Music Review — Songs from the Wood (1977) by Jethro Tull


images come from here

You know how you reach for certain albums to listen to for certain moods or seasons of the year? I’ve concluded that Songs of the Wood will be an album I reach for to listen to during the holiday season. Enough of the songs have a wintry feel to them. There is also an atmosphere of enchantment that permeates the songs that could act to warm the dark nights of winter.

I learned at Allmusic.com that the full title, which is included on the LP, is: “Jethro Tull with Kitchen Prose, Gutter Rhymes, and Divers Songs from the Wood.”

I included two songs from the album in my 2021 A2Z during the month of April. You can read the posts here:

Pibroch (Cap in Hand)

Velvet Green

Not long ago, I wrote a haiku in honor of Winter Solstice and included this cut with it:

Ring Out, Solstice Bells

I didn’t have the album at the time of publishing for any of those posts, but about a month ago, I bought a used CD of it (along with some others that I hope to review along the way) and have listened to it multiple times. Just briefly, I want to tell you what my four favorite cuts are.

The first, and title, cut is “Songs from the Wood.” A good title and a good introduction to the lavish music contained within the album. It starts mostly a capella with flute flourish and then the clapping comes in.

Cut 5 is “Ring Out, Solstice Bells” which honors the traditions of Winter Solstice. It’s my kind of party.

Cut 6 is “Velvet Green,” that pumps out its baroque style with some neat drum work (tambor?) and is quite titillating with its lyrics. It’s also a parable rich with metaphor. It talks about temptation and the price that is paid for giving in to it.

Cut 8 is “Pibroch (Cap in Hand)” and has a thread of arresting, even haunting, guitar threading through it, along with the majesty of the organ. The story is delicate, beautiful, and poignant.

Songs from the Wood is intense musically and lyrically, best experienced in limited doses.

Rating: 8/10

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Aphoristical says:

    I like their folk-rock period – this and Heavy Horses. I’m assuming they did some more folk-infused stuff post- 1970s as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      This album is about as late as I go with them. Post-70s is an unknown to me.

      Like

  2. Always a favorite album of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Happy to hear it, Ken.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds great, Lisa. For what it’s worth, Apple Music lists “Songs From the Wood” among Jethro Tull’s “essential albums”.

    The title cut rang a distant bell. No wonder – it turned out it’s on a 1985 compilation, “Original Masters”, I got on CD many moons ago. I can’t even remember when I listened to it for the last time.

    Primarily, I know Jethro Tull based on this compilation and a few additional songs. While I generally like their music I’ve heard, I haven’t explored their albums in greater detail.

    Did you know Ian Anderson released a new album (“The Zealot Gene”) under the Jethro Tull name about a year ago, the first JT album in more than 20 years? I reviewed it at the time and felt it was pretty good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      So awesome you’re familiar with the title cut. Neat on Apple Music giving it that designation. Christian, this one is the last Tull album I have really listened to and can’t say much about any of them beyond this one. I did read your review on The Zealot Gene and have listened to some cuts from it on youtube and like it. Will be buying this one at some point, just to keep supporting Ian Anderson, who is a genuine musical genius along with his very talented backup musicians. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I said it before…but I do need to post a Jethro Tull song…I’ve never posted one before. I saw a surprise the other day…Iron Maiden covered Cross Eyed Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Now you know I had to go out to listen to it. First off I commend anyone who tries to do a Jethro Tull cover. Not bad, overall! Thanks for letting me know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        Iron Maiden is not a band I’m familiar with but after talking with Deke I’ve got to know them better..: and was surprised I saw that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I don’t know them much either.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Badfinger (Max) says:

            Btw I will try my best not to get behind like this again… 1-3 behind I can handle but this was crazy. I didn’t mean to do this all at one time.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              Max, I understand about getting behind on reading. With all of the stuff I have coming up with writing and other things over the next couple of months, I will be getting behind on reading. No worries, buddy. I appreciate you making the effort to “catch up” but if you miss some that’s ok ❤

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Badfinger (Max) says:

                I don’t like missing…I love learning new things but I know what you mean.

                Liked by 1 person

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