Jethro Tull

Repeat: The Best of Jethro Tull, Vol. 2

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For a time, Repeat: The Best of Jethro Tull, Vol. 2 held the distinction of being the band's lowest-charting album (and by a wide margin, at that). This little tidbit of information usually engenders an internal dialogue along the lines of one of two things: the album must have little merit or the timing of its release was inopportune. The answer, is both...and neither. Repeat is an excellent sampler from their career to date, but M.U. had uncontested first choice of the white meat; thus "To Cry You a Song" is tapped as the second-round pick from Benefit, "Thick as a Brick Edit #4" from its namesake, etc. However, unless you're one of those Tull fans who grew disillusioned with the band after Benefit, Repeat is a better listen than M.U. (which charted much higher, by the way). Kicking off with "Minstrel in the Gallery," storming into "Cross-Eyed Mary" next, digging out the searing "New Day Yesterday" from deep in their pockets, the choices are for the most part unimpeachable. So the timing of the release must have been bad, right? Actually, M.U.'s was worse -- sandwiched three months after Minstrel in the Gallery, three months before Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll, Chrysalis was guilty of glutting the market. It's true that the timing of a second best-of compilation was premature, but Repeat at least filled a proper void of 14 months between albums. And so this record's lukewarm reception remains something of a conundrum. No matter now, since over a long career this compilation remains an excellent entry point into Jethro Tull's most fertile period. Petty observations aside -- such as the decision to include two more tracks from Stand Up at the expense of Living in the Past or anything from This Was -- this album is quality material, and the addition of an unreleased gem, "Glory Row," is icing indeed.

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