Waterboys [UK Bonus Tracks]

by: The Waterboys

When the Waterboys' self-titled album was released originally in July 1983, it was an auspicious debut for an ambitious group, its 43 and a half minutes and eight tracks bursting with a powerful, compressed sound and leader Mike Scott's reedy tenor singing emotionally of big issues. Scott didn't seem to have a handle on his passions or his music yet, but his conviction was compelling. Nineteen years later, he has expanded the album by 33 minutes and seven tracks for this reissue, changing its overall feel and revealing more about its genesis. In his liner notes, Scott writes that the original intention was for him to make a solo album, but that the group grew up as he found people to play with, beginning with saxophonist Anthony Thistlethwaite. Nevertheless, much of the playing is by Scott. He seems to have recorded a large amount of material, then cut it down to the length of a single LP. (Some songs were held for the second album, A Pagan Place.) Thus, "Gala," though featured on the original album, was edited; here it runs nine and a half minutes. "Where Are You Now When I Need You?," originally slotted as the fifth track, was excised and used as the B-side to the single "December"; it is restored to its rightful place. Scott has also rescued another song from a single, "Ready for the Monkeyhouse," and added four previously unreleased songs, plus the original mix of "December." Waterboys fans will welcome all of this new material, but for anyone encountering The Waterboys for the first time, the experience of listening to it will be different. What was once focused is now sprawling, but Scott's vision is closer to being realized; he had a lot to say in 1983, and now he is given more of an opportunity to say it. ~ William Ruhlmann

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