Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die (Chrysalis)

Reviewed by DJ Johnson

By 1976 Jethro Tull had been rounded up and tossed into the same corner with ELP, Yes, Gentle Giant and King Crimson and labeled dinosaurs by the spiked hair bunch and the press. While this undoubtedly did plenty of harm, Tulls real fans barely noticed anything was going on. To us, Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die was just a cool title for yet another outstanding album in a long string of them, this one populated with shorter songs than we'd gotten used to, perhaps (the previous album, Minstrel In The Gallery, had one tune that clocked in at 16:39).

In retrospect, it doesn't seem to rock as hard as it did in '76. "Taxi Grab" gets up a head of steam and has nice riffs, and "Quizz Kid" has some nice powerful bits, mostly driven by the agile kick-drum foot of Barriemore Barlow, but the only other rocker, "Big Dipper," is the dog of the album. The gems here are gentler, folky tunes like "Salamander" and medium tempo pop tunes like the classic title track. Maybe at that moment Ian Anderson felt he was too old to rock and roll, but as most of you know he wrote many of his best rockers in the years that followed.

As the most important music here is the prettier stuff, the improved sound of this remastered version is quite noticeable and rather breathtaking. Two bonus tracks, decent songs that didn't make the cut for this album the first time around, have been added just in case you weren't thrilled about buying this CD again. Now ya gotta, see? Naw, the songs are just okay, but the sound quality blows your old copy off the shelf.

© 2003 - DJ Johnson