Personnel: Ian Anderson (vocals); Andy Giddings (keyboards); Martin Barre (drums).
Recording information: 1968-1995.
With a band as long-lived and prolific as Jethro Tull, there are naturally compilations aplenty. So THROUGH THE YEARS, with its three-decade perspective on Tull, avoids the obvious choices. Instead of crowd-pleasing riff-rockers that radio listeners have been bombarded with for ages, this collection focuses on lesser-known Tull tracks, providing a kind of alternative history for the neophyte, and a walk through familiar-but-esoteric pastures for the longtime fan.
Aside from an energetic live version of the flute-driven rocker "Locomotive Breath," the only "radio" song here is "Living in the Past." Beyond that, THROUGH THE YEARS explores the outer reaches of the Tull catalog. One of the lesser-known songs from the classic AQUALUNG album, "Wind Up" is a pointed, acerbic attack on Christian hypocrisy. SONGS FROM THE WOOD's "The Whistler" ventures into the more pastoral, progressive folk-rock side of the band's sound. This compilation isn't afraid to venture into the later volumes of Tull's history either, and the willingness to leave preconceptions beside makes it possible for THROUGH THE YEARS to present Tull in a fresh--if not entirely unfamiliar--light.