Spiddal Beach Art created by Micheál Ó Flaithearta on a beautiful day in Spiddal.
Welcome to the Fisherman's Blues Page. This Page contains some background of the recording in Spiddal, some eyewitness stories, a Tomás MacEoin interview, a round-up of various record/CD pressings, cassettes, memorabilia and other pieces relating to the Fisherman's Blues album.
Fisherman's Blues was released (after some delay) in October 1988 to great acclaim and ecstatic reviews in Ireland, Europe and beyond. It saw the band embark on one their longest ever tours worldwide (only surpassed by the 'Modern Blues' tour) and the album sold by the truckload.
This album is still as relevant and vital today as it was on the day it was released.
A heartfelt thank you to Tomás MacEoin for the invitation to his home for a chat.
Sincere thanks to Breda Hughes for opening Tígh Hughes Pub to the Fan Site, Martina Goggin, Véronique Castellanos, Micheál Ó Flaithearta and his parents Anne and Séan Tim Flaherty.
Thank you to Takako Saito, Dag Reinert Johansen, Flattop, Enrico Parco, Paul Murphy, Javi Morant and Harry Schets for contributing items to this web page.
* If you happen to have a rare piece of memorabilia that is not shown here, please send a photo on and it shall be added. *
These photos (and the photo above) were taken at a photo shoot at Windmill Lane Studios during the Fisherman's Blues recording sessions, after Mike had given an interview to Irish music magazine 'Rhythm & Bitch Review'. This magazine was produced by the Art students of University College Dublin.
Authentic Two Gold Discs for sales of the Fisherman's Blues album in Ireland.
Tígh Hughes Pub in Spiddal was the beating heart of the village and a hub for the band where they would relax and socialise with locals after all-day recording sessions in Spiddal House.
Breda Hughes the owner of this very fine public house, has many stories to tell and recalls all the local people of the village having a great fondness for the band and crew and being very protective towards them.
Breda says: 'They all had bicycles and they used to cycle all over the village. And they bought Tomás a bicycle too.'
'There were musicians that would arrive and who would pop up to them in Spiddal House and when they had finished, it would be ten or eleven o'clock, they would come down here. Or sometimes when they were very busy recording they would ring down on the house phone and ask for drinks. And we would sit in the car with a full tray of pints of Guinness resting on our knees and head off up the driveway.'
Martina Goggin remembers: 'We used to have the set dancing above there (points to floor in front of the fireplace) and come ten o'clock the boys would come in. And they would usually watch us dance although I don't think they ever joined in. Mike was always interested in listening to the music.'
Breda continues: 'And we would get phone calls here in the pub from people looking to talk to someone in the band about something, they thought they were ringing Spiddal House and I'd say "They are above recording but I'll pass the message on when they come in later." '
'They were a great bunch of lads and they gave a huge boost to the economy of the area, between renting accommodation, buying fuel and groceries and socialising in the pub.'
'And if say, tourists were asking "Are the Waterboys staying here?" we would say "They are busy recording but they might be around tomorrow". The locals were very protective of them and wouldn't have anyone wandering up uninvited to see them. And sure there was no security or anything like that in those days, they were different times. So we would make sure that they were left alone.'
Séan Tim Flaherty remembers the band and Mike very fondly. He says: 'Mike Scott was a gentleman, a pure gentleman, that is how I would describe him.'
There is a lovely story behind this photo. Breda recalls: 'There was a group of school children who wanted to see the band play in the pub but as it was evening time it was too late for them to go inside, so the band came outside and played a little concert just for them'.
The famous football match that took place in the grounds of the Irish College in Spiddal. The teams included many members of The Waterboys, The Saw Doctors (in the opposing team) the crew and many locals. This team photo was taken on the day and proudly hangs in Tígh Hughes Pub. It also features on the inner sleeve of the Room to Roam album which was also recorded in Spiddal House. According to Micheál Ó Flaithearta, who was at the game: "They were only playing for a laugh and it was brilliant fun and the final score of the match was a draw at 2-2!"
Tomás MacEoin hardly needs any introduction here on this Fan Site. His sublime vocal on The Stolen Child is something that will have future generations in awe.
He is a very well respected poet, a singer and a sheanachaí (Story Teller). He has lived in the same house for his whole life and is held in the highest regard by musicians, poets and writers alike, including our President Michael D. Higgins.
In a nutshell, he is nothing less than a national treasure.
It was an enormous honour for this web author to spend a couple of hours in the company of this truly estimable man and to listen to him tell a few tales, to hear him sing some of his songs and recite some poetry including the aforementioned The Stolen Child in his own very distinctive voice.
(Photo: Tomás relaxing at his home with the Fisherman's Blues gold disc hanging behind him.)
Tomás is a man who has lived a full life and to see him you quickly realise that he just resonates with wisdom and has a wonderful sense of humour. The conversation veered in all directions covering many subjects but of interest to us here is his own recollection of his association with the band.
J: So Tomás have you lived here in this house for long?
Tomás: 'I'm here all my life. It used to be a thatched house as far back as I can remember. My father's name was James too, Jimmy MacEoin and my mother came from over beyond, (he points) there across the way. It was matchmaking back in those days. But the one thing that they had in common, which was strange, they were both mad for music, singing and dancing. My father was fairly good at dancing but he wasn't as good as me though!' (laughs)
J: And how did the Waterboys get a hold of you?
Tomás: 'I don't know. I had a habit of going, you know, where concerts were on or a session was happening. I had a habit of going amongst them and I would pretend I could sing better than them. I was a chancer.'
J: But you were well known as a great singer?
Tomás: 'Ah I suppose, or you talking about sewing machines? (laughs) Singer sewing machines! Ah no sure it was great! The first time I heard about them [the WBs] was on the radio but it didn't mean anything to me. I didn't know who they were when they were in Spiddal. Anyway, they came to the door one night and I was only after coming in from the bog and I knew they were around. So they were knocking on the door. "Who's there?" says I and they said "The Waterboys". I could see these two men outside with long hair. Anton.. and Trevor I think. "Go away" I said "I'm not paying for any more water!"' (laughs)
J: So you went off with them to Spiddal?
Tomás: 'I did. All the great musicians used to come to Spiddal village. And Spiddal House was where the recording was done, the old way. Mrs Buckley lived there and I met her a few times, a lovely woman. There was very little done to the house when the Waterboys were there. Big empty rooms.'
J: And when the record was finished and came out you went out on tour with them as well?
Tomás: 'Oh I did. I met the band in Spiddal, did the recording and I thought that was the end of it. But then Jimmy Hickey called in to me and said "We are going on a tour" and I said "Jimmy what are you talking about?" Jimmy says "We are going to see Mike, he wants to talk to you about it". So I went anyway, and I really enjoyed it.'
J: Do you remember where you started, the first concerts?
Tomás: 'We started off in Galway, in Seapoint, we did two nights and the roars and the cheers! Then we went to Dublin and to Sligo and Cork too I think. A crowd of young people there. Sure I couldn't believe it! It was great.'
J: And you went abroad too?
Tomás: 'We did. we went over to England and Scotland and Cardiff in Wales. And we went to France too. In Brittany. The local people would say [about me] "Where is he gone now?" "What has happened to him?" "He has gone mad!"' (laughs)
J: Thank you Tomás for seeing me and for the great chat.
Tomás: 'Not at all, thank you for visiting. They were great times. Life was wonderful then. Thank you for the memories.'
An outtake from the album cover photo shoot at Spiddal House. Note the extra instruments in the shot.
A rare set of unused record labels printed in September 1988 for the 'Fisherman's Blues' vinyl album.
These labels were leftover from the manufacture of the original first pressing of the vinyl LP for CBS Records - Ireland in the Carlton Productions plant in Dublin.
The original album which was released in October 1988.
This one is signed by the Fantastic Four. Thank you Enrico.
A rare South African pressing in a unique sleeve with gold font and an off-white background.
None of the band had ever seen a copy of this South African LP before.
A rare Zimbabwe pressing of Fisherman's Blues again with a unique sleeve. Thank you Flattop.
Original Argentina issue of Fisherman's Blues. with a black and white photo on back sleeve (with cover photo insert) and all titles on sleeve and labels in Spanish and English.
Probably the rarest of all the pieces on display here on this page, this is a full LP acetate of Fisherman's Blues with a different track listing and with all information on the sleeve and record labels handwritten by Mike. 'THIS IS THE ALBUM' was cut on September 3 1988.
This acetate is a true one-off and a unique artefact. Thank you Dag.
Thank you Dag.
A rare Swedish test pressing for Fisherman's Blues. Thank you Flattop.
Fisherman's Blues Single - Press Advert - Thank you Javi.
Standard releases 'Fisherman's Blues' and the 'And A Bang on The Ear' singles in generic sleeves.
Thank you Dag.
Australian 'Limited Edition' promo single of Fisherman's Blues in a picture sleeve.
Canadian promo 7-inch single of 'Fisherman's Blues' backed with 'Lost Highway'.
A South African promo 7-inch single of 'Fisherman's Blues' backed with 'Strange Boat' and also with the once mooted but discarded album title 'Fisherman's Blues Band'.
Thank you Harry.
Thank you Dag.
Thank you Dag.
This double A-side single of Down By The Sally Gardens backed with Blean Na Bó (Hey Rock N Roll) was released in 1989. It features Mike, Anto, Steve, Trevor, Noel Bridgeman, Colin Blakey and John Dunford. And it also features Liam O Maonlái on backing vocals.
Irish music magazine Hot Press covers from 1986 and 1989 with extensive interviews and concert reviews within.
Fisherman's Blues with two different sleeves.
Signed by the Fantastic Four. Thank you Javi.
12-inch promo singles of a Canadian 'Fisherman's Blues' and a UK 'And A Bang on The Ear'.
Australian 12-inch promo single of 'Fisherman's Blues'. Thank you Harry.
A 12-inch Fisherman's Blues Acetate backed with Lost Highway (photo insert) and signed by Mike, Steve and Anto. Thank you Dag.
Another outtake from the album cover photo shoot at Spiddal House.
Original Japan issue and 1999 reissue of Fisherman's Blues. Thank you Takako.
Two CD singles were released from Fisherman's Blues, the title track and And A Bang On The Ear. Both of these contain exclusive B-sides.
The Fisherman's Blues single was released as a two-track and a three-track and each with unique artwork.
And A Bang On The Ear Single - Press Advert with Colin Blakey - Thank you Javi.
The And A Bang On The Ear single is backed with a live Raggle Taggle Gypsy and this was released as both a 5-inch and a 3-inch CD.
The And A Bang On The Ear promo one-track UK CD and a US promo with tour dates sticker. Thank you Harry.
The cassette from South Africa has the same striking album art as the vinyl.
And uniquely it has 'Fisherman's Blues Band' as the album name on the cassette. This was once mooted as the actual album title.
Standard release cassette singles with same songs as vinyl and CD single releases.
Another promotional photo taken in Tigh Hughes Pub in An Spidéal, County Galway.
Four original Tour Laminates from 1988 and 1989.
Thank you Paul.
Press release in a gatefold cover. Thank you Harry.
A promo record shop display poster sent out to record stores in 1988. Thank you Dag.
This promotional postcard was inserted into some copies of the gold stamped promo only LP.
The description on the reverse of the card is: 'The Waterboys and their friends enjoying a beautiful spring day on the front porch of Spiddal House in County Galway, Ireland'.
This is a different promo card as it has band name and album title on the front and does not have the photo description on the reverse.
Promo photo for the album, taken in Tigh Hughes Pub in Spiddal and an original tour flyer.
A very scarce and beautifully printed Tour programme which was made for, and only on sale at the Olympia Theatre shows in Dublin. This Tour programme is highly sought after.
A rare poster for the Fisherman's Blues tour with all of the UK dates listed. Thank you Dag.
An original 'On Record - On Tour' poster for the Fisherman's Blues Tour with two 1988 gig tickets, two different promo postcards and backstage pass.
An original poster for the show in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Thank you Harry.
The Fisherman's Blues Revisted tour in 2013, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the original album release saw the return of Anto and Trevor to the fold and it was a triumph!
An original FBR Tour Laminate and a FBR 2013 tour flyer.
Original songbook released in 1989 containing music and lyrics from the album.
Rare Sheet Music for 'And A Bang On The Ear', housed in a triple gatefold printed wallet, and Quarto (slightly larger than A4) sized.
This unofficial but colourful scarf was on sale outside of the Irish shows in 1988 and 1989. Scarves like these were not made to be worn but to be waved aloft. It is added here as a novelty piece.
The 'Too Close To Heaven' album containing outtakes from the 'Fisherman's Blues' sessions was released in 2001.
Shown below are the album sleeve and a promo only CD single for 'A Home in the Meadow'.
Promo CD of 'Too Close To Heaven'. Thank you Harry.
And a one-track promo of 'Higher in Time' both in paper sleeves.
In the USA the 'Too Close To Heaven' album was released as 'Fisherman's Blues Part 2'.
Consisting of the same outtakes from the 'Fisherman's Blues' sessions, it also contains an extra bonus disc of five songs not on the conventional release.
Among these extra songs is a live version of 'Too Close To Heaven' from the Paradiso, Amsterdam in 2001.
The 2 CD Collectors Edition of Fisherman's Blues was released in 2006. Disc 2 contains a fabulous selection of more outtakes from the sessions.
This 2-track CD was released in 2008 with all profits going to the Strange Boat Donation Foundation which was set up by Martina and Denis Goggin following a family bereavement.
You can read more about the Strange Boat Foundation Here.
This 2-track CD featuring Sharon Shannon with Mike, Anto and Steve was released in 2009. It features an edit and a remix of Saints and Angels and it was also produced by Mike Scott.
2013 saw the release of the holy grail of songs from the Fisherman's Blues sessions. An incredible 121 songs culled from the recording sessions between 1986 and 1988. This box set was released as a luxury vinyl/CD box set and as a CD box. And Mike considers this wonderful collection to be the actual album.
Vinyl/CD Box and CD booklet signed by the Fantastic Four shown here.
This is the 5-track promo sampler 'Fisherman's Box' CD.