JETHRO TULL Chateau D’Isaster Tapes (1973) – The Shelved Follow-Up To Thick As A Brick

JTChateau D’Isaster Tapes
The Shelved Follow-Up To Thick As A Brick

After the rousing financial success of Aqualung and Thick As A Brick, Jethro Tull found themselves in French tax exile. And, it was outside of Paris, at the Chateau D’Herouville, where they began work on the highly anticipated, highly contentious, A Passion Play. The sessions ended up being mysteriously abandoned, due to “ill health, technical and production problems, and the sudden decision to return to the U.K.” These tapes, The Chateau D’Isaster Tapes, represent the fruits of those labors… material that composer Ian Anderson would later re-evaluate, re-write, re-arrange and re-record. The sessions’ original concept seemed to be a construct about man’s relationship with the animal kingdom, and one of the cornerstone themes would later morph into War Child‘s “Bungle In The Jungle.” But, it’s the maze-like, instrumental extremes of (the eventually realized) A Passion Play that dominate these tapes – performed here in a more palatable and concisely abbreviated form, some of which you can hear below in the 9 minute, “Critique Oblique.” Actually, this music was officially released, 20 years after the fact, as disc one of 1993’s Nightcap: The Unreleased Masters, a 2CD set featuring rarities spanning 1973-1991. Except for fans, however, this post-Brick, prePassion material has been largely overlooked, and since this era represents Jethro Tull at their peak, it’s submitted here for your approval. Find Nightcap @ Amazon, HERE. There’s more Ian & Tull in the archives, HERE.

First Post (1:55)
Animelee (1:41)
Tiger Toon (1:35)
Look At The Animals (5:10)
Law Of The Bungle (2:32)
Law Of The Bungle, Part II (5:26)
Left Right (5:03)
Solitaire (1:25)
Critique Oblique (9:03)
Post Last (5:36)
Scenario (3:26)
Audition (2:34)
No Rehearsal (5:13)


  • CJS
    April 22, 2010 - 13:41 | Permalink

    Nice find.
    Never knew about this!


  • JR Heat Warp
    April 22, 2010 - 14:28 | Permalink

    I second that emotion. Easily my favorite era of the mighty Tull. Thanks for sharing, Capt.

  • Record Fiend
    April 22, 2010 - 15:52 | Permalink

    This looks very interesting, Willard, and it's been awhile since my curiosity has been piqued by a Jethro Tull post. I'm real selective with these guys, but, yeah, you're right: peak-period JT is damn good stuff indeed. I remember hearing some of this material (e.g. "No Rehearsal") on the Jethro Tull box set that came out back in 1987 if I remember correctly and liking it quite a bit, so I'm game for hearing the complete "Chateau D'isaster" sessions. Much obliged.


  • Capt. Willard
    April 22, 2010 - 12:41 | Permalink


  • Quark
    April 22, 2010 - 17:06 | Permalink

    At one time everytime I turned on the T.V. here in the U.K. there was Ian Anderson dressed in a ragged frockcoat, standing on one leg waving his arms about, and staring into the camera like a demented `Fagin`. The theatrics always put me of the fact that this band were great musicians who were at the top of the game.
    I later came to buy the albums, and really got into them, but i have not heard of these unreleased sessions, so thanks Willard, this is amazing stuff.

    • Willard
      April 22, 2010 - 17:14 | Permalink

      Not exactly unreleased, but that’s detailed in the text.

  • Paul
    April 22, 2010 - 18:53 | Permalink

    Thanks for this, Willard. I'm very curious, and I've been a Tull fan for decades.

    One quick question — the artwork that is included in the archive is different from the art on the post, and it indicates that it is from a 2 CD collection. To your knowledge, is there a more "complete" version of these sessions floating around somewhere?


  • Capt. Willard
    April 22, 2010 - 20:34 | Permalink

    It's all spelled out in the text. There's an Amazon link, too. I used different artwork in the post so people familiar with the album wouldn't ask, 'Where's the rest of it?'

  • Anonymous
    April 23, 2010 - 03:52 | Permalink

    Capt Willard you are a genious. Love right up tothis period of Jethro Tull, I thought they lost their way with Stormwatch and war child ext



  • AussieJohn
    April 24, 2010 - 22:29 | Permalink

    Willard – you are naughty.
    I get to the point where I think "well I seem to have all the music I need" then you come along with something like this and the Dan Hicks stuff and I'm back searching again.
    Thanks for your considerable efforts.

  • Loren
    April 26, 2010 - 03:30 | Permalink

    One can only say, cool.

  • Anonymous
    August 15, 2012 - 19:14 | Permalink

    Saw them twice on the Thick As A Brick tour, at the beginning and the end. One of the most original and unique bands. Thanks very much for this unknown (to me) music!

  • Michael
    January 16, 2014 - 00:05 | Permalink

    Thanks, Willard!!!

  • RobJam
    January 16, 2014 - 08:43 | Permalink

    Thanks for posting Willard! I was hooked by Tull with the release of This Was. Of course, they started as more of a blues band, and ultimately, Mick Abrahams left the band because of the move away from blues. (His solo albums are great BTW).
    I remember when Aqualung was released, I played it over and over and over…drove my friends nuts :-)
    I think my personal faves are still those first four releases, but I must admit to the guilty pleasure of pulling out some Tull (even later era) and giving it a spin with sheer delight.
    I’ve always enjoyed the Chateau D’Isaster Tapes release, and was always surprised it never had a bonafide release. As Willard indicated, Ian Anderson’s solo releases must also be heard. He released Thick as a Brick II in 2012.
    Hardly related fun fact: Any Walking Dead fans out there? Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes is married to Ian’s daughter Gael. How’d you like to have Ian as your father-in-law? :-)

    • Willard
      January 16, 2014 - 10:02 | Permalink

      I accidentally saw Tull in 1970 (I think), in a small theater. If I remember correctly, half of them were sitting down throughout the show. But they were SO good I went back the next year, then the next, then the next. Saw them 6 times, every tour, up to A Passion Play and they were – hands down – the best concert act I ever saw in my teens. I lost sight of them after War Child (tried, but it wasn’t the same), which happens. But, I still love them, despite how pompous Ian Anderson became.

      That said… I highly recommend Anderson’s 2000 solo album, The Secret Language Of Birds, HERE

  • Joe
    January 16, 2014 - 09:22 | Permalink

    I agree w/Quark – Anderson’s wacky antics put me off the band, but recently, I’ve grown more appreciative of the expertise – not just of the musicianship of Tull, but also in the songwriting.


    • Willard
      January 16, 2014 - 10:04 | Permalink

      I stumbled on them live, very early on, and those antics were amazing in concert. So I got won over before really seeing or hearing about them elsewhere.

  • January 16, 2014 - 12:14 | Permalink

    In my opinion A Passion Play is a 5-star masterpiece right on the level of Thick As A Brick although I think most people would always put “Brick” ahead. I’ve also always thought that A Passion Play came so soon after Brick it just got buried and overlooked. How do you top Brick? People were still reeling from that record, had Passion Play come out a few years later perhaps it would have been more well received and got the attention it definitely deserves. Just my two cents.

    • Willard
      January 16, 2014 - 16:04 | Permalink

      I think the problem with A Passion Play was that, by the time it came out, people were starting to sour on “concept” albums. I think a couple more years and it might have been dead in the water.

  • Roffe
    January 17, 2014 - 09:30 | Permalink

    What a great album this would have been.

  • Clive
    July 11, 2015 - 22:51 | Permalink

    I heard the Nightcap stuff when it finally saw release and was blown away – that’s energy, when a band has a dble albums worth of material lined up, scraps it into a re-written single ‘suite’ album with many new parts and is out on the road playing it in it’s entirety in a matter of months – that’s a band with a hell of a work ethic and talent out the ass. I’ve heard a lot of APP live fan made tapes and they were ‘on’ every night to boot. Those were the days!

    • Clive
      July 11, 2015 - 23:00 | Permalink

      What’s more, how did Anderson ever remember all the variations he would come up with in the lyrical content…if you hear some pre-Aqualung fan-made live tapes, My God had different words, after the album was released he sang it the way it was on the album…never heard a tape where he flubbed it…and with all these bonus tracks on the remasters, you can see he had a lot of different lyrics he used on quite a few tunes and likewise never heard a live tape of him flubbing the words and I have around a hundred maybe more. (the sq sux on most of them, but they can be heard) Those were the days pt.II !

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