Barre chords set to rock valley with Tull classics and lots more

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre appears at Hebden Bridge Trades Club with his six-piece band on October 6
Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre appears at Hebden Bridge Trades Club with his six-piece band on October 6

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre appears at Hebden Bridge Trades Club with his six-piece band on October 6.

Along with founder Ian Anderson, Martin Barre’s stonking guitar riffs have driven a string of hit albums (and occasionally singles) scored by rock legends Jethro Tull for more than 40 years.

Barre replaced orginal lead guitarist Mick Abrahams after Tull’s debut album This Was, immediately scoring a big hit single with Living In The Past and a number one album, Stand Up, from which the band took off into the stratosphere, touring heavily in America as well as Europe, notching more hit albums including Benefit, Aqualung, Thick As A Brick and Passion Play.

But it’s not the numbers at a gig but the quality of the music that matters to Martin, who is looking forward to bringing his six-piece outfit to Hebden Bridge Trades Club on Sunday, October 6.

Martin is promising a high-energy show mixing Tull classics with blues standards and Barre-penned rock originals.

“We’ll be playing some of the early Tull stuff like Teacher and Minstrel In The Gallery, some blues standards and some rock things, a really edgy gig, a lot of fun stuff and high energy.

“Some of the Tull material, I haven’t played it for 30 years so it sounds really fresh and I really liked the blues but it was always performed in a really boring way,” he said.

Barre always found the work of players like Gary Moore more interesting and might be an indicator of his own approach.

With Ian Anderson touring the States under his own name with a solo follow-up to Thick As A Brick, Tull’s status is a bit uncertain. “The book’s open but it may not ever happen again,” says Martin.

Old mates Fairport Convention have told him of the Trades’ qualities. It’s smaller than the Isle of Wight gig in 1970, but that’s irrelevant to Martin. “Isle of Wight was the biggest in numbers I’ve played but in my mind it doesn’t matter how many people you play to. Some of my best memories are playing really small venues where the atmosphere has been really good,” he said.

- Tull Tales: Formed in 1967, Martin Barre joined the band a year later in time to play on their number one album Stand Up. In 1970, Tull starred at the Isle of Wight Festival, before an audience the Guinness Book of Records estimates at 600,000 or possibly 700,000. As well as hit albums, they have notched top 20 hit singles including Sweet Dream and The Witch’s Promise.