|Studio album by|
|Studio||Windmill Lane Studio & Spiddal House|
|Producer||Mike Scott, Vinnie Kilduff, Bob Johnston, John Dunford|
|The Waterboys chronology|
|Singles from Fisherman's Blues|
Fisherman's Blues is a 1988 album by The Waterboys. The album marked a change in the band's sound, with them abandoning their earlier grandiose rock sound for a mixture of traditional Irish music, traditional Scottish music, country music, and rock and roll. Critics were divided on its release with some disappointed at the change of direction and others ranking it among The Waterboys' best work.The album was the Waterboys' best selling album, reaching a number 13 placing on the U.K. charts on release, and 76 on the Billboard 200.
The history behind Fisherman's Blues begins with Steve Wickham's contribution to "The Pan Within" on the preceding Waterboys album This Is the Sea . Wickham joined the group officially in 1985 after This Is the Sea had been released. Mike Scott, The Waterboys' leader, spent time in Dublin with Wickham, and moved to Ireland in 1986. That year The Waterboys performed "Fisherman's Blues" on The Tube, which was the first time the new musical direction the band was taking was demonstrated.
The recording sessions for the album were lengthy and produced a great deal of music. The sessions began at Windmill Lane Studio in Dublin and lasted from January through March 1986. An additional session took place that December in San Francisco. From March to August 1987 The Waterboys were recording in Windmill Lane again. Scott moved to Galway and another year passed as the band recorded at Spiddal House, where Scott was living. The entire second side of the original record is made up of recordings from this 1988 session. The album was released that October (see 1988 in music). Scott describes the process; "We started recording our fourth album in early '86 and completed it 100 songs and 2 years later".
More songs from the album's recording sessions were released on Too Close to Heaven , or Fisherman's Blues, Part 2 as it was titled in the United States, in 2002 by BMG and Razor and Tie Entertainment, respectively. Other songs from the sessions were unreleased for years, including one of the defining tracks of sessions, "Higher In Time", a cover of Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight", "The Man With the Wind at His Heels", "Stranger to Me", "Saints and Angels", and "Born to Be Together".A remastered "Collector's Edition" with additional tracks was released in May 2006.
A 7-CD box set, containing 121 tracks from the album sessions including all those on the original record and subsequent editions, plus a further 85 unreleased tracks was released on 14 October 2013.
The title track peaked at number three on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. The single for the song reached position 32 on the UK singles charts in 1989 and position 75, when re-issued in 1991. Country music song "The Lost Highway", featuring Liam Ó Maonlaí on piano, appeared on the B-side. "Fisherman's Blues" was used on the pilot episode of the TV series Lights Out , and has appeared on the soundtracks of the movies Good Will Hunting , Waking Ned Devine and Dream with the Fishes . Actress Emilia Clarke performed a cover version for the film Dom Hemingway .
"Sweet Thing" is a "surprisingly successful"cover of a song by Van Morrison, originally from Morrison's 1968 album, Astral Weeks . The Waterboys' version on this album is a medley; the song ends with the unplanned addition of verses from The Beatles' "Blackbird", which Scott impulsively sang on the spot. A different recording of the song appeared on the second compact disc of the re-release of This Is the Sea.
"Strange Boat" lends its title to Ian Abrahams' biography of Mike Scott and The Waterboys,while the song "World Party" was the inspiration for Karl Wallinger's band name. It reached position 19 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, and was voted number 69 on the KROQ Top 106.7 Countdown of 1989.
Jimmy Hickey, of the instrumental song "Jimmy Hickey's Waltz", was a member of the album's production crew. The track begins with a recording of some conversation and laughter, which continues in the background as a violin begins to play a short waltz. The recording ends with some applause.
"And a Bang on the Ear", in which Scott summarizes a past romantic attachment in each verse, finishing the song with a current "woman of the hearthfire", was released as the second single from the album. A live version of "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy" made up the B-side. A studio version of "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy" would appear on The Waterboys' next album Room to Roam . The single was chosen as a Radio One "Single of the Week", but failed to chart. Confusion amongst listeners about what a bang on the ear might be about prompted The Waterboys' Frequently Asked Questions page to note, more than ten years later, that it was "a term of affection".A "bang" means a kiss and this Irish phrase of "bang on the ear" can best be considered equivalent to the more common phrase "peck on the cheek".
"Has Anybody Here Seen Hank" is a country music tribute to Hank Williams, listening to whom Scott described as "a life-changing experience".The Waterboys had previously paid tribute to a different influence on Scott, Patti Smith, with the song "A Girl Called Johnny" on their first album, The Waterboys .
"Dunford's Fancy" was written by Wickham for Steve Dunford, brother to Waterboys producer John Dunford.
"The Stolen Child" was the first William Butler Yeats poem that The Waterboys put to music. Another Yeats poem "Love and Death" appeared on Dream Harder in 1993. "The Stolen Child", spoken by traditional Irish vocalist Tomás Mac Eoin with backup vocals by Scott, remains the group's "most famous poetic rendition".
The final song is only a brief snippet of the Woody Guthrie folk song "This Land Is Your Land" with some of the American place names replaced with Irish ones.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|
|The Philadelphia Inquirer|
The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die .
Jimmy Hickey's Waltz not present on 1988 Ensign vinyl release. Though it is not listed at the back of the 1988 CD box, it features on the Ensign disc and in the booklet with full credits..
All tracks written by Mike Scott except as indicated.
The Deluxe Edition Box Set contains 6 CDs.
The Super Deluxe Edition Box Set contains 7 CDs and a vinyl LP of Fisherman's Blues.
The cover displays a number of the contributors. From left to right, back to front, are: Jake Kennedy (crew), Colin Blakey, Pat McCarthy (recording engineer), Jimmy Hickey (crew), John Dunford (co-producer), Trevor Hutchinson, Fran Breen, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Mike Scott, and Steve Wickham.
|New Zealand Albums Chart||15|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||7|
|Swedish Albums Chart||18|
|UK Albums Chart||13|
|US Billboard 200||76|
The Waterboys are a Scottish-Irish folk rock band formed in Edinburgh in 1983 by Scottish musician Mike Scott. The band's membership, past and present, has been composed mainly of musicians from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. Mike Scott has remained as the only constant member throughout the band's career. They have explored a number of different styles, but their music is mainly a mix of folk music with rock and roll. They dissolved in 1993 when Scott departed to pursue a solo career. The group reformed in 2000, and continue to release albums and to tour worldwide. Scott emphasises a continuity between The Waterboys and his solo work, saying that "To me there's no difference between Mike Scott and the Waterboys; they both mean the same thing. They mean myself and whoever are my current travelling musical companions."
The Best of The Waterboys 81–90 is a compilation album by The Waterboys, released 29 April 1991.
This eponymously named debut album from The Waterboys was recorded in several studio sessions between December 1981 and November 1982. Allmusic describes the sound of the album as "part Van Morrison, part U2".
A Pagan Place was an album released in June 1984 by The Waterboys. It was the first Waterboys record with Karl Wallinger as part of the band and also includes Roddy Lorimer's first trumpet solo for the band on the track "A Pagan Place".
This Is the Sea is the third The Waterboys album, and the last of their "Big Music" albums. Considered by critics to be the finest album of their early rock-oriented sound, described as "epic" and "a defining moment", it was the first Waterboys album to enter the United Kingdom charts, peaking at number 37. Steve Wickham makes his Waterboys recording debut playing violin on 'The Pan Within' and subsequently joined the band, appearing on the video of "The Whole of the Moon". This Is the Sea is the last album with contributions from Karl Wallinger, who left the group to form his own band, World Party.
Michael Scott is a Scottish singer, songwriter and musician. He is the founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of rock band The Waterboys. He has also produced two solo albums, Bring 'em All In and Still Burning. Scott is a vocalist, guitarist and pianist, and has played a large range of other instruments, including the bouzouki, drums, and Hammond organ on his albums. Scott is also a published writer, having released his autobiography, Adventures of a Waterboy, in 2012.
Room to Roam is an album by The Waterboys; it continued the folk rock sound of 1988's Fisherman's Blues, but was less of a commercial success, reaching #180 on the Billboard Top 200 after its release in September 1990. Critical response continues to be mixed. Allmusic describes it both as "not quite as [musically] successful" as Fisherman's Blues, but also as a "Celtic rock classic". The front and back covers were designed by Simon Fowler based upon photography by Stefano Giovannini and Sean Jackson.
Too Close to Heaven is a collection of outtakes, alternative versions, and unreleased tracks from The Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues period, released September 2001. The album was released as Fisherman's Blues, Part 2 in the United States with five additional tracks in July of that year.
The Live Adventures of the Waterboys is a concert recording, released by The Waterboys in 1998. Mike Scott refers to this album as an "unofficial release" or bootleg recording, but praises the recording period as a "classic" period for the Waterboys. Most of the live songs on The Live Adventures... indeed already appeared on the bootlegs A Golden Day (1991) and Born To Be Together (1992). It is the only Waterboys album on which member Guy Chambers appears.
Steve Wickham is an Irish musician. Originally from Marino, Dublin, but calling Sligo home, Wickham was a founding member of In Tua Nua and played violin on the classic U2 song "Sunday Bloody Sunday", as well as recordings by Elvis Costello, the Hothouse Flowers, Sinéad O'Connor, and World Party. He is a long-standing member of The Waterboys. Wickham plays both rock and roll and traditional Irish music, and has developed a rock music technique for violin he calls the "fuzz fiddle".
Karma to Burn is the first official live album from The Waterboys. It also contains tracks from Mike Scott's solo career: "Bring 'em All In," "Long Way to the Light," "My Dark Side," and "Open."
"A Girl Called Johnny" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released as the lead single from their debut studio album The Waterboys. The song was written by Mike Scott and produced by Rupert Hine. It reached No. 80 in the UK Singles Chart and remained in the Top 100 for three weeks.
"Fisherman's Blues" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released as the lead single from their fourth studio album of the same name. It was written by Mike Scott and Steve Wickham, and produced by Scott. The song reached No. 3 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, No. 13 in Ireland and No. 32 in the UK. A re-issue of the single in 1991 saw the song return to the Top 20 in Ireland, reaching No. 17.
"And a Bang on the Ear" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band the Waterboys, released as the second single from their fourth studio album Fisherman's Blues. It was written by Mike Scott, and produced by John Dunford and Scott. The song reached No. 1 in the Republic of Ireland and No. 51 in the United Kingdom. The single's B-side, "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy", was recorded live at Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow.
Book of Lightning is the ninth studio album by The Waterboys, released on 2 April 2007 through W14/Universal Records. The album contains ten tracks, produced by Mike Scott and Philip Tennant, with musical contributions from Steve Wickham (fiddle), Richard Naiff (keyboards), Brady Blade (drums), Mark Smith (bass), Leo Abrahams, Jeremy Stacey (drums) plus long-time Waterboys alumni Roddy Lorimer (trumpet), Chris Bruce and Thighpaulsandra (keyboards). Book of Lightning was recorded in London with the exceptions of one song recorded in Vancouver with members of Canadian art-pop band Great Aunt Ida, and another in Scott's home studio.
"Everybody Takes a Tumble" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released as the only single from their ninth studio album Book of Lightning. It was written by Mike Scott and Anthony Thistlethwaite, and produced by Scott and Phil Tennant.
Tomás Mac Eoin is an Irish sean-nós singer, actor, songwriter and poet. He is best known as Tomás 'Jimmy' Mac Eoin from An Bóthar Buí in An Cheathrú Rua, Conamara, Galway, Ireland.
Vinnie Kilduff is an Irish multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, primarily known for his work with U2, The Waterboys, Clannad and Sinéad O'Connor. He plays tin whistle, uilleann pipes, guitar, mandolin, piano, harmonica, bodhrán and flute. He is described as one of Ireland's best known contemporary tin whistle players.
"A Life of Sundays" is a song by the Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released in 1990 as a track on their fifth studio album Room to Roam. It was written by Mike Scott and produced by Barry Beckett and Scott. In the United States, the song reached No. 15 on Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and remained on the chart for nine weeks.
"World Party" is a song by the Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released in 1988 as a track on their fourth studio album Fisherman's Blues. It was written by Mike Scott, Trevor Hutchinson and Karl Wallinger, and produced by Scott. In the United States, the song reached No. 19 on Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and remained on the chart for six weeks. It also peaked at No. 48 on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart.
[The album] packs class from port to starboard, the singer tapping the incantatory power of WB Yeats, then spitting bile on the dizzying, inspired 'We Will Not Be Lovers'...
Fisherman's Blues shares the same spiritual rock space as U2's late-'80s work, but with one essential difference: it's rooted in fiddle-driven Irish folk music.