Book of Lightning
1. The Crash Of Angel Wings
2. Love Will Shoot You Down
3. Nobody's Baby Anymore
4. Strange Arrangement
5. She Tried To Hold Me
6. It's Gonna Rain
8. You In The Sky
9. Everybody Takes A Tumble
10. The Man With The Wind At His Heels
BOOK OF LIGHTNING is the ninth Waterboys studio album. It was recorded during Autumn 2006 in London, with two additional songs recorded one each in Vancouver, Canada and Findhorn, Scotland. The album was produced by Mike Scott and Waterboys manager Philip Tennant.
The main recording studio used for the sessions was Sarm West, close to London’s Portobello Road. This was originally called Island Studios, and is where many classic albums of the 1970s were made. Mike and Philip chose this studio because its large floorspace, and its glassed isolation booths, allowed the band to play all together as an ensemble. This was how the band’s classic Fisherman’s Blues sessions were conducted, and Mike wanted to capture the chemistry and magic that happens when all the musicians play together.
Because the live Waterboys rhythm section of Carlos Hercules and Steve Walters was unavailable due to other touring commitments, Mike assembled a band featuring Steve Wickham and Richard Naiff plus bassist Mark Smith, who played on the 1999 sessions for A Rock In The Weary Land. Two drummers featured: Jeremy Stacey - another veteran of A Rock In The Weary Land, and a member of Mike’s 1997 and The Waterboys’ 2000 touring bands - plays on four tracks, and Brady Blade, an American living in Sweden, plays on another four.
The 8 songs selected included two brand new songs (The Crash Of Angel Wings and Love Will Shoot You Down); two dating from 1986 (Everybody Takes A Tumble and You In The Sky); two written at the end of the 1990s but too late for inclusion on A Rock In The Weary Land and thematically unsuited for 2003’s Universal Hall (Strange Arrangement and It’s Gonna Rain), and two brand new songs created from song-fragments sketched twenty years earlier (She Tried To Hold Me and Nobody’s Baby Anymore).
These eight songs were recorded in Sarm West in early September 2006. They were fine-tuned a few weeks later at Intimate Studios, in London’s Dockland, during which embellishments such as Roddy Lorimer’s trumpet on Sustain and the electric guitars of Leo Abrahams were added. Further overdubs were contributed by Chris Bruce, a veteran of the Dream Harder and Still Burning albums, who played lead guitar on She Tried To Hold Me; and former Rock In The Weary Land keyboardist Thighpaulsandra, who created the psychedelic instrumental section on Crash Of Angels Wings from Mike Scott’s musical score.
Two other songs were recorded, one before and one after the main sessions. Sustain (like Strange Arrangement and It’s Gonna Rain written in the late ‘90s) was recorded in early June in Vancouver in June with members of Canadian art-pop band Great Aunt Ida. Finally Mike recorded the album’s closing track The Man With The Wind At His Heels (another song dating from 1986) in his home studio in Findhorn during October.
The sleeve artwork was created by English designer Phil Smee, an expert on (and prominent collector and historian of) 1960s and 1970s British psychedelic artwork. The inside cover photo of Mike Scott was taken by long-time Waterboys collaborator Steve Gullick, and the centrespread image of Steve and Mike was photographed by Helge Skodvin at a concert in Bergen, Norway, in April 2006.