By Richard Krueger
Retrenching after the thwarted theatrical ambitions of A Passion Play, War Child and Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die, Ian Anderson moved from London to Buckinghamshire in 1976. The Jethro Tull album that followed Anderson’s country retreat, Songs from the Wood, showcased a fruitful new path for both the writer and the band.
With Anderson’s withering cynicism relaxing (ever so slightly) into amused, skeptical acceptance of human folly, David Palmer’s energetic keyboard counterpoint refreshing the group’s core sound, and a focus on traditional British folklore and festivity (courtesy of PR guy/manager Jo Lustig and Anderson’s production work with Steeleye Span), the surprising results included increased record sales, higher chart positions, and expanded tour dates, especially in America. Parlophone’s latest reissue box, released for the 40th anniversary of Songs from the Wood, ably showcases this incarnation of Tull’s appeal.