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Jethro Tull - Stormwatch

rel. 09/14/1979 - Chrysalis Records (US), Island Records (UK)

Produced by Ian Anderson and Robin Black

So, the iPod thinks I should start with one of my namesakes, Ian Anderson, and who am I to disagree with the almighty shuffle?

The last album to feature bassist John Glascock, who died of a congenital heart defect shortly before the album's release. This contributed a shift in lineup leaving only Anderson and Martin Barre as full members.

So, what makes Jethro Tull great is all here. The folk-psych-rock, the tight songwriting with evocative lyrics, obsessions with public good and mythology, driving melodies, and Anderson's signature flute.

Of particular interest are "Dark Ages, "Something's on the Move," and "Old Ghosts."

Dark Ages/ shaking the dead/ Closed pages/ better not read/ Cold rages/ burn in your head

"Dark Ages" is sprawling epic-rock, at nine minutes and change. Hard rock with great change-ups, the drumming and bass (Barriemore Barlow and Anderson, respectively) especially perfect on the track. Big orchestration with strings, organ, piano, and flute help this track sound positively modern even thirty years on.

"Something's on the Move" and "Old Ghosts" are both agreeable Tull rockers, describing climate change of one sort or another. Great party music.

Also of note is the bonus track "A Stitch in Time," from the 2004 remaster of this album.

I work in dark factories/ A cog in the big wheel/ Driving gray satanic wheels/ And weaving sad stories

Okay, so I'm a sucker for pretty much anything that says "Life is short, live it."

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