The long wait is over: Jethro Tull's Warchild II is finally available on vinyl

Ian Anderson had an album’s worth of material left over from War Child and he splattered them across various compilations. Now they're collected on vinyl for the first time

Jethro Tull - Warchild II album art
(Image: © Rhino)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

It’s hard to exaggerate just how big Jethro Tull were in America in 1974. They’d just come off the back of two Number One albums – Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play - and a stage show that milked their English eccentricity for all it was worth put them alongside The Who, ELP, Yes and the Moody Blues, behind the twin behemoths of the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin

So nobody batted an eyelid when Ian Anderson announced that their next album would accompany a movie. A producer and director were already in place and the album was shaping up as a double. But the movie money moguls got cold feet over the storyline that revolved around the “afterlife” of a young girl killed in an accident. Delays ensued, the film was abandoned along with the plot, the songs were reconfigured and when War Child was released in October 1974 it was a single album. But it made Number 2 in the US so all was not lost.

But what of the surplus songs? Well, they started to emerge a year or so later in dribs and drabs. First up was Rainbow Blues, a choppy little blues number that was included on MU. The Best Of Jethro Tull early in 1976. Two more appeared at the end of that year on the Ring Out Solstice Bells EP: the brief, acoustic March The Mad Scientist and the classically themed instrumental, Pan Dance, written for Pans People when they joined Tull at London’s Rainbow Theatre in November 1974. Another compilation, Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull Vol 2 in 1977, featured Glory Row, an overlooked song with an unlikely disco beat.

There’s a pattern emerging here. The 1988 3CD set 20 Years Of Jethro Tull unearthed the solid if unremarkable Saturation. And 1993’s Nightcap yielded the unrestrained innuendo of Paradise Steakhouse, an alternate version of Sea Lion with strange vocal overdubs and the classically influenced Quartet instrumental. 

All the above tracks plus the retrospective sounding Good Godmother, Tomorrow Was Today that allegedly dates back to Aqualung and an alternate version of the title track, were rounded up for the sumptuous War Child 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition in 2014. And now, for those living in the past, they’ve been pressed up on vinyl.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.