REVIEW: Jethro Tull – Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die! (remastered)

Next in line of my reviews from Record Store Excursion 2012!  Check out the video below if you missed it.  This one bought at HMV Yonge, as sort of a consolation prize, since they no longer sell Japanese imports (for shame!).  Bought at 2 for $25.

MIKE AND AARON GO TO TORONTO

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JETHRO TULL – Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976, 2002 remaster)

I’m far from a Tull expert; more a layman.  I know what I like though, I like the complexity of Tull, I love Martin Barre’s guitar, and Ian Anderson’s virtuoso flute.  I’ve always liked the title track from this album, “Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die”, so it made sense to get the album proper.

It’s another concept album by the Tull, but I’m not too clear on the story details.  It seems to be about an aging rock star, which is funny considering that when Ian wrote it, he was a young man by comparison!  The concept album lends itself to recurring musical motifs, such as the melody from the title track popping up on “Quizz Kid”.

Like many Tull albums from the mid-70’s, there’s plenty of acoustics to go around accompanied by lovely flute passages and complex drum patterns.  There’s also some horns and orchestration courtesy of David Palmer (not yet a full member of the band).

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Personal highlights:

  • “Salamander”, a folksy number with intricate acoustics.
  • The harmonica riffing of “Taxi Grab”, reminiscent of an earlier bluesier Jethro Tull.  The guitar soloing (both electric and acoustic) is also divine.
  • “Big Dipper”, a playful yet complex number with plenty of flute and a fun chorus.
  • The masterpiece title track (obviously), lush with ochestration.
  • “Pied Piper”, one of the most obviously catchy songs on the whole album, albeit still complex with multiple parts and section.
  • The final track of the album, a slow but dramatic grandiose number called “The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)”.

As usual, Ian provides liner notes, and dedicates the album to late bassist John Glascock, who died way too young of a heart defect.

There are two bonus tracks included, fully realized songs called “A Small Cigar” and “Strip Cartoon”.

4/5 stars

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24 comments

  1. Damn, man, the guys in that video are just so HANDSOME. Everytime you re-link to that video, my heart just skips a beat and I get all twitterpated.

    That’s a cool Tull, set, man. I remember you snagging that as the second half of the Kiss Double Platinum two-fer. Tull’s another one of those bands on my to-do list. If and when I ever get to them, I’ll ask you where to start.

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  2. A bit of an odd one out in the Tull catalogue, and not Ian’s most philosophical lyrics, but some very good singing and playing. As to Ian being young then, dig the introduction on the live Bursting Out album. Of course he wasn’t singing about himself.

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  3. I’m a Tull fan, but only own the first five, then Song from the Woods, then TAAB2 (agreed with your highly positive review of TAAB2 in a separate post). Songs from the Wood is my most played, so … based on the SftW love, should I next go backward to this one or forward to Heavy Horses? Teach me, teacher.

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    1. I would say Heavy Horses. My personal method for Tull has been to buy anything, remastered, when I find them at a decent price. I’ve managed to get most that way. I’m fond of Broadsword too, but tastes do vary!

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  4. Once again the Critics tried to have a field day with this album saying it was an autobiography of Ian’s life……proving once again the Critics and the Award guru’s have absolutely no idea what the F they are talking about. My Dad played this album night and day when I was a youngin and I remember fondly running around the apartment with a hairbrush singing along with it. in reality this album has much more to do with Ian’s realization that Punk Rock had entered the scene and was changing everyone’s view on Conceptual Prog Rock. It was the start of a new direction for Tull. There isn’t an album made by Tull that isn’t brilliant in some way. Bands evolve and members change, diehard fans realize this and accept the changes and support their favorites!! “TULL FOR LIFE”!!!

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    1. Thank you once again Jonathan…

      My favourite kind of rock bands are the ones who have had to change members over the years, but continued on making solid albums with varying directions. Deep Purple is another great example. Two bands that need to be in the HOF!

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