365 Days of Songs (1988)
The Waterboys, “When Ye Go Away”
It’s hard to pick one Waterboys song to write about, because their “Big Music” phase was essentially a totally different band than their more trad-oriented group on Fisherman’s Blues. I’m not going to cheat and write about both, but if I were going to write about a song from A Pagan Place or This Is the Sea, I’d have a tough time choosing; “The Whole of the Moon” is an absolute classic in every aspect; “A Pagan Place” is propulsive, dynamic, and more successful take on the primitive inside the civilized than “Savage Earth Heart,” the closer to their debut album; and “Red Army Blues” is an expansive, historical mini-rock opera I’ve grown to love over the years.
But the strength of Fisherman’s Blues is its intimacy, and this song is as intimate as it gets. It has what I’d call a relaxed intensity; a group of musicians in a room playing freely, yet tapping into the shared vision of this song: something mournful, both a greeting and a goodbye.