Monday, 28 May 2007

Amazon Reviews of Strange Boat

This is one of the better pop music biographies that I have read. Insightful, measured, lacking in false sensation, and reflective. Hopefully, it will help create a wider audience for a band, and especially its driving force, Mike Scott, that over the past 20 years or so has been building a body of work that includes some of the best and most durable British song writing. As a live band, the Waterboys are at the top of the ladder for quality and musicianship. Abrahams book tells their story, and especially Scott's, in a measured and interesting way. It is very well researched, as a flow which grabs the reader and pulls together, and uses intelligently, scores of interviews throughout the life of the Waterboys. He did not have the co-operation, nor the opposition, of Mike Scott but in many ways this has benefited Abrahams book as Scott is clever, and articulate enough, to create distractions in a Dylanesque fashion.

The story Abrahams tells is of one of Britain's more thoughtful, creative and enigmatic band leaders, and of those around him. You learn much about Scott and what drives him. However, a strength of the book is the light it shed on Scott's collaborators under the Waterboys banner who have been vital in elaborating his vision. It speaks much for the regard others have of his talent. The picture portrayed by Abrahams reflects Scott's music: a flawed magnatism. He comes across as driven, autocratic at times (what successful bandleader isn't), creative and lyrical (though a bit soggy when sharing his spiritual discoveries and revelations), intelligent, sometimes haunted but, more recently, at peace with himself through his writing and the Findhorn community. Throughout it all Scott seems to have, as Gabriel Garcia Marquez put it, "allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."

Abrahams book should be read more widely by music lovers than the strong loyal following that Mike Scott and the Waterboys have, and the regard fellow muscians, such as Jools Holland, have of his talent. Once read, dip into the music and you will not be disappointed. As Abraham's puts it: "... the story of the Waterboys really covers the whole range of emotions."

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