A started out as an Ian Anderson solo album and turned into a full-blown Jethro Tull project. Despite a mixed reception when it first came out in 1980 it stands up as a solid JT album today. With some remastering, tweaking, and a DVD with early videos and concert footage, you get the best of both worlds. One can appreciate the care that went into this presentation. Adding a DVD that is a greatest hits compilation (to that point) was a smart way to approach this sleeper. I refer to it in this light because I think it is indeed a good album and it deserves more credit for its worthiness as another prog-rock dandy that should find a place in your collection even if it has not been one of the critics' darlings.
Martin Barre's guitar work is superb per usual and Anderson is in fine voice on this album. Dave Pegg (bass) and Mark Craney (drums) form a great rhythm section for the ever-changing Jethro Tull lineup. Considering how quickly they had to make the transition into the band, they need a strong acknowledgement for their efforts, even if it is 24 years later. What made this album different from any other release was Eddie Jobson and his contributions with the keyboards and violin, giving the band a new refreshing sound. Rather than Anderson dominating the tracks, this sounds like a more balanced band. Barre's guitar playing is restrained rather than bursting with the explosive energy found on previous albums. I found this ironic in that it started out as an Anderson solo project, then how his role changed as it developed and matured into a full album. Anderson stepped back and let everyone else flex their musical muscles, which in the end, showed what a brilliant and flexible leader he could be. The results proved to be surprising. This may not be the greatest JT album but it is certainly very good.