(All Album Reviews by jethro fish)
This one along with Aqualung and Thick as a Brick are my absolute favorite Jethro Tull albums.
Minstrel in the Gallery, released in 1975, showcases the heaviest sides of JT (the grim riffing from Martin Barre in the title track for instance is awesome), the softest sides of JT ("Requiem" is probably one of the most beautiful acoustic numbers Mr Ian Anderson ever penned) and also the most "proggy" sides of JT. While you listen to the 16 minute plus epic of Baker St. Muse, I rest my case.
This is another very diverse album with a lot of different moods and styles. However, the focus is kept throughout and Anderson steers the ship to the destination of his choice. This album also features (IMO) the best line up of JT ever (in particular the drumming of Barriemore Barlow is superb). This album is seldom mentioned as one of JT's greats but I beg to differ. I can not recommend this album enough. Strongest tracks are the title track, "Cold wind to Valhalla", "Black Satin Dancer" and "Baker St. Muse".
My rating: 5 out of 5
Ian Anderson: vocals, acoustic guitar and flute
Martin Barre: electric guitar
John Evan: piano and organ
Jeffery Hammond-Hammond (with a name like that shouldn't u be playing something else?): Bass Guitar and string bass
Barriemore Barlow: Drums and percussion
Violins: Leader Patrick Halling; Elizabeth edwards Rita Eddowes, Bridget Procter
Cello: Katharine Thulborn
Conductor: David Palmer
Engineer: Robin Black
Recorded at Maison Rouge. (some sort of mobile studio)
The Minstrel In The Gallery (8:09)
The very first song starts off with an acoustic style folk like song. What we expect from the eccentric styles of Ian Anderson. After a few moments the song goes into a more aggressive mode with a more modern taste of electric guitar ripping away from the old style tune. You get the bands true motion in place during the "rock out". A great start out for the album~!
Cold Wind To Valhalla (4:17)
Another Delicate touch of the olí acoustic string at the start fallow by Ian old time century lyrics and vocals. The song to me is more of an adventurous song. Nothing to aggressive, more tension like. The guitar really does stand out on this track and I hope all of us have pay attention to the guitarist on this song. The song is good, not as good as the kick off.
Black Satin Dancer (6:51)
Come play with me black satin dancer. This song is one of my favs on the album. A calm piano , flute, bass are one of the key components at the beginning. Another folkish singing style of Ian as well. The song gradually becomes a build up, a build down fallow by a build up, where the drums kick in. Strings make an impact all throughout the song, fallow by the "let down" where it becomes more quieter until the guitar breaks off kicking into a solo.
Probably the calmest song on the album. Thereís a very airy feeling quality on this song, with a nice wash of strings and acoustic playing. I LOVE IT. Can't hype it enough. You have to respect Ian Anderson. NO one sounds or write like him. Greatest Lyrics Ever. Well enough of that hype
One White Duck/0=nothing at all 4:35
"Theres a Haze on the skyline, To wish me on my way". The words that start the song fallow by the string Quartet(or)/trio. I find this song a little humorous during the part where he sings "one duck on the wall". Which I donít think is really to be taken seriously. But during the song itself it is touching.
Baker St. Muse/Pig-me and the whore/Nice little tune/Crash Barrier Waltzer/Mother england Reverie (16:40)
To me I get the feeling that these songs are the climax of the album rapping everything up. It gives off a upbeat feeling from start to finish. A nice instrumental part offers a mixture of unique playing with Ian flute playing. During one part of a instrumental there is a calming almost folkish/classical type feeling. With some traffic in the background! "A little boy sitting on a log rubbing his hands with glee" These lyrics to me convey a pictures in my head.
Recording quality: Overall there are some parts that I dislike very much. The drums to me sounded a little dull to me and on a lot of occasion the instruments went over the vocals. Which is more of a place of taste for some. Everything else was beautifully done besides the drums which I thought were mixed poorly.
P.S. Didn't think the outro was worth reporting. I got homework to do!
Overall: 6.7 out of 10.
System: Listen to album on a pair of KRK RP5