Saturday, 14 July 2012

Seven Inches of Joy #7 - Eno

Eno - Seven Deadly Finns [Island 1974] - Cat# WIP6178

Who would have thought back in '73 that the weird little androgynous fella covered in more slap and faux leopard skin than Bet Lynch, would go on to do much when he left Roxy Music? I mean c'mon he didn't even play a real instrument or anything. He just preened away whilst operating his suitcase synth, slyly pulling enough 'birds' to cause Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry to oust him from the band.

But of course he did go on to do so much, and in a weird roundabout sort of way he managed to become a household name, all without having to ever suck the corporate teat. But this isn't going to become an Eno bio, since I'm here to natter on about one song in particular.  

Seven Deadly Finns was Eno's first ever single release. Issued in the gap between his first two solo albums proper (No Pussyfooting being a collaboration of course), this slice of proto-New Wave is a bit of a forgotten gem. Lyrically it's up there with the best (and dirtiest) of Eno's early glam sleaze catalogue. The seven titular Finns are sailors who visit a French brothel, giving Eno plenty of opportunity to throw a few double entendres about. Which shouldn't come as a huge shock to anyone who has studied the cover or title of Here Come The Warm Jets.

I think this is one of Eno's best 70's vocals, just listen to that 'Oh' that kicks the song off, and then consider that less than three minutes later he's ending it all by yodeling away. In between is a large dollop of Doo Wop as well as the usual half spoken half sung voice that we're all used to. Musically it's a real treat too, full of stop start drums, mad backing vocals and one of the most deranged guitar solos you'll ever hear. In short - perfection.

This is the only song ever released by Eno and his then backing band The Winkies. Although they also recorded a couple of sessions for John Peel that have only ever turned up on bootlegs, the Dali's Car one is well worth tracking down. As are the German and Italian versions of this single which both come housed in different sleeves. The British version doesn't have a sleeve, but does have a lovely Pink Island rim around the label to make up for it. A remastered version that sounds quite different was made available on the long deleted vocal ENOBOX, that came out back in the nineties. So far that's the only way to get hold of this on CD. So if I was you I'd have a hunt around for one of the 7"s, since they go for about a fiver on E-Bay.

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