Photograph taken during the Under Wraps
tour in 1984,
exact location and date remain unknown. By courtesy of © Kevan D. Shaw.
Radio Free Moscow
The ironic song title alludes to Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty. Free
Europe, Inc., was established in 1949 as
non-profit, private corporations to broadcast
news and current affairs programs to Eastern
European countries behind the Iron Curtain. The
Radio Liberty Committee, Inc., was created two
years later along the same lines to broadcast to
the nations inside the Soviet Union. Both were
funded principally by the U.S. Congress, through
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The
mission of these stations was: "promoting
democratic values and institutions by
disseminating factual information and ideas". Like
Moscow Radio, they were in their own way
propaganda tools of the Western world. Although
their transmissions were obstructed by Soviet
jamming stations during the fifties and sixties,
they could be received.
Of America" is a radio
broadcasting network of the U.S. government, a
unit of the United States Information Agency
(USIA). Its first broadcast, in German, took
place on Feb. 24, 1942, and was intended to
counter Nazi propaganda among the German people.
It became part of the USIA when that agency was
established in 1953. The VOA's function was to
promote understanding of the United States and to
spread American values ("symbol of the free"). During
the Cold War it concentrated its message at the
communist countries of eastern and central
Europe. Its daily broadcasts include news
reports, stories and discussions on American
political and cultural events, and editorials
setting forth U.S. government policy.
Radio" was the official state
radio of the Soviet Union ("Tune into messages from
the eastern avenue"). It was
used for internal and foreign propaganda during
the Cold War ("mine of
disinformation, pleading sympathy"). Their
transmissions were also obstructed by jamming
their signals, but they could nevertheless be
received in most of the Western countries. There
is more detailed historical information on Moscow
Radio at hand in the article "All
power to the microphone", written
by Armen Oganessian and issued in The Unesco
Courier (February 1, 1997).
So the Cold War wasn't only fought
out by the spies and hitmen, mentioned in the
previous songs, but also in the ether and the
broadcastings from both sides increased the
political tension in those days: "War of the air-waves
making scare-waves". Listening
to Moscow Radio was considered to be a subversive
activity, especially in the United States during
the McCarthy era:
"Somebody's at the
catching me in the act,
they've been keeping
* Jan Voorbij
* Ian Anderson during the Under Wraps
tour. Courtesy: Ivar Aasheim.
Volga following me". Several
models of Volga limousines were used in the
Soviet Union by communist party officials,
diplomats, and - as in this song - by KGB-agents.
Most of them were armoured.
Volga in the colour of black was a
symbol of extreme power in Soviet. They used to
carry Big Cheeses. Common man couldn't buy Black
Volga (he could but nobody sold it to him).
Though there were a plenty of yellow Volgas used
as a taxis and other colours in private owns.
Though it isn't popular among folk because it has
lousy construction and to keep it in fit you
should be either a handyman or hire a personal
one. Big Cheeses always drove with such personal
drivers-handymen. It consumes a lot of petrol and
money, were completed with built-in radio-phone.
But Black Volgas was untouchable among militia,
they could drive literally everywhere and on the
wrong side of the street, they could smash your
car and drove away and nobody cared. They used to
have registration numbers such as 0001, 5555 or
1111 (grace numbers).
Now the situation has changed and Volga is an
ordinary car among all the others. Not a big deal
at all and no tracks of old luxury. Big Cheeses
have changed for Mercedes SL 600, BMW or Audi-A8,
or Mercedes jeeps.
* Peter Diakonov
city": Intourist was
the only official travel agency of the Soviet
Union for travel to in within that country. The
secret service KGB used the Intourist
organisation to keep an eye on foreigners who
visited the Soviet Union. Today Intourist is a
travel agency that deploys a variety of
commercial activities in the field of tourism.
* Jan Voorbij
I tend to take this song as a
continuation of "Nobody's Car". Once
again the tension is carefully built up to an
extent that the "wanted
man" and his unit ("Notify all parties") is offered
a last chance to escape from the agents (or
hitmen) that are chasing him ("Better run while you can -
better set the tall sail").
tard sera le cri": This is
the first part of a sentence which Ian borrowed
from a French school book he used in his teen
years. The full English translation reads:
"Too late will be the cry, when the
ice-cream salesman has gone by".
* Jan Voorbij; Source: Greg Russo: "Flying
Colours, the Jethro Tull reference
manual"(Crossfire Publications, 2000), p.
Under Wraps # 2
A reprise of Under Wraps # 1, with
the same lyrics, however this time in an acoustic
setting. It's the only acoustic song on the album
and might be included to give a warmer, different
kind of expression to the tender feelings of the
narrator than in the first take.
* Concert poster from the Under Wraps
Courtesy: Ivar Aasheim
apogee" (or "apogeum"):
The moon and artificial satellites are orbitting
the earth elliptically. When they reach the point
where they are as far from the earth as possible,
they have reached their apogee.
and Wordsworth there,
for me in the cold thin air":
William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850) and Lord Alfred
Tennyson (1809 - 1892) were English poets from
the Romantic period.
* Jan Voorbij
a host of unearthly daffodils
drifting golden, turned up load"
All kinds of celestial bodies are
compared here to daffodils. A reference to one of
the best known poems of William Wordsworth:
wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in
A Poet could not be but gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
"The Wrong Stuff": is a
reference to the novel "The
Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe, which was
also made into a film. The
'right stuff' is what these guys had, apparently:
guts, good old American machismo in the early
days of the space programme.
* Andy Jackson
Photograph taken during the
Under Wraps tour in 1984,
exact location and date remain unknown.
By courtesy of ©
Kevan D. Shaw.
This is a song about the appliance
of new technologies in the car-industry ("....... everyone's turbo'd
and carbon fibre is the way to go, go"; "Down at the robot factory
things are humming"), showing a
feel of uneasiness with the augmenting power of
these technologies, taking over the human role in
the production process ("no humans testing").
The line "But
the Japs are coming..." refers to
the growing competion in the car-industry. Since the
mid-seventies the number of Toyotas, Nissans and
Mitsubishis sold in the US and in Europe
increased tremendously, to an extent where the
Japanese car-industry conquered a large
percentage of the market at the expense of
European and American made cars.
* Jan Voorbij
a trip in your Freudian slip
Doctor Ferdinand (Ferdie) has got you in his
I think this verse of Automotive
Engineering is about driving a Porsche. The
designer of the German sports car was dr.
Ferdinand Porsche, who also was responsible for
the design of the Volkswagen Beetle in 1934.
Austrian psychoanalist Sigmund Freud was long
gone wehen the first Porsche left the factory in
1951, but in his view driving a sports car might
be regarded as a man's subconscious compensation
for his fear of impotence. The powerful car would
in that respect serve as an extension of a man's
* Jeroen Louis