Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Song #434 of 9999 - Fisherman's Blues by The Waterboys

Song #434 of 9999

Title: Fisherman's Blues
Artist: The Waterboys

Year: 1988
Album: Fisherman's Blues

One of my favorite songs of the last decade is "Four Winds" by Bright Eyes, which I profiled way back on November 14, 2011 in this blog's infancy. Whenever I hear that song, which I think is absolutely brilliant, I am reminded of this 1988 title track from The Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues. Not unlike Conor Oberst's Cassadaga (the album containing "Four Winds"), Fisherman's Blues was considered a departure for The Waterboys, who set aside their aspirations as a rock band and embraced their Scottish-Irish country roots.

The songs have similar feels, though Oberst's is certainly more sophisticated lyrically and otherwise. But "Fisherman's Blues" retains its charms, which are more visceral in nature. The song seems to just pour out of the musicians, who weave a fabric of fiddles, mandolins and acoustic guitars over a rollicking rhythm section. Mike Scott's voice is perfect for this sort of setting, convincing in its quivery rasp. The song rings out a celebration of life and transcendent death with a simple but effective hook: with light in my head/you in my arms. A Celtic spiritual for the working class.

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