December (The Waterboys song)

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"December"
The Waterboys December 1983 single cover.jpg
Single by The Waterboys
from the album The Waterboys
B-side "Where Are You Now That I Need You"
ReleasedOctober 1983 [1]
Length4:28 (single version)
6:48 (album version)
Label Ensign
Songwriter(s) Mike Scott
Producer(s) Mike Scott
Rupert Hine
The Waterboys singles chronology
"A Girl Called Johnny"
(1983)
"December"
(1983)
"The Big Music"
(1984)

"December" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, which was released in 1983 as the second and final single from their debut studio album The Waterboys . The song was written and produced by Mike Scott, with additional production by Rupert Hine.

Contents

Background

"December" was written in Ayr, Scotland, and recorded at Redshop in December 1981 and Farmyard in June 1982. [2] It was one of the first songs recorded by Scott for what went on to become the Waterboys. At the time, Scott was a member of the band Funhouse and wished to leave and pursue a new musical path. He recorded three of his own tracks at Redshop in December 1981, including "December", with the engineer Jim Preen. Using pre-recorded drum loops available at the studio, Scott performed all instrumentation himself. [3]

Scott recorded the song's rhythm and two lead parts using his Danelectro "Bellzouki" 12-string guitar. In his autobiography, he said of the song's recording: "I laid it down in about thirty minutes - seven minutes for each overdub, and just about time to breathe in between. As the multiple-Bellzouki sound took shape, I was astonished at its breadth, and also at my own playing: the Bellzouki had inspired me beyond my limits, and the sound of my inner imagination was coming out of a pair of speaks in front of me." [4] Additional recording on the track was carried out at Farmyard Studios in June 1982, with Rupert Hine providing additional production. [3]

In 1984, U2 singer Bono included "December" in a list of his top ten records of 1983 for Rolling Stone . [5]

Critical reception

On its release as a single, Betty Page of Record Mirror commented: "Whimper, whimper. This week's 90th moody, tremulous ballad with lashings of tearful vibrato and acoustic twelve-strings. A record to sit down and listen to as the leaves fall, it informs us that 'December is the cool month'. Oh really?" [6] Barney Hoskyns of New Musical Express gave the single a rating of six out of ten. He described it as a "big acoustic anatomy of melancholy" and added that it was "too long and involved for a single, but nice all the same". [7]

In a review of the mini-album edition of The Waterboys, Diana Valois of The Morning Call considered the song to be "about coming of age" and noted the "fat and flavorful guitar work". [8] Parke Puterbaugh of Rolling Stone described "December" as a "longish song, more meditative though no less inquisitive, as Scott, like Van Morrison, goes looking for the proverbial lion in the soul". [9]

Formats

7" single
No.TitleLength
1."December"4:28
2."Where Are You Now That I Need You"5:02
12" single
No.TitleLength
1."December"6:48
2."The Three Day Man"3:32
3."Red Army Blues"8:05
12" single (US promo)
No.TitleLength
1."December"6:48
2."December (Edit)"4:28

Personnel

December

The Three Day Man

Red Army Blues

Production

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References

  1. "Releases". The Waterboys. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  2. "The Waterboys: Song Credits". The Waterboys. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  3. 1 2 "The Waterboys: Sleeve Notes". The Waterboys. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  4. Scott, Mike (2017). Adventures of a Waterboy. Jawbone. p. 297. ISBN   978-1911036357.
  5. Edwards, Gavin (8 March 2014). "30 Years Ago in Rolling Stone" . Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  6. Page, Betty (22 October 1983). "Singles". Record Mirror. p. 10.
  7. Hoskyns, Barney (22 October 1983). "Singles". New Musical Express. p. 22.
  8. Valois, Diana (5 May 1984). "Records". The Morning Call.
  9. "The Waterboys". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2020.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)