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Songs From the Wood

4.7 out of 5 stars 205 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tull reached #8 with this 1977 LP, a remarkable return to the band's folk roots. Two bonus tracks: Beltane (a track done at the end of these sessions) and Velvet Green (live 1977 recording)!

Amazon.com

The earth-worshipping revelry of 1977's frisky Songs from the Wood was far removed from the heavyweight progressive rock of Jethro Tull's early years. Taking a leaf from the book of Steeleye Span, Songs from the Wood is bright and festive as it mines a rich, green seam of ancient British folklore for inspiration. By marrying the characters ("Jack in the Green") and traditions of the old religion's ritual calendar ("Ring Out Solstice Bells" was an unlikely Christmas hit) to their eccentricity and half-imagined interpretations of British traditional music, Tull came up with one of their albums. This collection unintentionally beseeches the concrete-jungle-dwelling set to retreat to the countryside. With tin-whistles, peppy acoustic guitar, medieval twists and turns, much May Day gaiety and debauchery, and even the odd touch of prog, Songs from the Wood still sounds bewitching in the 21st century. --Kevin Maidment

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Songs From The Wood
  2. Jack-In-The-Green
  3. Cup Of Wonder
  4. Hunting Girl
  5. Ring Out Solstice Bells
  6. Velvet Green
  7. The Whistler
  8. Pibroch (Cap In Hand)
  9. Fire At Midnight
  10. Beltane
  11. Velvet Green (Live)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 1977
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00008G9JN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,878 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
_Songs From The Wood_ and _Heavy Horses_ are not only two of my favorite Tull albums but two of my favorite albums by anyone, ever. I've had SftW in one form or another since it was released in 1977 and I know every note on it forward, backward, upside down, and inside out. I was _expecting_ to be blown away by the remastered version.
And for all that, even _I_ wasn't prepared for the full effect of this thing. My heavens, there's a wealth of sonic detail here that I haven't heard in twenty-five years, and it's every bit as fresh as when it first came out. It brought tears to my eyes.
This will not be a big deal to you if this isn't one of your Preferred Tulls. But if it is . . . well, then, you can safely ignore the silly comments from the peanut gallery and rest assured that this remastered release is worth investing in.
As with most of these Tull re-releases, I don't care one way or another about the extra tracks. It's nice to have "Beltane" (which was released on the big 20-year box set but got winnowed out of the one-CD version). It's also nice to have a live "Velvet Green". But I'd have bought this CD without them. (Not that I'm complaining. And anyway, if you don't want to hear the extra tracks, you can just stop the CD, can't you? Like most CDs, this one has a nice generous break before the "bonus" tracks kick in so that you can do just that.)
And I don't have anything to say about the album itself that I didn't say in my review of the earlier CD version. It's just that in view of some of the reviews this remastered version has been getting, I thought some potential buyers might like to hear from someone who _liked_ the blinkin' thing in the first place and can therefore comment sensibly on whether this new release is satisfactory.
It is.
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Format: Audio CD
I can't believe some of the negative reviews I'm seeing here for Jethro Tull's classic, "Songs From The Wood." And you Tull purists call yourselves true fans? Not in my book. Now, a *sensible* Jethro Tull fan knows darn well that this 1977 release is one of the band's very best albums. Even Ian Anderson himself names it as one of his personal favorites, and why the heck not. For this album, and, inspired by his move to the English countryside in the mid-70's, Anderson came up with some wonderful Tull songs that have an earthier, folkier feel to them than previous albums, adding rustic musical elements to the band's prog-rock leanings like mandolin, whistles, glockenspiel, and bells. Not *entirely* folk, fer chrissake, just a winning, whimsical blend of upbeat, jig-inducing folk-rock. And, contrary to belief, the band still *rock* on this album. Not only does Anderson show his tremendous talents once more on songwriting, vocals, guitar & flute, but Martin Barre delivers some excellent guitar licks, John Glascock's bass is commanding, John Evan & David Palmer's keyboard playing sparkles, and Barriemore Barlow keeps the beat big & strong. From the classic title song, to other cheerful tunes like "Cup Of Wonder," "Hunting Girl," "Ring Out Solstice Bells," "Velvet Green," and my personal fave, the exquisite "The Whistler," this Tull album is a true beauty. Listening to "Songs From The Wood," you can just picture Ian & the boys sawing logs, hunting game, telling stories 'round the campfire, and singing merry songs while passing the ale around. That's how *imaginative* the songs are on this album. So please ignore those annoying naysayers and enjoy Jethro Tull's "Songs From The Wood," one of the band's finest works.
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Format: Audio CD
Nature was always very present in Tull's music - with Ian Anderson's rich fluteplaying evoking images of wide open spaces, joyous rides across green fields, and perhaps slightly ironic but nonetheless real inclinations to go "living in the past".
On "Songs from the Wood" Ian Anderson - inspired by recently moving into the countryside - seems to transform himself into the Green Man of British folklore, roaming through mythical forests, high on Nature's juices and testosterone.
The resulting album hardly needs any recommendation - it is an acknowledged and flawless masterpiece, as fresh, magical and intoxicatingly original today as when it was recorded some 25 years ago.
The original cd-version was awful - the new, remastered version brings back memories of being blown away for the first time by this timeless masterpiece. The two bonus tracks are fine, the sinister "Beltane" (a pity, though, that the track isn't faded away when enough is enough...) and a fine, airy live-version of "Velvet Green".
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Format: Audio CD
It's hard for me to believe that so many people find this album mediocre. Of course this is a matter of personal taste, but this is my all time favorite Tull album. There is so much going on at any one moment; all the melodies are strong, the hooks are wonderful, and yet this is some of the most complex and challenging arrangement work that Anderson and the band have ever done (second perhaps only to Passion Play). The band membership at this point was also top notch, and it shows in the sheer (small "b") baroque of the instrumental interplay. I'm particularly partial, as a bassist myself, to John "Brittledick" Glascock (may he Rock in Peace), who I consider the best bass player Tull ever had (sorry Peggy, you come in a close second).

I suppose whether or not you like the lyrics is also a matter of taste. You will definitely *not* like them if you refuse to hear them with the tongue-in-cheek flavor that they're written. The combination of seriousness with fun is a very, very English outlook, poorly understood by Americans All of you out there who think that Tull peaked with Thick as a Brick: the music on Brick is fantastic, and the lyrics near-literary quality, but you seem to have missed the point. That album was intended as a joke, from the front cover to the very last note. Is it any wonder that Ian Anderson is still, to this day, occasionally asked "So, whatever happened to Gerry Bostock, then?" Not to mention that while the lyrics on SftW may *describe* "country living" topics, they're not anywhere near *about* those things. If you cannot read beneath the veneer of woodland fairies and toddies on the mantlepiece to what the songs are actually *about*, then you'll never really get it anyway.
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