Jethro Tull-Aqualung-40th anniversary special edition
The first time I heard Jethro Tull was on my local radio station when I was a teenager in the mid-80's. Late one night I was sitting next to my radio and "Cross-eyed Mary" came on. The quirky off the wall approach got me right away. Martin Barre's thick and steady riffs set the tone and Ian Anderson's lingering vocals and flute bursts only added to the texture of the song. Not long after that I heard the haunting title track and the thick monster that is "Locomotive breath". Yet it would be another 6 or 7 years before I heard the whole album. Once I did finally hear it I was overwhelmed by the combination of beauty and raw power. That's an ability that defines this album and it's not easy to pull off, but they make it sound easy. Once I heard this album in it's entirety I played it very often for years and still do. So what could be better than Aqualung? Well, in honor of the album's 40th anniversary is the release of the two disc set. Aqualung is the first disc and the second disc contains some unreleased tracks and some previously tracks, some of which get the re-mix treatment. Now Aqualung has been re-issued several times and their have been some complaints about the sound quality of some of the previous versions. However this time around I think they got it right. The sound is bold and vibrant while retaining all of the flavor the band originally intended. Plus on top of all this is a thick booklet with information about the album with quotes from the band, lots of pictures and even two pages from Steve Wilson who did the re-mix as he tells the process he went through to achieve the final results. All in all one of the best re-issues of 2011.