caliopeOn Room to Roam the Waterboys emphasized the folk element of their folk-rock fusion sound. “A Man is In Love”, however, begins as a straight pop love song by Mike Scott, based around strummed piano and guitar chords with just hints of folk through the violin and flute solo lines within the arrangement. The conceit of writing the lyrics in the third person until the end is a simple, but effective way of providing a punch line with impact: “A man is in love – and he’s me”. That’s reinforced by the gradual build up in instrumentation as the song progresses – two verses, the flute solo and then the final verse, with no chorus. And that leads up to the coda, which suddenly takes off into a lively instrumental jig in 6/8 time, listed as a separate track called “Kaliope House” on the original CD booklet. Although essentially unrelated, this fits perfectly with the song, turning it into a joyous dance. It sounds traditional but was in fact composed by Dave Richardson of the Scottish band The Boys of the Lough, and it has since been adopted (more often named “Calliope House”) as if it were traditional by many others, including Riverdance. Mike Scott and the Waterboys are still recording: 2011’s An Appointment With Mr Yeats earned highly appreciative reviews.

Advertisements