Monday, May 25, 2009

813th Post - I Should Be Transcribing

But I can't get my mind off Jethro Tull.

When I was preparing the Moe Dunn interview last month, I was looking on youtube for a Jethro Tull video to embed. I was gonna put up "Aqualung", or "Cross Eyed Mary" or one of any number of their hits. But I found this video, from the Rolling Stones' ill-fated "Rock and Roll Circus" show circa 1968. I decided to play it, and loved it; I had to include it with the interview. The tune is called "Song for Jeffrey".

Here it is, again.

Ian Anderson is the lead singer's name. You already knew that. I was just showing off. I have always found his wild-eyed, crazy-haired, hopping-on-one-leg act off putting to say the least. He still does the one legged thing, and they still perform
the tune, but much of his hair is gone. I found this performance from 2001. There are even more recent ones, shot on somebody's digital cameras, that look and sound like crap. This a professional presentation of the song.

The first version, from 1968, reveals a lot more blues influence, doesn't it? The more recent version is much jazzier. Both still show Ian Anderson and that weird, one-legged stance of his.

Back in university I wrote a paper about the Blues. I still have it around here somewhere. I am more interested in the history of this music than much of the music itself. But Blues and Jazz have common ancestors and sprang from the same sources, and sometimes the same musicians. I really must find that paper. Perhaps I'll scan it in and present it here for your... edutainment.

Anyway, it's interesting to see a song change over the years, performed by many of the same guys today as did it 40 years ago. Was the move to more of a jazz sound conscious? Was it a natural evolution, progression, whatever, of the tune? Or were the guys just so bloody sick of the song after so many years that they had to do something to make it interesting to them again?

Oh, can't make out the words? Here are the lyrics.

BTW, Ian Anderson is a cat person. He has written about the care of cats. Here: Read all about it. That makes him good in my book. I'll even overlook the weird one legged thing he does.



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