Following some of Tulls best works - Minstral In the Gallery, Songs From the Woods and Heavy Horses this album is the end of an era as the band that featured Barriemore Barlow, John Evan and David Palmer with Anderson/Barre will not be around for subsequent releases. John Glasscock appears on bass for 3 songs - his health being a problem and he passed on shortly after the ablum's actual release.
Musically this album is a change from the preceeding two earthy/folk laden albums and following Stormwatch the band makes a large change with their release of A. While featuring some folkish tunes, it is also contains a number of songs that are more straight forward (for Tull) rock tunes. The ablum also continues with Anderson's social conscience in a number of songs.
The use of straight piano is more frequent than in any previous works and this is perhaps hte most notable sound difference (though it's use is nothing dominating).
There are excellent songs here for all Tull fans (each will have their own favs) and there are good songs. There are no real losers tracks here - though some will appear on subsequent albums.
I have always liked this album but found it teased. It seems like it is real good but it is in my opinion in the middle of the pack of Tull releases - a long ways from their best works and much better than Rock Island for example. Tull's sound would be similar to this album only on parts of Broadsword and the Beast but overall Stormwatch can be said to close a chapter on the band and it's style.
Recently Stormwatch was reissued in a remastered version and with 4 bonus tracks. Wanting everything Tull it was another need to purchase item for me. The remastering is truely fantastic and even when I ripped to 320kpbs to play on my portable MP3 player it sounds better than my other 2 (yes 2) copies of this album. If you are a big fan of this album then I can say the remaster is worth the investement. The additional 4 tracks are of little interest and of marginal quality as songs. Oh, nice for a Tull completest such as myself (who has some Tull CDs in the original, 1st remastered issue, Gold CD issue, and 2nd remastered issuances) but not worthwhile to the sane fan.
A side note: I saw Tull in Denver in support of this tour. The opening band was UK and UK's Eddie Jobson also played keys for Tull during the entire Tull set. Although I am a huge Tull fan - I recall that Tull were very good and UK were great.