Farm on the Freeway

Endervidual's picture

Often people mention roads as a function the state must perform. Eminent domain sometimes figures prominently in their arguments. Not long ago state roads came up here. I figure this post qualifies as somewhat relevant to that.

Unlike Sunni, who came "rather late to the Jethro Tull party," I’ve been a Tull fan for a very long time. I am willing to say they’ve made some of my favorite music (admittedly Anderson’s overblowing can distract, but I excuse it). I saw them perform live in Madison back in 1973 on their Passion Play tour. (Yeah, I’m getting old. I wasn’t certain about that concert date, but as always the web came in handy.)

If I asked who might represent libertarians in progressive rock (or folk rock, or some other rock category, I don’t want to argue over which Tull might best fit - that misses my point), I doubt many would suggest Jethro Tull as the group to get the nod. However, on occasion, they deliver a subtle anti-state message. I usually like subtle more than a swinging 2 by 4.

How many songs about the essential injustice of eminent domain can you name? How about this one ?

I find it moving.


Great tune. Thanks for posting it, Tom. I don't have Crest of a Knave, but I just might have to get a copy.

Am I the only person here who thoroughly enjoys Ian Anderson's flute playing style? I know it's not "proper," but I rather like it!

Proper Rock music?

I don’t have the Crest of a Knave CD yet either. I heard “Farm on the Freeway” last on either RTN or Gray Ponytail Radio, probably RTN , in fact they’re playing it right now as I write this (strange coincidence). I’ve added some Tull CDs to one of my wishlists as a result of hearing it there.

I enjoy Anderson’s flute style. Since he doesn’t always do it, I suspect it probably comes from a deliberate stylistic choice (but I’m not a flautist).

However, in the same vein, I doubt [Hendrix,] Clapton, Townsend and Paige play[ed] proper guitar (but I'm not a guitarist, either -- and probably show my age with my example choices). Propriety seems less than central to most Rock music.


I meant proper playing technique, as put forth by classical musicians. It's true that most of the innovators in rock music have been accused of 'improper' playing technique by technique purists. I'm not a flautist, but I am a bassist and sometime guitarist and worked as a professional audio engineer for a number of years. I'm pretty sure that the overblowing's a deliberate choice. I am also sure that classical violinists were horrified at Paige's bowing the guitar!

Style / Technique

As a musician, I’m surely not in your class, as I haven’t even picked up a lowly harmonica (I liked Hohner’s Blue’s Harp or Marine Band) in twenty years or more. Even when I played, I wasn’t that good.

However, you did write “style” in your first comment. Wouldn’t his occasional overblowing technique constitute part of Anderson’s style?

In any case, whether one focuses on “style” or “technique”, I enjoy Ian Anderson’s music. Remaining on the “safe side,” I will say I enjoy almost all of it. (Now I’ll have to think of an example I don’t like.)


However, you did write “style” in your first comment. Wouldn’t his occasional overblowing technique constitute part of Anderson’s style?

That's the best way to put it. I should have said that in the first place. I was actually reacting to the title of your comment, "Proper rock music?" I don't think any music is improper, unless you would have wanted to play Black Sabbath at my grandmother's birthday party. Of course, my grandmother was pretty weird. Maybe she would have liked it! ;-)

Actually, as a musician, I don't think I was ever all that hot either. I played in a few local bands, but I ended up doing technical work in the biz before I developed very far as a player. As an audio engineer, however, I think that I held my own pretty well. I've done everything from roller rinks to football stadiums, and enjoyed working for a lot of top quality acts in many different genres. I just didn't enjoy the other aspects of the biz, such as often being up for three days solid and the erratic nature of the work. I could work every day for six months and then have no work for the next six. Too erratic when you have bills to pay. I never managed to hook up with a major act full time. I did mostly one-off gigs. Most of my regular work was with local acts, which don't pay well, and too often didn't pay at all.

Sabbath for Grandma

Grandma approved Black Sabbath...
Laguna Sunrise off Vol. 4, a friend had me use it in their wedding video... grandma loved it.

The Tull video was great... a real inspiration.


Thanks for yet another great clip, Tom! And for what it's worth, I've been a Tull fan almost as long as you.

Actually I liked Tull since before Aqualung

I remember listening to Stand Up vinyl (not mine), back when it seemed I was barely beer-drinking age in WI. That was before the “world savers” raised the beer age to 21. This selection seems right to represent that era:

Those were the days . . .

Tull's longevity

I caught the Milwaukee show in that same "Passion Play" tour and own just about every Jethro Tull album through "Roots and Branches" on vinyl. But it's been a while since I pulled 'em out. Thanks for the nudge.

I think most of the Tull backlash is from their getting the first "heavy metal" Grammy award. That was so absurd that many who might otherwise appreciate them think of them as that joke. Just a thought. Anderson is an outstanding talent and composer, and it's a shame if some people can't get past his quirky playing style/technique/whatever.

I had "Thick As A Brick" in my mind as my favorite Tull album until I realized that I listen to "Songs From the Wood" far more than any of the others. There's still no band that sounds quite like them before or since.
"The purpose of government is to defend the shores, deliver the mail and stay the hell out of my life." - Lee Sherman Dreyfus

Another Tull Fan (I'd call them "Art Rock")

I had "Thick As A Brick" in my mind as my favorite Tull album until I realized that I listen to "Songs From the Wood" far more than any of the others. There's still no band that sounds quite like them before or since.

Those are my favorites as well. I've been a fan since first encountering Aqualung in the 70s, although I didn't get around to seeing them in concert until the Crest of a Knave tour. Thanks for the reminder.

Ian also released a work with Andrew Giddings in the 90s called "Divinities: Twelve Dances With God". Some might find this strange since some of the stuff on Aqualung probably made people think he was "anti-religion" (as opposed to anti- Church+State).


I love the Aqualung collection...

Anderson may oppose the “bloody Church of England” but this quote seems more relevant to his religious feeling:
“So I asked this God a question
and by way of firm reply,
He said - I’m not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.”

Art Rock sounds right to me.

My City was Gone ~ the Pretenders

Another anti-eminent-domain song, kinda...

I went back to Ohio but my city was gone.
There was no train station, there was no downtown.
South Howard had disappeared, all my favorite places.
My city had been pulled down, reduced to parking spaces.
Heigh, ho, where’d you go, Ohio?

Well, I went back to Ohio but my family was gone.
I stood on the back porch, there was nobody home.
I was stunned and amazed, my childhood memories
slowly swirled past like the wind through the trees.
Heigh, ho, where’d you go, Ohio?

I went back to Ohio but my pretty countryside
had been paved down the middle by a government that had no pride.
The farms of Ohio had been replaced by shopping malls
and Muzak filled the air from Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls.
Heigh, ho, where’d you go, Ohio?

Good one . . .

I like the Pretenders quite a bit, especially "Brass in Pocket" and "Back on the Chain Gang." (I watched huge quantities of MTV in the 80’s.)

“My City was Gone” once supplied the “bumper music” for Limbaugh. I don't know if it still does since I have not even inadvertently heard that blowhard for a few years. I agree with "speaker" about Aqualung (he and I usually agree).


Another two cents from me ...

I did like some Tull songs before I became a fan, and I do appreciate that overblowing is part of Anderson’s style ... but I much prefer the clear, crisp tone from the Western flute (and that’s part of why I don’t care for the piccolo much). Native style flute-like instruments seem inherently more breathy in timbre, and I very much enjoy those sounds too. Maybe I’m a flute snob in having these preferences, but if so, admitting it should count in my favor at least a little, I hope.

As a native Buckeye, that Pretenders song came to my mind too, Astoria. I’m still on the road and don’t have enough functioning brain cells to try to think of another title to contribute to the effort.

Native Flute stuff.

Sunni, if you like Native American flute music, perhaps you like R. Carlos Nakai as well. Have you heard of him? I've got one of his records, and want more. He's great.