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4.5 out of 5 stars
Room To Roam
Format: Audio CDChange
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
This 11 August 2008 re-issue is part of EMI's "COLLECTOR'S EDITION" series and is a 2CD major overhaul and remaster of the Waterboys much loved 5th album. Here's the breakdown:

DISC 1 (42:43 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 17 are the album "Room To Roam" released September 1990 in the UK on Ensign Records CHEN 16
DISC 2 (49:03 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 17 are "Additional Recordings" - 14 studio outtakes with 3 live recordings

Mike Scott has overseen the song choices, presentation, the booklet. The first half of the excellent inlay produces the original album credits, lyrics etc - the second half does the same for Disc 2 - including full session details, lyrics, photos of the band, a history of the album and their stay in Ireland by Scott, Sharon Shannon and Noel Bridgeman's influence and knowledge of Traditional music - all of it - very nicely done...

The Waterboys Band and Session Players for the LP were:
MIKE SCOTT on Lead Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards (principal songwriter)
ANTO THISLETHWAITE on Baritone Saxophone, Mandolin
COLIN BLAKEY on Whistle, Flute, Hammond Organ and Piano
STEVE WICKHAM on Fiddle, Hammond Organ and Backing Vocals
TREVOR HUTCHINSON on Double Bass and Bouzouki
NOEL BRIDGEMAN on Drums, Percussion and Backing Vocals
SHARON SHANNON guest player on Accordion and Fiddle

Recorded in Galway in the West of Ireland over many months, "Room..." follows on from the `Traditional Irish Folk Meets Rock' of "Fisherman's Blues" in 1988; it's simply more of the same. But what's improved most here is the SOUND. The remaster is beautiful, clean and clear - loads of space and warmth around the instruments - my 1990 original CD is a bit haggard compared to this. Steve Wickham's lovely fiddle playing on "A Man Is In Love" sails out of the speakers. The bass on all tracks is warm and backdrops everything with a real sweetness. Many of the songs are now LOUD too, but not in that overbearing way, more live-in-your-living-room - and wonderful for it. Improvements would include the fiddle jaunt of "Natural Bridge Blues" which is now so clear - the sax break on "Something That I Lost" - the whack of the drums on the Traditional Irish Air made famous by Planxty, "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy" - all fabulous work done with the master tapes. And the album's best track "A Life Of Sundays" with Noel Bridgeman's great backing vocals is now just HUGE - a wow!

But the biggest surprise is DISC 2, which I feared would be rammed full of worthy but dull filler. It isn't. It does of course have some clinkers - the 3 live tracks are ok, but full of drunken crowd shouts that detract too much and could have been dropped, while the cassette quality of "Florence" in "Danny Murphy/Florence" is unlistenable. But the rest of it is excellent - proper studio out-takes - and some that would make you wonder why they didn't make the finished album. "Three Ships" sounds like something that came off "This Is The Sea" - a trippy instrumental jaunt with Celtic overtones - excellent stuff. "Sunny Sailor Boy" is gorgeous - a genuine bonus track. "A Strathspey In The Rain At Dawn" is simply SHARON SHANNON and her accordion with Irish rainfall and birds tweeting as her backdrop - very pretty. A real rarity, however, is the lovely Irish-Only 1989 single release of "Down By The Sally Gardens" which features the wizened and emotive lead vocals of TOMAS MacEOIN. And as the slow air of "A Song For The Life" draws Disc 2 to a close, it's hard not to be moved.

MIKE SCOTT has always been a magical songwriter to me - an artist who pens a tune that nails you - moves you impossibly - and then you find yourself backtracking - buying up everything that he and his band have ever done.

To sum up, I've come back to this album not expecting much, but this great re-issue is making me love it all over again. Sure, as you can see from the short playing time of both discs, with a bit of judicious pruning on Disc 2, they could've been combined and would have made an excellent single CD thereby saving us punters a few bob. But I won't begrudge THE WATERBOYS a sausage - anything new by them is good news in my book and well worth paying for.

"Room To Roam" COLLECTOR'S EDITION is a nice album made a whole lot better - and with a top REMASTER too. Highly, highly recommended.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2003
One of the great joys of The Waterboys is that they've triumphantly defied pigeon-holing. With a recording career of nearly 20 years they've covered territory from prog rock to New Romanticism via pure, unashamed acoustic rootsy folk music. Where earlier Waterboys albums were full of "the Big Music" that could be grandiose at best, insufferably pompous at worst, "Room to Roam" is a collection of the short, the simple and the extremely quirky. Acoustic instrumentation, and songs that wouldn't be out of place in the local folk club, dominate, but hints of the trademark Mike Scott "big sound" are everywhere, from the epic "A Life of Sundays" to the infectious "Further Up, Further In" and the heartfelt tavern singalong of "Room to Roam". Gentler touches, such as the beautiful "A Man is In Love", intersperse the album - some songs clock in at half a minute or less! - and give the whole a sunny, straightforward, life-affirming feel. Scott's literary and mythological obsessions crop up every two or three songs - C.S. Lewis being particularly in evidence, as you can tell from "Further Up..." - as he continues his never-ending quest to find the meaning of life; but, although most of the album is about journeying, you're definitely left with the impression that this is a pleasant place to rest.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2001
So, the "music lover", from Wales finds nothing to reccommend in this album....
For many long-term Waterboys fans however, Room to Roam occupies a special place in our hearts. It's the album that introduced us to the fabulous Sharon Shannon. Trevor Hutchinsons majestic bass (now heard to great effect with Lunasa), Mike Scott's lyrics affectionate and playful (Islandman, Song from the End of the World), and the whole band playing with a zest and sparkle that makes you glad that you woke up again. By all means avoid if you only like your songwriters cynical, embittered, hateful and depressing. Otherwise, "come on in, the Water's lovely"!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2000
An outstanding album, perfectly capturing a time and place in the ongoing saga of the Waterboys.
Their move to Ireland coloured their "Fisherman's Blues" album, but "Room to Roam" took it to a whole new level. Intimate, full of life, stories, hope, fun, whimsy (and whiskey!) and marvellous soaring folk music - the whole is so uplifting.
A move away from the Big Music - but a truly marvellous album.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2006
Few records truly have a special place in your heart, but this is one. So much so that I went to Spiddal and drank at T'Hughes bar to try and get a feel of what happened during the recording of this wonderful record!
Mike Scott's linking up with Steve Wickham, Colin Blakey, Sharon Shannon et all changed my musical views and to an extent tastes.
Hear was a group of musicans enjoying playing together, you could hear it in every note, and s***ing the consequences, which were sell out tours to the USA.
From the simple beauty of In Search of a Rose, A Man is in Love, How long will I Love You through Island Man, Something That is Gone to A Life of Sundays to all the 30 second interludes inbetween this is stamped classic.
NO Its not the big music, its bigger!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2000
This is typical example of how to write a simple effective tune while sitting in a rocking chair gazing through big french windows to the outside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with acoustic guitar in hand and strumming a few chords together to write a tune as good as " A man is in love" and "How long will I love you" and feeling pleased with yourself inside, a feeling of warmth even when it's freezing cold outside with the wrath of the Atlantic wind beating against the windows, driving the rain on !!!! This is what it's all about............. !!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2012
Mike Scott has gone for full-immersion irish on this album (with his typical inspiring quirky exceptions). This is a direction he had been heading before this release. It works well on many levels, and for those, like myself, who have a warm affection for this album, Mike's excellent reminiscences included on the Waterboy's website adds to the experience.

This album brings together a vast & eclectic range of musicians, with Mike being the cohesive and imaginative force that brings this together to make a varied and original take on a fantastic part of the world. In spite of being imbued with irish style, as usual pleasant surprises await,with tracks such as 'Spring comes to Spiddal' and 'Roam to Roam' fitting in perfectly without any diddle-ee-dee at all. The stand out for me is the pairing of Scott's wonderful song 'A man is in love' with the trad tune 'Kaliope House'. Has there ever been a more life affirming combination? The impulse to get up up and do a reel is hard to resist (even with my two left feet!)

This album combines many very talented people in a musical journey that always has me longing for Galway Bay & Connemara. Mike harnesses many positive ideas to produce a delightful gaelic lucky bag that has so much variety that it's stylistic changes and novelty still delights me after many years of listening.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2011
Another Waterboys album has been given an excellent remastering and repackaging job. This reissue is well worth buying, and includes 12 "new" tracks on the bonus cd. That being said it corresponds generally to my overall view of Mike Scott's work. When he's good he's in the front rank, and most of the time he is very good. However there are almost invariably moments on his albums when he enters a "twee" neo -mystic area which he can carry off surprisingly well, but which can turn embarassing/bombastic.You have to roll with the punches!!!......
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2008
A beautifully simple and pleasurable album from the great Scott. I'm my opinion it is here that you will find some of the greatest love songs you are ever likely to hear; "How Long Will I Love You," & "A Man is in Love," are just stunning. Other notable tracks are; "Something That is Gone," "Bigger Picture" and "Raggle Taggle Gypsy." The later being a right royal exuberant jig that never fails to raise a smile. The new second disc is a real mixture, early favourites are definitely: "Song for the life" and "Sunny Sailor Boy". If you're thinking of expanding your Waterboys library then you are strongly advised to dip into Room to Roam.
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on 13 June 2014
On Room to Roam the Waterboys emphasized the folk element of their folk-rock fusion sound. The song “A Man is In Love”, however, begins as a straight pop love song by Mike Scott, based around strummed piano and guitar chords with just hints of folk through the violin and flute solo lines within the arrangement. The conceit of writing the lyrics in the third person until the end is a simple, but effective way of providing a punch line with impact: “A man is in love – and he’s me”. That’s reinforced by the gradual build up in instrumentation as the song progresses – two verses, the flute solo and then the final verse, with no chorus.

And that leads up to the coda, which suddenly takes off into a lively instrumental jig in 6/8 time, listed as a separate track called “Kaliope House” on the original CD booklet. Although essentially unrelated, this fits perfectly with the song, turning it into a joyous dance. It sounds traditional but was in fact composed by Dave Richardson of the Scottish band The Boys of the Lough, and it has since been adopted (more often named “Calliope House”) as if it were traditional by many others, including Riverdance. Mike Scott and the Waterboys are still recording: 2011’s An Appointment With Mr Yeats earned highly appreciative reviews.
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