21 February 2008

Album of This Week: Jethro Tull - The Minstrel in the Gallery (1975)

Before I begin, I think a bit of a disclaimer is in order. I'm not nearly as steeped in the history and mythology of Classic Rock as I am in Black Metal, but I do know what I like. That being said, this week's album is Jethro Tull's The Minstrel in the Gallery.

Elements of English folk music abound on this album, not the least of which is Ian Anderson's skilled flute playing. Furthermore, these folkish passages are intertwined seamlessly with more conventional elements of traditional Rock Music. The Minstrel in the Gallery is dominated largely by two tracks, the eponymous "Minstrel in the Gallery" and "Baker St. Muse," which have the effect of bookending the album quite nicely. The latter track is quite the composition, being an amalgam of several songs into one--something which Jethro Tull did with some regualrity (see Thick as a Brick for proof), and which works quite well here, as each component song is different from the others, while being linked thematically.

A mixture of acoustic and rock tracks round out the album quite nicely; "One White Duck / 010 = Nothing At All" stands out in particular. The 2002 re-release of the album featured several bonus tracks, "Summerday Sands" being perhaps the most memorable of these (and a good song in its own right, even if it wasn't on the 1975 original.

The Minstrel in the Gallery is a Progressive Rock classic which stands up well to repeated listenings.

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