse,
broken by the lies
that your misfortune brought upon us
and I won’t disguise them.
So don’t ask me will I explain
I won’t even begin to tell you why.
No, just because I have a name
well I’ve got nothing to say.
Nothing to say.

Climb a tower of freedom,
paint your own deceiving sign.
It’s not my power
to criticize or to ask you to be blind
to your own pressing problem
and the hate you must unwind.
And ask of me no answer
there is none that I could give
you wouldn’t find.
I went your way ten years ago
and I’ve not nothing to say.
Nothing to say.

Song: click to hear
      08 Inside

      10 Sossity; You're a Woman

      05 For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me

On Benefit

“It’s not all gloom and doom, but it’s an oddball album. On For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me, I referenced Collins the astronaut who was stuck in the command module [of Apollo 11] and we now know was given the instruction to leave the others behind if he had to. The loneliest man in space – and he also gets no glory because he’s not the guy who walked on the Moon.”

Ian Anderson

Aqualung – 1971

Song: Click to play

      1-13 Aqualung

Aqualung Song List-1971

Aqualung
Cross-Eyed Mary
Cheap Day Return
Mother Goose
Wond’ring Aloud
Up To Me
My God
Hymm 43
Slipstream
Locomotive Breath
Wind Up

Aqualung Players

Ian Anderson-Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Voice
Clive Bunker-A thousand drums and percussion
Martin Barre-Electric guitar and descant recorder
John Evan: Piano, organ and mellotron
Jeffrey Hammond-Bass guitar, alto recorder and odd voices

Song: Click to play

      1-12 Mother Goose
As I did walk by Hampstead Fair
I came upon Mother Goose
So I turned her loose
She was screaming
And a foreign student said to me
Was it really true there elephants and lions too in Picadilly Circus?
Walked down by the bathing pond to try and catch some sun
Saw at least a hundred schoolgirls sobbing into handkerchiefs as one
I don’t believe they knew I was a schoolboy
And a bearded lady said to me
If you start your raving, and your misbehaving
You’ll be sorry
Then the chicken-fancier came to play
With his long red beard and his sister’s weird, she drives a lorry
Laughed down by the putting green
I popped ’em in their holes
Four and twenty laborers were laboring
And digging up their gold
I don’t believe they knew that I was Long John Silver
Saw Johnny Scarecrow make his rounds in his jet-black ‘mac
Which he won’t give back
Stole it from a snowman
As I did walk by Hampstead Fair
I came upon Mother Goose
So I turned her loose
But she was screaming
Walked down by the bathing pond to try and catch some sun
Must of been at least a hundred schoolgirls sobbing into handkerchiefs as one
I don’t believe they knew I was a schoolboy
Photos from the period around 1971.

Prior to recording Aqualung at Island Studios, a converted church in London, Bassist Glenn Cornick was given a “gentle nudge” out of the band.  The indication is his social life on tour conflicted with the band (Ian), so he got the shove.

New bassist Jeffrey Hammond: “The only reason I had for not joining was my lack of musicianship, but Ian thought that wasn’t an obstacle.” Anderson: “Jeffrey was absolutely untutored as a bass player and had to learn everything by rote. He memorized it all, jumped around onstage like a madman but didn’t miss a beat. He was good to have around. Offstage, he was so calm and quiet.” Hammond: “Ian had made up his mind and so perhaps I didn’t feel as though I had an alternative.”

Song: Click to play

      1-14 Locomotive Breath
Locomotive Breath
In the shuffling madness
Of the locomotive breath
Runs the all-time loser
Headlong to his death
Oh, he feels the piston scraping
Steam breaking on his brow
Old Charlie stole the handle
And the train it won’t stop going
Oh no way to slow down

He sees his children jumping off
At the stations one by one
His woman and his best friend
In bed and having fun
Oh, he’s crawling down the corridor
On his hands and knees
Old Charlie stole the handle
And the train it won’t stop going
No way to slow down

Hey
He hears the silence howling
Catches angels as they fall
And the all-time winner
Has got him by the balls
Oh, he picks up Gideons bible
Open at page one
I think God he stole the handle
And the train it won’t stop going

No way to slow down

“I remember Locomotive Breath was incredibly difficult to do. I had to tell the band – don’t let the song explode! You have to keep the lid on the thing, like a boiler building up pressure. But recording the Aqualung album was also the first time I’d had the courage to go into the studio on my own, sit down and strum a song. People forget that a lot of he album is just acoustic guitar. “

-Ian Anderson

Sticks and Stones

On the ideas in Thick as a Brick

Ian: “….I’m not setting out to create a threadbare tale of emotional woe or to even delineate emotional happenings. I’m just creating a background lyrical summation of a lot of things I feel about being a contemporary child in this age and the problems that one had-the problems of being precocious beyond one’s age or having interests beyond one’s age, and to some extent being ruled in a kind of heavy-handed, unexplained fashion by…father figures…..”

Thick as a Brick

Side 1

Really don’t mind if you sit this one out.
My words but a whisper your deafness a SHOUT.
I may make you feel but I can’t make you think.
Your sperm’s in the gutter your love’s in the sink.
So you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don’t know how it feels
to be thick as a brick.

And the sand-castle virtues are all swept away in
the tidal destruction, the moral melee.
The elastic retreat rings the close of play
as the last wave uncovers the newfangled way.
But your new shoes are worn at the heels and
your suntan does rapidly peel and
your wise men don’t know how it feels
To be thick as a brick.

And the love that I feel, is so far away
I’m a bad dream that I just had today and you
shake your head and say it’s a shame.

Spin me back down the years
and the days of my youth.
Draw the lace and black curtains
and shut out the whole truth.
Spin me down the long ages, let them sing the song.

See there! A man born – and we pronounce him fit to fight.
There are blackheads on his shoulders
and he pees himself in the night.
We’ll make a man of him, put him to a trade,
teach him to play Monopoly and how to sing in the rain.

The poet and the painter casting shadows on the water
as the sun plays on the infantry returning from the sea.
The doer and the thinker, no allowance for the other
as the failing light illuminates the mercenary’s creed.
The home fire burning, he kettle almost boiling
but the master of the house is far away.
The horses stamping, their warm breath clouding
in the sharp and frosty morning of the day.
And the poet lifts his pen while the soldier sheaths his sword.
And the youngest of the family is moving with authority.
Building castles by the sea, he dares the tardy tide
to wash them all aside.

Source: Silent Singing-The complete collected lyrics of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull
Songwriters: Ian Anderson
Heavy Horses lyrics © The Ian Anderson Group Of Companies Ltd

Thick as a Brick Side 1 (continued)

The cattle quietly grazing at the grass down by the rver
where the swelling mountain water moves onward to the sea
The builder of the castles renews the age-old purpose
and contemplates the milking girl whose offer is his need.

The young men of the household have all hone into service
and are not to be expected for a year.
The innocent young master, thoughts moving ever faster,
has formed the plan to change the man he seems.

And the poet sheaths his pen while the soldier lifts his sword.
And the oldest of the family is moving with authority.
Coming from across the sea, he challenges the son
who puts him to the run.

What do you do when the old man’s gone; do you want to be him?
And your real self sings the song; do you wan to free him?
No one to help you get up steam
and the whirlpool turns you way off-beam.

Later
I’ve come down from the upper class to mend your rotten ways.
My father was a man of power whom everyone obeyed.
So come on, all you criminals! I’ve got to put you straight
just like I did with my old man, twenty years too late.
Your bread and water’s going cold; your hair is short and neat.
I’ll judge you all and make damn sure that no one judges me.

You curl your toes in fun as you smile at everyone.
You meet the stares, you’re unaware that your doings aren’t done.
And you laugh most ruthlessly as you tell us what not to be.
But how are we supposed to see where we should run.

I see you shuffle in the courtroom with your rings upon your fingers
and your downy little sidies and your silver-buckle shoes.
Playing at the hard case, you follow the example
of the comic paper idol who lets you bend the rules.

So, come on ye childhood heroes! Won’t you rise up from the pages
of your comic books, your super-crooks and show us all the way?
Well, make your will and testament.
Won’t you join your local government?
We’ll have Superman for president, let Robin save the day.

You put your bet on number one and it comes up every time.
The other kids have all backed down and they put you first in line.
And so you finally ask yourself just how big you are
and you take your place in a wiser world of bigger motor cars.
And you wonder who to call on.

So, where the hell was Biggles when you needed him last Saturday?
And where are all the sportrsmen who always pulled you through?
They’re all resting down in Cornwall, writing up their memoirs
for a paperback edition of the Boy Scout manual.

Source: Silent Singing-The complete collected lyrics of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull
Songwriters: Ian Anderson
Heavy Horses lyrics © The Ian Anderson Group Of Companies Ltd

Live version of Thick As A Brick, 1976, Orlando, FL

New Drummer

Thick as a Brick introduces a new drummer to the band, Barrie Barlow, who had toured with the band earlier in the year. Clive had other engagements.
Clive Bunker: “After the spring US tour in 1971, I’d  left to get married and then gone off to do the American tour. Then I discovered we’d be doing a world tour and living in Switzerland for tax purposes.” “I told Eric Brooks our tour manager…and Eric told Ian, who came around to talk it over. It was an amicable split. Am I still married to the woman? No, we’re not together, but I have no regrets.”

On the Process of Recording

Barre: “On a Friday we’d finish off with a sort of soft acoustic thing, and then Saturday morning Ian would turn up and say, “Right, we’ll go into a guitar solo here, and a riff” or whatever, or “We’ll change the key from E-flat to B-flat.” And it was fun because you never really knew where things were gonna go. It was recorded that way as well-in sequence, on the same piece of tape”.

On Playing Thick as a Brick Live

Barre: “We were petrified by the thought of playing it live. The first time we played the the whole thing live was a terrifying experience; there is so much to remember, so many odd time signatures, 7/4s and 6/8s…it was all done on adrenaline. It’s amazing what fear can do!”

Thick As A Brick Players

Ian Anderson-vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, violin, saxophone, trumpet
Martin Barre-electric guitar, lute
John Evans: piano, Hammond organ, harpsichord
Jeffrey Hammond-bass guitar, vocals
Barrie Barlow-drums, percussion, tympani

Windy Bus Stop

Skipping ahead a bit, leaving out the excellent compilation album Living in the Past, and the not so cherished A Passion Play and Warchild, fast forward to 1975’s Minstrel in the Gallery, a stunning achievement in song writing.

On Recording Minstrel in the Gallery

Martin Barre: “Ian was at his writing peak on Minstrel….Possibly because he was angry-but who cares, whatever it takes to make good music. The band got on great, and I don’t recall any friction at all. It’s just that Ian took it all very, very seriously. Ian Anderson: “Baker Street Muse…related to some part of my life when I lived in a little rented mews cottagd just off Baker Street, at which point I was very much alone.”  “I forget the material behind it but there’s some indication I was valiantly pursuing the attentions of a woman at the time, who, incidentally, is now my wife of some 43 years. So there’s a happy ending.”

Song: click to hear.

      06 Baker St. Muse

Baker Street Muse

Windy bus-stop. Click. Shop-window. Heel.
Shady gentleman. Fly-button. Feel.
In the underpass, the blind man stands. With cold flute hands.
Symphony match-seller, breath out of time –
You can call me on another line.

Indian restaurants that curry my brain.
Newspaper warriors changing the names they advertise from the station
Stand. With cold print hands.
Symphony word-player, I’ll be your headline.
If you catch me another time.

Didn’t make her – with my Baker Street Ruse.
Couldn’t shake her – with my Baker Street Bruise.
Like to take her – I’m just a Baker Street Muse.

Ale-spew, puddle-brew – boys, throw it up clean.
Coke and Bacardi colours them green.
From the typing pool goes the mini-skirted princess with great finesse.
Fertile earth-mother, your burial mound is fifty feet down in the Baker
Street underground.

What the Hell?
I didn’t make her – with my Baker Street Ruse.
Couldn’t shake her – with my Baker Street Bruise.
Like to take her – I’m just a Baker Street Muse.

Walking down the gutter thinking, “How the Hell am I today?”
Well, I didn’t really ask you but thanks all the same.

Big bottled Fraulein, put your weight on me,” said the pig-me to the
Whore, desperate for more in his assault upon the mountain.
Little man, his youth a fountain. Overdrafted and still counting.
Vernacular, verbose; an attempt at getting close to where he came from.
In the doorway of the stars, between Blandford Street and Mars;
Proposition, deal. Flying button feel. Testicle testing.
Wallet ever-bulging. Dressed to the left, divulging the wrinkles of his
Years.
Wedding-bell induced fears.
Shedding bell-end tears in the pocket of her resistance.
International assistance flowing generous and full to his never-ready tool.
Pulls his eyes over her wool. And he shudders as he comes –
And my rudder slowly turns me into the Marylebone Road.

Baker St. Muse Lyrics (continued)
And here slip I – dragging one foot in the gutter –
In the midnight echo of the shop that sells cheap radios.
And there sits she – no bed, no bread nor butter –
On a double yellow line where she can park anytime.
Old Lady Grey; Crash-barrier Waltzer –
Some only son’s mother. Baker Street casualty.
Oh, Mr. Policeman – blue shirt ballet master.
Feet in sticking plaster – Move the old lady on.
Strange pas-de-deux – His Romeo to her Juliet.
Her sleeping draught his poisoned regret.
No drunken bums allowed to sleep here in the crowded emptiness.
Oh officer, oh let me send her to a cheap hotel –
I’ll pay the bill and make her well – like hell you bloody will!
No do-good over kill. We must teach them to be still more independent

I have no time for Time Magazine or Rolling Stone.
I have no wish for wishing-wells or wishing bones.
I have no house in the country I have no motor-car.
And if you think I’m joking, then I’m just a one-line joker in a public
Bar.
And it seems there’s no-body left for tennis; and I’m a one-band-man.
And I want no Top Twenty funeral or a hundred grand.
There was a little boy stood on a burning log, rubbing his hands with glee.
He said, “Oh Mother England, did you light my smile; or did you light
This fire under me?
One day I’ll be a minstrel in the gallery.
And paint you a picture of the queen.
And if sometimes I sing to a cynical degree –
It’s just the nonsense that it seems.
So I drift down through the Baker Street valley, in my steep-sided
Un-reality.

And when all’s said and all’s done – couldn’t wish for a better one.
It’s a real-life ripe dead-certainty – that I’m just a Baker Street Muse.
Talking to the gutter-stinking, winking in the same old way.
I tried to catch my eye but I looked the other way.

Indian restaurants that curry my brain –
Newspaper warriors changing the names they advertise from the station
Stand. Circumcised with cold print hands.

Windy bus-stop. Click. Shop-window. Heel.
Shady gentleman. Fly-button. Feel.
In the underpass, the blind man stands. With cold flute hands.
Symphony match-seller, breath out of time –
You can call me on another line.

Didn’t make her – with my Baker Street Ruse.

Couldn’t shake her – with my Baker Street Bruise.
Like to take her – I’m just a Baker Street Muse.
I’m just a Baker Street Muse. Just a Baker Street Muse.
Just a Baker Street Muse

Jeffrey Hammond Hammond sporting the zebra stripes, Minstrel tour, plus other photos from the period.

Live version of Minstrel in the Gallery, 1976

Song: click to hear

      02 Cold Wind To Valhalla
On Writing Minstrel in the Gallery

Ian Anderson: ” I suppose I was feeling a little isolated”. “I felt you were in the public domain, but cut off, like entertainers, minstrels in the gallery. Separated from the people you were performing to. You were a different caste, you were traveling salesmen, carnival people. So they found you seductive and interesting and wanted to receive your entertainment but you didn’t belong with them. Some enjoyed living in the Rock and Roll world, but for me it wasn’t lonely exactly, but…I belonged nowhere.”

Country Tales

We turn our attention to 1977’s Songs from the Wood and 1978’s Heavy Horses recordings, many believe represent the zenith of Ian’s and the bands achievements. Written after had Ian purchased a working farm and adopted the country gentleman’s life (at the ripe old age of 30), the songs explore more rural themes.

On Moving to the Country

Ian Anderson: ” By this time, I was with Shona, my current wife. What started as a working relationship [as our office manager and tour assistant] became a personal relationship during the latter part of 1974 and particularly 1975. I’d grown up on the edges of Edinburgh , but always preferred woods and fields to the big city, yet I had to spend many years in hotel rooms, bedsits and living in London. But by the beginning of ’76 we were married and settled in our new home near Stokenchurch and were soon starting a family. It was a big change.”

Song: click to hear.

      2-04 Jack In The Green

Jack-In-The Green

Have you seen Jack-In-The-Green’?
With his long tail hanging down.
He quietly sits under every tree-
in the folds of his velvet gown.
He drinks from the empty acorn cup
the dew that dawn sweetly bestows.
And taps his cane upon the ground-
signals the snowdrops it’s time to grow.
It’s no fun being Jack-In-The-Green-
no place to dance, no time for song.
He wears the colours of the summer soldier-
carries the green flag all winter long.
Jack, do you never sleep-
does the green still run deep in your heart?
Or will these changng times,
motorways, poweines,
keep us apart?
Well I don’t think so-
I saw some grass growing through the pavements today.
The rowan, the oak and the holly tree
are the charges left for you to grow.
Each blade of grass whispers Jack-In-The-Green.
Oh Jack, please help me through my winter’s night.
And we are the berries on the holly tree.
Oh, the mistle thrush is coming,
Jack, put out the light.

Song: click to hear.
      2-03 Songs From The Wood

Songs From the Wood and Heavy Horses Players

Ian Anderson: vocals, flute, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, tin whistles, percussion
Martin Barre: electric guitar, lute
John Evans: piano, Hammond organ, synthesizers
John Glasscock: bass guitar
David Palmer: piano, synthesizers, portative organ
Barrie Barlow: drums, glockenspiel, bells, nakers, tabor

Heavy Horses Song List

…And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps
Acres Wild
No Lullaby
Moths
Journeyman
Rover
One Brown Mouse
Heavy Horses
Weathercock

      2-06 Heavy Horses
Heavy Horses Lyrics
Iron-clad feather -feet pounding the dust,
an October’s day, towards evening.
Sweat-embossed veins standing proud to the plough,
salt on deep chest seasoning.
Last of the line at an honest day’s toil,
turning the deep sod under.
Flint at the fetlock, chasing the bone,
flies, at the nostrils plunder.

The Suffolk, the Clydesdale, the Percheron vie
with the Shire on his feathers floating.
Hauling soft timber into the dusk
to bed on a warm straw coating.

Heavy horses, move the land under me.
Behind the plough gliding, slipping and sliding free.
Now you’re down to the few and there’s no work to do;
the tractor’s on it’s way.

Let me find you a filly for your proud stallion seed,
to keep the old line going.
And we’ll stand you abreast at the back of the wood
behind the young trees growing.
To hide you from the eyes that mock at your girth,
your eighteen hands at the shoulder.
And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
and the nights are seen to draw colder,
they’ll beg for your strength, your gentle power,
your noble grace and your bearing.
And you’ll strain once again to sound of the gulls
in the wake of the deep plough, sharing.

Heave houses, move the land under me.
Behind the plough guiding, slipping and sliding free.
Now you’re dow to the few and there’s no work to do;
the tractor’s on its way.

Standing like tanks on the brow of the hill,
up into the cold wind facing
in stiff battle harness, chained to the world
against the low sun racing.
Bring me a wheel of oaken wood,
a rein of polished leather.
A heavy horse and a tumbling sky,
brewing heavy weather.

Bring a song for the evening;
clean brass to flash the dawn
across these acres glistening
like dew on a carpet lawn.
In these dark towns folk lie sleeping
as the heavy horses thunder by
to wake the dying city
with the living horsemen’s cry.

At once the old hands quicken,
bring pick and wisp and curry comb.
Thrill to the sound of all
the heavy horses coming home.

Iron-clad feather-feet pounding the dust,
an October’s day, towards evening.
Sweat=embossed veins standing proud to the plough,
salt on a deep chest seasoning.
Bring me a wheel of oaken wood,
a rein of polished leather.
A heavy house and a tumbling sky,
brewing heavy weather.

Heavy horses, move the land under me.
Behind the plough guiding, slipping and sliding free.
Now you’re down to the few and there’s no work to do;
the tractor’s on its way.

Source: Silent Singing-The complete collected lyrics of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull
Songwriters: Ian Anderson
Heavy Horses lyrics © The Ian Anderson Group Of Companies Ltd

Ian Anderson with heavy horses. Photo by James Cotier © The Parlophone Archive, plus other photos from the time period.

Live version of Velvet Green (Songs from the Wood,1977)

Songs From the Wood Song List

Songs from the Wood
Jack in the Green
Cup of Wonder
Hunting Girl
Ring Out, Solstice Bells
Velvet Green
The Whistler
Pibroch (Cap in Hand)
Fire at Midnight

On Writing Heavy Horses

Ian Anderson: “It is a rather more menacing album than Songs from the Wood, in a positive way. And I think the guys in the group are playing better, probably due to the different ways we used to record the songs…We probably recorded about 20 songs , many of which were discarded or not finished. And the songs were written in different environments. I wrote some as usual in hotel on tour, another one on the train, which I tend to do a lot. And some were written at home surrounded by animals. Writing songs at home, rather than on tour or on holiday, tends to give you a more objective look at your life, so obviously the subject matter is going to be more personal…”

Michael Bloom in Rolling Stone

“Heavy Horses is merely the follow-up to last year’s Songs from the Wood, which may well have been the group’s best record ever. Anderson warns that this is the end of the folk-tinged Tull, that the band will return to boogie forthwith. That’s a pity because this genre has suited Jethro Tull wonderfully.”