Here I repeat my thoughts from another topic as it may have gone unnoticed. I hope it will induce some reflections now.
For a while I’ve been wondering how much was in reality Tim’s contribution to the songs on Phil Manzanera’s album „Southern Cross”. I know that the subject has been touched upon several times in earlier threads. For the most part, I read: Tim has added lyrics to Manzanera’s instrumental pieces, and that’s how the album came into being.
Officially one can read on the picture sleeve of the later released „A Million Reasons Why” CD: „Tim helped me [sc. Manzanera] gather my lyrical [italics mine] thoughts, and together... we came up with, what we thought was a new musical genre, ’Southern Cross’!”. This wording seems to me misleading, to say the least. One can easily think that Tim’s contribution to the songs was not more than add lyrics. See, for example, on the Roxy Music web page (http://www.vivaroxymusic.com/albums_42.php): „Tim helped Phil with lyrical thoughts...” In my opinion, there’s something wrong with this interpretation, and I would like to give expression to my doubts here.
1) There is one song on the album, „Astrud” (sung by Ana Maria Velez) which goes only with Tim’s credits (lyrics and music written by Tim). It is peculiar that this is one of the most Latin sounding pieces on the album – beside „Tambor” and „Guantanamera” –, and still it has nothing to do with Manzanera as to the writing credits.
2) Those songs with Tim’s cooperation are hard to imagine having the same melodies in their original forms as in their later phases when lyrics were added. To put it differently, the instrumental pieces are likely to have been without definite melodies, and definite melodies came along with the lyrics. As many songs as I know from Manzanera do not have such lines of melody as I find in the songs co-written by Tim.
3) The melodies of the songs co-written by Tim seem to be very typical of Tim’s works at the time – especially his eponymous album „Tim Finn” (1989). This fact has been recognized by fans in this forum before. Musically, Tim was on his acme.
4) Looking at the credits one can see that Finn’s name as a rule is written in the second place like this: (Manzanera/Finn). The same holds true for cooperations with other musicians, like in „Tambor” (Manzanera/MacCormick), and „Blood Brother” (Manzanera/Dyson). In the latter cases it would be hard to believe that MacCormick and Dyson helped Manzanera with lyrical thoughts. They must have written the melody as well (or at least, the melody must have been the result of a common work).
5) In a review, I have read that „The Great Leveller” would have fitted well in a Tim Finn solo album, it would have sounded good on Tim’s voice, and I must agree. Gary Dyson is also the lead singer of the first and last songs of the album, „A Million Reasons Why” and „Venceremos”. In „Venceremos” we have the usual (Manzanera/Finn) label while in „A Million Reasons Why” we have either (Finn/Manzanera/Dyson) or (Manzanera/Dyson/Finn). The first one seems to me the more proper. As I imagine, the song may have been written by the pair Manzanera/Dyson like „Blood Brother”, with Tim adding some integral parts like, for example, the chorus which sounds to me very much like Tim Finn. In this point I might be mistaken as I could even go so far as to assume that Tim was somehow involved even in „Blood Brother”. But my imagination may have gone too far...
Gryph, or anyone who is in a familiar relation with Tim, could you tell me something certain about this, or perhaps ask Tim on occasion? The collaboration with Manzanera was not even mentioned in Jeff Apter’s recent book as far as I know.