The Waterboys – A Girl Called Johnny – Seven Inch
Chicken Jazz Records 1983
Led by the literate singer/songwriter Mike Scott, the group’s sole constant member, the mercurial Waterboys formed in London in 1981. Born December 14, 1958 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Scott first became involved in music as the creator of the fanzine Jungleland, and later played in a series of local punk outfits. After college, where he studied English and philosophy, Scott and his band, Another Pretty Face, moved to London; following the group’s breakup, he formed the Waterboys, so named after a line in the Lou Reed song “The Kids” but wholly appropriate given Scott’s recurring lyrical fascination with sea imagery.
A newspaper advertisement calling for musicians led to a response from multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thistlethwaite; along with drummer Kevin Wilkinson, the Waterboys issued their self-titled debut in 1983. Keyboardist Karl Wallinger and trumpeter Roddy Lorimer joined for the 1984 follow-up A Pagan Place, which expanded the group’s rich, dramatic sound while further exploring Scott’s interest in spirituality. With 1985’s This Is the Sea, the Waterboys reached an early peak; a majestic, ambitious record, it earned the group a significant hit with the single “The Whole of the Moon.”
However, after the album’s release, Wallinger departed to form World Party, which prompted Scott and Thistlethwaite to relocate to Ireland and begin with a clean slate. When the Waterboys returned in 1988 with the acclaimed Fisherman’s Blues, they were joined by traditional Irish players like fiddler Steve Wickham, drummer Dave Ruffy, keyboardist Guy Chambers and bassist Marco Weissman, resulting in a stripped-down, folky sound that was continued on 1990s Room to Roam.
1. A Girl Called Johnny
2. The Late Train To Heaven