Jethro Tull “Thick as a Brick” CD revisited

I have been a big fan of “Thick as a Brick” ever since it was originally released on vinyl in 1972.  The musicianship and genre defying composition were way above average for the time.  Seeing the band live around that time only reinforced my respect.

But I have not been a fan of the Chrysalis CD version I own that was released in 1985.  It always sounded bright on any system I played it on, even with transports and various dacs where most other CDs sounded terrific.  Heavy sibilance and just way too much high end.  I am not sure I have ever listened to that version all the way through even though I have owned if for nearly 30 years. (I think I got it from the Columbia Record Club, remember that?)

Recently I have been ripping my entire CD catalogue to hard disk and am now using a server along with a new (for me) and better DAC with a reclocker.  This new system is both the highest resolving and most balanced in terms of treble energy and detail of anything that has proceeded it here.  Last night I was scrolling through my collection for a headphone listening session and I remembered “Thick as a Brick” and how this favorite composition had been unlistenable for decades. I cued it up.

Whoa!  I was not prepared for what I heard.  Incredible detail on hand, meticulous timing of the band, sharp but seamless transitions from one musical idea to the next. Zero sibilance.  At about 11:50 on Side A, there is an interplay between flute and organ where the organ notes are echoed but delayed and severely muted in the left channel.  I not only heard this clearly, but it sounded like it was coming up from below the floor.  Stunning.  And about 19 minutes into side B the band is jamming hard on one of the recurring (the main?) rock themes and suddenly there is a repeated and alternating break into sonorous strings that I have always appreciated, but now the contrast last night was both beautiful and startling.  I listened to the whole album and was completely focused and captivated throughout.  The ones and zeros at 16/44.1 never let me down.  This was like discovering a favorite tool or fishing rod, or album, that had gone missing for thirty years buried in the the back of a closet.  

Jethro Tull was a class act.  Something I appreciated even as a teenager, but the beauty of this hobby is getting to experience old musical loves again with new appreciation as our gear and ability to hear into the songs improve.


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My copy of the CD sounds very good, and yes, the musicianship is excellent. Barry Barlow deserves particular applause for his amazingly precise and inventive drumming. He's one of a kind. I still don't feel that it can eclipse the earlier Stand Up which was just a brilliant piece of work that still sounds fresh. 

My copy of the CD sounds very good

Like the OP, TAAB has been in high rotation since 1972. The CD sounds fine, although I still have my original vinyl I have not played it in decades. Try some of Tull's other albums, they are all pretty good, I especially like the Christmas album. 

This is great to hear. I love when this sort of thing happens. Can I ask what your DAC and reclocker are?





@hodu nothing very fancy: Chord QuteHD with MCRU lps and an iFi iPurifier2 with iFi iPowerX power supply. The iPurifer2 makes a significant difference but only when using with the upgraded iFi power supply.  The MCRU lps used with the QuteHD helps as well.

The Steve Wilson remixes are the best. Aqualung was a terrible recording even in SACD. Steve have done a great job.

As a former Tull die hard fan, I have always felt “Songs From The Wood” was their best sounding album followed by “TAAB” By MFSL. However, the MFSL version needs a db or two treble boost. If I may add, most of the Tull recordings are not “audiophile worthy” from the mixing standpoint. I have all the MFL remixes plus the remixes by the two engineers . I have just about every Tull recording but stopped after “Homo Eraticus” which he put out under his own name. It wasn’t the music, rather it was the way Ian Anderson hoodwinked Martin Barre out of the band and the royalties that followed. How would you like to have been in the same band for some 40 odd years and then denied your rights to royalties that were for your retirement? That is the only reason Martin Barre is still touring today. Ian Anderson is a money hungry grabbing****************************#@$#!!

Yeah Ian A seemed like a control freak. Shame on him. I recall watching a video of the band, where Barre was taking a solo, yet the camera focused close up on IA on his damn flute, instead of Martin. I just assumed he instructed the camerman to do that. Eff IA. I always enjoyed Benefit and Stand Up though.

Most people who lead bands are 'control freaks' - part of the job, and usually for good reason - just ask John Fogerty. 

The guy from rainbow and Deep purple. He was one of the worst.  The rainbow band members said any day could be there last day, I believe some were fired for not putting their best performance out. That's why I like Lynryd Skynyrd, they even kept the drummer when he went crazy. 

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