Jethro Tull


I am amused by the press Lizzo gets for bringing the flute into pop music when decades ago Jethro Tull brought flute into pop in a bigger way. Sure Moody Blues used it occasionally but never the same driving way Ian Anderson did. I played those early lps constantly. I loved the scraggy hippy look the band embraced which was a strong contrast to the complex blues baroque jazz pop music they  produced.

I have stand alone’s This Was, Stand Up, Aqualung, Thick As A Brick. In mp3 collections Benefit, A Passion Play, War Child – plus another version of Aqualung that has been remastered etc. All with various bonus tracks & interviews. I had all as lp at one time & gradually replaced them with either cd or mp3 versions.

Tull was the epitome of progrock without delving too much is not the classical end of things, sure there is enough of that but they weren’t flaunting it, the way ELP did. Lyrically the songs were about love, the system, war. Two lps Thick as a Brick (inspiration for Another Brick In The Wall?) & A Passion Play – are two long suites – with mp3 one gets to hear these without having to turn over the lp :-). Brick is commentary on British class & schools, Passion is a fun mess & includes a rather twee fairy tale in the middle of it. Both lapse into British music hall at times.

Later lps – War Child, Songs from the Wood are good with real social commentary & the band is drifting into Celtic folk territory more & more. If you are unfamiliar with Tull start with This was or Stand Up.


On the mp3 collection I’ve added Noel Harrison: Collage – sweet nostalgia for me. Maggie Bell: Queen of the Night, Suicide Sal – bluesy work by a British Maria Muldaur – adult pop. I rounded out this mp3 collection with the classic Steely Dan: Countdown to Ecstasy.

Set A Spell

‘It’s dry.’ his chair creaked as he leaned back against the sun-stripped paint in the shady part of the porch.

‘Been that way for a while now.’ The other rubbed his eyebrows.

‘Yep.’ The third rubbed his nose.

‘Looking to stay that way for awhile longer, if you ask me.’

‘Yep.’

‘Don’t need no one to tell us what’s as plain as the nose on your face.’

‘Yep. That’s right hard to miss.’ He rubbed his nose again with a small grin.

‘Not much we can do about this dry, is there?’

‘Time for …’

Silence.

The three men turned to look at the fourth. He leaned back against the porch rail and spit into the dust.

‘What! What!’ He dabbed at his mouth with the tattered almost-white hanky from his back pocket. ‘You all been thinking the same thing. I know. I can tell when that thought is in the air.’

‘Least you got enough wet in ya ta spit. Some of us aren’t so lucky.’

‘Takes more than luck.’ the first leaned out of the shade. ‘You got something up at that place of yours we don’t know about?’

‘Me? Yeah. Come on up and I’ll show you the hidden river that runs through Dust Canyon. It comes up right under my bedroom. Keeps the missus happy to be so damp all night.’

‘Good thing. Nice missus you got there.’

‘Yep. Some would envy a gal like that.’

‘Sure is dry though. Can’t remember seeing it this dry before.’

‘Years back it was bad. Real bad. That was the last time we …’ he pulled back into the shadow, took off his straw hat to fan his face.

‘You remember that?’

‘Sure enough. I was just a boy, mind you. Just old enough not to worry about being asked to participate.’

‘That was the Gimbly kid wasn’t it.’

‘Not going to say one way or the other. Can’t. Not proper to talk about that sort of stuff. Not here or now. Too much talk takes the power away from it. You understand?’

‘Yep.’ 

The heat couldn’t be avoided. The sun blistered down on the four of them. Each edged more into the scant shade the porch afforded. Time to make plans and in the heat thinking became harder, slower.

‘Can’t take much of this. It’s hot enough to set things afire.’

‘Almost. We don’t need to worry about that. Nothing left to burn. Is there?’

The four of them laughed.

A black-haired girl, about five, came out of the house with a bucket of water.

‘Ma says you might want a splash of this.’

They looked at the water. The first tickled it with his finger tips and splayed the others with it.

‘See. Told you this was the right house to come to. If anything’s gonna done. This is where we’ll find it.’

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every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Harris Harrison

I can remember hearing Richard Harris’s McArthur’s Park for the first time on my radio & being amazed & impressed by the lyrics & that such a long long song was on the charts. It wasn’t rock or actually pop music as I knew pop music. In some ways it still defies category – adult pop? Harris’s voice clearly wasn’t a rock voice either, nor was it say, Tom Jones or Frank Sinatra. But it worked.

I bought the album A Tramp Shining – which my buddies at time dismissed as romantic tripe but I loved it – here I am a tramp shining. It was unapologetically adult romantic, with little or no political or even trippy subtext. Later I realized the work was more the product of the genius of Jimmy Webb than of Richard Harris.

The follow up, The Yard Went On Forever, had no hits & was even more adult & also much darker in mood & lyric content. I liked it a lot as well but no one I knew cared for it. It had no freaky guitar work. It also was not pop, folk or rock. I have both of these – Tramp as a stand alone cd & The Yard in an mp3 collection. Both are too short for my liking 🙂

Another singing actor was Noel Harrison. His first lp Collage was a collection of folksy covers of thing like Whiter Shade of Pale, Strawberry Fields. I liked his low key take on these massive pop hits of the time. Not strictly folk as there was some sweet psychedelic flavouring, even sitar, to some of the tracks. I played that lp grey & now have it as an lp to cd transfer. 

As a stand-alone I the limited edition Life is a Dream – a compilation of songs from his other lps. It repeats some of Collage & there is some of Santa Monica Pier as well. He never did get a major pop career. He lived in Nova Scotia Canada for a time & hosted Take Time a TV show out of Halifax. Much like Richard Harris he was too adult to become a pop star.

As I said both were actors – though Richard Harris had a ‘bigger’ career. Harris became a singer thanks to film of the musical Camelot – he eventually did live touring shows of it. I don’t know that Noel ever did a film musical but he also did do touring shows of Camelot. 

Poor Old Marat

‘And on your left we have the bathtub in which Marat died. Poor old Marat.’

The group came to a stop behind the tour guide. 

‘But that’s not a tub at all. Looks more like a big pail.’ One of them said.

There was some polite laugher.

‘Perhaps,’ the tour guide smiled, ‘You are unaware that they didn’t have all the modern conveniences we do. You know,’ he lowered his voice, ‘they didn’t even have shower heads.’

‘What!’ another member of the tour said.

‘Please, you all must be aware of that! Our lives are very much different from those of people in the past.’

‘Yes, but still they must have had something.’

‘Not even a tooth brush.’

The tour guide continued up the hall.

‘Who was Marat?’

‘Pardon.’ The guide stopped.

‘Who was Marat? It’s all well and fine to tell us this is the tub in which Marat died but, if it isn’t too much trouble, please tell us who Marat was.’

‘Sir, this is an exhibit that encompasses famed baths of the past not personages. Now if you have a question about the fixtures, plumbing or such, I’d be only too happy to tell you what I know.’

‘See. He doesn’t even know who Marat is, only that he was too poor to own a real bathtub.’

The guide reddened. ‘I certainly do Madam, but that is not my job.’

‘Not your job?’

‘Quite right. I am to show and explain these particular relics. Period. If you wish to know more perhaps you should sign up for a different tour.’

‘I’m disappointed you don’t know more about these people. I mean these famous personages.’

‘I do, but that is not what I am permitted to tell you.’

‘Permitted?’

‘Right.’ The guide sucked in air between his teeth. ‘I am in the Plumbing Relics Tour Union and therefore cannot overstep those boundaries without infringing on the territory of another union.’

‘I see. Why didn’t you explain that before. How long has there been such a division of union jobs?’

‘I’m sorry, Sir, I cannot tell you that. You’ll have to speak with someone from the History of Unions Union.

‘Now if you’ll please follow me, we next have the toilet stall in which Lenny Bruce was found dead. As you can tell it wasn’t very clean but functional. The cubical was designed for single occupancy.’

‘Single occupancy? How did they manage.’

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every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

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September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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