Heavy Horses, by Jethro Tull In July of 1977, after five months of extensive touring in the US and Europe in support of their album Songs from the Wood, Jethro Tull were back home for the recording of their next album. The new songs they were working on manifested what was going on in Ian Anderson’s head, at that point living in the country for about a year: “I had an interest in the tradition of culture and farming. The horse-hoeing husbandry of the original Jethro Tull’s era was in the back of my mind.” Agriculture, domesticated animals, the harsh realities of living things in nature and nostalgic reflections on days long gone were all on the menu in the songs he was writing:
Heavy Horses was a great follow-up to the outstanding Songs from the Woods album. While I rate both albums in my Tull top 5, I still rank SFTW a little higher. Having said that, the title song might be my favorite individual song by the group.....it's a masterpiece. As much as I love the album, it does seem to showcase the early stages of Ian's failing signing voice. While many people loved his rough vocals on this group of songs it was a pretty shocking change from the superlative vocals on Minstrel in the gallery just two years earlier. The next album(Stormwatch) was also excellent, but it was the last of the vintage Jethro Tull albums as the musical style would radically change with "A".
Just prior to this album’s recording in 1977, Pink Floyd released their classic album 'Animals', which explored differing human personality types. 'Heavy Horses' may more exactly fit that literal title as it lyrically sees things from the perspective and environment of several rural creatures. I wonder if IA may have been somewhat inspired by the 'Animls' album, when he created album 'Heavy Horses'?
Jethro Tull - Botanic Man 14,602 views March 15, 2018
ЯR Rinec 333 subscribers
Botanic Man. Sun's up, moon's gone to bed and the day's begun. Early birds catch sleepy worms; all jacks-in-the-green, Botanic Man sees what must be done. Green Planet Man. Naked ape in a spinning world of cars, aeroplanes and high-rise towers. Balancing tight-rope flyer looking up on his way to Mars. Winding down the endless way; soles printing the tread, the weight of his conscience. The actor in him takes the stage; scattering wild oats, wishing them 'bon chance'. Will he keep his garden clean? Botanic Man. Has your new day dawned; is the green solution here? Will your children play your garden games, sit in the green fields watching the city spreading? Winding through the endless day, banishing sad greenflies from the roses. Traffic jams the motorway; bumblebees angry, turning up noses. Better keep your garden clean. Botanic Man. Sun's up, moon's gone to bed and the day's begun. Early birds catch sleepy worms; all jacks-in-the-green, Botanic Man sees what must be done.
The Botanic tunes are nice. I really like The living in these hard times tunes. The other extras seem a bit unfinished though. Pity because all the extras on every other album have been first class recordings.
Flashback ’78: Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre and Ian Anderson Create the Seminal Heavy Horses Ted Drozdowski| 03.17.2008
Ian Anderson and Martin BarreUnlikely as it seems today, in 1978—during the heyday of punk rock—an album about draught horses and life in the English countryside claimed a place in the American Top 20. But Jethro Tull’s Heavy Horses wasn’t an anomaly. Other progressive rock groups like Yes and Genesis were still at their height of their popularity, and Tull had worked hard to achieve international stardom, touring constantly since their 1971 breakthrough Aqualung.
Three years before Aqualung, guitarist Martin Barre had joined the then-struggling folk-rock outfit. With a gravel-and-guts tone that he could also coax into a pearly sheen, he added balance and edge to their colorful frippery and replaced Tull’s earlier blues-inclined guitar attack, courtesy of Mick Abrahams, with something more snarling and toothy. Without Barre, a veteran of pub bands and Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding’s group Fat Mattress, the hard-charging Aqualung would have been a softer affair that wouldn’t have propelled Tull into the jet set.
Seven years later Barre and bandleader Ian Anderson were still the primary architects of the group’s sound, and Heavy Horses is one of their most beautifully articulated designs —an album that balances the folk charms of Tull’s earliest discs with a true rock and roll heart.
Heavy Horses is the centerpiece of what Tull fans have dubbed the group’s “Folk-Rock Trilogy,” sandwiched between Songs from the Wood and Stormwatch. Songs from the Wood was in some ways a return to Anderson’s primal musical roots, with its tales of fairies and unbroken wilderness and an accent on acoustic sounds that put his flute squarely in the limelight. Stormwatch seems the effort of a band beginning to seek new directions, which Tull would find in the ’80s via synthesizers and sequencers. But Heavy Horses distills the most charming influences of the life songwriter Anderson was leading on a country farm—stories of barn mice and workhorses, acoustic textures provided by mandolins and a mesh of flat top guitars—with rock urgency.
Jethro Tull Heavy HorsesThe disc is also a marvelous summation of Barre’s style, which Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler has called “magical”—a blend of jazz, rock, and folk teamed with a fondness for controlled, sugar-dipped distortion that’s made him utterly unique.
When Tull started recording Heavy Horses in 1977, Barre had recently tweaked up his arsenal of gear with Les Pauls and Hamers and Marshall amps. He’d begun fine-tuning his tone and approach in the 1950s, when he got his first guitar and received Barney Kessel and Wes Montgomery albums from his father. His lead playing ever since has reveled in the nuances of jazz, weaving chromatic runs of cleanly articulated notes in bright, rounded tones throughout Jethro Tull’s mostly major-key canon.
Barre moved from his birthplace, industrial Birmingham, in 1966 to psychedelic London, where a job he’d been promised with Screaming Lord Sutch fell through. Oddly, his first gig in London was as a saxist with a band called Motivation. Somehow Barre—whose father was a frustrated clarinetist—persevered and found himself playing on bills with Pink Floyd and sharing a house with the members of what would become the Average White Band.
Martin Barre with his ES-330After a time he claimed Motivation’s guitar seat and—in a bit of foreshadowing—sometimes doubled on flute. In ’68 Barre saw Jethro Tull for the first time at a festival where they opened for Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and Traffic. By the end of the year and two auditions later, he replaced Abrahams, igniting Tull’s golden age.
From the beginning Barre was a Gibson devotee. According to his biography at martinbarre.com, his “dream guitar was a cherry red Gibson ES-335. It cost £175 ($250) in 1964. I couldn’t afford the payments, so eventually I bought the Gibson ES-330 sunburst—cheaper at £155. My dad signed the lease agreement.”
By the time Barre joined Jethro Tull he was playing a late ’50s Les Paul Special. He’d purchased his own after falling in love with the tone and playability of one he’d borrowed. His amp was a Laney 50-watt atop a 2x12 cabinet, which he traded up for a 200-watt Hiwatt with a 4x12 by the time sessions began for Tull’s second album, Stand Up, which was Barre’s first recording with the group.
His search for a more snarling sound next led him to a Les Paul Custom—which he discovered was a fake—and a Hornby Skewes Treble Booster to gnarl up the Hiwatt’s tone. With that combination and a Dunlop wah-wah pedal, he entered the studio to record 1970’s Benefit.
Shortly he added the Copycat echo that would be integral to his stuttering chords and licks on the next year’s Aqualung. Another factor in the crystallization of Barre’s sound just before that pivotal album was his meeting Leslie West, lead guitarist for Mountain. Smitten by the hefty guitarist’s equally impressive rumbling-tsunami-of-Martin Barre (L) with Leslie West (R)maple-syrup wail, Barre purchased a 1958 Les Paul Junior like West’s. It became the Aqualung guitar and was abetted for the sessions by a battery of amps that included his Hiwatt, a Fender Super Reverb, and a generic 12x6 combo of mysterious origin.
Barre—an obvious sufferer of gear fever—had acquired more vintage Les Pauls and a Fender Broadcaster, and begun playing Explorers and other models by Hamer, by the time Heavy Horses was cut. He added to his effects chain an MXR Phase 90 and Flanger, plus permanently wired a Boss CS-2 compressor in line with his amp. He also switched to Marshall’s 50-watt heads and 2 x 12 cabs.
As a result, some of the sweetest, most singing sounds of Barre’s career are on Heavy Horses. The CS-2, in particular, helps him achieve controlled single note lines that ride on the cusp of feedback without deteriorating. You can hear its contribution to the honeyed voice of his runs—often in tandem with Anderson’s flute—spiked by punctuating power chords on the title track, a nearly nine-minute long ode to animal-powered farming. Likewise the pedal—as well as the classic blend of humbuckers with raw Marshall horsepower—contributes to the singing delicacy of the jazz-like weave of melodic lines and heavy riffs on the guitar showcase “No Lullaby” and the gleaming tone on “Weathercock,” where Barre creates a meeting ground for Eastern modality and English folk music.
He and Anderson developed a style of interplay that is at its peak throughout Heavy Horses. Like circling butterflies, their paths overlap in unison patterns and then break off into flights of improvisation or, in Barre’s case, gruff chordal statements that emphasize a lyric or turnaround. “And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps” subverts their usual modus operandi as Barre plays counterpoint to Anderson’s flute excursions. “Moths” is also a subtly compelling guitar showcase, with a weave of acoustic and electric six-strings fluttering through the mix as Barre uses volume swells to good sweeping emotional effect.
Thirty years later, Jethro Tull—at least Anderson and Barre and whoever joins them on-stage and in the studio—are still at it. In addition to a total of 21 Tull studio albums, Barre and Anderson have recorded several solo discs and are reportedly working on another Jethro Tull disc for release this summer.
Barre still has the ’58 Les Paul Special he played on Aqualung and subsequent Tull recordings. It appears on “Count the Chickens” from his latest solo disc, 2003’s Stage Left. On that album he also plays a Taylor acoustic, a Gibson L-5, a bouzouki, the cherry red ES-335 he once dreamed of owning and finally purchased in 2002, a mandolin, a Hamer Custom, a Stratocaster, and several hand-made custom acoustic guitars—proving that gear fever is incurable.
I love this album and gave it a spin this afternoon.
I remember buying 'Moths' when it was released as a single and could never understand why it didn't chart. I thought at the time that it should have been a massive hit. It always reminds me of the summer and care-free times back in 1978 whenever I hear it.
'One Brown Mouse' is glorious as well.
In fact the whole album gives me a 'summery' feel.
16: Jethro Tull – Heavy Horses Looking for “Thick as a Brick”? We’re going with a personal favorite instead. Ian Anderson has an on/off relationship with prog, but he was clearly on for this one, the title track of an album that was otherwise heavily folk-tinged. The strength of the English working steed, and the way of life it represents, set Anderson’s imagination rolling on a nine-minute prog rock song that opens with a classic Martin Barre riff, and gets some lightness from guest violinist Daryl Way of Curved Air fame. Drummer Barriemore Barlow provides the galloping hooves.
Making an album is no small feat. Making 11 of them is another matter entirely.
For some artists, the work piles up quickly — Bob Dylan's 11th album, New Morning, arrived in 1970, only eight years after his debut recording. The Rolling Stones issued their 11th album, 1973's Goats Head Soup, less than a decade after their 1964 debut.
Others have taken a bit more time to get to that point. Robert Plant released his 11th solo album, Carry Fire, just a few years ago in 2017. It's difficult to imagine, then, that there was a point in the earlier days of his career where Plant wrote off the notion of working as a solo artist.
"During the Zep years, I never imagined a full-scale album project without the other guys, and even less, the idea of new writing partners," Plant said in a 2019 episode of his Digging Deep With Robert Plant podcast.
For some, their 11th albums served as landmark releases and opened new doors not only in their careers but the trajectory of rock music as a whole: The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, the Beatles' Abbey Road, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.
Others could be found experimenting with albums that didn't necessarily break the charts upon release, but were nonetheless important stepping stones: David Bowie began his "Berlin trilogy" with Brian Eno, releasing Low in 1977; Neil Young introduced the Synclavier into his work on Re-ac-tor in 1981; Joni Mitchell shifted back toward pop with Wild Things Run Fast in 1982.
From groundbreaking to grounding, we're taking a look at Rock's 40 Best 11th albums in the below list.
23. Jethro Tull, 'Heavy Horses' (1978) Barely a year after their prog-folk classic Songs From the Wood, Jethro Tull carried that rustic flavor into follow-up Heavy Horses, which only pales comparatively due to its lack of surprise. His voice now evolved into a harsh, gravelly tone, Ian Anderson leads the band through their paces of knotty rockers ("No Lullaby") and lushly orchestrated epics (the nine-minute title track). This slightly darker, more downcast sequel may forever live in the shadow of Songs From the Wood, but Heavy Horses remains a significant work in the Jethro Tull canon – and an underrated snapshot from the near-end of their signature era. (Reed)
jackinthegreen: Cream without Eric??? Santana without Carlos?? and not even with a stand-in player.....you're easily pleased, I reckon most people would not be happy to say the least...
Apr 30, 2022 23:45:36 GMT
jackinthegreen: If it was Scott that got Covid would they have played the gigs without a drummer?
May 1, 2022 0:01:38 GMT
ash: It's Tull not Cream and my answer stands. Now it there was no flute player...No flute no Tull . I've seen Ian play with just an ipod backing track it was great
May 3, 2022 16:04:21 GMT
jackinthegreen: "No flute, no Tull".......hmmmm tell that to MB when he's doing all the Tull stuff..
May 3, 2022 20:18:27 GMT
jackinthegreen: and I've seen Ian doing his one man thing with just the backing track too, but that's not billed as a Jethro Tull concert.....
May 3, 2022 20:19:44 GMT
jackinthegreen: I do agree he's brilliant at playing to his own backing tracks though
May 3, 2022 20:20:48 GMT
ash: My first answer stands in stone
May 4, 2022 10:00:23 GMT
goodwolfman38: Just around the corner from what i understand will be the 40th anniversary edition of Broadsword & The Beast due in July, as i noticed a few weeks ago with an interview with Ian this one will be large box set, hopefully no delays
May 12, 2022 13:45:20 GMT
rredmond: Well the radio.net plug in at the bottom of the site shocked me a bit!
May 12, 2022 14:39:42 GMT
maddogfagin: Yes it's a great addition to the Forum and I'm hoping radio.net will provide this service for years to come
May 14, 2022 15:58:55 GMT
jackinthegreen: Where is the link to this radio.net.......I don't see it folks
May 15, 2022 1:11:08 GMT
maddogfagin: Immediately below this shout box and above the visitor numbers/flags.
May 15, 2022 8:39:21 GMT
jackinthegreen: Cheers MD, I can only see the link from the "Home" page, but disappears when looking at threads etc, so find if I open it up in a new window it then plays constantly
May 15, 2022 13:29:06 GMT
jackinthegreen: So I have it bookmarked to open at any time....nice in the background if reading on t'internet
May 15, 2022 13:31:36 GMT
jackinthegreen: Did anyone on the forum see Tull at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester in September.....
May 19, 2022 1:10:39 GMT
smint100: Good Lord, why did no one tell me about the radio.net! I've spent a joyful afternoon in the garden watching the strawberries ripen - I mean, editing a book - and listening to unadulterated Tull. Heaven!
May 21, 2022 14:56:50 GMT