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Rock Island [Original recording reissued]

Jethro TullAudio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 2007 $9.49  
Audio CD, Original recording reissued, 1999 --  

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Thick As A Brick 2 Video Trailer


Early in 1968, a group of young British musicians, born from the ashes of various failed regional bands gathered together in hunger, destitution and modest optimism in Luton, North of London. With a common love of Blues and an appreciation, between them, of various other music forms, they started to win over a small but enthusiastic audience in the various pubs and clubs of Southern England. ... Read more in Amazon's Jethro Tull Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 14, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1989
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000008H1X
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,517 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Kissing Willie
2. The Rattlesnake Trail
3. Ears Of Tin
4. Undressed To Kill
5. Rock Island
6. Heavy Water
7. Another Christmas Song
8. The Whaler's Dues
9. Big Riff And Mando
10. Strange Avenues

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated January 23, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Boy, ever since about 1980, Tull haven't been able to win. If they vary from the program one iota, everybody complains that they haven't released another _Aqualung_ (or _Thick as a Brick_ or _Songs from the Wood_ or ). But if they stick to a formula that has made their fans happy, they get pasted for not being sufficiently innovative.

The latter is what happened with this fine album. Hard on the heels of the fan-pleasing (and Grammy-winning) _Crest of a Knave_, Ian Anderson and the then-current gang turned out a nicely crafted album of rock tunes along the lines of what fans have always considered their "classic" material. And they took it in the eye.

Okay, the songs aren't the absolute very best that Anderson has ever written. But outside of Lake Wobegon, not every album can be above average. And calling this album "lackluster" is on a par with saying, "Wow, Gielgud really phoned in _that_ performance, didn't he?"

Even if it were true, the fact is that Tull can _afford_ to phone in a performance now and then; even their most lackluster effort (which this isn't) beats the heck out of nearly anybody else's top-drawer material.

This stuff isn't really lackluster anyway, so I'm not sure where those complaints came from. I suspect some listeners are just automatically suspicious of slick production, as though it's always a cover for poor songwriting.

Well, it can be, but in this case it's not. I don't think Anderson's songwriting here is as inventive as on the next one, _Catfish Rising_ (which is a lot lighter and "free-associative", nowhere near as serious and intense as this one mostly is). But it's tight and clean, and there are several really striking songs in the set (notably "Another Christmas Song").
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My personal start to become a tull-Fanatic January 12, 2004
Format:Audio CD
This album was my personal start to become a real tull-fanatic. I bought it on vinyl many years ago and it still is one of my favourite albums. It brings rock, a light blues-feeling, catchy melodies and the tull-typic dark atmosphere together an brings out a unique and impressing piece of music. My favourites are "Ears of tin", "Another christmas song" and "Strange avenues". It is lightly true that Ian's voice is not as strong as on the 70s-albums, but it creates a sound that fits to the instruments and completes the album.
If you also like the modern Tull releases: I can highly recommend this album to everyone! It is one of the best Tull releases.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Contains Some Classic Tull Songs! May 21, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Following up Crest of Knave, Rock Island was put into a tough position. Knave was a first for Tull, a Grammy winner and featured a new sound that combined most of their previous sounds into something new. Tull carries that same sound from Knave to Rock Island, but it doesn't come off as well here. Rock Island is a really solid Tull disk. Rock Island seems a little more mellow than the average Tull album. "Kissing Willie", "Ears of Tin", and "Big Riff & Mando", are really the only fast tempo, upbeat songs on the disk. But it's the slower songs, "Another Christmas Song", "Whaler's Dues", "Strange Avenues", that make Rock Island shine. This disk always reminded me of the Tull classic Stormwatch album for some reason. It's almost like Ian Anderson took a decade back-step when writing these songs. "Whaler's Dues" is probably the highlight of the album, just because it sounds very different from the rest of the songs on the disk. It seems like "Whaler's Dues" should have been placed on Stormwatch right after "North Sea Oil". Overall Rock Island is worth the money, and if you think Jethro Tull disappeared after Crest of a Knave, the you should really pick up this album and the 5 star "Catfish Rising" to hear where they went after Knave.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But, you'd only drift right back to your Rock Island November 2, 2003
Format:Audio CD
I'd say this is a good Jethro Tull album. Those who prefer the hard rock side of Jethro Tull as opposed to their accoustic side might enjoy this.
My three favorites from the CD: "The Rattlesnake Trail," "Ears of Tin" and "Undressed to Kill." The title song, "Rock Island," features a loud guitar and flute jam that almost measures up to "Black Satin Dancer" (from Minstrel in the Gallery). The remainder of this album is entertaining.
Maybe this CD isn't the best Tull has ever recorded. But, there have been moments when I enjoyed "Rock Island" more than the others. This is a fun loud rock album once you get acquainted with the songs.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has some very good moments October 9, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
ROCK ISLAND is a good album, not the best one Tull ever made, but with several worthwhile moments. Ian Anderson is still pitching things at a slightly lower key, presumably to go easy on his voice, so the "Mark Knopfler" affect in his singing is held over from CREST OF A KNAVE, but it's not a distraction. The band is in great form most of the time, with Martin Barre standing out as always. "Another Christmas Song" is the high point, a true beauty, one of the few times when a sequel (to Tull's 1968 "A Christmas Song") actually stands toe-to-toe with the original. Other good tracks are "The Whaler's Dues," one of only two songs I can think of (Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexa" being the other) that dares to risk the wrath of environmentalists by examining the modern problems of whaling from the whaler's perspective; "Kissing Willie," a naughty ditty about, well, let's just say " Think Bill and Monica" and leave it at that; and "Strange Avenues," one last visit to that poor old sod sitting on the park bench and recalling his visage on a long-ago album cover.
While we're at it, Chrysalis Records' policy on reissuing Jethro Tull's recorded catalogue is truly bizarre. How is it that this album, which at best sold moderately upon it's initial release, is still available and CREST OF THE KNAVE--the one which won a GRAMMY!!--is out-of-print? This makes sense?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars not too shabby
not a gem, but overall a pretty good tull record. badmouthed by many, i think it has some decent tunes here; kissing willy;whalers dues;rattlesnake trail
Published 1 month ago by frankfarkel
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Music
Without doing an extremely detailed analysis of this product song by song, I find if I have to shovel snow out of the drive way or maybe even try a bit of exercise, yoga or what... Read more
Published 8 months ago by TomPlum
1.0 out of 5 stars As Bad As JT Gets
I have no idea what happened to Jethro Tull (and Ian Anderson) in the 70s. Whatever it was, it must have been a really traumatic experience because everything up through "Thick As... Read more
Published 17 months ago by MJH
3.0 out of 5 stars Tulls rock island
There are two songs on this that rank with the best of Tull. They are kissing Willie and rock island. The rest of disc is easy to listen to but not noteworthy.
Published 21 months ago by David OGorman
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock Island hosts 3 Tull all-time classics
Classics - Whaler's Dues, Rock Island, Another Christmas Song. These make my all-time Tull playlist. Read more
Published on January 2, 2009 by Party Arty
3.0 out of 5 stars Duller than ever; maybe their worst
Luis Mejia (son) - After the promissing adventure of Crest Of A Knave, Jethro Tull had settled into hard rock territory, and while Crest Of A Knave stands as an interesting album,... Read more
Published on September 15, 2007 by Humberto Mejia
4.0 out of 5 stars A Strange Dichotomy
I've had this album for a dozen years or so, having bought it on a whim when I was nabbing everything Tull I could find during my college years. Read more
Published on October 6, 2006 by Harold Schmidt
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm overrating this album because Amazon won't let me give it zero...
This is the worst album by my favorite band Jethro Tull. I've tried several times to sit through and listen to the album from beginning to end and just can't make it through. Read more
Published on March 25, 2006 by B. Drexler
4.0 out of 5 stars Ian Anderson in top form
Jethro Tull from time to time in their career have made milestone albums that have defined them. Among those albums would be Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, The Minstrel in the... Read more
Published on October 18, 2005 by Michael Wheeler
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to par.

For what it's worth, I classify Tull releases into 3 categories---Classic, Good, and Not Up To Par. Read more
Published on August 6, 2005 by The Plunkster
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