The Year Is 1990…
…and I had had some success, engineering Coldcut and Yazz hits for Big Life Records. Meanwhile, the label’s indie guitar band the Soup Dragons had embarked on recording a new album with producer Nick Tauber, but were unhappy with the results. Frontman Sean Dickson had other ideas, and loved a downtempo dance remix of Mother Universe released the previous year. This was long before the Stone Roses released their debut album, despite accusations that the Soup Dragons jumped on their bandwagon. I was brought in to help and in a very short space of time we had re-recorded most of the overdubs, replaced drums with breakbeats, and added a few “unusual” samples. The album was readied for release and it hit the shops.
Then the idea came of recording a cover of the Rolling Stones’ obscure B-side “I’m Free”. Sean had a drum loop, and said he wanted it to have a “really gospelly feel”. I therefore suggested we employed a real life gospel choir, perhaps not realising how expensive that was. However, we had 30 of them in the studio, got Junior Reid formerly of Black Uhuru to do the reggae toasting (what a character!) and the rest is history! After we’d finished, the label kindly offered me a co-production credit due to the input I’d had! The single reached number 5 in the UK charts, and the album sold over half a million copies in the US.
What the Soup Dragons say…
“George always understood the method in my madness back then even though technically I was naive. Always trust those who put their trust in you no matter how much learning is involved in the process.”
Sean Dickson (HiFi Sean)
“The Soup Dragons worked with George over 3 fascinating and exciting years. His innate musicality and peerless technical expertise helped us transform our slightly chaotic kaleidoscopic dreams into solid musical reality with what seemed hardly any effort at all- and always with a patient smile on his face! Thanks again, George !”
“It wasn’t only the golden ears of George Shilling that made it a pleasure working with him during sessions with the Soup Dragons. It’s how he put you at ease in the studio..working as part of the team and quietly helped steer the ship and facilitate the making of our sonic fruits. A wonderful man. A wizard of sound.”