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The Waterboys

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Folk/rock with neo-traditional and traditional music


Most recent release, Out of All This Blue (3 CDs, 2017)

See also:

The Official Waterboys—Mike Scott Homepages

Wikpedia's entry for The Waterboys

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for World Party, a group formed by one of the original band members.

Group leader Mike Scott now records under his own name.


Early work like U2; later work like Malicorne or Steeleye Span's rockier moods

Covers/own material:

Mostly own, some arrangements of traditional songs

General comments:

How can a band do such a wonderful album and have the rest of their albums so mixed and mostly boring? I love love love The Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues—it's brilliant. But I've never been able to work up any enthusiasm for the other records of theirs I've heard and owned. I keep Room To Roam, but only because of their great version of "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy", which is one of my favourite traditional tunes. Mostly their other albums are a snore—at least in my opinion. (Neile)

their early records are more like U2. fisherman's blues is their folky/celtic masterpiece. room to roam has some good songs on it, but it is very uneven. (

My thoughts exactly, on both albums, though I also loved "the big music" of the early Waterboys too. I'm not sure of details on regrouping and ungrouping, but there is a post-Room To Roam album called Dream Harder that was supposed to be more of a return to the older style. (neal)

Recommended first album:

Fisherman's Blues

Recordings include:

  • The Waterboys (1983)
  • A Pagan Place (1994)
  • This is the Sea (1985)
  • Fisherman's Blues (1988)
  • Room To Roam (1990)
  • Dream Harder (1992)
  • A Rock In The Weary Land (2000)
  • Too Close to Heaven (2002)
  • Fisherman's Blues, Pt. 2 (2002)
  • Universal Hall (2003)
  • Karma to Burn (live, 2005)
  • Book Of Lightning (2007)
  • In a Special Place (2011)
  • Modern Blues (2015)
  • Out of All This Blue (3 CDs, 2017)

Fisherman's Blues

Release info:

1988—Ensign/Chrysalis/MCA—VKW-41589 DIDX 2704



Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of rocked-up traditional music

Group members:

Mike Scott—vocals, guitar, Hammond organ, piano, drums, bowed bouzoukis
Trevor Hutchinson—bass, upright bass, bouzouki
Anthony Thistlethwaite—mandolin, harmonica, fuzz mandolin, Hammond organ, saxophone, slide mandolin
Steve Wickham—fiddle
Colin Blakey—piano, flute, border horn
Noel Bridgeman—tambourine, congas

Guest artists:

Peter McKinney—drums
Dave Ruffy—drums
Fran Breen—drums
Vinnie Kilduff—guitar
Roddy Lorimer—trumpet
Kevin Wilkinson—drums
Jenne Haan, Ruth and Rachel Nolan, The Abergavenny Male Choir—chorus
Jay Dee Daugherty—drums
Mairtin O'Connor—accordion
Alec Finn—bouzouki
Charlie Lennon—fiddle
Brendan O'Regan—bouzouki
Tomás McKeown—spoken voice
Paraig Stevens—bells

Produced by:

John Dunford and Mike Scott


One of my favourite folk/rock discs of all time. It's a great collection of songs.I love the whole thing, especially "A Bang on the Ear" and "When Will We Be Married?" I defy anyone to listen to these songs without wanting to dance. I adore Fisherman's Blues. To my mind nothing they've done before or after, individually or as the original group, can hold a candle to it. (Neile)

Room To Roam

Release info:

1990—Ensign/Chrysalis/MCA—F2 21768



Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of The Waterboys

Group members:

Anto Thistlethwaite—sax, mandolin, etc.
Colin Blakey—whistle, flute, Hammond, piano, etc.
Mike Scott—vocals, guitar, piano, etc.
Steve Wickham—fiddle, Hammond, vocals
Noel Bridgeman—drums, percussion, vocals
Sharon Shannon—accordion, fiddle
Trevor Hutchinson—bass, bouzouki

Guest artists:

Roddy Lorimer—trumpet
Neil Sidwell—trombone
Kieran Wilde—clarinet

Produced by:

Barry Beckett and Mike Scott


While there are some wonderful moments on this disc there are several I have to skip over when I play the disc because they're so smarmy. Yuck. But their version of "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy" almost makes up for it. Almost. (Neile)

Dream Harder

Release info:

1993—Geffen—GFLD 19318



Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of The Waterboys

Group members:

Mike Scott—vocals, electric rhythm guitar, lead guitar, piano, keyboards, electric piano, rattles, organ, bells, acoustic guitar, synthesiser, bellzuki, electric piano bass, wah keyboards, effects, Native American flute

Guest artists:

Kenny Aaronson—bass on 2 tracks
Chris Bruce—electric rhythm guitar on 1 track, lead guitar on 4 tracks
Thommy Price—drums on 2 tracks
Carla Azar—drums on 6 tracks
Bajiri Johnson—congas on 2 tracks, percussion on 4 tracks, rattles, shakers on 1 track
Scott Thunes—bass on 3 tracks
Tawatha Agee, Cindy Mizelle, Fonzi Thornton, Pal Shazar, Jules Shear, Roger Greenawalt, Laura Lee Ash, Darwin Buschman MD, Fiona Prendergast, Terry Wetmore—backing vocals
Jere Peters—Native American Rattles on 1 track
George Stathos Greek Clarinet on 1 track
Niko Bolas—effects on 1 track
Steve Holley—drums on 1 track
Brian Stanley—bass on 1 track
Caroline Lavelle—cello on 1 track
Billy Connolly—voiceover on 1 track
Ljubisa "Lubi" Ristic—sitar on 1 track
Jim Keltne-drums on 1 track
James Campagnola—sax on 1 track

Produced by:

Mike Scott and Bill Price (10 tracks) Mike Scott (2 tracks)


OK, so there isn't a band, but for all essential purposes, Mike Scott IS The Waterboys. And this album definitely is a triumphant return to the rock style that he started with. (

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Entry last updated 2017-09-06 19:26:26.
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