Anderson, Ian - The Secret Language Of Birds

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Fuel 2000
Catalog Number: 302 061 053 2
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:46:00

What does it mean when, after having listened to The Secret Language Of Birds disc only once (and listening to other stuff after it), I start dreaming about it? Not just dreaming about my review of it, but dreaming of it. Of listening to it, and Ian Anderson is there ? and yet, I am of course, also thinking about my review of it. Of how I'm not going to quite say enough about it, or that maybe I will tell you too much, leaving nothing for you to explore. Never before have I dreamt about an album like this. Sure, I've been listening to stuff and fallen asleep (not because of the material) and find when I get in a half-awake/half-asleep state I write lushly full reviews - words I cannot remember the next morning, but for the sense of them. But here, the effect that music has stays with me, putting me in warm, comfortable, relaxed place - a place of summer colours (yellow, orange, green, lime) and summer fruit.

So anyway, I'm awake now and listening to the beautiful disk by Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson. Maybe it has something to do with the album cover, but the music here is coloured in citrus - lemon, lime, orange, tangerine? Anderson's flute is light and breezy, floating through the various passages of various songs like ? well, like a bird on the wing. His is the secret language of birds - communicating just as much in a trill as in a syllable. Meaning Anderson is at his usual poetic ways, painting vivid word pictures in both broad and fine strokes.

Along with flute, Anderson plays acoustic guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, piccolo, and percussion. Andrew Giddings (his bandmate in Tull) accompanies Anderson on accordion, piano, organ, marimba, keys, and orchestral sounds. The sound is rounded out by the following on drums: Gerry Conway (ex-Tull member), Darren Mooney, and James Duncan, plus current Tull guitarist Martin Barre.

We were treated to a sample of this album on the J-Tull release last year. The title track is lovely and lyrical, full of warmth ? I'd say with a sweet come on from Anderson, "Stay with me and learn the secret language of birds." But this is no mere come on; it's more a declaration of love.

At first glance, "The Little Flower Girl" might come across as a little disturbing ? well, actually it made me think of "Aqualung" a bit in its imagery. But when you read Anderson's notes at the end of the booklet, it all becomes much clearer. I'm not familiar with Sir William Russell Flint, but from what I gather from Anderson's notes, this track is his vision of the story behind the Flint watercolour (of the same name as the song's title?).

"Postcard Day" is all warm summer breezes; bright, clear skies, where the sun makes deep shadows, and shines blindingly on white, plastic outdoor furniture. "A Better Moon" sounds vaguely reminiscent of an earlier Jethro Tull piece, at least I think it's Tull ? it's quite elusive so I'm not quite sure.

The textures used throughout are warm, owing to acoustic nature of the music and richness of Anderson's voice, and are folk in nature, if not vaguely Celtic, though with tracks like "Postcard Day" the setting is far from the dense woods or land of faerie associated with Celtic music. Of course, this is also overt in "The Habanero Reel," as it moves enough to make you think of dancing, though the setting here, again, isn't the lush green of the forest, but rather some "dryer" coastal city (I'm thinking Mexico or South America somewhere).

"Boris Dancing" weaves both the Celtic feel of the rest of the album with an admixture of middle-eastern and ? well obviously what we associate with Russian music - sort of a twisting arrangement.

Well, I'm off to have a cool drink, sit on my patio with this playing, and listen to the secret language of birds. But, before I go, there are two bonus tracks here (unlisted) - one is from Ian Anderson's earlier solo disk Divinities, the other is a new version of a Tull classic ? that I'll leave to you to discover.

The Secret Language Of Birds (4:17) / The Little Flower Girl (3:37) / Montserrat (3:21) / Postcard Day (5:07) / The Water Carrier (2:56) / Set-Aside (1:29) / A Better Moon (3:46) / Sanctuary (4:42) / The Jasmine Corridor (3:54) / The Habanero Reel (4:01) / Panama Freighter (3:21) / The Secret Language of Birds, Pt II (3:06) / Boris Dancing (3:07) / Circular Breathing (3:45) / The Stormont Shuffle (3:20) / Bonus: In The Grip Of Stronger Stuff (2:49) / [That Tull classic :) ] (2:37)

Ian Anderson - vocals, acoustic guitar, bouzouki, acoustic bass guitar, mandolin, percussion, piccolo
Andrew Giddings - accordion, piano, organ, marimba, percussion, electric bass, keyboards, orchestral sounds
Gerry Conway - drums (1, 2)
Darren Mooney - drums (8, 12)
James Duncan - drums (11)
Martin Barre - electric guitar (5, 13)

Jethro Tull - This Was (1968)
Jethro Tull - Stand Up (1969)
Jethro Tull - Benefit (1970)
Jethro Tull - Aqualung (1971)
Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick (1972)
Jethro Tull - Living In The Past (1972)
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play (1973)
Jethro Tull - War Child (1974)
Jethro Tull - Minstrel In The Gallery (1975)
Jethro Tull - M.U. The Best Of (1976)
Jethro Tull - Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die (1976)
Jethro Tull - Songs From The Wood (1977)
Jethro Tull - Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull Vol 2 (1977)
Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (1978)
Jethro Tull - Bursting Out - Live (1978)
Jethro Tull - Stormwatch (1979/2004)
Jethro Tull - 'A' (1980)
Jethro Tull - The Broadsword And The Beast (1982/2005)
Walk Into Light (fea. Peter J Vettese) (1983)
Jethro Tull - Under Wraps (1984)
Jethro Tull - Original Masters (1985)
Jethro Tull - Crest Of A Knave (1987/2005)
Jethro Tull - 20 Years Of Jethro Tull (1988)
Jethro Tull - Rock Island (1988)
Jethro Tull - Catfish Rising (1991)
Jethro Tull - A Little Light Music (1992)
Jethro Tull - The Anniversary Collection (1993)
Jethro Tull - 25th Anniversary Box Set (1993)
Jethro Tull - Nightcap (1995)
Jethro Tull - Roots To Branches (1995)
Divinities: Twelve Dances With God (1995)
Jethro Tull - J-Tull Dot Com (1999)
The Secret Language of Birds (2000)
Jethro Tull - The Very Best Of (2001)
Jethro Tull - Living With The Past (2002)
Jethro Tull - The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)
Rupi's Dance (2003)
Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (2004)
Jethro Tull - Aqualung Live (2005)
Ian Anderson And The Neue Philharmonic Frankfurt - Ian Anderson Plays The Orchestral Jethro Tull (2005)
Ian Anderson and the London Symphony Orchestra - London Symphony Orchestra Plays Jethro Tull (2006)
Jethro Tull - Live At Montreux 2003 (2007)
Jethro Tull - LIve At Madison Square Garden (2009)
Jethro Tull - Christmas Album (2009)
Jethro Tull - Live In Switzerland 2003 (LP) (2014)
Thick As A Brick 2 (2012)
Homo Erraticus (2014)

Jethro Tull - Slipstream (VHS) (1991)
Jethro Tull - First 20 Years (VHS) (1992)
Jethro Tull - 25th Anniversary Video (1994) (VHS)
Jethro Tull - Living With The Past (DVD) (2002) Jethro Tull - A New Day Yesterday 1969-1994 (DVD) (2003)
Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (DVD) (2005)
Jethro Tull - NOthing Is Easy/Living With The Past (DVD) (2007)
Jethro Tull - Jack In The Green: Live In Germany (DVD) (2008)
Jethro Tull - Live In Bethlehem, PA, 2003 (DVD) (2008)
Jethro Tull - Their Full Authorized Story (DvD) (2009)
Jethro Tull - Live At AVO Session 2008 (DVD) (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: March 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1170
Language: english


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