Sunday, October 13, 2013

Song of the Week: Strange Boat, by the Waterboys

I rediscovered the music of the Waterboys (i.e. Mike Scott and whomever Mike Scott wants to perform with) at a time when I needed their music. I had the Fisherman's Blues album, and in September, learned the chords and lyrics to some of the songs (the title track, And a Bang on the Ear, When Ye Go Away).

When I wondered, "What has Mike Scott been up to lately?" I found that Scott had released a whole album of W.B. Yeats' poems set to music, called An Appointment With Mr. Yeats. I bought the album, but took awhile to get through it, as I would stop a track to learn the chords of a song that gripped me at a particular time. I've spent quite a bit of time on the bluesy Lake Isle of Innisfree.

Last Friday, a friend of mine and I went to see the Waterboys in concert at the Neptune Theatre. (The Seattle Times review is here. I think I must have been standing quite near the photographer, as I was standing in the third row near fiddler Steve Wickham, a.k.a. "The Fellow Who Fiddles.") The band opened with Strange Boat off of the Fisherman's Blues album. It's a relatively simple song in terms of chord progression, with lyrics that touch upon the spiritual without being religious. When I decided that I wanted to learn the song, potentially to share at a music jam, I was surprised to find on the internet how painfully wrong the chords on different websites seemed to be.

 I write the following knowing that there is a chance someone better-versed in music theory will arrive to say, "Actually, you're dead wrong on this." And you know what? That's fine. I'd rather have corrected chords than keep erroneous information. I listened to live performances, as well as watched carefully Mike Scott's hand positions on the fretboard, but still... let me know if you find something different from what I'm posting.

I'm sharing these chords for whomever comes looking for them. Welcome, kind strangers! The song is originally played in the key of A, and the first two verses have a simple I,IV,V chord progression (in this case, A, D, E). The bridge ("We're riding in a strange car/We're following a strange star...") brings in a partially-barred F# minor in lieu of an A. Scott then plays a B6, which is in the same fret neighborhood as the F# minor. I've got a virtual guitar chord-book linked on the right side of my blog, but you can go directly to that site right here.

Click on the jpeg graphic to enlarge it.

No comments: