Jethro Tull

This Sunday includes a short history lesson, a Tull video from 1978, some short comments about the band and a personal note to some of my favorite folks. I hope you make time to enjoy…

The Namesake

From the Wikipedia entry:

[Jethro] Tull was born in Basildon, Berkshire to Dorothy Buckridge and Jethro Tull and baptised there on March 30, 1674 [1]. He matriculated at St John’s College, Oxford at the age of 17 but appears to have not taken a degree. He was later educated at Gray’s Inn.

He became sick with a pulmonary disorder, and as he went in a search for a cure he travelled Europe seeking more knowledge of agriculture. Influenced by the early Age of Enlightenment, he is considered to be one of the early proponents of a scientific (and especially empirical) approach to agriculture. He helped transform agricultural practices by inventing or improving numerous implements.

Tull also advocated the use of horses over oxen, invented a horse-drawn hoe for clearing weeds, and made changes to the design of the plough which are still visible in modern versions.

Tull’s inventions were sometimes considered controversial and were not widely adopted for many years. However, on the whole he introduced innovations which contributed to the foundation of productive modern agriculture.

Heavy Horses

Heavy Horses
by Jethro Tull

Iron-clad feather-feet pounding the dust
An October’s day, towards evening
Sweat embossed veins standing proud to the plough
Salt on a deep chest seasoning
Last of the line at an honest day’s toil
Turning the deep sod under
Flint at the fetlock, chasing the bone
Flies at the nostrils plunder.

The Suffolk, the Clydesdale, the Percheron vie
with the Shire on his feathers floating
Hauling soft timber into the dusk
to bed on a warm straw coating.

Heavy Horses, move the land under me
Behind the plough gliding — slipping and sliding free
Now you’re down to the few
And there’s no work to do
The tractor’s on its way.

Let me find you a filly for your proud stallion seed
to keep the old line going.
And we’ll stand you abreast at the back of the wood
behind the young trees growing
To hide you from eyes that mock at your girth,
and your eighteen hands at the shoulder
And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
and the nights are seen to draw colder
They’ll beg for your strength, your gentle power
your noble grace and your bearing
And you’ll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
in the wake of the deep plough, sharing.

Standing like tanks on the brow of the hill
Up into the cold wind facing
In stiff battle harness, chained to the world
Against the low sun racing
Bring me a wheel of oaken wood
A rein of polished leather
A Heavy Horse and a tumbling sky
Brewing heavy weather.

Bring a song for the evening
Clean brass to flash the dawn
across these acres glistening
like dew on a carpet lawn
In these dark towns folk lie sleeping
as the heavy horses thunder by
to wake the dying city
with the living horseman’s cry
At once the old hands quicken —
bring pick and wisp and curry comb —
thrill to the sound of all
the heavy horses coming home.

‘The Flute Is A Heavy Metal Instrument’

What can you say about a group of guys who made a video like that in 1978? What can you say about a bunch of bearded heads who were then and are still playing shows to sold out crowds worldwide? What can you say about a group of guys who beat out Metallica in 1987, winning a grammy for ‘Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance’? (Crest of a Knave, in case you’re wondering.)

And what can you say about Ian Anderson, the consummate frontman performer for the band? How can you expect anyone to believe that he taught himself to play that flute, along with nearly every other instrument ever to appear on a Tull album? Would it help to know that he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature in 2006?

I have listened to these guys for roughly the last 40 years, and they have been one of my favorite bands. Even the releases I didn’t like, I still knew they were good. For instance, ‘Passion Play’ was a smashing multi-decade success, but I just don’t like most of it. In contrast, an instant personal favorite – ‘Thick As A Brick’ – took years to catch on, but you’re lucky to ever hear more than the first 12 minutes played on the air.

Personal Note

Some of you already know and some of you don’t, so here it is: I haven’t been feeling too well lately and am currently in the process of making some major changes to my lifestyle. I’m sorta flying by the seat of my pants here, and am in no way certain of the outcome of all these attempted changes.

The changes I am making are difficult, including things like not smoking, trying to exercise, monitoring my diet and body like a hawk, and deciding this past week that I will most likely need to give up Computergeek Services, the business I have grown and loved these past 10 years.

My customers, those loyal folks who have kept me going, are like family to me. I promise them that they will not be simply cast away like a used-up dishrag. They’ve become accustomed to personal service at a more than reasonable price, and I am doing everything I can to ensure that will continue.

My readers here are a constant source of amazement and exhilaration to me. As long as I am able, I will continue to write and share with you just as I have done here since 2004. If I lose the rights to this website (which is to say if I sell CGS), I will simply transfer the feeds to my personal domain – – and we’ll just carry on from there.

I am Jon, and I plan to stay that way.

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