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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Jethro Tull - 1987 Crest Of A Knave
Jethro Tull - 1987 Crest Of A Knave

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ARTIST: Jethro Tull
ALBUM: Crest Of A Knave
LABEL: Chrysalis
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2005, Chrysalis, 7243 4 73413 2 8 (with bonus track)


LINEUP: Ian Anderson - vocals, flute, acoustic & electric guitars, percussion, keyboards, synclavier, drum programming * Martin Barre - electric & acoustic guitars * Dave Pegg - bass, acoustic bass

Additional Musicians: Doane Perry, Gerry Conway - drums * Ric Sanders - violin

TRACK LISTING: 01 Steel Monkey * 02 Farm On The Freeway * 03 Jump Start * 04 Said She Was A Dancer * 05 Dogs In The Midwinter * 06 Budapest * 07 Mountain Men * 08 The Waking Edge * 09 Raising Steam


Jethro Tull's 'Crest Of A Knave' is infamous for winning a Grammy award in the category of 'Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance' against the likes of Metallica and Janes Addiction which left a lot of people scratching their heads, angry or doubling over with laughter depending on your personality type. I fell in the latter category and after hearing the news it sadly reminded me of the one and only time I watched the awards show in early 1979 when both The Cars and Toto lost out to disco flash in the pan A Taste of Honey in the 'Best New Artist' bracket. 'Boogie Oogie Oogie'? Really? Ridiculous, but looking back at 1987 and while most true music fans knew better, metal was just coming into its own in the public eye and in lieu of their Grammy win; this was Tull's most successful album since their 1970's heyday.

The Songs
There's been a lot criticism of this CD sounding a little too similar to Dire Straits and I suppose some of it is warranted on opener 'Steel Monkeys' where Ian Anderson does a spot on Mark Knopfler impression but that's where the similarities end in my opinion. While the song features programmed drums, 'Farm On The Freeway' benefits from a real drummer, this time from Doane Perry (Thread, Storming Heaven) and it's classic Tull as is the wonderful 'Dogs In The Midwinter' although my pick is 'Budapest' which conjures up sweet memories of the 'Songs From The Wood'/'Heavy Horses' era cloaked in 80's digitalis. 'The Waking Edge' finds Ian a reflective, wee hour's mood while closer 'Raising Steam' with its classic Martin Barre riff suffers from percolating Saga styled keyboards and doesn't work nearly as well as the earlier cuts.

In Summary
Does the disc hold up to classic Tull? Don't be ridiculous and while I pointed out the better tracks, there's quite a bit of filler scattered between that can't be ignored. Yet despite its flaws, 'Crest Of A Knave' is a decent album which started a nice run of quality and often overlooked releases that include 1989's 'Rock Island' and 'Catfish Rising' from 1991.

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#1 | gdazegod on December 07 2015 21:52:52
Yeah, that Grammy Award.. wow.. I remember that. Oh to be a Metallica fan! frustration
#2 | gerard on December 09 2015 22:59:03
'Rock Island', will have to give that one another try. Still have it somewhere but only remember it as being a boring album. Will give it a second chance! As far as later Tull albums are concerned, I have fond memories of The Christmas Album, with songs like First snow on Brooklyn etc. Must be the time of year ;-)
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