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Roots to Branches

54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 31, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered edition of this 1995 album. Whereas in the 1980s Jethro Tull had dabbled in Heavy Metal and Modern Rock, Roots To Branches hearkens back to the classic Tull sound, with a lot more of Anderson's flute, making it one of the band's more vintage-sounding offerings during their later era. Also features musical assistance form long-time members Martin Barre, Dave Pegg, Andy Giddings and Doane Perry. Features 13 tracks including ''At Last, Forever'', ''Dangerous Veils'' and more. EMI.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 31, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,723 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By BENJAMIN MILER on October 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There's always that occasion when a group goes through a periodic dry spell, and then they surprisingly releases one of their finest albums in a long time. Jethro Tull happened to be that one group. They had a comeback in 1987 with Crest of a Knave, mainly because people were happy to see the band return to guitar after spending the early '80s emphasizing too much on modern, synthetic-sounding synthesizers. It earned them a Grammy for Best Metal Performance, beating Metallica, which obviously angered the metalheads and puzzled Tull fans as well. Rock Island pretty much treaded the same ground as Crest of a Knave, while Catfish Rising found them bringing back their folk and blues roots, but the problem was that album could have been a lot better than it actually was (for example, I could live without "Doctor to my Disease" and "Still Loving You Tonight"). Then there was the 1992 live album A Little Light Music, which was more or less the Tull version of Unplugged, released around the same time Eric Clapton released his Unplugged, but of course, the Tull album was not recorded anywhere near MTV or its Unplugged program, so the album couldn't be called Unplugged. The album was largely acoustic (even Dave Pegg used an acoustic bass guitar), half them instrumental versions (demonstrating that Ian Anderson didn't have the voice he used to prior to Crest of a Knave).

But I was really surprised with Roots to Branches, the 1995 studio followup to Catfish Rising, I really think this is their best album since the late '70s! The music really took a giant step over its predecessor, many cuts harkening to their earlier sound, but of course there's still that mellow sound that permeates the more recent Tull.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Kimsey on April 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Well, I suppose that quite a few hard-core Tull fans may have heard this, but by 1995, they weren't such a huge commercial force to be a reckoned with. Not since 1980's A had Tull released such a uniformly strong album, and one that would have fit in snugly with their 70's masterpieces.

Everything is here: Ian Anderson's lyrics are at their very best, as are his compositional and flute-playing skills. Martin Barre sounds positively rejuvenated, as his playing is even more supple than usual. The rhythm section is good, with Doane Perry's creative and dynamic drumming, and Dave Pegg and Steve Bailey both providing credible bass.

There isn't a weak song here. Roots to Branches is a majestic piece, and one with beautiful lyrics. Rare and Precious Chain, This Free Will and Out Of The Noise are all vintage Tull, with Tull's mixture of progressive rock and world music. A word here about Tull's progressive tendencies. Personally, I think that the reason why Tull has aged so much more gracefully than their 70's progressive-rock cohorts is that Anderson always ensured that there was an organic, folk base to their music. This basis gave Tull's music a timeless quality that eludes most of their contemporaries.

At Last Forever is a gorgeous song that evokes Autumn; a lot of Jethro Tull's music does this for me. Dangerous Veils is one of the all-time great Tull songs, and Valley is a work of genius.

It's simply a travesty that this came and went commercially in the States. Not only is it one of Jethro Tull's greatest albums, it's one of the greatest albums of the Nineties.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bellagio on February 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Two aspects of this dark and important Tull album are striking: The palpable eastern influences in rhythm, melody and lyric and the stunning improvement Ian Anderson's flute playing. The flute (particularly the bamboo flute) is more prominent on this album than in perhaps any previous Tull album -- a remarkable statement when you think about it. Mr. Anderson has been, through the years, a capable and even strong flautist -- he has done more than any other musician in the "rock" era to give this instrument a foremost place in his work. However, on this album his flute work is extraordinary, well beyond anything he previously accomplished. From the very introduction of the opening track this is readily apparent.
The eastern influences, from the near east (Arabian), through Indian sub-continent all the way to China in the Far East, are primarily (but not solely) responsible for the somber, fatalistic tenor of this album.
This is an album of melancholy reflection on vexing and persistent life issues. If you are looking for something to liven up a Friday night after a few beers, this is most definitely not what you are looking for. If you want something that "Rocks!" go elsewhere. While there are up-tempo pieces contained here, especially early in the album, none of them can even remotely be considered a "rock song." The risqué, and often even raunchy, Tull humor (as in Catfish Rising) is nowhere evident. To be sure, there is plenty of wit in the lyrics but it tends more toward the cynical or fatalist viewpoint.
Religion, a recurrent theme in Tull music, plays a larger role here than in any album since Aqualung. But in this album the treatment is more thoughtful and far less bombastic.
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