Crest of a Knave

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Crest of a Knave
Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 11 September 1987
Recorded Early 1987
Genre Hard rock
Progressive rock
Length 39:30 (vinyl)
48:50 (CD)
55:50 (2005 remaster)
Label Chrysalis
Producer Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull chronology
Original Masters
(1985)
Crest of a Knave
(1987)
20 Years of Jethro Tull
(1988)
Singles from
Crest of a Knave
  1. "Steel Monkey"
    Released: 1987
  2. "Said She Was a Dancer"
    Released: 1987
  3. "Jump Start"
    Released: 1987
  4. "Farm on the Freeway"
    Released: 1987
  5. "Budapest"
    Released: 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]

Crest of a Knave is the sixteenth studio album by British rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1987. The album was recorded after a hiatus of three years ocasioned by a throat infection of vocalist Ian Anderson. After the unsuccessful Under Wraps, the band returned to a more heavy blended with acoustic style of sound: one of the top characteristics of Jethro Tull. The album was the most successful album since the 70's, and the band enjoyed a resurgence on radio broadcast and appearing in MTV specials or recording music videos. The album was supported by the "The Not Quite the World, More the Here and There Tour".

Production[edit]

Even though Doane Perry had been a member of Jethro Tull since 1984, several tracks still featured drum machine instead of a live drummer. Keyboardist Peter-John Vettese was too absent and it was Ian Anderson who contributed the synth programming. The album sleeve only lists Ian Anderson, Martin Barre and Dave Pegg as official band members. Barre remembers of this production as being "the album where a lot of things were of my invention. There are still chunks of the music where lan very much knew what he wanted, but I think my input was far greater on that album than on any other".[2] The cover was designed by heraldic artist Andrew Stewart Jamieson.

This album was released simultaneously on LP and on CD, but the vinyl edition did not feature the songs "Dogs in the Midwinter" and "The Waking Edge". Both tracks appeared on vinyl as B-sides to the singles.

The album back cover shows in the credit that the album were: "Recorded just round the corner from the kitchen in the room behind the door which used to be painted white but isn't any more". And also: "Martin would like to thank Paul Hamer (Hamer Guitars). Ian and Dave would like to thank almost everybody else."[3]

Musical Style[edit]

The album relied more heavily on Martin Barre's electric guitar than the band had since the 1970s. The style of Crest has been compared to that of Dire Straits, in part because Anderson no longer had the vocal range he once possessed (the result of recent throat surgery).

Ian Anderson later stated about the musical style of the album: "'Steel Monkey' was based around a sequencer riff, and it didn't have any flute in it. So it was yet another atypical Jethro Tull song that was a radio hit. By comparison, both 'Farm On The Freeway' and 'Budapest' are very typical Tull songs. 'Budapest' is the kind of song I like to write because it embodies a lot of different nuances which I think are subtly joined together. It sort of moves from classical to slightly bluesy to folk, and it just slips between them and you don't see the stitching."[4]

Themes[edit]

Tull's frank treatment of sexuality was unabated, however. The album contains the popular live song "Budapest", which depicts a backstage scene with a shy local female stagehand. "Farm on the freeway" in other hand, shows a decadent farmer, who now only possesses his truck. "Mountain Men" became more famous in Europe, depicting a scene from World War II in Africa. Ian Anderson referred to the battles of El Alamein and the Falkland Islands, drawing historic parallels of the angst that women left behind by their warrior husbands might have felt:

   died in the trenches at El Alamein,
   died in the Falklands on TV

Critical Reception[edit]

The album was a critical and commercial success. It received gold sales certification in the United States, where it peaked at number 32; in the UK, where it reached number 19; and in Canada. It also charted in Germany, reaching number 10. Crest of a Knave went on to win the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental, beating the heavily favoured ...And Justice for All (Metallica) and critics' choice Nothing's Shocking (Jane's Addiction).

Although contemporarily well accepted, AllMusic's later review was a little more committed, calling the album their best since Heavy Horses, but also stating: "Truth is, it isn't a bad album, with an opening track that qualifies as hard rock and pretty much shouts its credentials out in Martin Barre's screaming lead guitar line, present throughout. "Jump Start" and "Raising Steam" also rock hard, and no one can complain of too much on this record being soft, apart from the acoustic "The Waking Edge," along with "Budapest" and "Said She Was a Dancer," Anderson's two aging rock-star's-eye-view accounts of meeting women from around the world. The antiwar song "Mountain Men" is classic Tull-styled electric folk, all screaming electric guitars at a pretty high volume by its end".[5]

In popular Culture[edit]

The Grammy award was highly controversial as many did not consider the album or the band to be hard rock, and certainly not heavy metal. Under advisement from their manager, no one from the band turned up to the award ceremony, as they were told that they had no chance of winning. In response to the controversy, the band's record label Chrysalis took out an advert in a British music periodical with the line, "The flute is a heavy, metal instrument!".[6] The Grammy award was split into two categories and renamed after the event.

In 2007, the win was named one of the 10 biggest upsets in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Ian Anderson

Vinyl[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Steel Monkey"   3:39
2. "Farm on the Freeway"   6:31
3. "Jump Start"   4:55
4. "Said She Was a Dancer"   3:43
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Budapest"   10:05
2. "Mountain Men"   6:20
3. "Raising Steam"   4:05

CD[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Steel Monkey"   3:39
2. "Farm on the Freeway"   6:31
3. "Jump Start"   4:55
4. "Said She Was a Dancer"   3:43
5. "Dogs in the Midwinter"   4:37
6. "Budapest"   10:05
7. "Mountain Men"   6:20
8. "The Waking Edge"   4:49
9. "Raising Steam"   4:05

Personnel[edit]

  • Ian Anderson – vocals, flute, acoustic and electric guitars, percussion, keyboards, Synclavier, drum programming on tracks 1, 5 & 9
  • Martin Barre – electric and acoustic guitars
  • Dave Pegg – bass guitar, acoustic bass on track 4

Adicional Musicians:

References[edit]

External links[edit]