Friday, May 7, 2010

Split Enz: The Luton Tapes (1978)


Y'know songs you hear when you're ten years old and alone can fuck you up for the rest of your life. Take Split Enz's, "I See Red". I first heard that frantic, angry, catchy song coming from a Candle brand A.M. radio on a pair of ivory-coloured, hard-plastic ear-buds in my bedroom one night in 1979 and I've never been quite the same.



"I See Red" sprints from one high-intensity moment to the to the next, with each break, only designed to frazzle your nerves further("My despair is dying, turning into rage day by day"). The ferocity here doesn't originate with the rhythm section - notice Noel Crombie actually reclining - but rather it's Eddie Rayner's carnival keyboards and Tim Finn's 100 decibel anxiety - a cross between Charlie Chaplins's Little Tramp and Michael Palin's Gumby - that drives this wigged-out pop song through the fuckin' roof.


The song itself is from a set of sessions the band recorded in Luton Studios in 1978 while living on London on the dole but flush with a New Zealand arts grant. A few of these twenty-eight songs were used as albums tracks, singles or B-sides but were only released in their entirety as the Rootin Tootin Luton Tapes by Rhino in 2007. While this now out-of-print collection suffers from a hokey title and sub-bootleg artwork, it unmercifully documents the Enz's brilliant transition from a prog-glam band to a herky-jerky power-pop one.

The Luton Tapes link is in the comments.

Update: For those having problems with tracks five try this.
More Split Enz coming on Sunday!

Speaking of comments: C'mon you once liked Split Enz (and/or Crowded House) didn't you?

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40 comments:

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    DON'T JUST DOWN N' DASH - PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BEHIND!





    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?zl5dfi4g2yr

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  2. Wow,fantastic!...I ever liked the Enz,in their first incarnation(yes prog-glam is the right term)and in the pop-wave second chapter...I was blown away when a friend of mine give me their debut album in 1976,they were like nobody else,in a class of their own...and still are today to my ears...thanks a lot,never listen to this.Cheers

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  3. First I heard of Split Enz was 'I hope I never'; only later did I hear their older stuff. Still like a lot of Split Enz (and Crowded House, I admit: both bands weren't always consistent, but their best songs are really good). Time and Tide is the Enz's best album, in my opinion.

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  4. Thanks for this. I first saw & heard Split Enz while they were touring UK in support of 'Dizrythmia' in 1978. Definitely not a run-of-the-mill band for those times, and what a great song 'Charlie' was. I look forward to listening to this collection from the same era.
    P.S. Don't know if I have a faulty download, but track 5 'Semi Detached' is corrupted - it cuts out at 1:35. Thanks again.

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  5. thanks for this! Split Enz always reminds me of my youth as well...
    edo
    knowyourconjurer.blogspot.com

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  6. CallPastorJerkfaceMay 7, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Why the fuck didn't I get to hear "I See Red" back when my age was still in the single digits? So much good stuff in the late 70's and early 80's. I guess it's better late than never.

    Thanks again Jeffen for pointing the way...backward?!

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  7. Love the Split Enz I used to play "I See Red" all the time at the record store I worked at in order to try and get people to pick up the super cheap best of's that I brought in.

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  8. Unbelievable, another split enz didn't knew it ever existed! Thannks,you're really ruining my disc!

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  9. THANK YOU - this dirty creature has been searching for this Luton Tapes set for a long time, missed the official release... thank you for sharing a rarity by this great band :)

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  10. Ah yes the Enzs,that brings back memories...thanks

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  11. Thanks for the Enz. Was never a BIG fan, but this curiosity looks like a interesting listen.
    Cheers.

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  12. Track 5 on disk 1 is corrupt and won't unpack when using WinRAR - any chance of a repost of that track?

    Thanks in advance, so happy to have this set, but want to have all the songs.. please please please pretty please :)

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  13. Roberto
    Their early stuff is really interesting in a Gabriel-era Genesis kinda way.

    Just8
    They were a bit of a singles band (hence the inconsistency)though I like almost all of "True Colours".

    Terry
    Hope te fix on track 5 works and damn that mist have been cool to seem them in this era.

    edo
    Someone once refereed to my blog as 'nostalgic' I resented him deeply for it but he was not entirely wrong.

    CPJ
    MRML "Pointing the way backwards". We all have the hits of our youth that shape us - what's one versus another?

    Mike
    Split Enz are a band well-served by 'hits' compilations - the albums are good but those singles - fuck!

    Jose
    I wrote this post around the idea of putting up the "I See Red Single" and while I was researching it I found this compilation!

    Unkers
    And they are good memories I am sure.

    Anon
    This set does show another side of the band - hope it sticks with you.

    Anon II
    Can't resist that many pleases - let me know if the fix I posted works!

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  14. Anon .5
    Glad to have shared a rarity that you were in search of!

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  15. What with Split Enz, Naked Eyes (I just posted their Promises,Promises on my youtube channel along with two more from a VHS) and Flamin' Oh's (I posted Oh! lp and a vid)I could get confused. Good to see the early Split Enz on your post thanks...I believe a sub of mine at youtube also put up and old vid of theirs. Guess I missed 'em.

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  16. I didn't know this existed. Many thanks. I first saw them live in 1974 at a concert that a government radio station callled Triple Jay put on at the Sydney Town Hall here in Australia. I can't remember other bands that were on but Split Enz blew me away because of their songs and their over the top stage act. This was the days of Purple Dots, Black Dots and Orange Barrels if you know what I mean too lol:). To me the first album, Mental Notes, was always my favourite and still is.

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  17. viacom
    Love all those late 70's/early 80's obscuities you're doing at DU - keep it up!

    Dante
    Welcome

    Piratecyan
    To see them in their more overtly-theatrical phase would've been amazing - thanks for adding some memories!

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  18. Yes, I liked Crowded House, but I loved Split Enz. Along with the Scorchers, Social D., you've been hitting my faves, it's amazing. I pointed people to your blog in a recent post.

    http://scruffytheyak.blogspot.com/

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  19. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REPOST OF TRACK 5 (disc 1) - very much appreciated and thank you again for this great, (now hard-to-find) set.

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  20. Chris
    Thanks for the Mother's Day shout-out and interestingly your name came up in a conversation with Doug from the Paperbacks - I gather you worked together at HMV. Cool.

    Anon
    Glad the fix worked.

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. Um... hold the happiness...

    I have now attempted to d/l this title at least five times, and each time it winds up incomplete, cutting off at around track 13 or 14. [I've had pretty much the same trouble with Doug and the Slugs' 'Music For The Hard Of Thinking' - took me several tries before it finally completed.]

    Any remedies?

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  23. Wouldn't you know? The eighth time (or whatever the heck it was) turned out to be the charm. Got both discs this time! (It never even MADE it to the 2nd disc before!) Thanks!!

    (But I would have that link looked at.... seriously...)

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  24. Media fire has been acting strange (and they deleted one of my most popular files without explanation)thought the Enz has been d/l 243 times so hopeully it's just a quirk.

    Still glad to have completed your Enz colleciton.

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  25. Split Enz were one of the best! Thanks!

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  26. Anon
    Great band with a good run.

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  27. Great band.Thanks

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  28. never heard of this - great post!

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  29. By definition, any band that contained both Finn brothers (at least for a few years) had a LOT going for it!

    Thanks for the posts.

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  30. The following is a true story. I was living in Denmark around 1992 and I had been on a business trip from China, changing planes in Amsterdam. While waiting for lift off, I saw two familiar faces walking by but couldn’t immediately name them. Then Neil Finn walked in and sat right behind me. Since I’ve been a great follower of Split Enz I waited for the plane to take off and gathered enough courage to approach him. I asked whether he was “Neil Finn of Split Enz”. He looked at me amused and told me he was now in a band called Crowded House. I said I knew that but that I preferred his earlier music. He said he couldn’t blame me.

    Possibly because I was wearing a suit and didn’t look like an eager fan, he asked me to join him on the empty seat next to him and we talked during the flight for about an hour. In the end he asked me what I was listening to. I had a walkman (cassette!) with some of my own songs which I had just recorded a couple of weeks before and so I told him. He wanted to hear them but I refused because I didn’t think I could hold a candle to him. I mean; after all it was Neil Finn.

    He said that it seemed unfair that I had heard all of his music and he wasn’t allowed to hear mine, which I thought was a rather convincing argument so I gave him the walkman, be it reluctantly. He said that my guitar playing was much better than his was when he first joined Split Enz. Then he looked at me silently for about fifteen seconds and then asked whether I would be interested in playing along on a couple of songs during their gig that night, that they were to give in Copenhagen.

    I thought he was kidding but he was serious and I was thrilled by the idea. I did have to go back to my house first though, to pick up my guitar and my car so he scribbled a note that would act as a backstage pass and we talked a bit more, before the plane landed. At the airport I also met Tim Finn, who was then part of Crowded House and Peter Green from Frenz of the Enz, with whom I had corresponded and trading items for years.

    Tim asked me to show them around Copenhagen after the gig, which I said I would, even though I didn’t really know the town well. The evening ended not as exciting as I had hoped. After arriving at home, I changed clothes, took my guitar and my car and drove to the ferry to bring me to Sjaelland, on which Copenhagen is situated. There was no bridge yet in those days. Since there was an enormous queue at the ferry, it took me more than two hours to board, at which time it would be far too late to be able to join them onstage. Having spent more than 24 hours in the plane just before, I decided to go back home again and get stoned to wash away my frustrations. So I never did play with them but now I’m grateful for the chance I’ve had to meet them and talk to them the way I did.

    Incidentally, should anyone be interested in rare Split Enz recordings, check out my website at: http://www.sillysausage.eu/Liverecordings.htm

    Ruud - Holland

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  31. Rudd
    read the whole story on my phone, smiling and wincing in all the right places.

    Thanks for the tale and can those live shows be downloaded?

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  32. Thanks for sharing The Luton Tapes. Split Enz has such a great sound, and I love the way their sound progressed. True originals.

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  33. Absolutely brilliant! Thanks for this great post

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  34. ..first saw the Enz in a club called Barrymore's in Ottawa, Canada, in '79--blew my mind!..having come from the Deep Purple/Early Fleetwood Mc era, i had no idea music could sound like this--i bought some Buzzcocks, Killing Joke & Enz the next day & the rest is history..thanks for your absolutely great posts & incredible music, much appreciated..cheers from the sunshine state..

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  35. Have most of Split Enz stuff but didn't even know this existed so thanks for sharing. Great blog.

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  36. Thanks for the link, much appreciated

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  37. Wow, just found both of your Split Enz posts and found they are both now invalid. Depression is setting in. I remember the when I discovered the Enz, searching the used vinyl in a record store in Fargo, ND. I think it was around 1979 and came across a very bizarre album called Dizrythmia. Hadn't even heard of them but had to have it. Have loved them ever since. (Any chance of reupping either of the 2 posts)?
    Kevin

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  38. Kevin.
    Luton appears to be back-in-print - so it's a no-go for me. I'll see what i can do about the live stuff.

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