Cult Canterbury legend Kevin Ayers is to be celebrated in a new book, Shooting At The Moon: The Collected Lyrics Of Kevin Ayers which collects together his lyrics alongside pages form his notebooks, exclusive photographs and even the odd recipe.
"My father never had the desire to create a ‘music career’. Instead, he was busy synthesising his daily experiences into songs full of wit, poignant insights and whimsy," Galen Ayers tells Prog. "It has taken me the best part of 5 years to get Kevin’s musical legacy in order, and this book is set to be the crown jewel of the estate… Editing and curating this book I revisited, remembered and clarified many ‘unsolved mysteries’ that were missing in my understanding of my father’s life-narrative, and this has proven both transformative and necessary."
Ayers was a member of original Canterbury band The Wilde Flowers alongside Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper and Richard Sinclair, before forming Soft Machine with Mike Ratledge and Daevid Allen, later of Gong. He began his solo career with 1969's Joy Of A Toy and continued releasing albums, 15 in total, up until 2007's critically acclaimed Unfairground. John Peel once famously declared that Ayers' talent was "so acute you could perform major eye surgery with it", which famed NME journalist Nick Kent once said of him, "Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett were the two most important people in British pop music. Everything that came after came from them." Ayers died in 2013, aged 68.
Shooting At The Moon: The Collected Lyrics Of Kevin Ayers is released through Faber Music on November 29.