When Fisherman's Blues was released in 1988 I was more than a little disappointed with the album. "What's with all this bouzouki shit" was my initial thoughts. Gone was the epic sound of the previous album replaced by this irish/Scottish folky feel not without it's epic moments when you look a little closer as four of the tracks on the original vinyl clock in at over 7 minutes. It took me quite a bit of time to warm to the album but in the end I did succumb to it's charms but not enough to invest in the 7 disc retrospective release of the album in 2013. These days Strange Boat, We Will Not Be Lovers, the title track and Scott and his ensemble's version of the Van Morrison penned Sweet Thing.
My favourite track is "And A Bang On The Ear" in which Mike Scott takes a verse each to recount past girlfriends, lovers and that first unrequited love.. His bittersweet recollections are given such an uplifting mood by the music that I am incapable of listening to it without smiling and to tell you the truth remembering past dalliances of my own. It was a while until I found out that the title meant a peck on the cheek or similar affection.
A few yours ago their was a particularly good edition of Master Tapes on Radio 4 in the UK where Mike Scott discussed the making of Fisherman's Blues with John Wilson and a studio audience who also fired questions at the musician. I am still waiting for Wilson to get Roddy Frame on the programme to discuss the making of High Land Hard Rain, now that would be an episode worth the license fee alone.
The Waterboys - And A Bang On The Ear