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A Passion Play

4.4 out of 5 stars 278 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 20, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Their #1 smash LP from '73, an amazingly ambitious album, dense with fantasy imagery and religious references. This reissue is an enhanced CD featuring video of The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles taken from the 25 Years of Jethro Tull VHS release!

Amazon.com

Following quickly on the heels of their career-defining Aqualung and Thick as a Brick, Ian Anderson's Jethro Tull demonstrated that their musical and thematic ambitions were as muscular as ever on 1973's Passion Play. But if Thick was a bit tongue in cheek about its conceptual conceits, Passion was a dizzying example of the prog-rock era's overweening musical aspirations at their zenith. Anderson now sums up it its obtuse, theater-as-metaphor libretto as "the theme of post-death meanderings in another world," but the sheer propulsive tension of Tull's sprawling musical interplay insures its folk-rooted baroque and roll a tight orbit around this mortal coil for nearly the album's entirety. This digitally remastered, enhanced CD edition features the complete video for the album's Lewis Carroll-esque interlude "The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles," a theatrical program and typically self-effacing new introduction by Ian Anderson. --Jerry McCulley
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 1973
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00008G9JM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,410 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Well let me start by saying that if you're sick of the music that's popular, uninspired, predictable, overplayed, and safely within the skill level of any old musician, then A Passion Play is your cure! It is the opposite of all these things. On the other hand, if you are perfectly happy just hearing "Honky Tonk Women" 5 times a day on the radio then stay AWAY from A Passion Play.
As a continuation of their parody of concept albums, Ian A. and Co. created this piece with the obvious intent of challenging themselves and their listeners to the utmost extent. It is brilliant and ridiculous, triumphant and melancholy, satisfying and disappointing. The music will lead up to what you hope will be a thrilling climax, and then completely die. It is easily one of the most densely inaccessible albums ever recorded. However, it is also ingenious. Another reviewer was right in saying that basically all the other rock & roll innovators combined could never have concocted such a ludicrously awesome creative masterpiece as this. The playing here is completely off the hook; the best you'll ever hear on a rock album, especially considering the extreme difficulty of the music. The lineup of Anderson, Barre, Hammond, Evans, and Barlow was, in my opinion, the best in Tull history. Ian's singing is so rich and full that his vocals on earlier albums just seem thin and tinny in comparison. The saxes and tastefully utilized synths are a nice addition, giving it a very distinctly different flavor from Thick as a Brick. In fact, I would say that the segment subtitled "The Overseer Overture" contains one of the saxophone's defining moments in rock music (not to mention that's the best part of the album too).
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Format: Audio CD
While so many of the rock bands of the seventies were "just a little touch of make up, just a little touch of bull, just a three chord trick embedded in your platform soul" (as Ian Anderson put it on "Crazed Institution") Tull were doing things that were in another space and time. And while not everything worked, they were never dull. A Passion Play has stood the test of time. Like a great piece of art, you can return to it endless times and discover something new. It is all at once pathetically shallow and profoundly deep, toe tappingly musical and irritatingly dischordant, it threatens to soar into brilliance, only to dwindle into nothingness, it is beautiful and clumsy, elegant and gawkish. It is music with a sense of humour. Like the comedy masters of the time who would never advertise a punch line, Tull keep you guessing. You never get what you expect. After all, familiarity breeds contempt.

A classic. Five stars.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This review is for the new Steven Wilson remixed version of Tull's "A Passion Play." If you're a fan of the album to begin with, this edition trumps all previous CD releases/remasters etc. Wilson has become the go-to guy for remixing classic prog albums, and he does a fantastic job here. Does it sound different from the original mix? Yes, in places. Overall, it all sounds much better; he's tweaked dynamics here and there. The album really comes alive, especially on the DVD mixes. He's also remixed the 1972 so-called "Chateau D'Isaster Tapes," a portion of which first appeared on the "20 Years of Jethro Tull" box set (three tracks) and later on "Nightcap" (the three tracks plus what we thought was all of it). But there was more, around 10 minutes' worth!

"The Chateau D'Isaster Tapes," for those of you unfamiliar with them, consist of tracks that Jethro Tull laid down after the release of "Thick as a Brick" in 1972, intended to be for the next album. The accompanying booklet goes into great detail about the recording of these tracks and subsequent abandonment. In short, Tull scrapped the recordings, went back into the studio, and created "A Passion Play" instead. There are motifs and bits from the Chateau recordings that made their way into "PP," as well as two tracks that made it onto "WarChild." When I heard the Chateau tapes on the "Nightcap" album, I was impressed and really liked comparing the genesis of "PP" with the final product. Now, with Wilson's remix, they sound better than ever. The tracks are re-sequenced, and, with the added 10 minutes we've never heard before, it really comes off as a complete, somewhat "new" Jethro Tull album from their most proggy period (1972-1973)!
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Format: Audio CD
Actually 4 1/2 stars . A Passion Play is a bit more melodic than Thick As A Brick .There is less of Martin Barres guitar and more of John Evans synth . The themes of the album are quite similar to Thick ' ... one wonders if Gerald Bostock had a hand in penning the lyrics , although The Hare Who Lost His Spec-a-ticles would suggest otherwise . I've heard a lot of people mentioning the fact that Jethro Tull should be in The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame . Its albums like Passion Play that will probably keep them out . All of rocks royalty from the Stones to the Clash To Zepp to Aerosmith couldnt , in their wildest dreams come up with something as imaginative as Passion Play . And while these and future hall of famers like Nirvana and Metallica are at the podium having thier butts kissed by the industry and thier peers ...I'll be sittin at home grinning over the fact that Tull is not a part of this nonsense .
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