thu 18/04/2024

CD: The Waterboys - Where the Action Is | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Waterboys - Where the Action Is

CD: The Waterboys - Where the Action Is

Mike Scott muses on his youthful musical, literary and geographical influences

Where the Action Is: Mike Scott looks backwards

Mike Scott has never been afraid to call on high-brow literary influences in his songwriting – 2011’s An Appointment With Mr Yeats album being the most obvious example.

Now, almost forty years (on and off) into the Waterboys’ career, Scott takes a more all-encompassing view on the influences that have fired up his literate yet soulful rock’n’roll: be they musical, geographical or bookish.

The title track, which opens Where the Action Is, is a vamp on Robert Parker’s Northern Soul classic “Let’s Go Baby” and makes it clear that Scott and his crew won’t be revisiting the band’s Raggle Taggle folkie years this time around. Instead, Brother Paul Brown’s soulful organ takes control while Scott yearns for something that reaches beyond mere artifice and digs considerably deeper. Elsewhere, “London Mick” is a fanboy homage to Clash guitarist Mick Jones, “Then She Made the Lasses O” pulls on Robert Burns’ “Green Grow the Rushes O” and “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” is a tribute to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.

“Ladbroke Grove Symphony”, on the other hand, is an ode to a bohemian West London that has all but been killed off by the forces of gentrification. A mellow but cool tale, it takes in pretty much all of the musical styles that once could be easily heard just by walking down a few roads in W10, from rock’n’roll to jazz and reggae. So, let it not be said that Scott’s influences aren’t diverse, to say the very least.

Mike Scott may no longer be the young man who gave us “Don’t Bang the Drum” and “A Girl Called Johnny” but he is far from being a Bono-like pompous windbag and on this evidence, he’s not only not finished, but he may yet achieve the same mythic status of some of his own great influences.

Scott takes an all-encompassing view on the influences that have fired up his literate yet soulful rock’n’roll


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