Jethro Tull - 'Aqualung 40th Anniversary Edition'

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Jethro Tull - 'Aqualung 40th Anniversary Edition'

The new mixes really have breathed a whole new life and clarity to the songs.

Mention Jethro Tull to any self respecting rock fan and the title of ‘Aqualung’ will come up in the conversation. It’s the bands own ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and the release has been called a classic concept album of which Ian Anderson strongly denies! Either way there is a thematic thread running through each song and the legendary cover is often said to be Ian Anderson in his alter ego; you decide! Now some 40 years old this edition comes with a whole host of goodies including a deluxe hard back book plus a wealth of new mixes.

It becomes apparent that these new mixes really have breathed a whole new life and clarity to the songs. Disc one is made up of the original album with brand new stereo mixes and the likes of ‘Crossed Eyed Mary’ and ‘Locomotive Breath’ sound wonderful, but it’s not until we get to disc two that we delve into the real treasure chest . ‘Lick Your Fingers Clean’ has a tormented sounding Ian Anderson bringing Aqualung to life in this full on rock track. Many of the other songs are made up of early versions of songs like ‘My God’ or different takes of the likes of ‘Slipstream’. You kind of get the picture and for the average fan this may not mean much but if you’re a bit of a devotee it’s a nice trip down an alternative memory lane.

If like me you’re a fan of the whole surround sound cinema set up then the DVD disc will be a real treat to your ears. You get fifty tracks in all manner of versions including the original Aqualung in glorious 5.1 surround mix. It is like having Ian Anderson and his merry men transported into the very own comfort of your front room. Every note rings sharp and even the sound of the sticks hitting the cymbals can be heard it is that clear. An all time favourite song of mine is ‘Life Is A Long Song’ which is a beautiful piece of music that now takes on a all new magical tone as Ian’s vocals travel around the room. Many of the songs are presented in either 5.1 surround or quad mixes and each brings out something the other does not. ‘Nursie ‘is a good example and it is hard to believe how young Ian Anderson sounds listening to this now. ‘Slipstream’ takes on an almost angelic feel and the string section sounds quite beautiful .

If you’re going to reissue something then this is the way to do it, something that brings new life to a song without taking anything away that made it so special in the beginning. Now if they can just do the same for ‘Songs from the Wood’!

Ray Paul

 

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