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Ian Anderson - The Secret Language Of Birds  CD (album) cover

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF BIRDS

Ian Anderson

 

Prog Folk

3.66 | 110 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars If you've just run out of Jethro Tull albums to play and you wish there were more, well, I can't guarantee that you'll like THE SECRET LANGUAGE, but chances are you will - I certainly did.

I've known the album for quite a few years, and I just played it again in order to write this review. At first my heart sank. Having listened to quite a lot of classic Tull in recent months, it depressed me to discover that Ian's voice has now lost so much force. Many of the tunes here will remind you of the acoustic stuff on MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY and SONGS FROM THE WOOD; Ian's guitar playing is in the same familiar style and so are his lyrics - but I felt sad that so much of his voice has gone; you can tell he's straining, even when he wants to sing softly.

Strangely enough, by the third or fourth song (and there are quite a lot of tracks) this problem stopped bothering me. The music was getting livelier all the time, the melodies got more inspired, the arrangements sounded warm and witty... I simply loved "Postcard Day", and after that I stopped worrying and simply enjoyed the colourful tunes. There was one piece accompanied by violin which I found beautiful and deeply moving: most probably "Better Moon" or "Sanctuary" - I'm not sure, I don't have the CD at home, I was playing an old-fashioned tape and there's no violin listed in the credits. "Habanero Reel" sounds superb as well: great fun the way it's accompanied on accordion and marimba! Throughout the album, Ian uses the mandolin quite a bit (which I always appreciate), and if grumbled about his voice, well, let me just add this: by the year 2000 Ian's flute playing had gotten much better than in the classic 1970s... You can just tell that he now has a much fuller, more sensuous tone, so whenever there's a flute solo you don't feel exasperated - you actually look forward to the next one!

True Tull freaks may feel there's something missing... If this material had been arranged by the old band (circa 1977), it would have been enriched with all sorts of variations, played on pipe organs, synths, electric guitars, glockenspiel etc. But the 1970s are gone forever, and meanwhile, THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF BIRDS is well worth hearing.

fuxi | 3/5 |

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