Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Ian Anderson

Prog Folk

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ian Anderson The Secret Language of Birds album cover
3.68 | 181 ratings | 15 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Secret Language of Birds (4:17)
2. The Little Flower Girl (3:37)
3. Montserrat (3:21)
4. Postcard Day (5:07)
5. The Water Carrier (2:56)
6. Set-Aside (1:29)
7. A Better Moon (3:46)
8. Sanctuary (4:42)
9. The Jasmine Corridor (3:54)
10. The Habanero Reel (4:01)
11. Panama Freighter (3:21)
12. The Secret Language of Birds, Part II (3:06)
13. Boris Dancing (3:07)
14. Circular Breathing (3:45)
15. The Stormont Shuffle (3:20)

Total Time 53:49

Bonus tracks on 2000 US release:
16. Spoken Intro [unlisted] (0:08)
17. In the Grip of Stronger Stuff (2:50)
18. Thick as a Brick (2:37)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, bouzouki, mandolin, producer

- Andrew Giddings / piano, organ, keyboards, accordion, electric bass, marimba, percussion
- Martin Barre / guitar (5,13)
- Darren Mooney / drums (1,8)
- Gerry Conway / drums (1,2)
- James Duncan / drums (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Bogdan Zarkowski

CD Papillon Records - BTFLYCD0002 (2000, UK)
CD Fuel 2000 ‎- 302 061 053 2 (2000, US) with 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy IAN ANDERSON The Secret Language of Birds Music

More places to buy IAN ANDERSON music online

IAN ANDERSON The Secret Language of Birds ratings distribution

(181 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

IAN ANDERSON The Secret Language of Birds reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars As interesting as the previous album , Divinities , this is the sort of solo endeavour I expect from geniuses like the Tull's Tramp. You will find some really non-prog music teetering in between classical music , indian folk and all of it acoustical.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is, without any doubt, the Anderson's best solo album! The dominant theme in it is SPRING, in all its forms, colours and sounds. A folky album, but with impressive freshness that runs from start to finish. The joy that flows brighten the life of anyone who is listening to. I assure you that this effect it's true! I've experimented it with many people and they were all happily surprised! Try it, you will not disappointed!
Review by fuxi
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.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars The secret language of Ian Anderson

Normally, Ian Anderson is the leader of Jethro Tull, one of my favourite bands of all time. Here he is on his own. Some people seem to think that his solo albums sound just like Jethro Tull albums. These people cannot have heard many Jethro Tull albums! If this music is to be compared with Jethro Tull it must be pointed out that this is a very naked and strongly acoustic Jethro Tull. But this is not enough to put them apart. The Secret Language Of Birds is more towards Folk Pop than Prog Rock. It is certainly not mainstream anyway, and also hardly progressive.

The songs of The Secret Language Of Birds are well written, melodic, flawlessly performed, perfectly recorded, mixed and produced. Indeed, everything about this album is perfect to the point of verging towards being too perfect, almost glossy. Ian always has a strong attention to detail and this is a high quality product. But I would certainly not call it progressive rock nor compare it in any way with the music of Jethro Tull. An Ian Anderson solo album can, as far as I am concerned, never be compared with a Jethro Tull album. The only similarities is the flute sound and the vocals.

I enjoy the heavily flute and vocal based musings of The Secret Language Of Birds to some degree, and it is a good album overall. But I would certainly not put it up there with Jethro Tull's music. But this is a decent Folk Pop album in it's own right. But certainly no more than that!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is a very nice and listenable collections of light, but intelligent tunes from the Tull-master, Ian Anderson. And once again, as on Divinities, his collaboration with keybordist Andrew Giddings provides an intricacy to the songs that should provide enjoyment to most prog fans.

The songs are all short, the longest being just over 5 minutes, and any of them would fit quite well on most Tull albums. Martin Barre even makes an appearance on a couple of songs (wouldn't that make them Tull songs anyway?).

As I mentioned previously, the arrangements are spectacular, and the recording quality is crystal clear, with instruments dancing across the stereo spectrum. I highly recommend this one to any Tull fan, prog- folk fan, or good music fan in general.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars You could not be mistaken: for sure this music is connected with Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson vocal and flute is a signature on both JT and his solo works.

Whenever very acoustic, this album in it sound returns you back to early years of JT. A bit softer, less rock, a bit more folk, but generally very similar to early JT sound. Intelligent songs, nice sound and bright and light atmosphere. Not too much original ,however. Often you will have the feeling you heard these songs before.

For sure, nice album for JT and Jan Anderson fans. For others possibly better just to listen more characteristic albums .

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This solo album from Ian Anderson came as quite a pleasant surprise. After more then 20 years of tedious albums, it's finally something worth sitting through. It's nearly not as good as the first few Tull albums and Songs From The Wood, but it's sure more inspired then the main bulk of Tull albums out there.

Ian Anderson really seems to enjoy himself with these mainly acoustic and folksy ditties. Despite the short format, the songwriting is very clever and Anderson covers lots of moods and different alterations within each song. His vocals are relaxed, dynamic and perfectly at easy. Of course, you can't teach this old geezer much new tricks and almost everything will have a very familiar ring to it. But it is well written and executed.

While not raising any musical bars, it is a pleasant album that will please most fans of Tull. Anderson has sure put his heart into this album, which always much appreciated. Especially if you are into the folksier side of Tull, you can't go wrong with this album.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Now that The Zealot Gene album by Jethro Tull has arrived, its time to brake out a few other contemporary, or near contemporary albums by Ian Anderson to see how they stack up. The best of these is easily The Secret Language Of Birds from 2000. All of the it's songs are performed mainly by Ander ... (read more)

Report this review (#2689379) | Posted by SteveG | Friday, February 4, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very folk music driven without the rock side of Jethro Tull. Very melodic. I hold this album as way closer to the Tull that we all knew and loved before the changes that 1979 brought on. I would like to have seen this as a Tull album following "Heavy Horses" even without its Rock component. It ... (read more)

Report this review (#943227) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, April 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ian Anderson has created a sound different enough to Tull on this album that it can be recognised as a new project, but has kept enough of that Tull sound to attract fans of his long time band.There are some great songs on the album, the title track and postcard day come to mind, but there als ... (read more)

Report this review (#100310) | Posted by laghtnans | Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It's the best album that Ian Anderson has ever made. All the songs are emotional, acoustical, pastoral and remind pre-80 Tull, especially Living In The Past album, in many ways. Maybe it's not progressive, but it's one of the best album of its kind. Opening title "The Secret Language Of Birds ... (read more)

Report this review (#43916) | Posted by Tichy | Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yes! after two solo albums, this is the one we were all waiting for. Delicious acoustic songs, and varied instruments, complete with nice vocals. However some songs are too pale to stand out,even though some other ones are simply terrific. Therefore 4 and not 5 stars. ... (read more)

Report this review (#24911) | Posted by | Friday, March 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars really a good melodic album from Ian Anderson, look like Jethro tull of course; he is the soul of jethro tull; but a little more soft. When you will hear the Secret Language of Birds, the melody will play ever and ever in your head. A great album ... (read more)

Report this review (#24910) | Posted by stej | Thursday, July 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars very good folk album, it appears as Ian's returning to the 70's acoustic Jethro style and it's really big pleasure to listen to this. It's my favorite Ian Anderson solo album, maybe not as big as 70's Jethro albums but I like it anyway. ... (read more)

Report this review (#24907) | Posted by l-s-d | Wednesday, March 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It`s an excellent record! It`s my cd of the week! Very beautiful melodies with Ian Anderson playng flute in total shape. The arrangements are so exciting that you don`t want to stop of hearing it. Best track is ``The Litlle flower girl``.Taste it!!! ... (read more)

Report this review (#24904) | Posted by | Saturday, January 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of IAN ANDERSON "The Secret Language of Birds"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.