Songs from the Wood
|Songs from the Wood|
|Studio album by Jethro Tull|
|Released||11 February 1977|
|Recorded||Autumn 1976 at Morgan Studios, London and Maison Rouge Mobile|
|Genre||Folk rock, progressive rock|
|Jethro Tull chronology|
Songs from the Wood
Songs from the Wood (1977) is the tenth studio album by Jethro Tull. The album signalled a new direction for the band who turned to celebrating British pagan folklore and the countryside life in a wide-ranging folk rock style which combined traditional instruments and melodies with hard rock drums and electric guitars.
The album is considered to be the first of a trio of folk rock albums: Songs from the Wood, Heavy Horses (1978) and Stormwatch (1979). On the album cover appears an extended title line: "Jethro Tull—with kitchen prose, gutter rhymes and divers—Songs from the Wood". The title track of the album contain two of these phrases in its lyrics.
The 2003 remastered edition includes a pair of bonus tracks, featuring a live rendition of "Velvet Green".
The album was recorded right after the tour of the previous album, Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976), and demonstrated the desire of Anderson to change the musical style of the band, since he was meeting and even producing music from the folk rock scene - for Steeleye Span, he produced the album Now We Are Six. Also, as Anderson said: "After Too Old to Rock and Roll, we returned to England, and I settled down, got married and bought a home. It gave me an opportunity to evaluate and reflect upon the cultural and historical significance of making that commitment to English residency". Being this the first Jethro Tull album to feature keyboardist David Palmer as an official band member, their music gained complexity and variety, with more instruments being played and a sound that derives from Palmer's classical leanings and the strong presence of Martin Barre's electric guitar. Both Palmer and Barre are credited for contributing material to the album.
Musical style and themes
Filled with imagery from medieval Britain (especially in the "Jack-in-the-Green", "Cup of Wonder" and "Ring Out Solstice Bells" lyrics), and ornamental folk arrangement (as in "Velvet Green" and "Fire at Midnight"), or the experimentalism of "Pibroch (Cap in Hand)" where Martin Barre guitar simulate Bagpipes, the album is a departure from the hard rock of earlier Jethro Tull material, though it still retained some of the band's older sound. The album highlights the band at its most playful and due to its lush production and more noticeable use of keyboards is perhaps one of the band's most obviously progressive rock oriented releases.
The descriptive term "folk music" has been dismissed by Anderson and Barre as not relevant to the album. Folk has a strong connotation of American singer-songwriters performing activist songs in coffeehouses, whereas Songs from the Wood was composed and performed as a tribute to the UK. Anderson said that the album was "for all the band members... a reaffirmation of our Britishness".
Songs from the Wood was the first Tull album to receive unambiguously positive reviews since the time of Living in the Past (1972). AllMusic called the album: "the prettiest record Jethro Tull released at least since Thick as a Brick". In the Heavy Horses (1978) review by the Rolling Stone magazine, it is recalled that Songs from the Wood "may well have been the group's best record ever".
The album reached No. 8 on the Billboard album chart, making it the last top ten album for the band to date. The song "The Whistler" was the only song to chart as a single in the United States, peaking at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1977. The album peaked at No. 13 on the UK Albums Chart.
|1.||"Songs from the Wood"||4:52|
|3.||"Cup of Wonder"||4:30|
|5.||"Ring Out, Solstice Bells"||3:43|
|8.||"Pibroch (Guitar Solo)"||8:35|
|9.||"Fire at Midnight"||2:26|
|2003 Bonus tracks|
|11.||"Velvet Green" (Live)||5:56|
- Jethro Tull
- Ian Anderson – vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, mandolin, cymbals, whistles; all instruments on track 2.
- Martin Barre – electric guitar, lute
- John Evan – piano, organ, synthesisers
- Barriemore Barlow – drums, marimba, glockenspiel, bells, nakers, Tabor
- John Glascock – bass guitar, vocals
- David Palmer – piano, portative pipe organ, synthesisers
- Additional personnel
- Robin Black – sound engineering
- Thing Moss and Trevor White – assistant engineers
- Keith Howard – wood-cutter
- Jay L. Lee – front cover painting
- Shirt Sleeve Studio – back cover
- Eder, Bruce. Album review Jethro Tull Songs from the Wood at AllMusic. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Nollen, Scott Allen (2001). Jethro Tull: A History of the Band, 1968–2001. McFarland. p. 121. ISBN 9780786411016.
- "UK chart history Jethro Tull Songs from the Wood". www.chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- (1977). "Songs from the Wood liner notes". In Songs from the Wood [Album cover]. Chrysalis.
- Songs from the Wood (1977) at AllMusic
- Songs from the Wood (2003) at AllMusic (bonus tracks)
- Ground and Sky review
- Cup of Wonder