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Jethro Tull’s Christmas Album A Great Surprise

Updated on December 29, 2019
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I've been an online writer for over seven years. While I'm no musician, I'm well versed on great artists and love to write about them.

Every Christmas since I was 13, I purchase a Christmas album. This year I thought I wasn’t going to purchase one, but then I saw Jethro Tull Christmas on YouTube. I had heard of the band, but only knew that they played rock music, and that one of the players in the band played a flute.

When I was on YouTube I happened to see a beautiful album cover my curiosity got the best of me and I played one of the songs on the album, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” one of the countless favorite Christmas songs I love. I was blown away. They played the song in a jazzy way, with the flute being prominent throughout the song. I was hooked and had to hear more. This album almost got away from me, I am so glad I discovered it. All the songs are gems.

The Band

The band formed in 1967 they are from Blackpool, Lancashire, England. They play progressive rock, hard rock, blues rock, folk rock and jazz. The members of the band are Ian Anderson, David Goodier, John O’Hara, Scott Hammond and Joe Parrish.

The Christmas album is their 21st album. It was released on September 30, 2003.

The Album Cover

“Birthday Card at Christmas”

“Holly Herald”

“A Christmas Song”

“Another Christmas Song”

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

“Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow”

“Last Man at the Party”

“Weathercock”

“Pavane”

“First Snow on Brooklyn”

“Greensleeved”

“Fire At Midnight”

“We Five Kings”

“Ring Out Solstice Bells”

“Bourrée”

“A Winter Snowscape”

"Birthday Card"

The song starts out with the flute playing forcefully and it doesn’t start out the way you think a Christmas song should. It almost gives the feeling that it will be an instrumental song, but soon the song leaps into vocals. This song is not one of my favorites on the album, but I do like the way they stretch out the tune with the instrumental parts of the song. It grooves.

“Holly Herald”

Drumming begins this song, and the flute jumps in with an accordion and it feels just like an Irish jig. The song then brings in parts of the song “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”. This song is so joyous it makes you feel the spirit of Christmas and opens your heart with happiness just hearing it.

“A Christmas Song”

Any song that includes the jingling of bells has me hooked and this song starts off with it. It feels like the listener has stepped back in time to horse’s pulling one horse sleighs. It has the feel of bluegrass as well as the sound of a traditional Christmas song. It is a song to remind one the reason for the season. It is what you can do for mankind not what mankind can do for you. A great little tune.

“Another Christmas Song”

The song hopes everyone is feeling the special time of year that Christmas brings. We get the memories of Christmas past and Christmas present. The singer hopes for peace in the name of the Son and the Father. The vocal takes the lead on this song with the instruments just reinforcing the words.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”’

This is the song that drew me to the album in the first place. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
“ is such a great carol to begin with. The band turns the song into a smooth jazzy modern song. You get the flute, the piano and drums just playing their hearts out. You feel the wonder of the season in this song.

“Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow”

This song has the sound of blue grass and Irish songs, It reminds me of the story song that Jim Croce and Harry Chapin were famous for. It is a song that sounds like “Greensleeves” with the medieval flare it brings. It elaborates on the idea of helping your fellow man especially during the Christmas season.

“Last Man At The Party”

The Irish party continues with this song. The flute and tambourine with drums begin the song. It tells the story of a family and neighbors, and how they celebrate the holidays. It sounds like everyone is drinking their way to happiness during the season with the following lyrics,

Sister Bridget by the stair, a glass of wine and she's almost there.
Cousin Jimmy at the door, another beer and he's on the floor.
Friends and neighbors come around,
Waste no time we're heaven-bound.
But not before we raise a glass to good camaraderie.
Stinky Joe from down the street fell right over his own three feet.
He's doubled up in the outside loo, to taste again the devil's brew.
Friends and neighbors come around,
Waste no time we're heaven-bound.
But not before we raise a glass to good camaraderie.

So, make yourselves jolly under mistletoe, holly and ivy.
Get to it, and be in good cheer.
And when it's all over: pigs gone to clover
Will the last man at the party wish me a happy New Year.

“Weathercock”

The vocals seem to channel Harry Chapin with another song that tells a story. I don’t really feel like this is a Christmas song. It mentions the cold of winter, but that is the only connection to the Christmas time of year. This song like the first song mentioned don’t really make me feel that holiday vibe like the other songs do.

“Pavane”

This is an instrumental song and fits in perfectly with the Christmas tunes on this album. It would work well being played at a Christmas Party or a Christmas dinner. It has a Spanish flair. The ear will be entertained with all the instruments that find their way into this song.

“First Snow in Brooklyn”

This is a sad song about a relationship that is ending during the holiday season. The singer has flown into New York to see his love, but even after seeing his love things just didn’t’ work out. The lyrics say it all in the final verses.

Some things are best forgotten: some are better half-remembered.
I just thought that I might be there on your, on your Christmas night.
And the first snow on Brooklyn makes a lonely road to travel.
Cold crunch steps that echo as the blizzard bites.

“Greensleeved”

This song brings a lively swing to the song “Greensleeves” the vibrant flute, the bass, the guitars, the keyboards they all blend into a great rendition of a traditional song. Henry the VIII would be proud.

“Fire At Midnight”

This song isn’t really Christmas, but its major theme is spending time with the one you love after a hard day. The Christmas season is also that time of year when you just want to be around those you love the most.

Too much hurry ruins the body.
I'll sit easy, fan the spark
Kindled by the dying embers
Of another working day.
Go upstairs, take off your makeup
Fold your clothes neatly away.
Me, I'll sit and write this love song
As I all too seldom do
Build a little fire this midnight.
It's good to be back home with you.

“We Five Kings”

Jethro Tull takes the song “We Three Kings of Orient Are” and places their own spin on it. This instrumental is catchy, and you listen to see where they will take you next in their instrumental journey of this song. Beautiful.

“Ring Out Solstice Bells”

This song feels like it could have been written during the time of the traditional carol songs. The song weaves the lyrics ring on, ring out like a bell throughout. The bells are for letting people feel the joy of the season and this song brings it. The ending wraps it up well. It feels like you are walking down the street where Bob Cratchit lives and feeling the festivities of the Victorian era.

“Bourrée”

Jethro Tull bring out another instrumental song here and that is always a pleasure. This song was written by Back, but the group steers you into a modern rendition with this song. They are jamming it is cool, and while it really doesn’t sound like Christmas it still fits on this album.

“A Winter Snowscape”

The final song on the album is an instrumental too. It has the sound of medieval times and puts on in a mood that feels like something you would want to hear on a winter’s night, but also any season of the year.

I am glad I discovered this album for Christmas. The group created an album of vastly different sounds and songs and formed the perfect Christmas album. If you want to hear an album that mixes things up, but still can bring that Christmas feel this is the album to get. It can take its place next to the classics of Christmas time.

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