Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Fisherman’s Blues – The Waterboys [#477]

on January 12, 2016

Fisherman's_Blues_Waterboys_Album_CoverMike Scott and his motley bunch of musicians and their fourth studio album.

I remember having a discussion with neighbour Ian Vickery outside his house back in 1988. We discussed the music of the day in depth and we connected for the first time in nearly 10 years as we realised that on our personal music journeys, although our tastes differed, we both were at a time where our tastes crossed.

I remarked about U2, a band I knew he liked that I found distasteful due to their political leanings and how their music brought out a new tone of Irish music far removed from traditional Irish folk. He countered that other bands from Ireland showed promise and were similar in their political message and vitriol, and asked if I was aware of the band The Waterboys. I was aware of The Waterboys because of their song The Whole of the Moon from their album This is the Sea.  Later that evening Ian posted a cassette of This is the Sea through my letter box and so began my foray into the musical world of The Waterboys. The next week, armed with pocket money, I nipped out to HMV in Church Street and came back with the Waterboy’s latest album.

Far removed from the politically motivated This is The Sea, the album Fisherman’s Blues stylistically is so different that it’s difficult to see the join. Fisherman’s Blues is nearly all traditional Irish Folk in sound, the harsh “English bastards” undertones hidden amongst a heap of green grass, leafy glades and wistful fancies about long lost loves. I liked the album at the time but, as later albums revealed to me, the original sound of the Waterboys, that which Ian had hoped for me to appreciate, was soon lost. As, more than likely, the slightly religious undertones of the band’s music were lost on him.

Indeed, it was only until recently that I discovered that Fisherman’s Blues was in fact the band’s fourth album and not their second, the earlier Waterboys music much more slanted at those that do Ireland wrong through oppression and political tomfoolery and slightly less veiled in their religious undertones like their later albums.

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