W is for Waterboys

I have always felt an odd nostalgia for the Waterboys song All the Things She Gave Me which gives me strange flashbacks of dew drenched Welsh parks and the ragged mosaic on the pathway of my old student house, although I don't know quite why.

During a rather tempestuous relationship with a girl called V, I was keen on this track and I like the emphasis on burning love tokens. While I'm all for harmonious break-ups, there's something wonderfully cathartic about burning belongs, although I can't say I've done it. For a start V never gave me anything to burn.

The Waterboys are a curious Scottish, Irish rag tag of style and substance. I saw them once in the very un-Celtic surroundings of Milton Keynes, when they were blasting out This is the Sea and The Whole of the Moon.

At the time in the early 1980s they were associated with the Big Music sound and were often spoken of in the same breath as bands such as Big Country and Simple Minds, the band they were warming up for at Milton Keynes.

The second album A Pagan Place was rather awesome, and underrated, containing tracks such as All the Things She Gave Me, A Pagan Place and A Church Not Made of Hands, which was a rather ambitious attempt to depict spirituality in nature.

The band never received the commercial success it deserved, although, after an initial outing at number 26, The Whole of the Moon, returned to the UK charts to reach Number 2.

Founder Mike Scott, a Scotsman, was accused of selling out by some critics, when the band's fourth album Fisherman's Blues in 1988, took on an Irish folksy theme.

The band has always been anchored in literature. Recently Scott set 20 W.B. Yeats poems to music in an enterprise that evolved into a show entitled An Appointment With Mr. Yeats.

Although the Waterboys have been labelled as Christian rockers this is not entitely accurate. Thier influences, state Wikipedia, are romantic Neopaganism and esotericism of authors such as Yeats and Dion Fortune, which can be observed in the repeated references to the ancient Greek deity Pan in both "The Pan Within" and "The Return of Pan".

This relieves me no end. I am always in favor of a spot of Neopaganism to liven up a wet Thursday afternoon.

Curious fact about the Waterboys - the band has had dozens of members. More than 50 people have been Waterboys at some time or another.


  1. Wow, this is my first listen and I love them! While I liked all the tracks you posted, the first two are my fave! Thanks for introducing me to yet another band that I really enjoy. :) The neopagan influence is obvious and yes a relief. Not sure if you were serious, but I am. :)

  2. Love The Waterboys. I didn't discover them until Fisherman's Blues though. That's still one of my favorite records-love their version of Sweet Thing.

  3. I've loved The Waterboys for many years but the first time I saw them live was mid July last year at Latitude Festival. It was absolutely pouring down and I was soaked to the skin but it was still completely magical and I just loved them even more.

  4. Yey thought you'd like. I'm not a big expert on neo paganism but it sounds more groovy than going to church. 4sure Tim - that was a great cover and I liked The Stolen Child too. Ok jealous button Abi. They are mega great.


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