Heavy Horses

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For other uses of the term "heavy horses", see Heavy horse.
Heavy Horses
Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 10 April 1978 (US)
21 April 1978 (UK)
Recorded January 1978 at Maison Rouge Studio, Fulham, London
Genre Folk rock, progressive rock, hard rock
Length 43:05
Label Chrysalis
Producer Ian Anderson
Jethro Tull chronology
Repeat – The Best of Jethro Tull – Vol II
Heavy Horses
Bursting Out
Singles from
Heavy Horses
  1. "Moths"
    Released: 1978

Heavy Horses is the eleventh studio album by Jethro Tull, released on 10 April 1978. It is considered the second album in a trilogy of folk-rock albums by Jethro Tull, although folk music's influence is evident on a great number of Jethro Tull releases. The album abandons much of the folk lyrical content typical of the previous studio album, Songs from the Wood (1977), in exchange for a more realist perspective on the changing world - as a clear mention to the title track, the album is dedicated to the "indigenous working ponies and horses of Great Britain".[1] Likewise, the band sound is harder and tighter. The third album in the folk-rock trilogy is Stormwatch (1979).


Produced by Ian Anderson and recorded and engineered by Robin Black in London, Heavy Horses mark the last Jethro Tull studio album with full participation of bass player John Glascock. Anderson stated that the record of the album came in a moment where others artists would walk towards the new trends of music, and the band decision was not "to appear as if we were trying to slip into the post-punk coattails that were worn by The Stranglers or The Police [...] They were bands that were seen as being part of the punk world, but they weren’t". With the same line-up from the last album, Heavy Horses established, then, as the second record of the folk rock trilogy.[2]

Musical Style and Themes[edit]

Heavy Horses bares more earthly and prosaic themes compared to its predecessor. Songs about the conformist view of daily life ("Journey Man"), or dedicated to Anderson’s dog ("Rover") and cat ("...And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps"), or even another one for his new son, James ("No Lullaby"). However, an element already present in Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses served as a discourse on transience and disappearing worlds. The title track - one of two complex suites on the record - is compared by Anderson to an "equestrian Aqualung ". Other tracks, such as "Acres Wild" and "Weathercock", works as a plea for better days ahead. But, alongside the changes on themes, the music went much harder, too. The mini-epic of the title track flowing from a piano ballad to a fiddle-fest (of Curved Air's Darryl Way) to full gallop, is a great example of the album's style as a whole. "No Lullaby" rushes from a crushing Martin Barre riff as "Weathercock" starts full folk, to add progressive rock flavours. Barre declared that " Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses are two of the best albums from my time in Jethro Tull".[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone (favourable)[5]
Melody Maker (unfavourable)[6]
Sputnik Music 4/5 stars[7]

Contemporary review of Rolling Stone give a positive overview, calling the instrumental arrangements lavish and stating that Heavy Horses and the folk genre, as a follow up to Songs From the Wood suite Jethro Tull perfectly.[8]

AllMusic calls Heavy Horses one of the prettiest records of the band, praising both Martin Barre and John Glascock playings as Robin Black engineering and the special participation of Curved Air violinist Darryl Way.[9]


The album reached No. 19 on the Billboard 200 album chart,[4][10][11] and peaked at No. 20 on the UK Albums Chart.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ian Anderson with additional material by Martin Barre and David Palmer

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "...And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps"   3:11
2. "Acres Wild"   3:22
3. "No Lullaby"   7:55
4. "Moths"   3:24
5. "Journeyman"   3:55
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Rover" (The 2003 remastered CD has the string tracks removed for an unknown reason) 4:17
7. "One Brown Mouse"   3:21
8. "Heavy Horses"   8:58
9. "Weathercock"   4:02


Jethro Tull
Additional personnel
  • Darryl Way – violin on "Acres Wild" and "Heavy Horses"
  • Shona Anderson - Back Cover, Photography
  • Robin Black - Sound engineer
  • James Cotier - Photography


External links[edit]