Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die!
(Chrysalis Records)


Before he strode off into the woods in search of heavy horses, Ian Anderson turned Jethro Tull into a glam rock band, for a short time, on the 1976 album release of Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die. Clearly with this album, the early Tull vision had changed again. With the band’s immense sonic innovations already accepted by the masses, Ian began to write a kind of tabloid cartoon style rock opera about a rock and roller called Ray Lomas and his, till that point, unrenowned life. Interestingly, Lomas looks a lot like Ian Anderson. This 2015 Chrysalis 4 disc box set of Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die features a completely unique March 1976 re-recording of the original December 1975 recordings, remixed by Steven Wilson. In hindsight, Tull's March 1976 recording was quite fortuitous, in light of the fact that many of the multi-tracks of the original master remain missing. Also featured on disc 2 is “the original album flat transfer” which may or may not be the same as the first and only Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die CD that came out on Chrysalis, in the late 1980s. What is even more amazing is that the March 1976 re-recording (newly remixed by Wilson) forms the album part of the soundtrack for a fascinating, live, filmed performance of the Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die stage show which featured Ian, Martin Barre, Barrie Barlow, John Evan and the late John Glascock which is featured here on DVD 1. The DVD featuring the filmed performance of the live stage musical is truly eye-opening. Tull was considered among the most theatrical of all the early pioneering rock bands from England, and the video of the entire Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die album truly comes to life. It’s a pity that DVD wasn’t available in 1975 because there’s no doubt the album would have been better received by the critics if fans could see and hear Anderson’s original stage show intention of the album concept. The DVD video of the entire Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die album theatrical performance truly proves that, if Tull were appreciated for being the pioneers of the first rock era, they were also underrated as stage performers and actors as well. The whimsical spirit of the era is ironically best encapsulated in Tull’s single, released in the aftermath of the album, “Strip Cartoon”. A song not on the original Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die album, “Strip Cartoon” nonetheless summons up the cheeky spirit of both Ray Lomas and Ian Anderson. Although containing sonic art forms that while quite advanced might not yet be fully adopted by music listeners, the two DVD titles here also feature a myriad of DVD audio versions including a flat transfer of the original 1976 “quad Lp production master”. For CD buffs, on the two CDs here, there’s a number of sundry bonus tracks that are also remixed by Mr. Wilson, including found masters of the original December 1975 recording, singles versions, instrumental versions and a demo of the title track. The book part of the box set is a Tull aficionado’s dream come true featuring new liner notes by Ian Anderson, a myriad of essays, lyrics and track by track dates plus additional contributions of all the artists and musicians from this era of Tull. Jethro Tull’s first 12 years, 1968 to 1980 forms the spine of rock’s original intention and the Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young To Die four disc box set is a sonic and video revelation that sets the record straight regarding one of Jethro Tull’s most unique creations.


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