Seven druids dance in seven time. Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring Out, Solstice Bells – Jethro Tull (1977) FLAC Audio Widescreen HD Video ~MetalGuruMessiah~

“Ring Out, Solstice Bells was released on Jethro Tull’s tenth studio album, Songs From The Wood, in February of 1977. Though I’ve done many videos for Jethro Tull songs, this is my very first from my favorite album they ever released…9 very strong songs of autumn-y, woodsy, folk-rock perfection (always get a hankering to build a fire in the woods every-time I hear it!)! 🙂

I found this nice old video of Georges Méliès’ The Christmas Dream (aka Le rêve de Noël) (1900) which I though would be perfect for a video for this tune. I gave the video a sepia tint (to give it a more mellow feel), enhanced the snow effects, and cleaned it up a bit. I couldn’t stop laughing at the wardrobe malfunction that results in a huge shoe right in the middle of all the dancing (you can sense the dancers trip hazard worry!)…no one knows what to do…the actor who lost is very focused on how to recover it…he makes his move, recovers the huge shoe….and leaves an even bigger obstacle on the stage a second malfunction befalls him and he loses his hat! 🙂 I wondered why Méliès’ wouldn’t have re-shot to correct (it wasn’t after all a minor glitch…that shoe needed a screen credit!). The video is a really beautiful look at what Christmas looked like in 1900.

A 40th anniversary edition of Songs From The Wood is right around the corner and I was hoping to have that edition in hand to source the audio for this video. I’ve been picking up all the Steven Wilson remastered Jethro Tull albums, and this is one I’m most looking forward (in addition to Heavy Horses and The Broadsword and The Beast). If you happen to be a major Tull fan and haven’t considered the Steven Wilson remasters….find them on Amazon…they are insanely amazing and worth every penny for a fan! 😉

Filled with imagery from medieval Britain (especially in the “Jack-in-the-Green”, “Cup of Wonder”, and “Ring Out Solstice Bells” lyrics), and ornamental folk arrangement (as in “Velvet Green” and “Fire at Midnight”), or the experimentalism of “Pibroch (Cap in Hand)” where Martin Barre’s guitar simulates bagpipes, the album is a departure from the hard rock of earlier Jethro Tull material, though it still retained some of the band’s older sound.

The album highlights the band at its most playful and due to its lush production and more noticeable use of keyboards is perhaps one of the band’s most obviously progressive rock oriented releases.

The descriptive term “folk music” has been dismissed by Anderson and Barre as not relevant to the album. Folk has a strong connotation of American singer-songwriters performing activist songs in coffeehouses, whereas Songs from the Wood was composed and performed as a tribute to the UK. Anderson said that the album was “for all the band members… a reaffirmation of our Britishness.”

The album signaled a new direction for the band, who turned to celebrating British pagan folklore and the countryside life in a wide-ranging folk rock style which combined traditional instruments and melodies with hard rock drums and electric guitars.

The album is considered to be the first of a trio of folk rock albums: Songs from the Wood, Heavy Horses (1978) and Stormwatch (1979). On the album cover appears an extended title line: “Jethro Tull – with kitchen prose, gutter rhymes and divers – Songs from the Wood”. The title track of the album contain two of these phrases in its lyrics.

The UK music-paper adverts read: “Jethro Tull present ‘Songs From The Wood’. A new album of Old Magic. Songs From The Wood. It’s inspired by the thought that perhaps nature isn’t as gentle as we’d like to believe. And it takes as its theme the natural and supernatural inhabitants of the woodlands of old England. Warm and friendly, harsh and bitter by turns, it includes ‘Ring Out Solstice Bells’ as well as Tull’s new single ‘The Whistler’ and seven other songs. Find a quiet spot and listen to it soon.”

[Lyrics]
Now is the solstice of the year.
Winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together ‘neath the mistletoe,
By the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
Joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.

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