Tuesday, 10 April 2018

"Heavy Horses: New Shoes Edition" by JETHRO TULL (March 2018 Chrysalis 3CD/2DVD Book Set Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Hoeing And Husbandry..."

I was a kid of the early Seventies ("Aqualung", "Thick As A Brick", the "Living In The Past" double-album) - so by the time Jethro Tull's 11th album "Heavy Horses" arrived in April 1978 with the double "Live: Bursting Out" following quickly later that same year in September - I can recall being disinterested in JT entirely and thinking - who the hell is buying either of these?

And yet Tull have always been a cult band personified - so despite or perhaps even because of the utterly changed musical landscape they found themselves in – defiantly "Heavy Horses" bucked the 'Rock Is Dead - Long Live Punk and New Wave' ethos of the NME et al and charted well on both sides of the pond - No. 20 in the UK and even better at No. 19 in the States ("Live: Bursting Out" did the same - No. 17 in the UK and No. 20 in the USA). Now I'm re-listening afresh to what is presently referred to as Part 2 of their Folk-Rock album trilogy - 1978's "Heavy Horses" - the one between "Songs From The Woods" in 1977 and "Stormwatch" in 1979.

And once again fans and newcomers alike will slaver and drool over this 5-Disc Book Set - yet another in Tull's extraordinary reissue campaign that has been putting most major label reissues of huge bands to utter shame for a few years now. There's a cartload of detail to plough through (forgive the puns) - so once more my hirsute horsy friends unto the Mad Nags and Englishmen (and that one-legged geezer with the hat and the flute)...

UK and USA released 2 March 2018 - "Heavy Horses: New Shoes Edition" by JETHRO TULL on Parlophone/Chrysalis 0190295757915 (Barcode 0190295757915) is a 3CD + 2DVD Reissue containing both "Heavy Horses" the album and the live double-set that followed "Live: Bursting Out" – all housed in a Hardback 'Book Set' with an attached 96-page booklet. The team of Steve Wilson, Jakko Jakszyk, Don Needham and Ray Shulman (long associated with Tull reissues) have carried out the Audio and DVD Remasters and Authoring and "Heavy Horses: New Shoes Edition" plays out as follows:

CD1 "Heavy Horses" (76:23 minutes):
1.  ....And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps [Side 1]
2. Acres Wild
3. No Lullaby
4. Moths
5. Journeymen
6. Rover [Side 2]
7. One Brown Mouse
8. Heavy Horses
9. Weathercock
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 11th album "Heavy Horses" - released 10 April 1978 in the USA on Chrysalis CHR 1175 and 21 April 1978 in the UK also on Chrysalis CHR 1175. Produced by IAN ANDERSON and JETHRO TULL - it peaked at No. 20 on the UK LP charts and No.19 in the USA.

10. Living In These Hard Times [Version 2] - Planned to be on the withdrawn "Moths" EP - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
11. Everything In Our Lives [Studio Outtake] - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
12. Jack-A-Lynn [Early Version, Studio Demo] - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
13. Quatrain [Studio Version, it featured on "Live: Bursting Out" as a new song in live form] - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
14. Horse-Hoeing Husbandry [Studio Outtake] - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
15. Beltane [Withdrawn from the "Moths" EP - eventually surfaced on "20 Years Of Jethro Tull" Box Set in June 1988]
16. Botanic Man [Recorded live for the Thames TV Series 'Botanic Man' with David Bellamy but not used] - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
17. Living In These Hard Times [Version 1] - Studio Outtake eventually surfaced on "20 Years Of Jethro Tull" Box Set in June 1988
18. Botanic Man Theme [Recorded for the Thames TV Series 'Botanic Man' with David Bellamy but not used] - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

CD2 "Live In Berne 1978 (Part 1)" (50:16 minutes):
1. Opening Music (Quartet)
2. Introduction by Claude Nobs
3. No Lullaby
4. Sweet Dream
5. Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day
6. Jack-In-The-Green
7. One Brown Mouse
8. Heavy Horses
9. A New Day Yesterday
10. Flute Solo Improvisation/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/Bouree
11. Living in The Past (Instrumental)/A New Day Yesterday (Reprise)
12. Songs From The Wood

CD3 "Live In Berne 1978 (Part 2)" (59:33 minutes):
1. Thick As A Brick
2. Hunting Girl
3. Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die
4. Conundrum
5. Minstrel In The Gallery
6. Cross-Eyed Mary
First Encore
7. Quatrain
8. Aqualung
Second Encore
9. Locomotive Breath
10. The Dambusters March/Aqualung (Reprise)
NOTE: the 22-tracks of CDs 2 and 3 represent the complete concert upon which the 17-track double-album "Live: Bursting Out" was based. Released 22 September 1978 in the UK on Chrysalis CJT 4 and 25 September 1978 in the USA on Chrysalis CH2 1201 (peaked at No. 17 and No. 21 respectively) – its four original sides can be sequenced from these two CDs using the following tracks:
Side 1: Tracks 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 from CD2
Side 2: Tracks 9, 10 and 12 from CD2 and Track 1 from CD3
Side 3: Tracks 2, 3, 4 and 5 from CD3
Side 4: Tracks 6, 7, 9 and 10 from CD3

DVD 1 (Audio) - NTSC, Region 0 (All Regions), 16.9 Aspect, Exempt from Classification
Contains all 9-Tracks of the "Heavy Horses" album
Plus "Living In These Hard Times (Versions 1 & 2), "Everything In Our Lives", "Jack-A-Lynn", "Horse-Hoeing Husbandry", "Beltane", "Botanic Man" and "Botanic Man Theme" remixed to 5.1 DTS, AC3 Dolby Digital Surround and 96/24 LPCM Stereo by STEVE WILSON
Also has original Stereo mixes of "Heavy Horses" album, "Rover (No Strings version)", "Living in These Hard Times (Version 2)", "Beltane" and "Quatrain (SW Mix)" as 96/24 LPCM Stereo

DVD 2 (Audio/Video) - NTSC, Region 0 (All Regions), 16.9 Aspect (Videos 3:4), Exempt from Classification
Jethro Tull recorded live to 2-track at The Festhalle, Berne, Switzerland by The Maison Rouge Mobile
Remixed to 5.1 DTS, AC3 Dolby Digital Surround and 96/24 LPCM Stereo by JAKKO JAKSZYK
Promotional Video Footage of the tracks "Heavy Horses" and "Moths" Plus 2 TV Adverts for "Bursting Out"

IAN ANDERSON - Vocals, Flute, Whistles, Mandolin, Acoustic and Electric Guitars
MARTIN BARRE - Lead Electric Guitar
JOHN EVAN - Piano and Organ
DAVID PALMER - Keyboards and Orchestral Arrangements
BARRIEMORE BARLOW - Drums and Percussion

On Page 18 of the incredible 96-page booklet is a picture of a 'Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses' Promotional Bottle of Ale complete with its ridged flip cap - on Page 52 is a repro of the rare front page folio for the book "Horfe-Hoeing Husbandry" by Jethro Tull published in London by A. Millar in 1731 (the character the band based their name on) - on Page 74 (to Page 81) that begins the January 1977 to November 1978 day-by-day 'Chronology' of all things JT is a night-time photo of the ill-fated Maison Rouge Studios in Fulham, South West London that the band bought and kitted out to record "Heavy Horses" (now a car-park or some such). It all gives you an indication of the kind of depth we're talking about here. The info and memorabilia come at you fast and furious and it’s a dull boy indeed who would not be impressed with the sheer effort and scope of this reissue.

And did I mention that the record itself sounds utterly amazing - once again the Wills-meister STEVE WILSON and footage genius JAKKO JAKSZYK have pulled off yet more upgrades on both fronts (somebody needs to put these men on the New Year’s Honours List for services to Prog lurches everywhere). So what about the Music and the Visuals...

As the front cover artwork suggests - Ian Anderson leading Barley and Sir Jim towards us (both gorgeous animals courtesy of the Courage Shire Horse Centre in Maidenhead, Berkshire) - this is a deeply English Countryside Album. "Heavy Horses" is a down-on-the-farm, doing-loads-of-rural-stuff set of Folk-Rock songs and the Acoustic Guitars and Flute of "...And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps" opens proceedings rather nicely. There is real punch in the rhythm section - drums and bass - and that battle between the keyboards and layered vocals later on sounds cool too. Tull tap the Mandolin for "Acres Wild" - a great mixture of their “Stand Up” sound meeting Fairport Convention's "Liege & Lief" Folk-Rock - with one foot in both camps (and I love those breaks that sound like Horslips enjoying themselves). It's easy to hear why Tull opened the live "Bursting Out" double with the clever Rock Guitar of "No Lullaby" - its everything they were at the time - English Folk meets Prog Rock. But that's trashed by the album's mini masterpiece - "Moths". Chrysalis thought so too - releasing it 7 April 1978 on 7" single ahead of the album in the UK (Chrysalis CHS 2214 had "Life Is A Long Song" as its UK B-side while the American variant was to carry "Beltane" on its flipside but the release was withdrawn). Palmer's string arrangement dances like the 'candle flames' in the lyrics. 

Martin Barre gives it some wicked guitar work on "Journeyman" - tripping the light fantastic. Anderson chases every footstep and follows every limb in "Rover" - his lady and that lovelorn pot-of-gold just out of reach (beautiful production values on this). "One Brown Mouse" also sounds like it could have been a single - take some tea with me awhile he sings as the acoustic strums race with the drums. The nine-minute title track is the most Prog of all and its arrangements are brilliant - soft acoustics bolstered by lovely string arrangements (you also get to concentrate on the articulate lyrics). It ends on the Mandolin Folk of "Weathercock" (there's one pictured on Page 50) where Anderson's good-morning melody sounds warm and summery (sing to me softly) as Barre brings the song and the album to a satisfactory finish with brilliant guitar flourishes.

I hadn't expected much from the extras - but again I'm shocked at how good "Living In These Hard Times" is - here in two takes - Version 2 done in July with Version 1 dating from February 1977. I'd also argue that "Everything In Our Lives" is equal to anything on the album or at least would have made a killer B-side. And while the David Bellamy theme songs to his "Botanic Man" are interesting if not a bit too heavy-handed - the lovely early version of "Jack-A-Lynn" is surely the unreleased prize here. Sounding like something that could have come straight out of the "Wandering Aloud" sessions from "Aqualung" – both it and "Quatrain" are fabulous outtakes – the second with Anderson's frustration and mistakes left on the tape. The Live Double is cool icing on the cake with barnstorming versions of "Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day", "Sweet Dream" and "Cross-Eyed Mary". And the DVD promo videos are a hoot if not a tiny bit cringeworthy now.

I full appreciate that "Heavy Horses" and Jethro Tull in general will not be everyone's idea of 1978 - but man you have to give credit where credit's due. This is an amazing reissue and well done to all involved...

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