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Christmas Music Playlists with Jethro Tull Songs
For Whom The Christmas Bells Tull
Factfile - Jethro Tull
- Jethro Tull's Christmas catalogue includes Christmas Song from their 1972 album Living In The Past, their 1976 single Ring Out, Solstice Bells and their 1989 single Another Christmas Song.
- The Jethro Tull Christmas Album released in 2003 and then reissued in 2009 with a live recording they made in St Bride's Church in London, Christmas at St Bride's 2008.
Jethro Tull are a progressive rock band from Southern England and have over several decades always stayed in touch with their festive side, culminating in a complete full length Christmas recording in 2003. Their first Christmas release came in 1976 in the shape of an extended 7-inch vinyl single called ‘Ring Out, Solstice Bells’. The title track had a new age direction and was characterised by a foraging flute playing and Ian Anderson’s quickly spun words. There were dashes of church bells to give the piece a much needed injection of Christmasness which has probably helped ‘Ring Out, Solstice Bells’ become a near ever-present on the popular Christmas compilations. The other notable tune on this 1976 release, ‘A Christmas Song’, was different in direction and fell directly into the folk domain. Simple and clear of mind (it even takes a line from ‘Once in Royal David’s City’) this is perhaps more reflective of the Christmas we all know and love.
It would be another 13 years before Jethro Tull treaded the Christmas boards again with 1989’s ‘Another Christmas Song’. The band’s sound had by this time changed, or at least did for this recording, to approximate a Mike Oldfield/Dire Straits mash up. ‘Another Christmas Song’ was big, brash and has dated dreadfully poorly. Thankfully things had returned to normal for the release of the full length Tull ‘Christmas Album’. Critical lauded on its release it saw the band recover much of the magic that had propelled them in their purple patch in the 1970’s. All of the band’s previously released Christmas tunes were recorded for the occasion and lead songwriter Ian Anderson recorded plenty of new originals. Of these the vibrant opening ‘Birthday Card At Christmas’ is a particular highlight as is ‘Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow’ with all concerned locked in a lively Christmas session. ‘First Snow of Brooklyn’ is much more reflective and offers a nice antidote to the raging energy levels found elsewhere on the album. There are plenty of instrumentals on show with Anderson and Co. doing their best to write a new page in the annals of ‘Greensleeves’ (called ‘Greensleeved’ here) and We Three Kings’ (called ‘We Five Kings here!).
The cover art for 'Christmas Album' will delight those on the look out for traditional Christmas scenary as a hill top church stands imperious until a dusting of freshly fallen snow. The album was reissued in 2009 and this time it came with a bonus Jethro Tull live CD titled 'Christmas at St Bride's 2008' which was recorded in St Bride's Church, London.
Why not spare a thought this day for those who have no flame to warm their bones at Christmas time? Say Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow...
Jethro Tull, Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow
Jethro Tull Christmas Album & Single Covers