VK 41590 Crest of a Knave
Produced by Ian Anderson
Released on September 1987
UK CHART POSITION #19 . . . US CHART POSITION #32 . . . GOLD RECORD (5/2/88)
Find it at GEMM
VK 41590 cover  

A nd who am I to fast deny the right to take a fish once in a while? That Tull wasn’t even sailing in the seas of heavy metal at the time didn’t matter; the magic fish leapt into their boat all the same, and the knaves left the Grammys beknighted* and bemused. It was hardly an auspicious start for the heavy metal category -- if it’s any consolation to headbangers, the Grammy folks were just as befuddled by jazz. At least Crest of a Knave rocked harder than any Tull album since Aqualung, and was arguably their best album since Stormwatch. The opening moments of “Steel Monkey” are a revelation: the synthesizers and electronic percussion suddenly made sense in the context of Ian Anderson’s manic arrangements, the colorless voice at least bright with conviction. The songs on Crest are vibrant, mystical, elegant and earthy -- words I hadn’t invoked in succession since Heavy Horses. Things had changed since then: the band was essentially reduced to a core trio of Ian, Martin and Dave Pegg, and Ian’s gilded voice was irretrievably lost, but in its stead stood experience and inspiration. Tracks like “Farm on the Freeway,” “Said She Was A Dancer,” “Budapest” and “Mountain Men” are the offspring of a master storyteller, dripping with nuance and detail. I’ve noticed that Tull’s music has begun to bleed toward Dire Straits over time, as Ian’s voice has grown rougher and Martin’s lead guitar has moved into the foreground. Of course, Tull weaves intricate folk designs into their music and dips their pen in richer, louder colors than Dire Straits, but otherwise the two have arrived at an interesting middle ground. Two tracks are only available on the CD version of Crest: “Dogs In The Midwinter” and “The Waking Edge.” They’re not as heavy as “Jump Start” and “Raising Steam,” and likely serve to soften the whole Crest experience (we’ll assume the Grammy judges owned the elpee or cassette). In any incarnation, this ranks with the best that Tull has produced in the ‘80s, and more than atones for the flawed Rock Island and Catfish Rising. (*not a real word)

VK 41590 back sleeve OVT 41590 cover
VK 41590 back sleeve OVT 41590 cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. STEEL MONKEY
  2. FARM ON THE FREEWAY
  3. JUMP START
  4. SAID SHE WAS A DANCER
  5. (CD bonus track:) DOGS IN THE MIDWINTER
  6. BUDAPEST
  7. MOUNTAIN MEN
  8. (CD bonus track:) THE WAKING EDGE
  9. RAISING STEAM

    Songs composed by Ian Anderson

CREDITS

IAN ANDERSON -- vocals, guitar, flute, keyboards, drum programme, percussion, acoustic guitars, engineer
MARTIN BARRE -- lead guitar, electric and acoustic guitars, engineer
DAVID PEGG -- bass guitar, engineer
Gerry Conway -- drums
Doane Perry -- drums
Ric Sanders -- violin
Robin Black -- engineer
Tim Matyear -- engineer
Stephen Taylor -- re-mix engineer (1)
Andrew Jamieson -- calligraphy and heraldry
John Pasche -- art direction

return to JETHRO TULL discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK September 1987 Chrysalis LP/CD/CS CDL/CDP32 1590 lyric sleeve
US September 1987 Chrysalis LP/CD/CS OV/VK/OVT 41590 lyric sleeve
ARG 1987 CBS LP 120010  
BRA 1987 Chrysalis LP 231.040 lyric sleeve
CAN 1987 Chrysalis LP CHS 41590 lyric sleeve
GER/NET 1987 Chrysalis LP 208 561 lyric sleeve
MEX 1987 Chrysalis LP CRY-460714 picture sleeve
YUG 1987 Jugoton LP LSCHRY 73227 lyric sleeve
RUS 1999 CD Maximum CD CDM 599275 repackaged w. NIGHTCAP PART 3

 

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