Lucky Soul's Album Blog

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Oh my god! It's only finished.....! Tracklisting to bec confirmed, but everyone is very excited. Toby scooted halfway across London, just so he could get his grubby paws on it... blimey

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Friday, October 20, 2006

50, Mavis, Ruff, Soaked. In that order.

Well, while the others are are contacting their lawyers and suing themselves, I'm still here at the battle front tearing through the last few songs in our cannon.

Obviously at this moment I've been kicked out of the control room again whilst George tinkers with live favourite "The Great Unwanted". At least that's what he tells me, for all I know he could be emailing the mixes off to MIX4U and playing solitaire for an hour.

Still we're hanging onto schedule by our teeth and everythings really starting to shine. With only 50 hours to go till pens down and we have to hand our work in at the front of the hall, it's gonna be tight but just fine. I'm sure I won't be saying that Sunday morning when I'm crying and smashing my head against the piano.

Be twixt listening and pointing and head shaking sessions today, I've been taking in loads of music for future influence/ piracy. Some real good stuff over the last couple of days infact.

Like these:
Esquivel- mad latin percussion arrangements kind of bossanova style. crazy stereo sounds, I believe Stereolab are big fans.

Ennio Morricone- He's most famous for his haunting soundtrack to Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, but this was a CD entitled Mondo Morricone and was a selection of soundtracks from Independent Italian Films in the early sixties. spellbindingly beautiful stuff.

The Kinks- Village Green Preservation Society-works very well in the country.

A bit of Mavis Staples. Check her out if you want to hear A VOICE. It's biggger than the both of us, baby.

Some Barry White produced woman that I can't remember the name of

More Bert Jansh

Head by the Monkees whils making cheese and chutney sandwiches. Didn't match, turned it off

And finally a bit of pastoral english? alt country kind of stuff by a band called HEM, which is George's wife Fe's favourite and very pleasant stuff it is too. Got some oboes in it. Could possibly be used on some Channel Four heartrending British film. Just the right side of sweet really

Dog Update: I went for a brisk evening's constitutional earlier. As darkness fell my mind wandered onto American Werewolf In London. "Stick t' road, stay off the Moor etc" when I was startled by heavy breathing behind me. Usually this would be one of my many eager lady fans desperate to catch a glimse of their best travelling troubadour. Not tonight though, It was just a dirty great Dalmation.


P.S. Would the owner of the grey Ford Focus that aqua-planed past me at 9:30 this morning covering me from head to to toe in muddy water, like to contact me with any ideas as to how to get the salt marks off of me desert boots. Thanks.

Oh and if anyone would like to check out the sprawling metropolis where I've spent the last month, jave a look here:

Andrew Laidlaw (thought the Old Grey Whistle Test was a sheep dog programme as a child and missed out on early music education)

Dear all, i have been asked to post the following statement from the record label, before you read it, and to defuse any tension please look at the following picture:


We at Ruffa Lane Records would like to distance ourselves from any prior post in which it may have been suggested that members of the band may have increased in size during the recording of the album. We do not believe in pointing fingers, but aggrieved band members should look to their management company (Faith Management)… as he did it.

Nicholas Woodhead
Ruffa Lane Records

(We may have defaced posters in the past)


Oooh you cheeky monkeys!

My dear blog-watchers and LS fans,

It has become apparent that while we've been slaving away in the studio over what is now believed to be "one of the finest independent pop albums of recent times", putting in 12-hour days, every day, pushing ourselves beyond what we thought possible, risking our lives being mauled by dogs and chased by bulls, it seems that our charming record label have had nothing better to do than tamper with Lucky Soul posters and search the web for incriminating pictures.

This, dear friends, is because they miss us. They really have nothing better to do! We can pity them, of course, but let it be known that just like Dexy's Midnight Runners, we too have the master tapes (aka hard drive) and EMI on speed dial.

Ali x

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It had been noted that during the recording progress Lucky Soul had let themselves 'go' a bit. I think it was the chocolate only diet to stave off the cabin fever. Dont worry kids, I've got the sauna fired up already... so where's that amphetamine sulphate..... "Aliiiiiiii come here"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hey Chuck, Can We Get A Horse In Here?"

One of the advantages of recording and mixing with the aid of a computer instead of tape is that that you can be a lot more flexible and flit from session to session.

If you don't keep focused that could be a problem, but as long as you're sensible and set yourself resonable time limits, then it means you keep fresh and your ears don't get tired and bored. This in turn helps you make more measured and honest mixing decisions when you can look at the mix from in front rather than being buried inside it.

It also means that when, even when we're mixing I can still get a moment to SHOEHORN IN MORE STUFF. This was the case last night night when the bulging suitcase of a sweet pop that is "One Kiss Don't Make A Summer" was prized open with a crowbar and we shoved a HARPSICHORD in.

nb, historical note George's Harpsichord is a quality piece made by William De Blaise. The only other time I've seen one is in the Jean Luc Godard film "Sympathy For The Devil" about the making of The Stones' song, at Olympic Studios. Sounds great, so much better than yer virtual stuff.

The suitcase didn't too much sitting on, the harpsichord is only a little melodic arpeggio in the chorus and evrything that lives in our songs is carefuly placed, but I thought it might be nice to write a list of The componants in "One Kiss" to show you just how much gets on a Lucky Soul track and makes us sound a bit different to most bands.

Here goes

Drums,Bass,Grand Piano,Fender Stratocaster(electric guitar), Fender Telecaster, Six String Acoustic guitar, 12 String acoustic, Cello, Viola, Violin, Suitcase Rhodes(Electric Piano)
Girl Vocals, Girl Double vox, Girl Harmony, Boy Vox x2, Boy bDouble Vox, Guiro, Triangle, Hand Claps x6, Egg Shaker, Cabasa, Harpsichord, Tamborine. No Horse. Yet.

See if you can find them all when it comes out. We have tracks that have more in them than that sometimes. Just wait till we can afford a gospel choir.

I'm very pleased with "One Kiss". It's finally flowering after a long journey, it sounds wonderfully lush and very pop with just the right amount of heartbreak.

So we've got all sorts on the go now, Add Your Light nearly done and Get Outta Town sounding brilliant and completely mental. "It's yours" clicked earlier and "Ain't Never Been Cool" is marching along. It's all sounding rather good.

George as we speak is firing up the next track so we think new songs as well as carrying on my musical education. Today we've had:

The Byrds "Turn! Turn! Turn!" which is up high on the shelf and I fell crashing to floor whilst trying to reach it. Don't worry rhythm guitar fans, my hands are OK.

We had the B52's Wild Planet.... bit hectic for the morning really.

Some crazy Joe Meek produced stuff by some yodelling cowboy,

But best of all folk hero Bert Jansch's "Jack Orion" which I find really calming but dead spooky at the same time. It sounds like death on a windy shore.

Take Care OUt There

A x

Monday, October 16, 2006


Well comrades, we've reached the point of no return and alerts are sounding Mixcon 1 down here at the underground bunker of the high security Bank Cottage complex.

That's right, as we speak producer George is firing all manner of digital and analogue devices at "Add Your Light To Mine, Baby" in the hope that the odd shaped mass of a million instruments and vocals can be hammered into some kind of brilliant pop shape.

Yup it's mix time and as tradition, I have been sent out of the studio. It's not that I've been bad and had a wee in the corner or scratched my name onto the mixing desk. I haven't even tried to smuggle the Wurlitzer out under my jumper yet.

No, when mix time is upon us, George works alone until the track is at a resonable state, at which I come in with fresh ears and say things like "hmmm, I'm not sure that the guitars are moving their shoulders enough " and " that high hat could be more cheeky" or "I don't think my Lute solo is high enough" : you know,that kind of thing.

So, having been concentrating pretty much non stop for five weeks, I now find my self crawling the walls not knowing what to do as I'm left alone for an hour or two at a time, pacing around like a caed tiger. Or in this case blogging like a caged tiger
I wonder if tigers blog? I'll bet Tony The Tiger does one. I'll bet it's gggggreat.
I saw the Frosties advert in Germany once. Tony has an even deeper voice and says" Das Ist Guuuuuuuuud" Odd.

So you may find that I'm blogging a bit more than normal this week. Man, I wish was in there mixing. And I hate mixing too! We had a frantic day of hose keeping (getting tracks ready to mix) yesterday. Well house keeping and last minute shoe horning of more instruments and percussion. T'was a good day and a massive weight on my shoulders when problem child "I Gots The Magic" suddenly blossomed into life with the aid of some brutal editing decisions and the addition of a Mellotron, Moog and Of course the Wurlitzer. It was like making big pan of porridge float daintily round the room. Boss.

So, as well as blogging and I think I might sweep the garden in a minute to say thanks to George and his wife for the hospitality, I've been giving myself a bit of musical education. George as you may expect has a big ol' library of c.d's and records.
today's listening classes have included:
Legendary blues man Robert Johnson,
Odd voiced musicians musician Robert Wyatt,
Strawberry Fields,
Proto rocker and Tarantino favoured guitarist Link Wray (brilliant)
the obligitory Pet Sounds fly past. "I just wasn't made for these times" still gets me misty.
A bit of crazy psychedelic prog from King Crimson.
Sicilllan film soundtracks courtesy of Nino Rota.

and "Bringing It all Back" home by Bob Dylan. Anyone who says Dylan can't sing is talking rubbish, he's got more control over his voice than most.

Anyhow back to the Dogs.

Ali's fabled "Dog Shaped Hole in the Heart" was certainly not filled by the evil little beast kept in the cellar of the hairdressers where we ended our surreal of Photographs on Saturday. The nasty bull terrier first left a pool of pee for photographer Libby's bag to seep into. It then went for evry member of the band's legs
nearly putting it's teeth through my best suit and having a good go at the bows on Ali's shoes. There was something quite sinister about that cellar and I was glad to get the train back to the country.

Dog2 was at the pub when we popped in for last orders last night and kept fetching me a stick to through. by the time I finished my pint, the stick was theb size of a match and the farmers sheep dog decided to trade it in for a more robust doorstop. At that point I stop playing, as did Toby the naughty puppy who had been trying to play a different game with the other end of the dog. Time for a trip to the vets for that one I think, it's the only way to calm them down at that age.

On that note I'm off to see what my song sounds like

Lots of love from Ramblin' Jack Laidlaw

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I just don't know what to do with myself...

I'VE FINISHED! It feels mighty strange, and I'm sure I'm gonna be going around in a daze for the next week. Myself and Ivor caught the train back to London this afternoon with sore hands from all the clap-clap-clapping overdubs. We've left Andrew to rummage through George's percussion box one last time before they embark on 'The Mix'. Wow, it's all gone so quickly.

Yesterday we put some lead vocals to bed before Ivor joined us for a good eight hours of doo-wopping, shoop-shooping, ba-ba-ba-ing and plenty of "TOO FLAT!" "TOO SHARP!" "TOO SHORT!" "TOO FLAT!" from George. (We got there in the end). That’s eight hours excluding the obligatory pub break of course. George and I on the red and Andrew and Ivor on the local brew with Toby the very naughty puppy, (not the bass player) a timid little Jack Russell who took a shine to Andrew, a black Lab and the old German Shepherd in the corner. You have to understand I have a dog-shaped hole in my life. So it was nice.

My last morning in the haunted house couldn’t have been any more surreal, with Richard the farmer blasting out ‘Lips Are Unhappy’ followed by ‘Happy Christmas (War Is Over)’ into the breakfast room for the benefit of the only other guest. Personally I like nothing more than a bit of Lucky Soul over my scrambled egg when I’ve heard nothing else for the last two months. But no, Richard has been a darling, giving us lifts to the studio, bottles of red wine and the best hospitality in the Cotswolds.

So it was back to the studio for one last go at some BV’s and hand claps and then on the train back to the real world.

Well… until tomorrow when I get to go to the BBC to pick out some vintage dresses for the album cover shoot. Yay!

See you soon,

Ali x

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I know that many thousands of you just don't care about Nat and my's beards, but since we've been growing them for the making of the album I thought we should share it with the two or three who have been demanding beard updates. Apologies for me looking very tired, but a camera flash is not what you need when you're waking up.

Sadly however, the beards are now gone; Nat having a date and believing, bizzarely, that girls don't like beards and me because the evil beard nazis at Ruffa Lane HQ said something about "getting rid of that rug before the photo shoot" *sigh*

Off to the Cotswalds now to Doo-Wop some backing vocals, but will I ever be the same or will my high voice desert me like Samson and his strength....hmmmm


Monday, October 09, 2006

The Manager and The Fat Cat… That’s 2 Fat Cats then.

I though it was about time I ventured into the beauty that is the English countryside to see what my monkey’s have been up to i.e check for evidence of crosswords, watching T.V and generally not doing much and costing us £000’s for it (extensive magazine collection has been noted Ali).

I had to leave behind Nick at Ruffa Lane HQ and his ‘Conker Death Squad’ now featuring ‘Butch’ from Brooklyn NY. Bless Nick, he only got 12 hours sleep last night so was too tired to Bobby Bait. We only managed 28 games of darts too. Sigh. Tough job this management lark and then there’s all that sleep to catch up on.
So after great nights sleep, 16 hours of blissful peace in fact which is quite normal for Ruffa Lane management (we love our sleep and do as much of it as possible, even in the day too sometimes) I stole a car and raced down the M40 to see what I could see.

The leaves turning into glorious technicolor, the lack of diesel fumes, sandstone cottages and a near head on collision with Jeremy Clarkson (I am not joking – the blazer / stone washed jeans combo wearing T.V presenter was test driving some enormous –look-what-I’ve-got- car and took his bend a little too sharply) was not a patch on the glorious aural delight that entered my ears on entering Shillingsville studios. That my dears is the effect of a real life string section. Spine tingling does not do it justice. I wont divulge for fear of gushing but Dave The String’s Angels were working magic (in between giggling and avoiding my Spielberg attempts at filming a documentary).

It was then off for a quick pint of Badgers Breath down ye ‘only one in the village’ local and back to the capital in stolen car for an evening of hard partying for me and Andrew and period dramas for Doll.. but not before this;

Possibly the biggest feline I have ever come across. George insists on a diet of macro biotic genetically modified nuclear infused Whiskas for his moggies and this is the result.

Had I not been sleeping for most of the last few weeks I would never have had the strength to lift it. I am now fingerless on the left hand but was worth it for the shot.

More updates from the Management / Conker Death Squad (no stampies) / Sleeping soon.
Until then. Nathaniel x.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


yes it was ladeez in free at Club Bank Cottage this Saturday day and Nite.

A completely different atmosphere to the macho (well as macho as musicians get) brass boys on Friday.

This lot weren't brassers though, they were 3 very sweet and quiet young ladies dressed in official string section regulation curly hair.

They were a lovely lot and didn't moan in the slightest when asked to play physically impossible parts and or/ loads of changes to the script.

What came out of the 3 (Violin/Viola/Cello) was absolutely beautiful and often tear jerkingly gorgeous. Particularly "My Darling..." and the oldest song in the collection "That Hollwood Glow" and live favourite "The Great Unwanted" was equally huge. sounding good that one.

I am now in no doubt that real instruments like these are far superior to their computer generated cousins. A richness and depth that cannot be faked. A bit like the band really...

Today was supposed to be a day off but I've ended up at Hitsville writing some backing vocals. I can't complain though because I am very lucky to have this opportunity of fashioning a whole album. Not that many bands get this far and certainly not that many will produce something this good on their debut. I hope that doesn't sound arrogant but I am very, very confident that we have something really special on our hands.

I have to go now to pack for another week. Until next time .... lots of love from me. x

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Yesterday was a very exciting day down Bank Cottage Studios. The 3 piece brass section (trumpet, alto sax and baritone/tenor sax) arrived in the morning. I'm used to blowing my own trumpet normally but this time I thought we'd get the professionals in.

Let me tell you, it was an amazing moment for me to hear all the the parts that had previously been naff computer sounds sudennly blossom into life. I was a bit scared at the start of the day, me not being a proper musician, and these guys who are seasoned session pro's,. But I soon got into the swing of things and started barking instructions around in my fascist dictator style that is familiar and loved by the rest of the band. hmmm. anyway, luckily i had two interpreters with producer George and Dave the String.

We let them loose on "The Towering Inferno" Ain't Never Been Cool" "My Darling Anything" "Add Your Light To Mine, Baby" andf two others that I can't remember right now. It sounds PHAT. that's street slang for FAT grandad.

Thery were very nice and also very complimentary which is cool since Ben (Baritone Sax) (that's the big one) (The sax not Ben) has worked on Portishead and Goldfrapp.

here's a picture. Standing is Cardiff mobster Dave The String, having to talk the boys through yet another change of score.

Well Done Lads!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Laidlaw and I

Hi again.. On Tuesday evening I disappeared under the Piccadilly Circus subway after some bloke-in-a-hurry had fallen over my suitcase, and I emerged the other end in the freezing Cotswolds, greeted by Andrew and George on their way to the chippy. It was quite a shock to the system, but I was very excited to get back. We had a quick go at some vocals before getting the obligatory pint in at 'The Pub' (the only one in the village). We had a giggle over lord such-and-such complaining VERY LOUDLY in his tweed jacket and comb-over about something or other. It's all go 'round here you know. He got chucked out and everything! Not unlike a Saturday night down at the Gypsy Moth in Greenwich..

Wednesday moring was like a postcard with 360 degrees of the bluest of blue skies on our brisk country walk to the studio. We cut through a field where we met the most enormous scary-looking bull. Next time I see him I'll take a photo for you. (Before I run for my life!). It turned out to be a really productive day, getting loads of vocals done. We've even started on some backing vocals, with Andrew Shoop-shooping and Bah-bah-bahing on 'My Brittle Heart' and 'It's Your's' respectively. I have my little make-shift vocal booth set up out the back, so I can shake and shimmy along like no-one's looking, which makes me sing better! The vocals are slowly coming together and the rest of the tracks are sounding great. There are moments when, if you close your eyes and listen, you can hear the finished record and get a shiver.

Andrew's left for Cardiff this morning to go and see Dave the String, getting up at stupid-O'Clock and leaving me on my own in the haunted house! (Except, of course for the farmer). So a lonely fry-up was had at the long dining table that usually sits 12, with only the stopped grandfather clock in the corner for company. It was a bit weird. I ate quickly. I had planned to repeat my country walk but the rain started to fall and I had to call for a lift from George. If there's any running away from bulls to do it's probably best not to get caught out in the mud. Now George is going over last night's takes of 'The Towering Inferno'. It's amazing I have any voice left at all by the sounds of it. It's a bit of a belter.

See you soon,

Ali x

Monday, October 02, 2006

Now then, now then... now then.
There aint been much blogging going on round here lately , mainly because it's been just me this last week and I've had me nose t'grindstone since we last spoke. The gig was pretty cool although a touch wierd to be on first, which we havent done for a while. I felt a bit rusty early on, but it was alright after Ain't Never Ben Coool came along.

Come Friday, after a slow and slightly jaded start to the day, I was back down at Hitsville writing the horns for get Outta Town! I started about midday an finished them a t about five the next morning, had three hours sleep and dragged myself off on the train to the Cotswolds in my usual zombiefied state. Sitting out in the corridor with my axe and bomb disposal briefcase I heard the conductor over the Tannoy with this message: "Please disregard the last announcement. The next stop will be Kingham, not Charlebury, it seems Digital Doris has been on the gin again". Life is surreal enough when you are sleep deprived without this kind of nonsense. did I tell you by the way that the farmer who looks after the haunted house that is my home at the moment, bears quite a startling resemblance to Burt Bacharach. I keep expecting him to break into "Alfie" as he hands over my morning bucket of coffe.

I've still not said much about the album have i? Well it's going pretty well i think, although it does seem to be one enormous long day with no gaps. I'm finding it very dificult to tell the time or date and what we did where etc. On the plus side, it's starting to sound fantastic in places. Today we did some sorting out of vocal takes a and then made a major break through on the guitar sound by using an old cheap amp from Woolworths circa 1966. It's beautifully filthy with a gorgeous tremelo. I wish I'd used it on everything now but it certainly did the trick on Struck Dumb. yum!

Also today i finished my horn section for the Towering Inferno, which is somewhere between Stax and Bacharach and Spiritualized. No-ones really heard that song apart from the inner circle, so i'll be onterested to see what everyone makes of it. It's pretty big.

More guitar tomorrow (two tracks) and then I can put the planks to bed and concentrate on my space noises. woooooooo wooooooo spchlang beep rrrzzzzt.

Goodnight kids

Lots Of Love From Andrew"Lucky" Laidlaw