Leon Russell and Ian Anderson major stars in the 1970s, both released new albums this month! Boy it doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 44 years since I bought my first Jethro Tull album Benefit or 43 years since Leon Russell and the Shelter People was first spinning on my turntable.
Russell’s new album is titled Life Journey about which Russell says “This is a record of my musical journey through this life,” He writes in the liner notes. “It reflects pieces of things that I have done and things I never did.” The album contains covers of songs by Robert Johnson, Hoagy Carmichael and Billy Joel. Russell brings his great piano playing and a somewhat raspier vocals to these twelve songs and makes them Leon Russell songs!
Ian Anderson’s album is titled Homo Erraticus and rather than being an album of covers or even an album chronicling his Life’s journey Anderson has again teamed with lyricist Gerald Bostock, who we met in Thick as a Brick and more recently in Thick as a Brick 2 to create the album ……from Anderson’s website:
….Homo Erraticus. Written earlier this year, commencing 09.00 hours on January first, it chronicles the weird imaginings of one Ernest T Parritt, as recaptured by the now middle-aged Gerald Bostock after a trip to Mathew Bunter’s Old Library Bookshop in Linwell village. Bostock and Bunter (sounds like a firm of dodgy solicitors) came across this dusty, unpublished manuscript, written by local amateur historian Ernest T. Parritt, (1873 -1928), and entitled “Homo Britanicus Erraticus”.
The illustrated document summarises key historical elements of early civilisation in Britain and seems to prophesy future scenarios too. Two years before his death, Parritt had a traumatic fall from his horse while out hunting with the Vale Of Clutterbury Hounds and awoke with the overwhelming conviction of having enjoyed past lives as historical characters: a pre-history nomadic neolithic settler, an Iron Age blacksmith, a Saxon invader, a Christian monk, a Seventeenth Century grammar school boy, turnpike innkeeper, one of Brunel’s railroad engineers, and even Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. This befuddled, delusional obsession extends to his prophecy of future events and his fantasy imaginings of lives yet to come….
Bostock has returned once again to lyric writing, basing his new effort on the Parritt papers and I have had the fun and frolics of setting all to music of Folk-Rock-Metal stylings. Read More
Ian Anderson’s flute playing is, like Russell’s piano playing, a major part of the album. It seems that his imagination is also still working in overdrive…….I still have visions of seeing Jethro Tull perform “A Passion Play” in the early 70s and seeing that giant rabbit come on stage!!!
Anyway back to the new releases. While I enjoyed both of the albums, Anderson’s Homo Erraticus is my favorite of the two, possibly based mostly on the strength of the opening track “Doggerland” which I think stands with the best of Jethro Tull!! Anyway check out both of the albums from these masters of their respective genres!!
Leon Russell – At Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/leon-russell-covers-billy-joel-brings-in-big-bands-for-life-journey-20140219
Ian Anderson – At Billboard Biz: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6052275/ian-anderson-solo-album-homo-erraticus-jethro-tull