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Crest of a Knave

4.3 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 26, 2005
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Remastered reissue of 1987 album that adds the bonus track 'Part Of The Machine'. EMI. 2005.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00070DK1E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,923 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Finally someone, somewhere in the music industry wised up and re-issued this stunning masterpiece! Following a 3-year hiatus from recording, and one full year away from music, Tull returned to the studio (Ian's house) with a band consisting only of Msrs. Anderson, Barre, Pegg and some part-time percussionists. Some years removed from their last strong effort, and following Ian Anderson's illness in which his magnificent voice was severely and permanently damaged, one could hardly imagine that Tull would return with what may be the finest and most powerful Tull album of all.
The album opens with a fast-paced rocker (Steel Monkey) -- an effective if somewhat mundane starter song (not helped at all by the use of the drum programme), which provides no real clue to the power and quality of what is to come. And, in fact, come right away: Farm On The Freeway is an intriguing mixture of protest ballad and rocker, lamenting thoughtless urban sprawl, and containing unparalleled instrumental passages. It is perfectly designed to be a live-concert mainstay. An absolute gift to a tight band. Jump Start is a heavy rocker most notable for Martin Barre's strident guitar work. A good song, well-known and widely played, but definitely NOT the best rocker on the album.
Tull's music, throughout the years, is redolent with gorgeous and unique melodies -- usually (but not always) found in shorter, less structurally complex works. Little jewels with timeless melodies that provide not only a change-of-pace but are an adornment of such beauty that they become as memorable as any works in the set. Of all these, I can think of none any more fetching than Said She Was A Dancer.
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Format: Audio CD
Just kidding.
Back in 1987, a lot of people whined because this Tull album beat out Metallica for a Grammy award in the "heavy metal" category. Even some longtime Tull fans thought there was a problem here. But let's think this through.
The Grammy award for heavy metal was a _new_ category that year. And maybe the category wasn't (and isn't) quite as well-defined as Metallica fans would have liked us to believe. (You'd probably call Led Zeppelin a heavy metal band, wouldn't you? Did you ever listen to "Stairway to Heaven"? What's that instrument you hear? Could it be -- gasp! -- a _fl*te_?)
Besides, Tull had been around for _twenty years_ at that point and had never won a Grammy of _any_ kind. Considering how much the heavy-metal category owed, and still owes, to Tull's music (especially Martin Barre's searing guitar and Ian Anderson's manic on-stage presence), doesn't it make sense that the Grammy judges would think it appropriate to launch the new category with a bit of well-deserved homage to its so-far-unrecognized roots?
Then, too, this album was, and is, one of Tull's finest. Anderson was recovering from some severe throat problems and had recorded most of this album at home, with Martin Barre, Doane Perry, Gerry Conway, David Pegg, and some electronic instruments (notably a keyboard and a drum machine). But even so, it was a _lot_ closer to Tull's earlier rock than it was to the electronic-synth stuff they'd been releasing during the 1980s to that point.
Still not convinced this is "heavy metal"? Okay, maybe it isn't quite. But what category _does_ Tull belong in? If you wanted to give them a well-deserved Grammy, can you think of a better one?
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Format: Audio CD
This is the most controversial album Jethro Tull has ever put out before or since and it's all due the the Grammy commitee. 1988's winner of the "Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal" Grammy is neither. However it is an exellent album.

One of it's main strengths is the guitar work of Martin Barre. My favorite is his solo on "Budapest" because he demonstrates that one doesn't have to crank the amps up to 11 to have a kick bottom guitar solo. Ian Anderson says that "Budapest" is the song that he is most proud of, as it has a little bit of everything in it.

This album also has the song "Farm on the Freeway" which is today a concert favorite amongst the fans.

What's unfortunate about this album is Ian's voice is merely a shadow of what it once was due to throat problems a few years back. I wish Martin Barre's guitar had been mixed a little higher in the song "Steel Monkey", and I really wish this package had included the original 20 minute version of "Budapest."

Overall though, a terrific album and worth the money. Come to think of it, the flute can be heavy and it is made of metal so perhaps what the Grammy committee meant when they gave Tull the award.
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Format: Audio CD
While I do not place "Crest" in the list of my top 5 Tull albums, I do think it falls somewhere comfortably in 6th or 7th place. Considering Tull's huge output, that's really saying something. Basically, "Crest" was a nice recovery from the miscalculation of "Under Wraps" and features some of the band's finest instrumental interludes, melodies, and poetry. While I am not a big fan of drum machines (and this album is loaded with them), I still think "Crest" manages to maintain a warm, human sound that is greatly enhanced by Ian's deep, gruff voice. And yes, it does feature one of Tull's greatest songs in "Farm on the Freeway." Powerfully executed, with a devastating middle instrumental section, "Farm" stands with the best of Tull's classic tunes. "Budapest" is another wondrous piece, and "Said She was a Dancer" features a particularly memorable and heartfelt melody and a resounding poignancy and sadness.
I've seen many Grammy shows with various music industry-types bemoaning the fact that Crest won the 1989 Grammy for best hard rock/metal album. Taken purely on artistic merits, it was indeed the best hard rock album of the year, far superior to even Metallica's heavily-favored "...And Justice For All." So Grammy folks, quit whining and suck up to the fact that you got your butts whipped by the one and only Jethro Tull.
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