As the remastered series of Jethro Tull albums continues with great success, another round is ripe and ready for the picking. They come out three at a time and we are nearly through the entire JT studio albums at this point.
The 1982 release Broadsword and the Beast, as with many of the JT recordings, takes a few listens to settle in and grow on you. This release is loaded with bonus tracks, eight of them, and they are all excellent, actually comprising another album of material. Since these were the pre-CD days, they could not fit all of these songs onto one LP, it would have been a double LP, and obviously, that was not in the contract with the label. Well we are the lucky chaps now, finally hearing all of the sessions recorded in 1982.
Once again, Ian Anderson put together one hell of a band. He managed to persuade drummer Gerry Conway (Cat Stevens) and bassist Dave Pegg (Fairport Convention) to join the proceedings with himself and Mr. Barre in the studio. The ensuing sessions proved to be quite fruitful for the ever-changing Jethro Tull camp. Thank the dear lord that Ian and Martin stayed together through the merry go around of musicians over the last thirty some years. I cannot imagine how JT would have survived without them.
“Broadsword” and “Seal Driver” comes popping out at you as the best tracks, with all of the powerful Barre pinpoint blues-rock influenced riffs and the regal medieval and Celtic influences lurking in the foreground as usual. The music is delightful, very much Jethro Tull in one their finest hours no doubt. The bonus tracks are most certainly a “bonus,” and I will not dub them as bogus tracks on this release. All eight are very strong tunes, with a great undertow of bass and drums brought to a steady boil with rock solid keyboards and guitar, finished off with superb vocals from Mr. Anderson. My favorites are “Jack A Lynn,” “Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow” and “Mayhem Maybe,” which has a wonderful old time Irish toe-tapping atmosphere all around it that puts a smile on your face and in your heart.