Book Of Two Ways was released as limited edition album on CD. There were 150 made and sold, in the December of 2010
and has been otherwise unavailable since then.
Book Of Two Ways was an experiment with the technologies available to me, the sampling capabilities in computer recording systems offering synthesized orchestrations giving creative ideas of mixing live acoustic guitar, vocals and piano, both electric and acoustic.
Ever since i was a teenager, I had loved orchestral and piano music.
I found a junk shop on St. John's Road in Waterloo, North Liverpool which sold all the classical albums from the sixties and seventies that had been disposed of by Crosby Library, and I could buy arm-loads of music for very little money, which suited me as I love music and never had much money!
I introduced myself to Rakhmaninov, Respighi, Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Stravinsky...dozens of composers really. It has ever stayed with me, and the temptation to start synthesizing orchestral arrangements for some of my songs proved too much for me to resist, finally, now that the technology exists in my studio here in Liverpool.
I actually enjoyed the creative process and I'm quite sure a trained arranger would blast me for using parallel fifths, or something. It doesn't matter to me; just the enjoyment of hearing chords and harmonies moving together. I had several songs over the years that I didn't know what to do with, and thought I'd put them in a song book, and have 'The Book Of Two Ways' as a song and book of spells, at either end of the album as if they were the front and back covers.
"Stranger Still" was a song I wrote in the wake of me surviving the crush at Leppings Lane, at Hillsborough football stadium, in Sheffield, England in April 1989, where 96 people lost there lives during the worst tragedy in British sporting history. A tragedy made by the South Yorkshire Police, and then in collusion with the press and right wing Conservative government of the day, sought to cover up the facts and cruelly blame the horrific event on the very people who suffered the consequences of the Police failure, the fans of Liverpool Football club, with whom I travelled.
Read my full account here: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s90/sh/56f17ed3-acd7-4e93-9a47-c199dff11841/aa50f3987b820c0fe21b40f579dee371 ..so the song is reflecting my shell shock, in a rather subdued way.
"Ride Wild" is a song I wrote by sheer contrast, recalling the experience I had in Southern Turkey, when I married Paula on Babadag Mountain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babada%C4%9F_%28mountain%29 , in the district of Fethiye, and arriving at sunset on horse back, it was a beautiful experience.
"A Million Years BC" is really my comment on how I perceive the way I lived as a bachelor, pursuing a dream of making it as a rock star, and failing, but suceeding in becoming a husband and father, whilst maintaining my career as a a musician, albeit in an understated and globally unacknowledged way, as opposed to a comment on Raquel Welch in that mad British caveman film made by Hammer Productions in 1966, it really is BC ...before Curtis, our son!
"Infidelity", "Sea Of Memory" and "The Key To The Door Of My Heart" are a triptych;songs painted from an earlier time in my life when I lived somewhere else, with someone else, before my situation changed, and the ensuing turmoil caused me to start documenting my own downfall in love.
I had recorded "Infidelity" earlier with the band, on our 2003 album "Living At The End Of The World" (also available for download around here somewhere, to be released, at the time of writing, on December 21st, the supposed date of 'next' armageddon) but I wanted to strip the song back and used a 1948 Martin D18 acoustic guitar belonging to my good friend Alex McKechnie, because it has, like me and Alex, seen some action, and has the authentic sound of a guitar played by a certain singer from Tupelo, Mississippi who was recording in a studio in Memphis in 1954/55 and became very famous, but I can't rember his name (it's like, five letters, beginning with E, or something?).
I also added my studio piano and ended the song with a 'hammered' guitar flourish, the sort of filigree that Bert Jansch would use.
"The Sea Of Memory" is one of those lyrical twists, referring to that which meant something once, (as that lovers' favourite 'our song' becomes a bitter sweet memory) and 'our song' was 'The Sea Of Love'.
Finally "The Key To The Door Of My Heart" was written on piano, and I have recorded it with my piano playing.
I'm no piano player, but I gave this my best shot, and I will admit that with technology I was able to 'fix' some of my key strokes where they weren't accurate enough, but it remains me playing...just a little idealised..and may Joni Mitchell forgive me.
I might well have observed,concerning 'The Key To The Door Of My Heart' that as one door closes, another opens, but there endeth the lesson.
In the midst of 'divorce' songs and resulting chaos, in 1997, I met a lady who stopped by one of my Wednesday night shows at Guinans on Slater Street in Liverpool where I played with my band Cat Scratch Fever every week for a few years. Kathleen Wildman had been to one of her songwriting evenings, and was leaving Guinans until she heard me sing 'Cry Me A River' (that classic 'torch' song, originally written for Ella, but best known by Julie London, with the guitar part by Barney Kessel and Ray Leatherwood on bass, which made it perfect for a Cat Scratch Fever cover) but felt she had to stay after hearing me sing that song.
I met her after the show and not long after discovered she had a very beautiful daughter, who was (kind of) starting to become available, much like I was myself!
When plotting this album, in a sort of chronologically autobiographical way, it made sense to follow breakup songs with this collaboration with Mrs.Wildman, since it was the songwriting that drew us together, and caused my marriage to her daughter and the begetting of her grandson Curtis.
The lyric of 'Everything Else Is Out' may as well have been written for me, at that time, (after I doth set mine eyes on Paula), but I wanted Kathleen to sing it in her best jazz voice and it represents the massive, life changing connection we made.
Kathleen even had a dog called Barney, whom she named after Barney Kessel, although she denies it now!
Ella Fitzgerald records seemed to have permeated all our lives, those of us named and involved in the lyrical texts of these songs, and it's apt, if not ironic, that the type and style of the arrangement for "Everything Else Is Out" is my attempt to do a 'Frank De Vol'!
"What's the Use Of Worrying" is also a collaboration with Kathleen and I included as a reposte to "Sea Of Memory".
That only leaves me to say something about the bookends, 'Book Of Two Ways'.
Paula and I went through a deeply traumatic experience bringing our boy into the world, and again the week later, we nearly lost him again.
You would never know, now to look at such a perfect young person, but I , like Paula was shaken to my core, but Curtis was here, an needed us to be on the case, so we set to our task, no questions asked!
It took me over two years and a healthy established child before I could reflect on the experience.
I remember sitting in the emergency ward of Alder Hey childrens' hospital with a week old baby wrapped inside my sheepskin coat, mid December, wanting only for him to live.
That's all in the lyric, and the week earlier when he had lost his heartbeat during his birth and was in trouble and I watched Paula thrown onto a trolley and taken for an emergency Caesarian section operation, my life seemed to flash by me in a bizarre animation, like an internally visualised Zoetrope.
I wrote music using several strands of music from different parts of my life, trying to make the Zoetrope music, but although the events were fast moving then, it all happened in slow motion to me,so it was as if to bring together all my thoughts and history, threads of a fabric that is woven in my mind that I wouldn't dare to show to anybody, the kind of music I find myself quite literally dreaming, from time to time.
For the first time in a long while, unrestricted access to my subconscious seemed to be granted to me, and I took it to be significant and reproduced it in my studio as best I could.
To this day I cannot imagine why I think anyone would want to hear this, probably least of all my son, as he is a bright shining star and not given to any traits of moods or darkness, like his father. .
The Book Of Two Ways, is my statement, for better or worse. Maybe what appeals to me in my hero Rakhmaninov is what informs my own sometimes gloomy outlook, but I've tried to balance that out on this record.
I think inspiration has come from Rakhmaninov's 'Isle Of The Dead' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpxPnucieJU
so named after Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin's mysterious and inspirational work http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_the_Dead_%28painting%29.
I also included references to the catholic upbringing I had, and it's influence on my young mind with the quotation and distortion of the 'Dies Irae' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dies_Irae .
Perhaps these tracks should only be played every Hallowe'en!
I don't know why I made this record, and that's just an honest statement, perhaps like describing an item fully on eBay so you can mantain your 100% artistic integrity... just that I thought I should collect all my inner wanderings and preserve them .. (no Spinal Tap moose references please!)
If you are listening and enjoying, then I can say I did my job and it was worth it, and if not, then I'll have to do another one!
Paul Kappa, Liverpool, England, November 2012