Kymaera Plays Alchemy will be released for download on Friday 11th March. This EP comprises five tracks from the era of the band when Nick Webb was still with us and includes material written with Simon James. The bonus track Desert Rose was written by Simon with Greg Carmichael, who took over from him in Acoustic Alchemy, for the tribute album Into The Rainbow released two years after Nick’s death.
The first three tracks were recorded in Strawberry 2 Studios as a result of a TV show we did. The show was done live as a ‘Summer Special’ in Liverpool by Granada TV. The producer then asked us to do some recording with him in his studio – Strawberry 2 – in Stockport south of Manchester. We recorded these three tracks with a string section from the Halle Orchestra and a session bass player and drummer. Our TV producer provided a record producer who did the string arrangements and some unusual things with the inside of a piano on this version of Casino which he gave an African feel to. Nick borrowed some of the ideas for a later version of Casino released on the MCA album Natural Elements in 1987.
Conversation, A Tune For Phil comes from the original Acoustic Alchemy LP (1982). It was written by me for the jazz guitarist Phil Lee. When GRP released Early Alchemy in 1992 they didn’t include Conversation preferring to showcase my Flamenco skills on a shortened version of my piece Daybreak. Into the Rainbow is the last thing we wrote together in 1997 a few months before Nick’s untimely death. The track was for Antonio Carlos Jobim who died earlier that year. The title is taken from a song by Michael Franks which he wrote after meeting Jobim for the first time.
“We sing a song, forgotten for so long
and let the music flow, like light into the rainbow.”
These are the tracks which will be available from August 14th onwards. Strawberry 2 is the off-shoot of a once famous studio from the Manchester area in the UK.
CASINO (from Strawberry 2 sessions 1984)
BALLAD FOR KAY (from Strawberry 2 sessions 1984)
DIFFERENT DIRECTION featuring John Parsons (from Strawberry 2 sessions 1984)
These tracks were recorded with a string section from the Halle orchestra
CONVERSATION, A TUNE FOR PHIL (from Acoustic Alchemy 1981)
not released on Early Alchemy (GRP) 1992
INTO THE RAINBOW – KYMAERA from recording of the same name
This was the last piece that Nick and I wrote together and the last recording that he heard completed.
Both albums will be released on the 14th August and should be available for download on all the usual sites.
This is an update for the two releases scheduled for end of July. They will now be at the beginning of August. Keep watching for the precise date. Here’s a photo of Nick and I from the early days of Acoustic Alchemy, writing music and drinking coffee!
I have started a blog at WordPress to provide background information to my recordings as they are released. Once upon a time they were called liner notes but there’s nowhere to put them now except here.
The next stage of re-releasing my back catalogue will be available at the end of July 2015. The project is now being handled by Choice Of Music in Germany and the first two albums will be SIMON JAMES & NICK WEBB THE EARLY DAYS OF ALCHEMY (5 tracks) and SIMON JAMES AND THE LYRIC GUITAR (10 tracks). The Early Days Of Alchemy has four previously unreleased tracks and The Lyric Guitar comprises a selection from across my catalogue of recordings.