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Published On: Wed, Apr 26th, 2017

Jethro Tull: The String Quartets

Jethro Tull
The String Quartets

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The mighty Jethro Tull has sold more than 60 million copies of 30 albums worldwide, has performed more than 3,000 concerts in 40 countries, and is still going strong under the leadership of main man Ian Anderson. Anderson, along with John O’Hara, and the Anglo-Irish Carducci Quartet have re-imagined twelve Tull classics on The String Quartets. Sure, this is not every classic rock lover’s cup of joe, a string quartet mixing with Anderson’s high fluting, picking out each song’s melody, but the songs Anderson has chosen, like a jumpy “Loco (Locomotive Breath),” a-too-long-to-get-going “Bungle (Bungle in the Jungle),” and the hard-cutting strings opener “In the Past (Living in the Past)” are played perfectly, with not a small amount of tongue-in-cheek fury. The big Tull hit is represented in the last tune “Aquafugue (Aqualung),” the best layering of the quartet’s unique sound, in fact they have the beginning all to themselves (sans flute). The sweet middle section, including bells buried in the mix, has Anderson singing – he sings the chorus of “Ring Out These Bells (Ring Out, Solstice Bells)” as well and he adds flute moments to this part of “Aquafugue (Aqualung)” from here on in. The strings add a nice tragic pass underscoring the lyrical descriptions. Though they have so many albums to choose from, only present strings and flute here (and a little of Anderson’s croaking along the way) and certainly handling classic rock tunes quite unlike we have ever heard them (though Anderson has employed strings live and on record on Tull music aplenty). The Carducci Quartet and Anderson still manage to deliver something special with The String Quartets.

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Jethro Tull: The String Quartets