MEDIA BLACKOUT #575.316!
The Beatles – “Birthday” (Apple) :: Exactly!
PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson – TAAB2: Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To
Gerald Bostock? (Chrysalis) :: This ain’t no imaginary review, it’s the real schlemiel. But first,
how’s about a brief except from an interview that Mr. Anderson and I did a while back:
JEFFREY: I don’t suppose I could
talk you into mounting a touring road show of A Passion Play to show those ABBA and Queen musicals what real
rock theater would be like.
IAN: [laughs] Well...
JEFFREY: I mean, this is the ideal time.
IAN: I think you just hit on the problem
with my objections to anything like that because of the words rock theatre. There was a time when the idea
of a more theatrical form of rock music did seem as if it was quite fitting. And I suppose in 1972 and 1973 it seemed
to me that it was possible to do. But the trouble was that, while we went down that route ourselves—in a humorous way,
I mean, it was never meant to be sort of serious; it was always meant to be a bit tongue in cheek and a bit fun...
JEFFREY: Well, some
of us got that.
IAN: Yeah! Well, this was the era of Monty Python and the Flying Circus and it was all that surrealistic
British humor sort of finding an outlet.
*** *** ***
So why plug into Thick As A Brick again? As Ian
explains in the TAAB2 booklet, 2012 marked both the factual 40th anniversary of the original TAAB album
and the fictitious 50th birthday of the album’s ten-year-old “lyricist,” precocious prodigy Gerald
Bostock. Which is more than reason enough for Anderson to create a new prog rock concept album that dares to posit
half a dozen different possible alternate universe scenarios of what Gerald might have done with his life over the
past 40 years—with several overt and oblique nods to such past Tullian triumphs as Aqualung and A Passion
Play along the way.
Of course, the big tip off that the proceedings, although serious, aren’t to be taken too seriously,
is the album’s official attribution to Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson which tags this ambitious effort as
being neither a canonical Tull record nor an extra-curricular solo Anderson album.
Eschewing the unbanded single song cycle that
defined both TAAB and APP, the new TAAB2 is divided into 17 separate songs, only one of which—“Gerald
Goes Homeless: Adrift And Dumbfounded”—truly sounds as if it had been recorded back in 1972. Which only goes to
show that Ian could easily have expertly aped his back catalogue had he wanted to. That he chose not to live in the
past and come up instead with something that sounds thoroughly modern while still evoking echoes of the past, is a testament
to the man’s continual creativity.
Really don’t mind if I sit this one in.
Be seeing you!