"I got old and decided I didn't want to be an old punk", says Lil' Lost Lou in Vive Le Rock magazine, explaining what prompted her to go the country way. Lou is from Camden Town and has her own band, however this is her solo debut.
The album was recorded, analogue and taking no more than twelve hours in the wonderfully named 'Welcome To 1979' Studios in Nashville with producer Billy Livsey at the helm. It features top Nashville session musicians, most notably pedal steel player Russ Pahl. The album was finalised back in the UK with the help of producer Sean Kenny and it has to be said that the sound is fantastic - punchy, warm and clear all at once. It makes you wonder why musicians spend a year recording an album if this can be achieved in twelve hours.
Top marks for sound therefore, and Lou Psyche is a fine singer too. The album is eleven songs short, all her own, and a varied collection of songs it is. The sequencing is curious. I once read an interview with an artist or producer (cannot recall who) who had asked his wife for advice on the sequencing of songs on an album. Her advice was to put the best song first, the second best song second etc. This was done and deemed a success. For me it sounds like Lou has done the opposite. The first couple of songs are the least remarkable; standard melodies with somewhat uninspiring lyrics about bad boys who are up to no good and rambling women who cannot help the way they are. 'I Kissed Your Man (Jolene)' is an answer song, from the pont of view of Jolene of the Dolly Parton song.
Halfway through (that is side two the LP) there is a shift with a wonderful ballad called 'Ride A Train'. The train in this song offers an escape when things go wrong. As a train fan this appeals to me. There are lovely backing vocals, handclaps and a lonesome-sounding harmonica. The next song, 'This Is The End', is even better, with Lou sounding like Jack White and with a screeching guitar to match.
In fact all of side two is strong. 'Red Is The Colour Of My Shame' is another good ballad, bookended by faster songs. 'Brown Boots' should be fun to hear live. It is about a hoedown, wearing brown boots while dancing in Nashville.
The album ends with 'Song For Bob Dylan'. In this song, twenty years old according to the press release, Lou addresses the great man directly. This is not a new concept and I wonder if Bob is aware of all the songs written for him (check out Lisa O'Neill's 'Bobby D' for example). Lou's song is inspired by Dylan's poem 'Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie', which contains the lines "Where do you look for this hope that yer seekin'.... you'll find it in the Grand Canyon at sundown":
I look at the sun, it shines so bright
and I get scared when it's dark at night
but I listen to your words and I feel alright
do you know who I am?
do you understand?
did you read my mind, in a dream some time?
A fitting finish to an excellent album.