After 30 years of occasional holiday singles, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album was a collection waiting to happen. With flute in tow, Ian Anderson leads his merry men through traditional and Tullish holiday tunes both old and new - all freshly recorded in that relatively acoustic Songs from the Wood style - and the results are splendid. "A Christmas Song" seems a little less cynical than it did in 1972, and along with some other gently ironic new compositions, it manages to blend right in with the more pervasive good cheer and warm fuzziness of the rest of the package. For all of Anderson's tut-tutting, he's an old softie when it comes to season's greetings. Swinging jazz versions of staples like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" are included for an hour that the whole family can enjoy. So put another Yule log on the fire! Offering some of the most appealing melodies he has ever written. Anderson's new solo album Rupi's Dance, could've been the best Tull album in years if Martin Barre's electric guitar were on hand. The more delicate approach notwithstanding, Anderson's flute still works overtime, and there's plenty of food for thought in the clever wordplay. Barre's solo album, Stage Left, is an acoustic/electric grab bag of folk to fusion, showing his often-underrated chops to be as nimble as ever. Nestled in a Tull tune, any of these short workouts might've been a brilliant yin to Anderson's lyrical yang. But isolated here, these undeniably impressive exercises sometimes seem vaguely clinical. Andrew Nash Sound&Vision December 2003.