Stranger than Fiction, Larger Than Life: the Finn Brothers song-by-song discussion thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    I'm gonna be a bit behind because I haven't listened to Ghost Cars in quite a while...will need to give it a few spins. Ironically I pulled it out months ago (in the search for Worst Kept Secret)... and other Finn releases got in the way.
  2. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    Acoustically Live was one of the first fan club CDs I bought. It's a strange grab bag of stuff but interesting just the same. The rehearsal of Not Even Close is my favourite presentation of this song. It's beautiful. I also really enjoy the radio performances. The acoustic treatments of Locked Out and Black and White Boy offer very enjoyable alternatives. The radio show is as close as we came to a later period Unplugged. With hindsight, it's a shame they did Unplugged so early in their career.
  3. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    ìndeed, these are cool versions of these songs.
  4. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    Ghost Cars is one of the "latter period" mixtape live CDs the fan club issued. It has the distinction of featuring a recording from a show I attended (How Will You Go) as well as a fistful of songs from the Portsmouth show (the same one, IIRC, that the breakdown version of Sister Madly that appears on Recurring Dream comes from). That show would seem to have been considered a highlight. All told, this is a fun collection. It has a good mix of the familiar-to-fan-club discs songs and the less frequent flyers, mostly in pretty fine performances. Tail Of A Comet, Left Hand and Better Be Home Soon are particularly enjoyable.
  5. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Ghost Cars
    I mentioned that I hadn't listened to this for a while. Actually it turns out that I hadn't listened to it at all - as in it was still taped shut*. Not sure why that probably should just revoke my fan credentials :). I have quite a few of the fan club CDs but I clearly don't listen to them much.

    In any case, let's figure out what I have here!
    Mean to Me
    I think this is a pretty great live version of Mean to Me, although I guess I have heard lots of live versions of M2M over the years, and this seems very familiar.
    Fame Is
    I do enjoy hearing this song. In fact, I think the energy on this song is fantastic. I like the studio version of this song, but I think this is a bit more bitey than the recorded version.
    I Feel Possessed
    Great vocal by Neil. I am very fond of this song - it does seem a bit more rock on this version and perhaps a bit sped up. It is good to hear it.
    How Will You Go
    I really like the studio version of this song and I really miss the vocal harmony on this live version. There's valiant attempts to fill the Tim-void but it's pretty huge. It's fine but it's probably the one song so far where I think it misses the mark.
    Tall Trees
    By contrast I think this is a great rendition of Tall Trees. Energetic, Mark does a great job on this song and it definitely brings a different feel to the song.
    Weather with You
    I'll always love a live version of this song. It is such a fabulous song no matter how many times I hear it.
    Tail of a Comet
    Totally enjoyable song. I'm not aware of having heard this song before. I like it - always good to have an unknown/lesser known song sprinkled into the mix!
    Love You Till the Day I Die
    Fantastic intro into this song! This is a favorite song of mine. I love the angularity of it and the slightly out of control feel to the studio version. It's good to hear it all preserved in this live version. Love it.
    Left Hand
    Excellent version. High energy. It's not that I forget that this song exists, but whenever I hear it I'm always reminded how enjoyable it is. What a slice of pop!
    Better Be Home Soon
    It may just be me, but I find the mix here a bit off. The drums and synths tend to overwhelm the vocal. Mind you, I love the piano parts in this version and that coda to the song is terrific. Great stuff.
    World Where You Live
    Interesting choice to ask for an audience sing-a-long. Any live version is always going to be ok, but I think in the context of this album this is a bit of a flat spot.
    Six Months in a Leaky Boat
    Love the energy of this live version. Some of those high notes are a big strain, but the energy of this version is pretty off the charts. And I like any live version of this song.
    Something So Strong
    Always a good song - bouncy and easy to sing along to.
    Hole in the River
    A nice mysterious intro into Hole in the River. I've always liked the jazzy, Rayner break in the song, I don't think any live versions do justice to that although they aren't meant to be facsimiles of it. Still I'm always a bit disappointed by not hearing it like the studio version. The outro though is pretty great as it basically gets chaotic - but is perhaps a bit long.
    Recurring Dream
    Every time I hear this song I always marvel that it was never on an album. It's such a great song, melodic, good lyrics and catchy as hell. I still not sure why it wasn't on the debut because it's so great, but then I guess something else would have come off the album. Anyway I love this live version.
    Catherine Wheels
    Wow, just an amazing live version of this song. It makes the hair stand up on my neck it's so good.

    So this is obviously the first time through on listening to this particular CD although obviously I've hear live versions of most of these songs before (although not recently enough to do a direct comparison). It's a great mixture of well known songs and some rarities, and some of the versions of the songs are just outright fantastic (Catherine Wheels, Tall Trees, Recurring Dream). It's a great way to hear CH live if you've never seen or heard them before.


    * As it turns out I think my sister must have sent this to me probably as a birthday gift. This was right around the time I was preparing to get married (somewhat sooner than anticipated due to visa realities). I think I must have received it and then immediately mothballed it as we spent the next few months dealing with the inevitable paperwork...
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  6. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Acoustically Live
    The first part of the track list is really fantastic. There's an energy there that was well worth capturing and I guess they also show of the songs to their best advantage. In particular in that first section are the Tim songs. I love the song "Not Even Close" and this is a really splendid version with Tim in good voice. But the real highlight might be "Show a Little Mercy". It's good to be reminded 30+ years on what a great vocalist Tim was in his prime.

    The second part of the album is much more low key. I guess I don't want to project Paul's impending departure on this but it does seem like a surprisingly mellow set of songs. They are all played well and Neil sounds really great but it does seem somewhat low key almost somber atmosphere. I really enjoy hearing "Locked Out" in this contrasting style - on the recorded version I'm normally playing it at as loud a volume as possible - to hear it stripped back a bit reveals a slightly different enjoyable listen. Was also interested to hear that Locked Out was inspired by the book "Bliss" by Peter Carey. Will have to track it down as I've enjoyed the other Carey novel I read. "Black and White Boy" and "Catherine Wheels" are also excellent in this section.

    Last 3 songs are good but really the highlight is that first section of songs. I agree that it would be great to hear the entire MTV concert.

    5/5 just on the basis of that first bit of the album.
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  7. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Acoustically Live

    Now we're back in fan club CD land, I won't comment track by track. But, I'm enjoying hearing this document of Tim playing with the band. Tim's songs fit in well, as does Tim as a singer. But, we all the know the story that he didn't fit in, in other ways.

    I had to read the background to this recording. It's an interesting event. Though, I am not sure 'As Sure As I Am' is as good a Tim solo vocal for WF as these songs would have been. But, of course, they weren't on the table by the time of WF.

    While the 1994 songs do sound a bit ...sombre, I think that fits the songs. It's interesting to hear the songs a bit more stripped back and basic/unplugged compared to the album. The quality of the songs and Neil's vocals do the songs justice, I think. Not just 'Locked Out', but 'Black and White Boy' certainly does much more than just survive the acoustic arrangement here.

    For the 1994 songs, the backing vocals are very quiet but sound nice. Who would this be singing them? Nick, Mark, someone else, a combination?

    I'm sorry to not have something more insightful to say, but I'm enjoying hearing the band 'naked' in a way. Not only without studio polish, but also seemingly without fancy instrumentation as well. And I like hearing Neil's vocal (and Tim's vocals - yes great to hear him in his prime again) unadorned like this.

    Later on we get the band (including Paul) showing their humorous side. It reminds me of seeing the band live way back when and I feel nostalgic.

    I'm not sure I've got the track ordered properly, but my play through has just ended on the jaunty version of 'Throw Your Arms Around Me'. With Tim.

    An enjoyable collection of tracks.
  8. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    The correct running order is:
    1 Mean To Me
    2 When You Come
    3 Four Seasons In One Day
    4 Not Even Close
    5 Show A Little Mercy
    6 Throw Your Arms Around Me
    7 Chocolate Cake
    8 Locked Out
    9 Private Universe
    10 Pineapple Head
    11 Distant Sun
    12 Into Temptation
    13 Black & White Boy
    14 Catherine Wheels
    15 Don't Dream It's Over
    16 Fall At Your Feet
    17 Italian Plastic

    Tracks 1-7
    MTV Unplugged rehearsal, Los Angeles 28.3.90
    Tracks 8-14
    Atlanta, USA 14.4.94
    Tracks 15-17
    Womad Festival, Botanic Park, Adelaide 15.3.92
  9. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Ghost Cars

    The audience is very 'distant'. Lots of echo on Neil's voice.

    I don't know the original track listing and I have listened to these tracks in alphabetical order.

    This is more of a full band version with organ and keyboards. Also, some (I presume live) production tricks such as the phasing (?) on BBHS.

    Interesting to hear a bit of Frank's Dark Past. Is that interpolated in, or is that an improvisation that became a song? And of course 'Left Hand' too, particularly like the vocals at the end. And of course 'Recurring Dream' was a rare track back then. I remember hearing 'Tail of a Comet' for the first time live in Leeds. It's good to have the rarer songs on these albums.

    Even though I know it was written earlier, it's still a bit strange for me to hear 'Catherine Wheels' here as I associate it with TA. Great guitar solo.

    'Fame Is' has never been one of my favourite CH songs. But, it works for me here with the jaunty perhaps slightly faster performance. Sounding quite Split Enzy with the keyboards.

    Nice interpolation of 'A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall' into the introduction of HitR. And, of course good to have extra funk in the middle bit.

    Again, nice banter.

    There are so many of these fan club releases. Each one is good and I'm enjoying the performances (listening to 'Mean to Me' now - my favourite song from the first album. And, a good version here.

    The versions of the songs are all good, with the performances carrying the simplistic 'production'. And, great song choice.

    But, I'm a bit worried if I can keep up with the fan club releases without it becoming a bit 'more of the same'-ish. I quite like having some live albums in my collections. But, there is a limit.

    Not having listened to fan club releases for a while, it was interesting to hear two today. But, I am not sure I could maintain interest with too many in a row.
  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Believe me, we all relate. At one time I had something like 200 live shows by these guys. Believe me I got sick of them really quickly. Fortunately I lost most of those in a hard drive crash— Well, not a crash it’s more like I accidentally erased them – because my OCD was compelling me to listen to all of them in chronological order.
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  11. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I really like this album (Ghost Cars), although, yeah, it's just "another Crowded House fan club album. Still, "Left Hand" is really good and I love this version of "Tail of a Comet", leaner and I think with different lyrics than the studio version that came out in 2016. I like the lyric better here. Paul's harmonies are good on this album, though he's mixed so low that it's more like a harmonic flavor than a proper Everly Brothers duet as when Tim sang those songs. But having a good version of "How Will You Go"with Paul on co-lead is nice. I like "FAme Is", and this is probably my favorite version of it (the only other one that I can really remember is the semi-acoustic one on Foreplay.) The sort of rocking intro and outro of "Love You 'Til The Day I Die" is great, and "Six Months in a Leaky Boat" is full of energy. (Boy they really are a different band when Tim's in front though.)

    OK, after that i fell asleep (literally) but I feel confident giving this a 4.5/5, I like the sound too.
  12. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    I’m on a road trip, it was very appropriate to listen to Ghost Cars as I sped along the Interstate approaching Minneapolis-St Paul. I usually listen to the songs in chronological order of performance via iTunes and never thought too much special was going on with the compilation of performances from different shows. It was nice to have “Left Hand” and “Tail Of A Comet”, as well as the always welcome “Recurring Dream”, but it just seemed like a more or less random hodgepodge.

    Listening to Ghost Cars in the correct order reveals the intent and genius of the sequencing. Neil’s phrasing and intonation on the opening of “Mean To Me” really threw me at first, I doubted that it was even Neil, I still think it might be Nick or Mark for some unknown reason (sound problems? not being at the mic yet?), but it’s probably Neil finding his voice at the start of a show. At any rate, this intro sets the stage for a rewarding look at familiar songs with a different spin on them. Most of the differences are too subtle to be all that obvious, but when listened to with the foreknowledge that Ghost Cars is a different sort of trip with Crowded House at the height of their live powers, for me it has become yet another great fan club CD to rediscover thanks to this thread.

  13. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    I’ll have to listen to Acoustically Yours again when back home, Listening to it coming up just reminded me what a mostly somber and uncharacteristically joyless CD this is.It’s better to listen to at 11 pm with the lights low and a cat or two wedged up against me. The performances are good, but it’s not great driving music while playing leapfrog with semi-trucks on the hills of the interstate … ghost cars indeed.

    But the music is very good, and this is a nice CD to have for look at a different side of live Crowded House.


    PS Since Crowded House did so many live in the studio radio station appearances, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a multi-CD set of Crowded House radio performances like the ones we have of so many of the British Invasion bands at the BBC? It’ll probably never happen, but I can dream.
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  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    This is a new single credited to Tim Finn featuring Hana Mareraiah. Its a cover of “Six Months in Leaky Boat.” Quite nice. Just released today.

    The B-side is the Split Enz original…. But it sounds like it may be remixed or something. Not sure, Because at the moment I’m literally listening through the tiny speaker on my phone. Maybe it’s just the 2006 remaster which I have actually never heard.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022
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  15. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    I know I am early with this, but I cannot find my ENZSO CD anywhere. I also don’t remember enough about it to talk about it without listening to it.

    I did find this ENZSO concert video from 1996, which may or may not be a close enough substitute?
  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    You might be able to stream it on Eddie Rayner’s band camp page. It’s certainly for sale there.
  17. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Yes, it is there and I can stream it. Thanks!

    I have looked everywhere for that CD. I know it has to be in this house somewhere, but I just can’t seem to find it. I’ve looked through everything!! :realmad:
  18. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Nice. I think that Tim duetting with someone who can hit the notes might be a strategy for the future. I didn't expect the laid back arrangement too - at first I wondered if it was the right song.

    If artists are going to cover their hits, then doing them in a different style (and language) works for me.

    Is this the right Hana Mareraiah? Profiles

    I wanted to have a look at what else she had done. She's also translated the lyrics of Dave Dobbyn's 'Slice of Heaven' into Maori.

    Log into Facebook | Facebook

    And, she has also translated Lorde songs into Maori. Here it is being discussed.

    Lorde's Te Ao Mārama 'resonating globally', Māori translator says
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  19. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    I think you are right about Tim sounding very good on this track with a vocalist who can hit the higher notes. And his most recent duets absolutely fit into that regime where it just sounds right (Rules, Unlikely Friend).

    I like this version of the song - I wonder how much the tempo of the song is based on fitting te reo Maori cadence into the melody?
    The only nitpick I would have of the song is that the laidback nature of the song might rob the song of it's rollicking style - but then again it might be quite appropriate if you want to interpret the song as a memories of an old(er) man.

    I do find it interesting that Lorde also had some songs translated and released as an EP. It's true enough that they way to keep a language alive is to keep it in circulation in daily use, so this is a great way to do that.

    I'm personally terrible at languages (or seem to be), but I love listening to songs in other languages. I guess you can still convey emotion and feeling even without understanding the words at all.
  20. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for Acoustically Live
    Average: 4.8333

    Our votes for Ghost Cars
    Average: 4.6
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    This weeks album is ENZSO, an Eddie Rayner project whcih combined Split Enz songs with symphonic arrangements played by The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Vocals were by various New Zealand artists, including Tim and Neil Finn themselves.

    Recorded in 1996 and releaed on November 5th, 1995, ENZSO was a big hit, going to #2 in New Zealand and #5 in Australia, where it went platinum with 70 000 units sold. I believe that Phil Judd was going to contribute vocals as well, but backed out, and his parts were supplied by Sam Hunt.

    After it's release, Neil and Tim referred to the project as "Never again-zo."

    The tracklist:
    1. Poor Boy (Tim Finn) - Dave Dobbyn
    2. Message to My Girl (Neil Finn) - Neil Finn
    3. I Hope I Never (T. Finn) - Annie Crummer
    4. Straight Old Line (N. Finn) - Neil Finn
    5. Stuff And Nonsense (T. Finn) - Neil Finn
    6. Albert Of India (Eddie Rayner) -Eddie Rayner
    7. My Mistake (T. Finn-E.Rayner) - Dave Dobbyn
    8. Voices (N. Finn) -Neil Finn
    9. I See Red (T. Finn) - Tim Finn
    10. Under The Wheel (T. Finn-Philip Judd) Sam Hunt
    11. Dirty Creature (T. Finn, N. Finn, Nigel Griggs)
    12. Stranger Than Fiction/Time For A Change (T. Finn-P. Judd/P.Judd) Tim Finn, Neil Finn, Sam Hunt/Tim Finn
    Enzso can be purchased on Eddie Rayner's bandcamp page. It can probably be streamed there, too, though sometimes bandcamp will restrict the number of streams if you haven't made any purchases.. Most of the songs on this are not on YouTube, at least in Europe and apparently not in North America either.

    Weirdly the sequel, ENZSO 2 is available in its entirity to stream on both Spotify and YouTube, so I guess it's a matter of lapsed copyright that might eventually be corrected.
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  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Coming up:
    1. Belvoir February 19th, 1996 Finn Brothers
      Eyes Of The World, 1996, Finn Brothers
    2. Largest Living Things II - Largest Living Things 1997
    3. Mood Swinging Men 1996 Finn Brothers
      Kiwi Charms 1996 Finn Brothers
    4. Enzso II -1999
    5. Worst Kept Secret November 20th, 1996/LIVE AT THE CORNER DVD
      Exit STage Left November 21st, 1996
    6. I LIke It Rare VA from all members of Split Enz
    7. Spooky Vibrations, released1996
      Live TV 2 (Crowded House DVD)
    8. Sleeper -Nigel Griggs 2001
    9. Live In America 1998 Neil Finn
      Encore! 1998 Neil Finn
    10. Nada Sonata -Mark Hart
    11. Live in the UK 2001 Neil Finn
      One ON One 2001 Neil Finn
    12. Play It STraight -- Eddie Rayner 2002
    13. 9.30 Club Washington July 18th 2002 Neil Finn
    14. I LIke It Rare 2 (VA) 2003
    15. I LIke It Rare 3 Paul Hester 2005
    16. Novelty Act - Phil Judd 2006
    17. I like It Rare 4
    18. Love Is A ***** -- Phil Judd 2009
    19. Unthinkables -- kind of an art dance studio duo featuring Phil Judd
    20. Chaos And Triviality 2010 -- "Supergroup"of Eddie Rayner, Michael Barker and Brian Ritchie(of Violent Femmes) sort of jazz/rock spontaneous jams
    21. Still Hot! The Conrays (Eddie Rayner cover band)
    22. Play It STrange - Phil Judd 2014
    23. Sediment - Eddie Rayner 2014
    24. Enzso Stranger Than Fiction -- live 2014
    25. The Backroom - Mark Hart
    26. UniQue -- Phil Judd 2016
    27. Alluvium -- Eddie Rayner 2016
    28. Flightless Bird - Phil Judd
    29. Planet Sublime Phil Judd

    I think both Edder Rayner and Phil Judd have albums that are set to come out in the next few months, and of course there is also that upcoming Tim Finn/Andy White album, so this list will be adjusted.

    I really expect a LIam Finn album in 2023 and will be quite disappinted if it doesn't happen!
  23. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Eddie Rayner's band Another Life has a CD available for order here:

    Another Life CD

    I want to buy it, but I'm afraid of shipping costs from Down Under.
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  24. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    The Enzso project always held limited appeal to me because I'm only actually interested in the Neil and Tim material. That said, my overall impression of the project is that it was a missed opportunity. Eddie seemed to want to throw everything and the kitchen sink at each and every song to the detriment of most of them. I felt that very few of the arrangements actually suited the songs, and the project felt more like an attempt at picking songs that would show off orchestral arrangements rather than creating arrangements that complemented the songs. The only effort that came close to working well was Neil's reading of Stuff and Nonsense, which is interesting mainly for the fact that Neil sings it.

    Of the Neil or Tim vocals, Message to My Girl and Voices are serviceable (although neither comes close to equalling the originals).
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  25. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    This is lovely. I agree that Tim sounds very good here sharing the vocal with another singer, particularly one with a softer voice that serves as a nice contrast and smooths out Tim’s gruff edges.

    There is a very brief interview with Tim about this project if you scroll down to the middle of this article:

    Tim Finn on singing in te reo Māori: 'In the most profound sense, it brought me home'

    It seems this is part of a larger Maori language project that includes other musicians in addition to Tim, and will be a program shown on NZ television. Wish I could see it!
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022

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