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The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues (1988)

April 3, 2015

[Album 390/1001]

First 12 seconds of Fisherman’s Blues

…and that’s all it took to become hooked on The Waterboys.

If the hook, line, and sinker are the three parts of equipment required to catch a fish, the mandolin/fiddle/full banFisherman's_Blues_Waterboys_Album_Coverd provided the trio of staggered entries needed to reel me in.

And I bought into the rest of the album effortlessly.

Or as Jeremy Irons said in the third Die Hard, “they bought it…hook, line, and sinker.

I actually did buy this on audio cassette recently, for the princely sum of $3 (a $3 tape in 2015!).

Here is the tale of that fateful day, slightly embellished to incorporate more fishin’ vocabulary:


I had been lured into the store, thinking I could exchange some cds for store credit.  While the shopkeeper appraised the cds, I waded further into the store in search of deals.

Just then, the employee swiveled around & told me he had no use for my gear.

However, Fisherman’s Blues had already caught my eye.  Even if paying more than intended felt a bit like a bait & switch, I didn’t want this to be the one that got away.

So I splurged & sunk $3 into the tape.  As I was a big fan of the original album, I think I might now be ready to tackle the box set (all 7 discs – I don’t think the 7-tape version has been released yet).


Apologies for the puns, I’ll stop.

Though I practically insist the discussion of this record does not stop here.

Two fellow bloggers summarized the title track (and I feel by extension, the album proper) wonderfully so I’ll leave you with their quotes (and suggest you leave here to read more of their quotes!):

Wayne @ The Cave: “Fisherman’s Blues is like a hot cup of tea on a rainy day…It does wonders.

JP @ Musicinsanity: “It’s a song that we should all be singing everyday.

From → 1980s

  1. Absolutely fantastic Friday writeup. Loved the puns. And the 12 second chart! That’s a lot of hooks in 12 seconds.

    • Many thanks Mike – my project for the Easter weekend is now going to be thinking up the end of a comparison: those first 12 seconds have more hooks than a ___________!

  2. jprobichaud permalink

    Nice. Great track and great album! If ever someone needed a pick-me-up, this album does the trick every time. Nice post.

    • Merci JP – I remembered seeing the opener among your top 80s tunes, that was a catalyst to start exploring this album sooner rather than later!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        I’m glad to have to have written some words that were catalyst to explore such a fine album. By the by, I’m currently reading “The guts” by Roddy Doyle. It’s about an older Jimmy Rabbite, years after the events in “The commitments”. Quite good stuff.

  3. Thanks for throwing a little chum in the water for the cave Geoff 🙂 – and thanks for reminding me what a great tune this is.

    • My pleasure Wayne – I enjoyed reading your post, I thought I’d be far from the only one who would!

  4. Hackskeptic permalink

    I can’t wait for this album to come on my projected 1001 list to review. I bought this album on vinyl when it was released, and quite honestly don’t remember whether I was excited about it or not. At the time I remember being more interested in what former Waterboys keyboard player Karl Wallinger was doing. I’ll look forward to re-visiting.

    • The side a/b worked nicely on my cassette – I can only assume it would work even better on vinyl!

  5. ianbalentine permalink

    Some really good stuff on that “Fisherman’s Box” set. A tad overkill, maybe, but some real gems (On my Way To Heaven”, etc) and alternate versions to be found, and enjoyed. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • I thought it was an impressive leap from a single studio disc to a 7-disc box – your appraisal sounds like what I was expecting, I’ll put it on the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ list, just below the ‘must-have’ one!

  6. peatmoss permalink

    A new band for me. They clearly influenced James. You should review the album Laid by James. Talking about hooks….the song Laid was one of the great party songs of 1993-94. Undeniably catchy.

    • I finally picked up a copy of it within the last couple years, I think it was in the neighbourhood of $1.50 – so I’ve certainly got my money’s worth!
      It didn’t make the 1001 list but I think I’ll probably do some sort of an ‘overlooked’ list of records at some point, James would certainly make an appearance there.
      i like the username!

  7. Phillip Helbig permalink

    I saw the Waterboys at Cropredy recently. Huge back catalog, lots of lineup changes (making Fairport look like ZZ TOP by comparison!). Where to start? Here seems to be the consensus. What else is worth checking out? What should be avoided?

    • From what I gather, this is the peak – I’ve been told to avoid the next one (some may disagree). One colleague said, he fell in love, and the music fell apart!

  8. Phillip Helbig permalink

    “Apologies for the puns, I’ll stop.”

    There is just a thin line between fishing and just standing near the water.

    Wait for it!

    Don’t groan so loudly! (Or, rather, the louder the better, as that is the only gratification we punsters get!)

  9. The Waterboys were one of my favourite bands in my teenage years. Mike Scott was a genius – I loved his lyrics. X

    • It’s funny hearing Mike Scott = genius as I picture Michael Scott from The Office where that wouldn’t be the term most would use!
      Agreed about this Scott’s excellent lyrics – Thanks for reading!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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