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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 8 May 2006
Ever since Mike Scott released the sublime Fisherman's Blues in 88 I have been a big fan of this cd. Listening to it clountless times over the decades the music never seems to date, always sounding fresh and fulfilling. So what to make of the new disc 2? Well, in short it's easily the equal of disc 1... if not better! From the first track Carolan's Welcome we're given the impression that this is a solid continuation of the first and original album, there's the beautiful tin whistle accompanying fiddles and bouzouki... but wait...there's a country-rock arrangement figuring heavily in the next song, Killing My Heart which is fantastic!! Then we have You In The Sky, a never-released, never-performed-in-concert song inspired by an American Indian poem set to gospel music. What follows then is music I can only describe as a joy that'll put a big fat smile on your face... this is so good you wonder what was the logic in keeping it under lock and key for so long. This is a goldmine! The uptempo blues If I Can't Have You is worth the album price alone...and just wait till hear Rattle My Bones And Shiver My Soul!!! Trust me, if you like the original Fisherman's Blues then you're gonna love this one. The sound is a vast improvement over the 80's recording that up until now was the only version available. In short, this has been given the same treatment as the remastered This is The Sea 2 discer... but this is much much much better.
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"Fishermans Blues" on its original release in 1988, marked a significant step away from the grandiose "big music" they had produced for their earlier albums "A Pagan Place "and "This Is The Sea". It was the guest appearance of violinist Steve Wickham on the track "The Pan Within" from "This Is The Sea" that precipitated the bands change of musical direction to a mixture of more organic folk, country and traditional Irish music. Mike Scott had relocated to Dublin after spending time in Ireland with Wickham and it had a profound effect on his writing as he ,by some sort of musical osmosis, drew on the culture and history around him to produce an album that at the time divided the critics but for me ,was and still is, their best album . It is intimate and warm yet still retains the striking romanticism and epic scope of their previous work.

As ever it's the quality of the songs that really raises "Fishermans Blues" to the mezzanine level of brilliance. Though there are covers - A lovely version of Van Morrisons "Sweet Thing"- and an interpretation of a traditional song -"When Will Be Married?" the originals are just fabulous There is also an almost un-bearably poignant setting to music of William Butler Yeats poem "The Stolen Child" sung by Irish vocalist Tomas Mckeown with tender backing by Scott. THis is one of those songs, like The Triffids "Save What You Can" or "The Forgiveness Song "by The Walkabouts that always leaves me with a lump in the throat the size of a pomegranate.

The album revolves around fiddle, violin, mandolin, Hammond organ and is suitably effervescent and for the main part joyous. The title track more or less confirms this within thirty seconds from Scott's first euphoric whoop and the blissfully whirling violin. There is the country tribute to Hank Williams "Has Anyone Here Seen Hank?" and the more traditionally rock strains of "World Party" , co-written with Karl Wallinger, who of course went on to form a band of the same name. The amusingly whimsical "And A Bang On The Ear" is Scott's run down of his former romantic attachments. "Strange Boat" has a hypnotic melody and a more reflective aura, while "When Ye Go Away" is simply a gorgeous lovelorn lament. The highlight though is "We Will Not Be Lovers" which has furious squalls of violin and a Scott vocal bordering on the demonic, the sound of someone trying very hard to convince himself of something he is not entirely sure about.

The extra tracks come from the same recording sessions where the band recorded over 100 masters .Some from those sessions have already seen the light of day on 2002 compilation "Dream Harder" and like that they are a mixed bunch. There are alternate versions of the title track, "When Ye Go Away", here called "Killing My Heart" and "When Will We Be Married" that add little to the definitive versions. Also here are two Dylan covers "Girl Of The North Country", a truly great song and "Nobody Cept You". None of the new songs make you long for their inclusion on the original, in fact they vindicate the initial choice of songs but they are at the very least compelling compliments to the original and as are all the songs from these sessions are wonderfully arranged and performed.

"Fishermans Blues" is an album I never tire of hearing. The sheer joy and contagious brio that the musicians communicate with their playing transcribes itself on the listener and even in its doughtier moments that passion is still tangible. Music this detersive is sadly all too rare. I reiterate, easily The Waterboys finest album, a wind swept salty gem.
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on 27 May 2006
I remember the first time I heard "Fishermans Blues" was in Brighton during a backpacking trip back in 1990. I was blown away and have ad it in my player ever since! I'm a diehard fan I guess you could say! Well the new collectors edition is just as amazing. "Killing my Heart" is an upbeat version of "When Ye Go Away" and the title track has been revamped with flutes and a laidback bouncieness that is truly refreshing. The Dylan covers rock and there are a few of the best tracks from "The Live Adventures Of The Waterboys". Its a great 2nd disc as good as the first. For those that don't have the first yet. It's a classic and if you like Irish folk/rock music it belongs in your collection.
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on 18 December 2011
I have to say I'm at odds with the vast majority of reviews here on Amazon. For me the album starts superbly. The opening track is far & away the best thing on here, whilst tracks 2 & 3 keep up a good standard and mood. But from there on it tails away into bland, unadventurous folk - overwhelmingly unspecial.
I thought this the first time I heard it it upon release, and having acquired the remaster 23 years later, that view is cemented.
I've absolutely nothing against bands re-inventing themselves and changing style in order to progress. Indeed it is to be admired. The problem is their early works were unique, cutting edge, and sounded like nothing else. This isn't, and doesn't.
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VINE VOICEon 29 March 2004
This isn't the best Waterboys album (I'm still in two minds about "Room to Roam" or "This is the Sea" for that accolade), but in many ways this is the quintessential snapshot of the musical pilgrimages of Mike Scott, Anto Thistlethwaite and the gang. It's the point where the musical direction turned, or possibly achieved a sharper focus; without keyboard maestro Karl Wallinger, whose instrumentation defined the grand sound of the early Waterboys, the band were free to travel in a more acoustic, folky direction, aided and abetted by fiddle player Steve Wickham who provides the distinctive sound of this album. That's not to say that the Waterboys have recorded a finger-in-the-ear, Aran-sweater-wearing folk album. The big, post-punk sound of earlier albums is still in evidence here (particularly on the title track and "We Will Not Be Lovers"), just given a new dimension through some perfectly judged fiddle-work. A softer, more whimsical note is provided by "Strange Boat" and the single "And a Bang on the Ear", both of which hint at territory later explored much more thoroughly in "Room to Roam"; a perfect mid-point between all these influences is found in the cover of Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing" (one of those rare things, a cover far better than the original!) which establishes the Waterboys firmly in the canon of folk-rock greats. The hidden gem of the album, though, is the breathtaking setting of the W.B. Yeats poem, "The Stolen Child" - a glimpse of the fairyland which Mike Scott seems to have spent most of his career seeking.
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on 9 May 2007
After releasing the majestic This Is The Sea in 1985, lead Waterboy Mike Scott realised that he couldn't take the Big Music of his first three LPs any further and sought a change in direction. Fortuitously, he met the brilliant fiddler Steve Wickham at about the same time. Steve invited Mike to Ireland for a week's holiday - he ended up staying several years...

From early 86 to mid 88, Mike, Steve, Anthony Thistlethwaite and other assorted Waterboys recorded the songs which eventually found their way on to Fisherman's Blues. The Fisherman's sessions are the stuff of legend with far more excellent songs recorded than could be fitted onto the original LP. Mike Scott finally came back to the recordings in the early noughties and released a second LP Too Close To Heaven in 2001. He has now dipped into the sessions again for a remastered version of the original album with a second CD of further previously unreleased songs and versions.

So are the songs on disc two worth their belated release? Definitely because they add further historical context to the Waterboys' Fisherman's period and include a handful of lost classics which are finally unearthed to the outside world. We finally get to hear the studio version of late 80s live favourite Meet Me At The Station as well as the superb scratchy jazz-blues of If I Can't Have You. Best of all perhaps is the epic You In The Sky, a lost treasure liked so much by Scott that he has recorded a new version of it for the new Waterboys LP Book of Lightning.

As well as containing excellent music, the Collector's Edition of Fisherman's Blues is also superbly packaged with an enlightening essay by Mike Scott on his lengthy Irish sojourn and musician credits and commentary for every song. The Collector's Edition is a fascinating document of a semi-legendary musical adventure and splendid souvenir for the Waterboys' loyal fanbase. It is also a very worthy addition to the collection of any contemporary or roots music fan.
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on 1 October 2002
Fisherman's blues is one of the finest recordings of the 80's and one of the most under-rated, as well. Bono Vox of U2 once said this was one of his favourite albums. Released in 1988, this timeless classic succeeds in mixing lots of different influences - such as folk, punk, rock, blues and Irish traditional music - in an extremely personal and cohesive way. In fact, although the different influences are easily detectable still the band sounds unique. Along with the music also the lyrics are worth of praise.
In particular the humourous - and witty - "And a bang of the ear" which is a really original love-song and one of the finest tracks of the album. An absolute must-have.
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on 5 December 1999
A perfect blend of Rock and Folk Music - Fishermans Blues may have been a radical departure for the Waterboys but it is a classic. This album needs to be played at full volume for the best effect. From the grand title track to the more sombre final song 'The Stolen Child' there is something for all fans of the band. Stand out tracks are the excellent cover of Van Morrisons 'Sweet Thing', 'World Party' and the sad lament of 'When ye go Away'. Buy it, Play it and Enjoy.
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on 21 February 2015
, its brilliant from the singer to the poem by yates , to the beat to the fiddle, some song are not as good as others but fair play to mike scott he does try and change style , i found the cd up lifting,a breath of fresh air , beause to me its simple music you could hear this album in a bar and still enjoy it , the best track is a bang on the ear, beause you hear the full voice of mike scott , second would be fisherman's blues , i think most people yearn to be away from this mad world we live in , i would say most would love to be in clear blue water and warm blue sky's for me this is one of the best cd's ive bought in a long time next would be to see him or the water boys live , but please don't over look the last track the stolen child as for me this is a gem of a song and to hear the words of w.b yates set to music and done very well is worth the price in its self
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on 13 August 2008
"Strange Boat", "We will not be Lovers", "Fisherman's Blues", & "A Bang on the Ear" - This is how songs should be written and how they should sound. Scott lets us into his world and it's fantastic. The second disc is full of treasures. One of the greatest Waterboys albums.
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