Annotations


~ 20 Years Of Jethro Tull~

(3)

Jack-A-Lynn

  • Recorded in 1981 during the 'Broadsword' sessions, but left out. The song was remixed in 1988 for this compilation. Fans have been speculating about this song as being an autobiographical one, esp. since the second name of Anderson's wife Shona is Jacqueline. The song is full to the brim with feelings of missing a loved one and of homesickness.
    * Jan Voorbij

MotorEyes

  • Recorded in 1982 during the 'Broadsword' sessions, but not included in the album.

Blues Instrumental (untitled)

  • Originally recorded in 1978 or 1979 for the 'Stormwatch' album, but left out.

Rhythm In Gold

  • Recorded in 1981 during the 'Broadsword'sessions, but left out.

  • The car that is referred to in the lines "Immobilize your nine-eleven" and "Sabotage your nine-eleven" is one of the many versions of the Porsche 911. The photograph below shows the Turbo 362 version:


    There is a double meaning in
    "Rhythm In Gold", I think. In fact there has been a gold-coloured version of the Porsche 911. Secondly, taking in account the context of the song, "Rhythm In Gold" also refers to a young and wealthy woman and the way she moves. Our narrator is attracted by both of them. Both images overlap eachother, coļncide - a feature Anderson has applied in many of his songs.
    * Jan Voorbij

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Part Of The Machine

  • A new song, recorded in March 1988, especially written for this set.

  • This song has always been a favorite of mine. Although I don't know if it is really safe to annotate Ian's lyrics on a line to line basis, for to me, alot of the lines have duel meaning. One has too look at the over all song to determine which direction Ian was going. IMHO this song is about the great paradox of democracy. He is pointing out both the good and bad sides of our government. It isn't really meant to be negative or positive: it's an observation. What I think Ian is trying to do is initally capture the spirit of the new United States imigrants coming to a new county, to a new democracy, a new freedom, the frontier, the pioneers eager to make a new life. But as we all know the country has grown and grown and grown, and now it maybe is just a big machine. Are we really free? We all agree, there is alot wrong with the country now, but the dream in the beginning, and what our forefathers tried to do was really good. IMHO he really sort of captures that early pioneer feeling.
    * Pamela

The "Part Of The Machine" CD EP, released in August 1988 inthe UK only,
contained 5 tracks taken from the '20 Years of Jethro Tull' box set:
Stormy Monday Blues, Lick Your Fingers Clean, Minstrel In The Gallery (live),
Farm On The Freeway (live), Part Of The Machine (edit 4:34).

  • Pamela has a point here and I do agree with her. But what most Americans probably don't realise is, that we here in Europa are rather sceptical about the way politics work in the USA. This feeling is reflected in this song. After all Ian is an European. I refer here specifically to the election campaigns we see on TV when candidates are running for presidency ("the razzmatazz is rolling"). Political ideologies are reduced to slogans ("Oh, they promise you gold, promise heaven on earth"), there is a lot of smiling, handshaking ("Shaking hands, kissing babies, for all that they're worth"), intensive media coverage and cruising the country by decorated election trains ("Everybody's jumping on the circus train"), paper rosettes, flags and balloons and "women folk unveiled". Superficiality seems to rule as substantial political debate is consequently avoided and changed for hammering on issues like family values, the American dream, freedom, progress, low taxes and of course - God. This all takes place at the cost of billions of dollars.
    All these elements invoke here in Europe the impression that it is all one big show, and that show is the only thing that matters in this media-event. This style of campaigning is more and more adopted in the Western European countries and is by many Europeans considered as critical for the democratic quality of politics and the commitment to political issues by the average citizen.
    Note however that Ian observes, but doesn't judge. As Pamela states, Ian points at the controversy between the idealism of the generation of the Founding Fathers, that was full of enthusiasm to build up the country and todays' situation, in which these ideals seem to be institutionalised or locked in
    ("the machine"), but lost their original meaning and charismatic power as it apparently didn't work for so many Americans. Our narrator pities that: he values the 'old' ideals and is apparently sorry he doesn't have them to inspire him: "I wish I had an eagle like you to look up to" and "I wish I had an eagle like you to wake up to". The verseline "They hitch their covered wagons and they roll out west" contains one of Ian famous double entendres: he refers here both to the politicians campaigning the country by train as well as to the families that undertook the dangerous journey to the 'wild open spaces' of the west to build up a livelihood, thus developing the country.
    The sting of this song can be found in the third stanza: all these people running for senate or presidency think they will rise to power, but the ones who really run the world are the wealthy people,
    "smart guys" (who) "aren't running, they're home and dry. Up in the mountains were the eagle flies" but are in their own way "part of the machine". Is our narrator saying here that there is no true freedom to be found within the 'system', the machine?
    * Jan Voorbij

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Mayhem, Maybe

  • In the lore of many European and Asian nations wee folk like fairies (or faeries), dwarfs or elven are quite common. They habit trees, rivers, hills, stones and are considered to be closely related to nature: "to nature's world we do belong". Usually they are described as supernatural beings of diminutive size that are active during the night: "When we're working nights ...". Some of them are plainly good like Brownie, a Scotch domestic fairy, others are considered to be bad for their fondness of frustrating people with their practical jokes:
    "Scattered horses that they would ride",
    "Pulling roses and daffodils" and
    "We terrify the mare and foal.
    The fox stood still and far too bold"
    .
    The "fairy folks" in this song belong evidently to the second group. They are "Never caught and never will" and "often heard but seldom seen" too. Taking in account the context of the song it would have been a wonderful addition to 'Songs From The Wood', I think .... More specific information on fairies can be found at The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by E. Cobham Brewer.
    * Jan Voorbij

  • Recorded in 1981 during the 'Broadsword' sessions, but left out. Ian's vocals. flute and whistles were added and the track was remixed in April 1988 for this compilation.

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Overhang

Kelpie

  • There are many stories concerning the kelpie in Scottish folklore. The following passage is taken from a pamphlet published in Scotland in 1823:

    "In the former and darker ages of the world, when people had not half the wit and sagacity they now possess, and when, consequently, they were much more easily duped by such designing agents, the 'Ech Uisque', or water-horse, as the kelpie is commonly called, was a well-known character in these countries. The kelpie was an infernal agent, retained in the service and pay of Satan, who granted him a commission to execute such services as appeared profitable to his interest. He was an amphibious character, and generally took up residence in lochs and pools, bordering on public roads and other situations most convenient for his professional calling."
    "His commission consisted in the destruction of human beings, without affording them the time to prepare for their immortal interests, and thus endeavoured to send their souls to his master, while he, the kelpie, enjoyed the body. However, he had no authority to touch a human being of his own free accord, unless the latter was the aggressor. In order, therefore, to delude public travellers and others to their destruction, it was the common practice of the kelpie to assume the most fascinating form, and assimilate himself to that likeness, which he supposed most congenial to the inclinations of his intended victim."
    "The likeness of a fine riding steed was his favourite disguise. Decked out in the most splendid riding accoutrements, the perfidious kelpie would place himself in the weary traveller's way, and graze by the road-side with all the seeming innocence and simplicity in the world . . . . But this horse knew better what he was about; he was as calm and peaceable as a lamb, until his victim was once fairly mounted on his back; with a fiend-like yell he would then announce his triumph, and plunging headlong with his woe-struck rider into an adjacent pool, enjoy him for his repast."

    Tales of the kelpie as a seducer of women are less common. However, as a shape-shifting demon, he may appear as a handsome young man with wet seaweedy hair, wooing his victims into a watery grave ("I'll steal your soul to the deep"). Even today, an official document published by ScotRail (Scottish Railways) refers to the legend of a kelpie residing in Loch Garve, west of Dingwall in the Highlands. To me, though, Ian's kelpie sounds suspiciously like that old rocker Ray Lomas in 'Pied Piper'.
    * Andy Jackson

  • The song was recorded in 1979 and originally meant to be included on the 'Stormwatch' album. It was remixed for this compilation in 1988.

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Living In These Hard Times

 


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"20 Years Of Jethro Tull: Flawed Gems And The Other Sides Of Tull"

 

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Last modified: November 28 - 2000

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