The Waterboys began in the early 80s but they didn’t appear on my radar until nearly a decade later when I traced the roots of former member Karl Wallinger to Mike Scott’s Irish / Scottish rock band. Over the course of their history, the Waterboys’ sound has run the gamut of rock, world, and Irish folk music all the while imbuing their sound with an ethereal and mythical sound. Perhaps this is the quality I admire most about the band: They create enchanting narratives that lead the listener straightaway to another land or epoch.
The song that crystallizes this musical trait for me most is their “The Return of Jimi Hendrix” from their 1993 album, Dream Harder. With a title such as this, the guitar is prominently featured and the lyrics are delivered with a fervor that would handily grab the Spoken Word prize at any poetry festival.
I close my eyes and I am transported to his dream: there is Jimi come back to life for one magnificent night of pure and unbridled jamming for every rocker who ever cared about the power, enormity, and possibility of music. It’s a story, like any other story, that has a beginning, middle, and end so it would be selfish to share anymore than that and spoil it for you. Instead, I’d suggest you turn on your living room speakers, close your eyes, and invite Jimi to come alive and jam way in your home for a tragically short five minutes and fifty seconds.
Click on Jimi to listen.