The Waterboys
This is the Sea
Island 1985

Music - 5 stars

The Waterboys
Modern Blues
Harlequin and Clown 2015

Music - 5 stars

Waterboys This is the Sea - front cover

front cover

Waterboys This is the Sea - rear cover

rear cover

Waterboys Modern Blues - front cover

front cover

Waterboys Modern Blues - rear cover

rear cover

Review

If there ever was a musician that I would like to share a few pints with it would be Mike Scott, leader and songwriter for the Waterboys.
These two albums, recorded thirty years apart, are testaments to his magnificent song craft and always fascinating lyrics.

Mike has produced a large body of work between these albums under his own name as well as the Waterboys. but if you are new to his music these two are the place to start.

Mike, it seems , has always been on a quest for spiritual truth. This is true throughout his work and is evident here as well. At one time some considered his work to be Christian rock but I always thought he was searching for a deeper meaning than that.

“This is the Sea” exploded on to the scene in 1985 with a big sound and the majestic single “The Whole of the Moon” The album featured Karl Walinger who later formed “World Party” and Anthony Thistlehwaite, sax and bass.
Steve Wickham, fiddle, has been with Mike on projects throughout this thirty year period.
The album kicks off with “Don”t Bang the Drum” a rousing anthem about not missing the beauty of what is around you. “The Pan Within” is a song about self exploration. “Be My Enemy” could fit well with Bob Dylan s work on the album “Bringing it All Back Home”. The rest of the songs continue the journey to the title track with it’s metaphor about becoming free by leaving the river and entering the sea for much deeper experiences.

“Modern Blues”, thirty years hence, finds Mike in Nashville with some great musicians including David Hood, bass of Muscle Shoals fame and Paul Brown whose killer organ work really drives the songs.
The album opens with “Destinies Entwined” a sort of trip through the characters different beliefs at various points in his life. “November Tale” tells of meeting an old girlfriend twenty seven years later and finding the gulf between them too great to bridge. All of the other songs are strong but Mike concludes the album with an epic tale "The Long Strange Golden Road", a search for “it” in Kerouac fashion, that is introduced by a clip of Jack himself reading from “On The Road”.

These are two albums that will stay with you long after hearing them. There is much to ponder here.

- TPW