Release date: 25th April 2011
Taking its title from the opening line of Don’t Bang The Drum, the first song on 1985′s classic Waterboys’ album This Is The Sea, IN A SPECIAL PLACE is a 15-song collection exploring Mike Scott’s never before heard demos for the album, made available now for the first time.
Drawing on disparate and inspired influences, including The Velvet Underground, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, Steve Reich, Mark Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale, James Joyce, C.S. Lewis and WB Yeats, This Is The Sea was the third Waterboys album and the crystallisation of Scott’s singular vision, a culmination of the music he’d written and crafted since his teenage years in Scotland.
The album demos were recorded at Park Gates Studios, near Hastings, in March 1985. Present were only Scott and co-producer John Brand. The approach was simple: Scott sat at the piano, with his huge black book of songs, working through them one by one while the tape ran. Stripped of the layers of rich instrumentation which help to make This Is The Sea such a glorious masterpiece, these demos show the genesis – and genius – of Scott’s songwriting prowess and song development process, and afford the listener, for the first time, an insight into what became known as the “Big Music”.
Of the tracks included on In A Special Place, some were subsequently recorded for the album – early versions are included of Be My Enemy, Don’t Bang The Drum, and The Pan Within, all with later-discarded lyrics, as well as the first run-through of The Whole Of The Moon, some months before its familiar “too high, too far, too soon” chorus was written. There are also several songs and song-fragments that didn’t make the final cut of This Is The Sea: All The Bright Horses, The Woman In Me, The Day I Ran Out Of People, Paris In The Rain and Winter In The Blood. One song, Custer’s Blues, was revived during the Fisherman’s Blues sessions two years later. Looking For Dickon is the original version of what had become Church Not Made With Hands on 1984’s A Pagan Place.
Two extra tracks, both piano-based but with more developed instrumentation, are included as extras. Old England is a demo recorded at Karl Wallinger’s home studio the day it was written. Trumpets is a 2011 remix of the album track by Scott’s friend Don Jackson. They have been included for contrast, reminders of what is possible when the music is expanded from its pure beginnings.
In A Special Place will be released on CD and digital download.
This Is The Sea entered the charts at #37 in September 1985, and proved a slow-burner, eventually going Gold in 1987. Since then it has sold over a million copies and been an influence on artists such as U2, Radiohead and The Decemberists. Its famous single, ‘The Whole Of The Moon’, has been a hit twice, originally reaching #26 in 1985 and rampaging to #3 on its re-issue in 1991. Its status as a classic in the canon of popular music is assured, and it has covered by over 20 artists.
Mike Scott’s sleevenotes are available on request. The booklet will also have scans of the lyrics from his songwriting book.
In A Special Place tracklisting:
1. Don’t Bang The Drum (3.13)
2. Be My Enemy (3.56)
3. All The Bright Horses (0.39)
4. Custer’s Blues (3.28)
5. Beverly Penn (5.22)
6. The Day I Ran Out Of People (2.03)
7. The Pan Within (4.32)
8. Winter In The Blood (4.10)
9. The Woman In Me (2.40)
10. Looking For Dickon (2.18)
11. Paris In The Rain (4.29)
12. Talk About Wings (1.03)
13. The Whole Of The Moon (5.39)
14. Old England (3.58)
15. Trumpets (Headstrong remix 2011) (3.24)