A2Z 2021 Jethro Tull Songs Day 13 Mother Goose from Aqualung (1971)

M letter_scaled

Wikipedia says:
The lyrics are a pastiche (a work of visual art, literature, theater, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.) of surreal figures based on images that Ian Anderson wrote with the same abstract ideas as “Cross-Eyed Mary.” The song is mostly acoustic, like “Cheap Day Return” or “Slipstream”. Rolling Stone magazine has put it as “Elizabethan madrigal” musical style.

Altrockchick describes it as a precursor to the “heavy wood” sound that Tull would move to in later years, a semi-surrealistic stroll through a city park full of strong imagery and clever lines.

Ben Gerson at Rolling Stone says, “Mother Goose” is the kind of song that Anderson writes best. As in “Sossity” on Benefit, he uncannily captures the feel of a real Elizabethan madrigal (a consort of recorders here helps it get across). It’s a song about a Hampstead fair, and is filled with descriptive detail which is at once archaic and up to date. Lyrics and melody mutually accomplish the same purpose, for both express the continuity of English life.

As I did walk by Hampstead Fair
I came upon Mother Goose
So I turned her loose
She was screaming
And a foreign student said to me
Was it really true there elephants and lions too in Picadilly Circus?

Walked down by the bathing pond to try and catch some sun
Saw at least a hundred schoolgirls sobbing into handkerchiefs as one
I don’t believe they knew I was a schoolboy

And a bearded lady said to me
If you start your raving, and your misbehaving
You’ll be sorry
Then the chicken-fancier came to play
With his long red beard and his sister’s weird, she drives a lorry

Laughed down by the putting green
I popped ’em in their holes
Four and twenty laborers were laboring
And digging up their gold
I don’t believe they knew that I was Long John Silver

Saw Johnny Scarecrow make his rounds in his jet-black ‘mac
Which he won’t give back
Stole it from a snowman

As I did walk by Hampstead Fair
I came upon Mother Goose
So I turned her loose
But she was screaming

Walked down by the bathing pond to try and catch some sun
Must of been at least a hundred schoolgirls sobbing into handkerchiefs as one
I don’t believe they knew I was a schoolboy
Songwriter: Ian Anderson

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25 Comments Add yours

  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I really like the acoustic songs…the lyrics go everywhere and I like that. There are some John Lennon like lines in some of those lyrics…really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      🙂 Glad to hear the comparison.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula Light says:

    So clever! I love the lyrics. And again, praise for your lovely coloring. What a treat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Happy you like this one, Paula. Thanks for the praise on the coloring 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne Nydam says:

    Yeah, wow, all over the place! lol Very stream-of-consciousness. I like this one, although I miss the flute.
    Black and White: M for Middle-earth

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Good description of it, Anne.

      Like

  4. Liam says:

    I like the madrigal sound. You’re successfully getting me interested in Jethro Tull.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      My work here is done. 😉 Seriously, I have hopes that people will be inspired to listen to their music over April and beyond.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Phil Cooper says:

    Great, great song, it still sounds so fresh 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes it does! Thanks for dropping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s definitely more to Jethro Tull than “Locomotive Breath”, “Too Old to Rock & Roll”, “Living in the Past”, “Bungle in the Jungle” and “Aqualung,” which about sums up the tunes I recall by title, though I’m happy to report I had heard “Mother Goose” before! Again, your A2Z feature is a fun way to explore a band’s music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you’re having fun, Christian! Lots more to come 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ahtdoucette says:

    What a fun and fanciful song. I love the rhythms on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I really like this one also, Anne. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  8. memadtwo says:

    Another favorite. I think I only ever had Aqualung on LP. But I’ll look to see if the library has it. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I hope they do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great lyrics. I used to live in Hampstead, but I never had that much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      lol! I bet a lot of the places Ian sings about are familiar to you. Have you been following the A2Z on English museums? It’s really interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They are indeed . I’ve not seen the museums A2Z, I really should seek it out.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          It’s here if you want to check it out:
          https://thequietwriter.com/

          Like

  10. Your series has indeed been an education in Tull for me. And bonus points always for your amazing coloring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Deborah, my pleasure, thank you!

      Like

  11. Not one thing I dislike about this one. Lyrics stir up great images. So cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lisa,

    Have you watched the TV series, Reign? This song reminds me of the opening theme song for some reason. I may have stumbled on this song in my music searches over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      No I haven’t seen it.

      Like

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