With many of the wonderful 1970's prog classics getting the remaster treatment these last few years, EMI finally got around to getting started on the early works of Jethro Tull. So far, the results have been quite favorable, as the CD's have a more vibrant sound, full lyrics are included, as well as rare bonus tracks, liner notes and photos.
Warchild for me was always a solid release, although perhaps never in the same league as gems like Benefit, Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, Passion Play, Minstrel in the Gallery, Stand Up, or Songs From the Wood. However, it is still one of those albums that holds up well after all these years, and indeed, Warchild represented a "change of pace" for the band after releasing two monstrous concept albums in a row with TAAB and PP. With this album, the band returned to a shorter song format, and wrote many tunes which are still considered classics to this day. "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day" and the rocking "Bungle in the Jungle" are probably the two most notable songs, but other tracks like the intense title track, the very English "Queen and Country", and the heavy metal of "Sealion" are all quite memorable. There is a majestic feel to many of these songs, as Ian Anderson's acoustic guitar, flute, and sax mix well with John Evan's piano and organ (not to mention accordion) and the crushing electric guitar of Martin Barre.
For many, the appeal to these remasters are the bonus tracks. While most Tull enthusiasts will no doubt already have these songs in the various box sets and greatest hits packages that have come out over the years, it is still nice to have these tunes packaged with the albums that they were originally intended to be on. Here we get the noble "Rainbow Blues" and majestic "Quartet", two of the most overlooked songs in the Jethro Tull catalog. One wonders why these songs were ever left off this album (LP restrictions I guess!) Also included is the more acoustic "Glory Row", the rocking "Paradise Steakhouse", the ominous hard rock of "Saturation", "Warchild Waltz" and "Sealion 2." With a total of 17 songs, full lyrics, original album art, and extra photos and commentary from Ian Anderson, you can't go wrong here. I'm sure all the loyal Tull fans already have this, and those that have been waiting for the remaster treatment to start their Jethro Tull collection, take out your wallets!