A2Z 2021 Jethro Tull Songs Day 15 Old Ghosts (from Stormwatch) (1979)

O letter_scaled

Ivan Melgar M at Prog Archives said of the “Stormwatch” album:

Being absolutely honest I must say that 1979 was not the best year for Progressive Rock; the former big bands were taking giant steps towards mainstream, flirting without embarrassment with easy POP and trying to be a lucrative alternative to Disco and Punk that had taken the musical scenario by assault.

But even in the worst storm there’s a rock or a lighthouse that can guide the musical ship to the safety of the harbor, and this rock was Jethro Tull.

Many people say they had changed, of course they did, change is the motor of progress, but they managed to recreate themselves without taking a suicidal leap into plain and boring pop.

While Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses were heavily influenced by folk creating a pleasant bucolic atmosphere where the sweet sound of the flute was basic for the melodic sound; Stormwatch is heavier and more oriented towards Rock and Roll. Even when the classical flute doesn’t disappear is more aggressive and less frequent, heavy guitar riffs by Martin Barre take the lead, of course with the well known and powerful vocals of Ian Anderson.

Ivan describes today’s song:

a supposedly frightening song that flows gently producing a nostalgic feeling instead of fear. Don’t know if the band pretended this, but the effect enhanced by a small orchestra mainly of strings is very pleasant.

Matti describes it as:

a symphonic uptempo song with delicious embroidery of flute, piano and acoustic guitar.

Chus says:

[It’s an] ironic folksy track … with haunting concept yet light pastoral soundscape, with a tango rhythm and echoing flutes.

Source:  Prog Archives

Hair stands high on the cat’s back like
A ridge of threatening hills.
Sheepdogs howl, make tracks and growl —
Their tails hanging low.
And young children falter in their games
At the altar of life’s hide-and-seek
Between tall pillars, where Sunday-night killers
In grey raincoats peek.

I’ll be coming again like an old dog in pain
Blown through the eye of the hurricane
Down to the stones where old ghosts play.

Misty colours unfold a backcloth cold —
Fine tapestry of silk
I draw around me like a cloak
And soundless glide a-drifting
On eddies whirled in beech leaves furled —
Brown and gold they fly
In the warm mesh of sunlight
Sifting now from a cloudless sky.

I’ll be coming again like an old dog in pain
Blown through the eye of the hurricane
Down to the stones where old ghosts play.
Songwriter:  Ian Anderson

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Cool. Jethro Tull really had a quite unique sound. Ian Anderson’s facial expressions at times are really intense – like he’s possessed or something! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      He’s theatrical to be sure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne Nydam says:

    Definitely an interesting juxtaposition between the music and the lyrics.
    Black and White: O for Oz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes it is. Thanks for listening, Anne!

      Like

  3. Liam says:

    There’s definitely a hint of disco in this tune, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      lol! I’d like to see John Travolta dance to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The flute adds a lighthearted touch to the lyrics. Good toe-tapping party song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I agree, Gail 🙂

      Like

  5. I’m not sure about this one. Maybe I just need a late October night to appreciate the old ghosts more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I would love to hear this on a late October night!

      Like

  6. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    The thought of Jethro Tull leaning toward disco like some of their peers is crazy…no this sounds like them but with an updated sound…but they stayed true to themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. memadtwo says:

    He’s so versatile. Folk meets ELP. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll be coming again like an old dog in pain! Wierd words, melodic tune – an odd combination!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, it’s a bit akilter but for ghosts, just right 🙂

      Like

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad that you do, Frederique. Sorry for the late response, just found this in my spam folder.

      Like

  9. Marleen says:

    Cool-sounding song.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The front man has some wild eye expression. I’m reminded a bit of Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Ian Anderson, the creative genius behind Jethro Tull was also a theatrical showman. I’ve grown to love his antics 🙂

      Like

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