Monday, October 31, 2005

Number 10

I know I was supposed to do the "Top Ten Favorite Albums" thing over a month ago. Well, you know the story. Been busy! I was going to do all ten in one sitting but that is not going to happen either. Busy. So it's going to be one album at a time. Maybe it's better off this way so you can absorb the work of each artist. Here we go.

The 10'th album on my all-time favorite list has only recently come across my ears, but maybe the oldest record on my list.

"Like a Parrot in a flaming tree..."

The cover is appropriate for a Halloween post I reckon. And YES, that is what they wore onstage. "Second Thoughts" by the New Zealand band Split Enz was released in 1975. For those who are not privy to my musical tastes, I am a HUGE fan of the Finn brothers, Neil and Tim, and Enz brought them world wide recognition when the Neil penned tuned "I Got You" broke the US top forty in 1980 (more info on the band here). Tim invited younger brother Neil to joined the band while touring to support this album. "Second Thoughts" is a "do-over" sort of an album, as many of the songs were featured on two previous albums, and were re-recorded with Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera producing, to take advantage of the kind of improved sound quality a bigger recording budget can buy. The songs are progressive and are reminiscent of early Bowie and Genesis, but they also convey a sense of vaudvillian wit and whimsy that makes this album shine. Check out "Late Last Night", "Sweet Dreams", and the spoon solo on "The Woman Who Loves You" (yes, I said "spoon solo"). Thoughtful tunes. Great musicianship. Great arranging. Fantastic harmonies. These are the qualities that brings this album to the "List". I try to imagine what it would have been like to have seen the band touring then. This would have been so much fun to see and hear in a pub or small venue. When I think about it, I find myself smiling and wanting a beer.


Carl Abernathy said...

Thanks for adding a link to my blog. I added your link to my site.

Regards, Carl

seymour said...

Split Enz were a genius band. Im seeing the Finn brothers play next week in Sydney. Apparently Oasis are playing with them... whatevs, they'll be great! Hugs

sleepybomb said...

yeah buddy, i always thought the enz were such a cool band. they sure had a way with the quirky song thing. i still have my vinyl copy of 'true colors' that has this wild laser etchings on the platter. i saw them once in 1980 at the warehouse in new orleans. they weren't as whacky as they had been before, but they sure were a tight unit.
would love to catch them if they ever came close to the high sierras.

hippocampus said...

Split Enz were the first band I ever saw live, Roundhouse, North London, 1977 and I not sure I've ever seen anything better. Really tight musically, fantastic stage act. I was crammed next to the stage under the gaze of the mad staring percussionist Noel Crombie. His spoon solo live, unforgettable. Tim Finn, a fantastically good singer live. Neil Finn, on his first tour, shy and retiring (relatively speaking) with his hair fashioned to a pointy spike. Found this site because I rediscovered Second Thoughts (Mental notes in the UK, one of my top ten too) and always loved the line "like a parrot in a flaming tree, I know it's pretty hard to see" and wanted to know if it was a common antipodean expression so I googled it.

Phil said...

I've also arrived here after googling for Phil Judd's "parrot in a flaming tree" line.

I first saw the Enz at Wellington opera house in 1976, and again at Wellington Town Hall the following year.

Fans with several hours on their hands should take a listen to Radio New Zealand's Enzology documentary: