40th Anniversary Edition first remastered re-release of the tenth full-length studio album by legendary British Progressive/Folk Rock band.
One of Jethro Tull's finest and most accessible albums and the first in the band's acclaimed late 1970s 'Folk Rock Trilogy', "Songs From The Wood" is often referred to as one of the most commercially appealing Jethro Tull albums, containing elements of Rock, Prog and Folk Rock.
After the aberration that was 1976’s "Too Old To Rock ’N’ Roll: Too Young To Die!", Jethro Tull needed fresh inspiration. Rather than go back to the concept albums that had given the band their American breakthrough, Ian Anderson decided to head in a Folk direction.
Jethro Tull’s tenth album was inspired by Ian Anderson’s departure to a more rural environment in a transition, which bore clear influence on the writing and recording process, with the band notably doffing a cap to British folklore and countryside. This was not as strange as it seemed; Anderson had recently produced Steeleye Span, whose Rock approach had broadened the appeal of Folk music, and he was canny enough to see how traditional Folk music could enhance the distinctive Englishness of Tull’s music.
The result was a career-saving triumph, with Anderson’s songwriting getting another burst of creative enthusiasm and the band bending their Hard Rock riffs and Progressive tendencies to the new style. The title track and "Hunting Girl" are both fiendishly complex – the former to sing and the latter to play – but they are both assured and compelling. There’s also a more a more commercial edge to the flute-laden "The Whistler" and "Ring Out Solstice Bells" that saw the band back on Top Of The Pops for the first time in five years. Indeed, such was the success of "Songs From The Wood" that it became the first album in a trilogy. Although media reaction at the time divided opinion, the album has certainly developed a nostalgic rapport with fans through the years and it is perceived today as one of the band’s most popular albums.
The Steven Wilson 2017 stereo remix of the album brings a greater clarity to the sound without disturbing the original balance, and his 5.1 mix expands on that to fill the room, adding the occasional subtle emphasis.
The album signaled a new direction for the band, who turned to celebrating British pagan folklore and the countryside life in a wide-ranging Folk Rock style which combined traditional instruments and melodies with Hard Rock drums and electric guitars.
"Songs From The Wood" was included in the list The 100 Greatest Prog Albums of All Time by Prog Magazine at number 76. The album reached No. 8 on the Billboard album chart, making it the last top ten album for the band in the US. The song "The Whistler" was the only song to chart as a single in the United States, peaking at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1977. In Denmark, it made the Top 10, peaking at #8, a position it held for two weeks. The album peaked at No. 13 on the UK Albums Chart.
40th Anniversary Edition Steven Wilson Remix 180 g vinyl comes in a wide-spine sleeve, with a 24 page stapled 29x29 cm booklet (on 170 gsm matt art paper).
Chrysalis/Parlophone Records Ltd., a Warner Music Group Company, 1977/2017 (0190295847852). Made in Germany.
1. Songs From The Wood 4:55
2. Jack In The Green 2:31
3. Cup Of Wonder 4:34
4. Hunting Girl 5:10
5. Ring Out, Solstice Bells 3:46
6. Velvet Green 6:05
7. The Whistler 3:31
8. Pibroch (Cap In Hand) 8:35
9. Fire At Midnight 2:27
Total playing time: 41:34 min.