Nothing Is Easy


For the uninitiated, this is Jethro Tull at their least weird. For those in the know, hey, remember when J-Tull still paid lip service to being a blues band? Because they were, for a very brief window in the 60’s, but the limitations of the blues form chafed Ian Anderson more so than most others. Anyways, you can’t really play the blues when your image is ‘very, very eccentric and decrepit English country gentleman’. To play the blues you kind of have to bow down to American cultural dominance, to accept that the (African-) American experience is cooler and more interesting and more authentic and more worth writing songs about. Ian Anderson never accepted that. He decided that the specifically British experience was interesting and cool and worth writing songs about, and it didn’t have to be based entirely in someone else’s musical tradition either. He realized that English musicians had to approach the blues essentially like novelists researching a subject, because in all actuality, the roots of the blues (you know, slavery and systematic oppression and cultural isolation, etc) were inescapably alien and inaccessible to them. The great innovation of Jethro Tull was in creating rock and roll with the same vim and vigor as the peers but without the phony veneer of Americanization, with no pretense of ever having lived in Detroit, no interest in glorifying American car manufacturers, and no attempt to adopt other people’s suffering.

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