02 May 2008


The Waterboys formed in Scotland in the early eighties. Throughout their 25+ years, the only constant member has been leader Mike Scott.

The band has gone through three distinct periods since its inception. In the eighties, they had a “Big Music” sound, typified by their hit “The Whole of the Moon”. In the late eighties, Scott moved the band to Ireland and transformed them into what has been called a “Raggle Taggle” band. After breaking up in the nineties, they later reformed as an experimental folk-rock band.

While I am a big fan of the early days, and to some extent the more recent, I’m going to concentrate on the Raggle Taggle period today.

After joining up with fiddler Steve Wickham (formerly of In Tua Nua), Scott assembled a revolving group of folk and rock musicians in Ireland. They took to recording umpteen sessions over the course of two and a half years, beginning at Windmill Lane in Dublin, and later moving the operation to the town of Spidal.
Out of these sessions, the magnificent album Fisherman’s Blues was born.

Over the years, many of the other tracks recorded (and there were hundreds of them) have been issued. Some on singles, some on later albums and remasters, and many through bootlegs.
Here’s some of the songs that didn’t make the original, or subsequent official albums:

(files expired)

The Waterboys - “Lost Highway” (written by Leon Payne, made famous by Hank Williams) B-side of the “Fisherman’s Blues” single. Liam O’Maonlai of Hothouse Flowers guests on piano.

The Waterboys - “Raggle Taggle Gypsy” (live) B-side of “And a Bang On the Ear” single. A studio version later appeared on Room To Roam.

The Waterboys - “Drunken Head Ghost of Rimbaud Blues” Recorded at Windmill Lane on January 23, 1986. Unreleased.

The Waterboys - “Everybody Takes a Tumble” (radio session) Written during the Fisherman’s Blues sessions, but not recorded at that time. This session is from around 15 years later. A studio version finally made it out on Book of Lightning.

The Waterboys - “Golden Age Medley” B-side of “The Whole of the Moon” reissue single. The medley is comprised of four songs: “A Golden Age”, “Higher In Time”, “High Far Soon” and “Soon As I Get Home”. Two of these have had alternate takes issued, but these versions are unique to this medley.

The Waterboys - “Twa Recruitin’ Sergeants” Session recording from The Factory in 1988. Unreleased.

The Waterboys - “The Stolen Child” (remix) Released on the Now and In Time To Be compilation.

The Waterboys - “Lonesome and A Long Way From Home” Bonus track on the US edition of Too Close To Heaven.
The Waterboys - “Give That Fiddler a Drink” A rather drunken session recording from some time in 1986. Unreleased.

The Waterboys discography:

The Waterboys
, 1983 (buy remaster)

A Pagan Place, 1984 (buy remaster)
This Is the Sea
, 1985 (buy 2cd remaster)
(buy original)
Fisherman’s Blues
, 1988 (buy 2cd remaster)
(buy original)
Room to Roam
, 1990 (buy)

Dream Harder
, 1993 (buy)

The Secret Life of The Waterboys
, 1994 (b-sides and rarities from 81-85)

A Rock In a Weary Land
, 2000 (buy)

Too Close to Heaven
, 2001 (buy) (from Fisherman’s Blues sessions)

Universal Hall
, 2003 (buy)

Book of Lightning
, 2007 (buy)

For more information, you can check out the wiki, or the official site.


bob said...

thank you-thank you-thank you.

DeadBilly said...

you're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I thought I had the Waterboys covered: apparently not. Thanks, great blog.

DeadBilly said...

There's about two or three discs worth of unreleased Fisherman's Blues-era recordings floating around, if you know where to look. (If you torrent, you can probably hunt them down)