LAURA SHENTON – Jethro Tull Minstrel In The Gallery: In-depth
Author Laura Shenton’s book on Jethro Tull’s classic "Minstrel in the Gallery" LP (1975) is an informative and nicely structured piece of work where said album by the renowned prog rockers is viewed from various angles and placed in a larger historical context. While I do wish that Shenton would voice her own opinions and thoughts a bit more in order to lend the book a subjective touch (although her introduction to the book clearly states that it is an objective and somewhat rigorous discussion of the record), this literary exploration of all things "Minstrel in the Gallery" is quite focused and interesting. It confidently guides us through the recording sessions, the album tours, the band dynamics and interpersonal relations within the group at the time, the songs and lyrics and what inspired them, and finally, the status, importance, and legacy of the LP today – both in relation to Tull’s discography and the wider prog rock scene.
Huge chunks of the story are told via interviews both old and new with the trailblazing ensemble, reviews of the album from back in the day, newspaper clippings and magazine articles, and concert reviews. Shenton draws on numerous sources and nothing feels out or place or irrelevant to the narrative. For a guy like me who is relatively new to Jethro Tull and have only begun to explore their varied canon of works these past few years, this particular examination of "Minstrel in the Gallery" is rather neat and enlightening. A good read and well-worth looking into regardless of whether you have stumbled on the record recently or if you have been a fan of it for years.