F2 21238 Stormwatch
Produced by Ian Anderson and Robin Black
Released on September 1979
UK CHART POSITION #27 . . . US CHART POSITION #22
Find it at GEMM
F2 21238 cover  

I purchased Stormwatch years ago, at a time when every new Tull album to me was pregnant with possibilities. It quickly got under my skin, snippets of these songs wafting through my waking hours like the scent of a new lover recalled. Sadly, I’m sure many didn’t share my happy discovery, so I’ll temper my enthusiasm by adding that some may find in Stormwatch a barely perceptible waning in Tull’s formidable force. Ian Anderson’s voice had grown rougher in recent years even as his lyrical imagery improved, compensation for a slight stiffness in one instrument requiring that the surrounding players share more of the burden. This is cleverly concealed by shifting the balance to instrumental sections and utilizing a half-spoken delivery in spots. This would seem to be a concept album, as a pervading chill runs through the music. In fact, I’ve always fancied Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses and Stormwatch as a seasonal trio covering summer, fall and winter respectively. Unlike Heavy Horses, which took the folk-rock experiment to its logical conclusion, Stormwatch is a heavier, harsher record. Tracks like “Dark Ages” and “Something’s On The Move” push Tull deeper into hard rock territory, a land visited earlier in songs like “No Lullaby” and “Pibroch (Cap In Hand).” Where Heavy Horses was a dry-sounding effort, Stormwatch is saturated in sound, sharing more of an affinity with Songs From The Wood. And while patches of Stormwatch are brilliant -- the opening trio, the mystical incantation of “Dun Ringill” -- there are parts that noticeably sag. Still, as a final act from this talented troupe of players, missing this is to miss part of music’s great mythology. Anderson signalled a new beginning for the band with “A,” retaining only the essential Mr. Martin Barre. Sadly, bassist John Glascock passed away during the recording of this album, stamping an added sense of finality on Stormwatch. Though I know most of it by memory, I still return to Stormwatch often, to revisit “Home” or canvas imaginary skies for “Orion,” to cavort tongue in cheek alongside “North Sea Oil” or treat myself to the salving sadness of David Palmer’s “Elegy,” and of course to once again give this lineup of Tull the warm applause they warrant.

CHR 1238 front cover CHR 1238 back cover CHR 1238 lyric sleeve
CHR 1238 front cover CHR 1238 back cover CHR 1238 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. NORTH SEA OIL    3:008
  2. ORION    3:55
  3. HOME    2:44
  4. DARK AGES    9:07
  5. WARM SPORRAN    3:31
  6. SOMETHING'S ON THE MOVE    4:24
  7. OLD GHOSTS    4:20
  8. DUN RINGILL    2:37
  9. FLYING DUTCHMAN    7:42
  10. ELEGY    (David Palmer)    3:30

    All songs written by Ian Anderson unless noted. Arrangements by Jethro Tull

CREDITS

IAN ANDERSON -- vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, cover concept
BARRIEMORE BARLOW -- drums, percussion
MARTIN BARRE -- electric guitar, mandlin and classical guitar
JOHN EVAN -- piano, organ
DAVID PALMER -- synthesizers, portative organ and orchestral arrangements
John Glascock -- bass guitar (2,9,10)
Fracis Wilson -- spoken voice
Robin Black -- engineer
Peter Wagg -- art direction
David Jackson -- cover painting

return to JETHRO TULL discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK September 1979 Chrysalis LP/CS CDL 1238 lyric sleeve
US/CAN September 1979 Chrysalis LP/CS CHR 1238 lyric sleeve
AUS'L 1979 Chrysalis LP L36956  
BRA/FRA/GER/POR 1979 Chrysalis LP 6307 670 lyric sleeve or insert
US   Chrysalis LP PV 41238 lyric sleeve
UK   Chrysalis LP ML 4326  
US   Chrysalis CD F2 21238 lyric sleeve

 

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