The Broadsword And The Beast

From early days of infancy, through trembling years
of youth, long murky middle-age and final hours
long in the tooth, he is the hundred names of terror –
creature you love the least. Picture his name before
you and exorcise the beast.


So begins an album that blew me away as a mid-teen, The Broadsword And The Beast by Jethro Tull. At the time it was unlike anything I’d heard, mixing acoustic folk, electronics and rock into something that I thought of (and indeed still think of) as really cool. I also thought that Ian Anderson’s lyrics were brilliant and his voice and delivery of those lyrics wonderfully haunting (though I’m sure I wouldn’t have used that turn of phrase back then).


In high-rise city canyons dwells the discontent of ages
One ring roads, nose to bumper crawl commuters in their cages.
Cryptic signals flash across from pilots in the fast lane.
Double-locked and belted in – too late to make the Clasp.


Tracks on the original vinyl issue were split across the two sides as follows:

Beastie (Side One) Broadsword (Side Two)
Fallen On Hard Times
Flying Colours
Slow Marching Band
Pussy Willow
Watching Me Watching You
Seal Driver


And there was not a single bad track amongst them – so I can’t easily pick a favourite. But strangely that doesn’t make Broadsword my favourite Tull album. In fact, I’m not altogether sure that I can pick one album of theirs as a favourite. Instead I would have to pick three – Aqualung, Thick As A Brick, and Broadsword. Those, followed by (in no particular order) Songs From The Wood, Stormwatch, A Passion Play and Crest Of A Knave are the Tull albums I’d suggest you start with if you haven’t yet been introduced to the band and want to get a feel for their full range of styles.

If you don’t feel the need to be introduced to Jethro Tull then you don’t know what you’re missing and should perhaps seek some form of musical counselling.

On which note, I shall leave you with the words to the closing track from Broadsword:

Along the coast road by the headland
the early lights of winter glow
I’ll pour a cup to you my darling
Raise it up – say Cheerio.



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