New Jethro Tull books by Brian Rabey and Tim Smolko
Reviewed by Anne Leighton
When Ian’s U.S. tour finished this past November, I started reading the new Jethro Tull books; both have passion in their titles and in how they were created (researched and written).
There is much to be loved about Brian Rabey’s book, A PASSION PLAY: THE STORY OF IAN ANDERSON AND JETHRO TULL – released a year ago. My favorite part of the book is watching Brian’s personal story, as a 45-year Tull fan, unfold. His delight in talking with at least a dozen band members (including the late Glenn Cornick, Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, Andy Giddings, Doane Perry, Clive Bunker, John Evans, and Ian) comes across as he gives complete interview transcripts conducted over an intensive 12 month period. He also includes interviews dating back to 1978.
I love his determination, from gathering interviews with band members all the way to presenting outstanding trivia; why did Ian wear those long and bulky coats on stage in the early years? He offers great insight on band member dynamics with each other and with management, and how the different members of Jethro Tull went about handling their careers. There is in depth material with a massive amount of interviews Brian does with Ian, especially in the second part of the book.
Tim Smolko’s book, THICK AS A BRICK AND A PASSION PLAY: INSIDE TWO LONG SONGS, is big! Almost as thick as a few bricks.
The book is based on his master’s thesis. It delves into the musical workings of the two albums. Fortunately TAABAAPP is written in an accessible style. There are a number of fans who will delightfully read every word of it. I admit I haven’t finished the book, but am enjoying Tim’s research. Topics include the form and thematic development in the two albums, the album cover art, the influence of early music in Jethro Tull, the Chateau Disaster Tapes, Monty Python, and a little about Ian’s sequel album THICK AS A BRICK 2.
THICK AS A BRICK AND A PASSION PLAY: INSIDE TWO LONG SONGS won the 2014 Association for Recorded Sound Collections’ award for “Best Research in Recorded Rock Music.” It deserved the win!
Brian Rabey’s ‘A PASSION PLAY: THE STORY OF IAN ANDERSON AND JETHRO TULL’ is available at:
Order Tim Smolko’s book ‘THICK AS A BRICK AND A PASSION PLAY: INSIDE TWO LONG SONGS’ online at: