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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - A New Series Created By William Mesnik, The Mind Behind “Mesmerized”- EPISODE # 18 - "IS GOD PAYING ATTENTION"" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "AQUALUNG" By JETHRO TULL IN HIGH DEFINITION WITH NARRATIVE BY CAPTAIN BILLY

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“IS GOD PAYING ATTENTION?”

EPISODE #21: AQUALUNG by Jethro Tull (Reprise, 1971)

To my 18 year old ears, listening to Aqualung was the height of sophistication. Jethro Tull sets a cast of benighted Dickensian characters against a landscape of acoustic-electric prog rock, and powers it all with muscular flute locomotion. The result never fails to raise the hair on the back of my neck.

Add to this, the heretical questioning of the existence of a divine intelligence – as dictated to us by religious authorities, (“if Jesus saves, well, he better save himself…”), and, as the topper, an indelible watercolor on the cover representing the profane title character, (or, is it Ian Anderson, himself…?) – and, presto: I had a musical manifesto for my blasphemous teenage sensibilities.

Ian Anderson insists this was not intended a “concept album,” just a collection of tunes – (4 invoking the Lord) – with some consonant themes, but you’ll never convince me of that. Plus, the ideas put forth on this tape resonate more strongly today than ever. In Los Angeles, the city in which I reside, there are so many Aqualungs inhabiting its parks and underpasses, that every time I drive through an off-ramp I’m reminded that “the train, it won’t stop going, though it could slow down.”

Apparently, a lot of people agreed, because this is the set that made Jethro Tull an arena act, and is their all-time best selling record. I suspect, that by 1971, the term “concept album” had become so fraught with accusations of pretension, that Mr. Anderson probably sought to deflect any negative flak that characterization might have provoked. But, give me a good concept album any day. Narrative in art, no matter how abstract or disassociated, adds spice to my enjoyment.


By Rich Buckland 07/14/2021 08:49 PM

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