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NewsJETHRO TULL THE CHATEAU D’HEROUVILLE SESSIONS REMIXED BY STEVEN WILSON

Posted on Friday, January 19 2024 @ 14:46:55 CST by Steven Reid
Progressive Rock AVAILABLE ON 2LP, OUT 15TH MARCH PRE-ORDER NOW HERE

Prior to the release of their A Passion Play album in 1973, Jethro Tull recorded three sides of a double album at the Château d’Hérouville studio near Paris, France. Things did not go well, and the project was aborted.

In the summer of 1972, the band were riding high on the crest of a popularity wave, as they sold out huge arenas on the back of their critically acclaimed, chart-topping fifth album Thick As A Brick. They went into the renowned studio, where the likes of David Bowie, Elton John, Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens had previously recorded at. The band quickly nicknamed it ‘Chateau D’isaster’ after a series of equipment failures, bed bugs and food poisoning.

After a band meeting where the decision was made to return to the UK, they part-recorded a treasure trove of quirky material on master tapes which were ferried back to continue work on in London - only to decide to start over with a whole new album project, which was to become A Passion Play, released in 1973.

And so the Château tapes became the great lost album of Tull mythology until twenty years later when Ian Anderson reworked and completed most of the original material to release on the Nightcap album as the Chateau d’Isaster Tapes. Then in 2013, they received a make-over by Steven Wilson, for inclusion on the A Passion Play: An Extended Performance book-set. Now, for the first time, these recordings will be available on vinyl. The Château D'Hérouville Sessions will be released as a 2LP set on 15th March.

About the album, Ian Anderson says “There are some good things going on there, and I really quite like the songs which had lyrics, lots of theatrical references such as the bomb in the dressing room. I was trying to create this idea of the world of theatre somehow mirroring the real life outside on the streets and in society.”

The Château d’Hérouville Album Notes

The three master tape reels recorded at the Château d’Hérouville, each representing one side of the intended double album, are presented here in what is believed to be the original running order. Careful examination of the badly faded and damaged tape boxes revealed key information including reel assembly dates, album notes and original song titles including a track which was physically cut from the tape….

SIDE 1 (Reel date: 10th September 1972) 1) The Big Top 2) Scenario 3) Audition 4) Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day 5) Sailor 6) No Rehearsal

Notes: A clue to what the original album title might have been: ‘the one about the after life’ is faintly written at the top of the tape reel box. ‘Audition’ and ‘No Rehearsal’ were played live in concert during late 1972 and early 1973. ‘Skating Away’ received further overdubs in 1974 and was included on the ‘Warchild’ album released that year. In 1988, ‘Scenario’, ‘Audition’ and ‘No Rehearsal’ were edited together and presented with new flute overdubs on the ’20 Years Of Jethro Tull’ 5LP box set.

SIDE 2 (Reel date: 15th September 1972) 1) Left Right 2) Only Solitaire 3) Critique Oblique (Part I) 4) Critique Oblique (Part II)

Notes: ‘Left Right’ was played live in concert during late 1972 and early 1973 and ‘Only Solitaire’ was briefly played live as an instrumental at the start of some shows in July 1972. ‘Critique Oblique (Part I)’ was re-worked and re-recorded in early 1973 for ‘A Passion Play’ while elements of ‘(Part II)’ became the passage ‘Best Friends’, also on ‘A Passion Play’. ‘Only Solitaire’ was released without further overdubs a year later in 1974 on the ‘Warchild’ album. This album reel was eventually released in its entirety on the ‘Nightcap’ double CD in 1993 with new flute overdubs.

SIDE 3 (Reel date: 25th September 1972) 1) Animelee (1st Dance) 2) Animelee (2nd Dance) 3) The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles* 4) Law Of The Bungle (Part I) 5) Tiger Toon 6) Law Of The Bungle (Part II)

Notes: This tape box was clearly labeled ‘Side 3’. A missing song entitled ‘Animal Song (Hare’s Spectacles)’ that appeared between ‘Animelee (2nd Dance)’ and ‘Law Of The Bungle (Part I)’ was indeed ‘The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles’. It was cut from the third Château reel and spliced into the 16-track tape for ‘A Passion Play’ side 2 in January 1973 with extensive orchestral overdubs sadly wiping Ian’s original acoustic guitar track. Presented here for the first time is the track as close as possible to how it was recorded in the Chateau. The tune for ‘The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles’ was played in concert on the summer 1972 US tour during an on-stage comedy routine. The ‘Tiger Toon’ motif was re-recorded in December 1972 to form the opening section ‘Prelude’ of ‘A Passion Play’. An excerpt of ‘Animelee (1st Dance)’ was played live during Ian’s flute solo during late 1972 and early 1973.
This album reel was eventually released in its entirety (minus ‘The Hare…’) on the ‘Nightcap’ double CD in 1993 with new flute overdubs.

SIDE 4 (Original Released Mixes) 1) Scenario [1988 mix] 2) Audition [1988 mix] 3) No Rehearsal [1988 mix] 4) Only Solitaire [1974 mix] 5) The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles [1973 mix] 6) Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day [1974 mix]

Notes: Presented here is a selection of the songs from the 3 recorded sides of the aborted LP as they appeared on later records. ‘Scenario’, ‘Audition’ and ‘No Rehearsal’ were mixed and edited in 1988 for the ’20 Years Of Jethro Tull’ 5LP box set for which Ian recorded new flute overdubs. ‘The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles’ is presented in the arrangement completed in early 1973 with orchestral overdubs to end side one and begin side two of the ‘A Passion Play’ LP.
The original 1974 ‘Warchild’ LP mixes for ‘Skating Away’ and ‘Only Solitaire’ complete the selection.

Album Credits - All songs written by Ian Anderson except ‘The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles’ by Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, John Evan and Ian Anderson


Recorded at Studio D’Enregistrement Michel Magne, Château D’Hérouville, Hérouville, France on 16-track, September 1972
Produced by Ian Anderson
Engineered by Robin Black


Ian Anderson: vocals, flute, saxophones, acoustic guitar
Martin Barre: electric guitar
John Evan: piano, organ, synthesizers, speech
Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond: bass guitar, speech, Narration on ‘The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles’
Barriemore Barlow: drums, glockenspiel, marimba


Orchestra arranged and conducted by David Palmer
Sides 1, 2 and 3 remixed by Steven Wilson in 2013 (except * 2021)
Side 4 mixed by Ian Anderson


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