In the winter of 2003 Jethro Tull issued their first full-fledged Christmas album. It was called, creatively enough, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album and it featured Tullish renditions of some classic carols, along with a selection of songs written by Ian Anderson responding to the season. If you think Ian Anderson doesn’t have an opinion on the celebration of the birth of the Messiah . . . you are sadly mistaken. Anyway, this year, they sent GMR a nifty little extended player in CD form, which is essentially a musical Christmas card, if you are so inclined.
It’s a fund raiser for Wild About Cats and features a photo of a tiger-cat with his paws on top of a flute backed by some evergreen on the front, and “Special Greetings and Felicitations” on the inside, with spots for you to fill in your name (and the recipient’s name too) as well as a replica Ian Anderson signature. That’s the package, and it holds a CD with three seasonal songs.
The first track is taken from the aforementioned Jethro Tull Christmas Album, “Ring Out Solstice Bells” which is a jolly celebratory song, with bells, and drums, and electric guitars, and Anderson’s friendliest voice as well as plenty of swirling flute. Very nice indeed! The other two tracks are previously unreleased. One, a live instrumental treatment of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” (quite jazzy it is too!) and the other, a newly recorded version of “Slipstream” (lots of strings!) from the Aqualung album.
It’s all very warm and cozy. People outside the office called in, “Dave! You’re putting us in the Christmas spirit!” Oh! Wouldn’t want to do that . . .before you know it I’ll be surrounded by tinsel and lights!
Ah well, if we must have Christmas music, give me some Tull any day!
(R&M Music, 2005)