Nick Drake Appreciation - Album By Album & All Things Nick Drake*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by lemonade kid, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    Fruit Tree
    A spine shivering song with that eerie prescience about Nick's own career...It really stops you in your tracks when you hear it. This section is my favorite:

    Fruit tree, fruit tree
    No one knows you but the rain and the air.
    Don't you worry
    They'll stand and stare when you're gone.

    It's that "don't you worry" that does it. It's a comforting thought, that Nick didn't see his fame blossom while he was alive but we have all stood and stared at him in awe long after he left. And maybe he's someplace watching. The arrangement on this one is fuller, with those woodwinds moving in unusual ways around Nick's melody and singing. It adds to the unsettling feeling of the track. This is another of my favorite tracks with some of his best lyrics.
     
  2. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    Purely as a poem this is a most powerful, poignant piece.
    Written around the time he was studying English at Cambridge, it shows the influence of two of his favourites, William Blake & Keats, who also died in obscurity.
    This was a relatively happy period for Nick so I have doubts it was written autobiographically.
    But in view of what would happen, its convenient to see it as somehow foretelling his own demise.

    Nick was an obsessive guitarist at this time so the playing is assured & strong and would have been played whilst he sang.
    How many musicians ever choose to do that in the studio?
    Robert Kirby's contribution is a tune that doesn't follow what is happening with the guitar, rather it interweaves with what is going on. This seemingly effortless combination is the real triumph of this track.
    As was always the case, the Sound Techniques studio and old school production of John Wood is imprinted all over the track.
    As a piece of music it's up there with Yesterday or Eleanor Rigby IMO.

    How many songs can you play for decades and yet the effect of it never ever diminishes?

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. anth67

    anth67 Purveyor of Hogwash

    Location:
    NW USA
    Honestly, more than a few. It does mean more takes if you make a mistake either vocally or on the instrument ~ and inherently less separation of tracks (though sometimes more than you'd expect). However, it's a much more authentic marriage of the two feeling-wise, as the passion of the moment extends to both voice & playing, and the two, of course, inspire each other, too.

    An engineer sold me on this years ago when recording my acoustic songs ~ recording a backing track to sing over after tends to be a lot more sterile.

    For such a personal artist as Nick Drake, it was a good decision to capture true performances rather than piece them together. Though indeed, he had to be on his game.
     
  4. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    The word from both John Wood & Joe Boyd is that Nick was so reliable he could be trusted to get it right every take.
    They just had to keep an eye on the backing musicians.
    There's a wonderful moment in A Skin Too Few where John (Wood) takes out the vocal track on the mixing desk & you can still hear ND singing, as its been caught by the guitar mike.
     
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  5. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Would love to have those isolated tacks with just Nick and guitar released. And Joe and John were pretty careful to pick the right session players too...as in four tracks recorded in three hours that were keepers for the album. Amazing that even the session players had never heard or played the songs before on pretty much every track. The always dependable Danny Thompson is one of my all time favorites on so many artists' records , and live performances. (those live Tim Buckley BBC performances included).
     
  6. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    Fruit Tree gives off that pastoral but biting atmosphere that's all Nick. Another piece of magic from a first rate magician. Not much more I can say about the piece. I'd say they did get this one just right in the studio with the support people.
     
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  7. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    I am afraid I went off track and started posting in an alternate universe!--the Nick Drake thread -- was being brought up in my ALERT section, and I failed to notice I was in the wrong THREAD!

    Well here we go again! Sorry guys!

    ...........................................................


    So now we come to the final song from Five Leaves Left. and for me some of Nick's most amazing poetry. It 's Sunday and a perfect day to hear this fine closer....the end of the weekend or the beginning of a new week. However you view it, Nick gave us this pretty but melancholy view, but it is somehow quite up lifting. Nick was a folk blues man a heart, with a jazz appreciation a la Mose Alison, it seems... "you got to pay your dues, if you want to sing the blues"...or jazz. And Nick paid for his blues, and paid and paid.

    And saturday's sun
    has turned to sunday's rain.
    So sunday sat in the saturday sun
    And wept for a day gone by.


    Wonderful music for a melancholy Sunday...and maybe one last full listen to Five Leaves Left, before we move on...to Bryter Layterin a day or two.


    10. Saturday Sun, Five Leaves Left

    [​IMG]

    Nick Drake - Saturday Sun - YouTube
    UMG (on behalf of Island Records); BMG Rights Management, ARESA, Abramus Digital, CMRRA, and 4 Music Rights Societies


    Songwriters: Nick Drake
    Saturday Sun lyrics © BMG Rights Management


    Saturday sun came early one morning
    In a sky so clear and blue
    Saturday sun came without warning
    So no-one knew what to do.

    Saturday sun brought people and faces
    That didn't seem much in their day
    But when I remember those people and places
    They were really too good in their way.

    I
    n their way
    In their way

    Saturday sun won't come and see me today.
    Think about stories with reason and rhyme
    Circling through your brain.
    And think about people in their season and time
    Returning again and again

    And again
    And again

    And saturday's sun
    has turned to sunday's rain.
    So sunday sat in the saturday sun
    And wept for a day gone by.



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
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  8. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    The one song Joe felt that Nick's limited piano skills fit. And they do. Perfectly.

    Nick Drake: piano, vocals
    Danny Thompson: upright bass
    Tristan Fry: drums, vibraphone (adds that cool jazzy tone that Nick wanted)


    In studio Joe & John felt that drums would be a cool addition when listening to the first session tapes. Turns out Tristan (who hadn't really played drums professionally yet--he did go on to drum for a famous band), anyway, Tristan had a drum kit in his car. Go figure! Why he happened to bring along his drum kit along with his vibes is a mystery. Fate.


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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  9. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
  10. flaxton

    flaxton Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uk
    Up until today I thought it was Stork is in the ground, not Stock. You learn a lot on this forum.
     
  11. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    Saturday Sun
    I agree wholeheartedly! 'Saturday Sun' was a song made for the piano and Nick's simple but beautiful melody fits the arrangement like a glove. The gentle vibraphone adds to the overall calming, yes Sunday morning feeling of the song. I've alway found it to be a warmer feeling to end the album on. It sounds like a rainy morning, but you are watching the rain through the window and you are inside, cozy and dry. That's how it feels to me. The piano is my favorite instrument, so I have a natural affinity for piano-based songs--especially gentle, melancholy ones like this. It's a beautiful final note for the album.

    Five Leaves Left is magic. Pure magic, and it has never lost that feeling for me after many, many listens. Some of the most empathetic music ever made.
     
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  12. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Yes. I can listen daily if the mood or the weather suits me. The piano is my favorite too (taking into account that Nick's guitar work is all supreme).
    Guess that is why Joni touches us so...and Laura Nyro especially. And Dan Fogelberg to name another. Oh, and David Ackles genius on piano.
     
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  13. EddieMann

    EddieMann I used to be a king...

    Location:
    Geneva, IL. USA.
    Five Leaves Left is also GREAT gardening music. My neighbors may tire of it playing while I'm digging and planting, but I never do.
     
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  14. gojikranz

    gojikranz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sacramento
    just found this thread wanted to comment to keep it in my notifications so I can catch up tomorrow. relatively new fan looking forward to reading and listening up.
     
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  15. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    Welcome! Lemonade Kid is running a wonderful thread here. Celebrating Nick's work among others fans is joyous.
     
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  16. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Thank you--your words and posts are very much appreciated
     
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  17. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Today...after ten pages of very fine posts from you all, we move on to:

    BRYTER LAYTER

    Nick Drake - 01 - Introduction (by EarpJohn) - YouTube
    UMG (on behalf of Island Records); BMG Rights Management, CMRRA, Abramus Digital, ARESA, and 4 Music Rights Societies

    Have a listen to the full album if you like. And we'll get started on a track track by track discussion soon.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
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  18. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Recorded in 1970, released in March 1971. Nick would have been a young 22 (going on 23)....so young, so talented.
    [​IMG]
    Like Five Leaves Left, the album contains no unaccompanied songs: Drake was accompanied by part of the British folk rock group Fairport Convention and John Cale from The Velvet Underground, as well as Beach Boys musicians Mike Kowalski and Ed Carter.[2] Arranger Robert Kirby claims that Drake intended the instrumentals to evoke Pet Sounds.[3] Initially scheduled for release in November 1970, with UK promotional copies being sent out at the time, dissatisfaction with the artwork meant that the album was held over into the New Year.

    Mojo called the album "Certainly the most polished of his catalogue".[8]Alternative Press called it "[one] of the most beautiful and melancholy albums ever recorded".



    In 2000, Q placed Bryter Layter at number 23 in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". It ranked at number 14 in NME's list of "The Greatest Albums of the '70s".[10]
    In 2003, the album was ranked number 245 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

    -wiki
    [​IMG]

     
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  19. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
  20. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    As a general comment on the album, when I first made my way through the Fruit Tree box set in the 90s, it stuck out like a sore thumb. At the time I felt it was too orchestrated and, outside a few songs, trying too hard to be more of a commercial success than his debut. As time has passed however, it has come to be my favourite of his three albums. While I do believe there was a conscious attempt to make it a bit more commercially acceptable, what they ended up doing was creating a more complex album than the debut, touching on a wider range of topics and emotions than Five Leaves Left. That absolutely beautiful opening instrumental track just sets the stage for what's to come.
     
  21. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    BRYTER LAYTER, 1971
    Joe: "Bryter Layter" - Nick was adamant that's how he wanted it spelled. At the time Nick felt that he had been rained on and he was looking for the clouds to part. I've often been quoted as saying that this is one of those records that I can listen to without wishing anything was different, but the truth is it's full of imperfections. Given the choice of material, the actual mixes and the sound are great.

    The way "Bryter Layter" was recorded was very different from the way we recorded "Five Leaves Left". There's hardly a drum kit on "Five Leaves Left",whereas there are drums on every track of "Bryter Layter" except "Fly". But it's funny you don't really remark on that until you read the liner notes. That's due to the consistency in John's sound and his whole approach to recording Nick.

    Robert: I think the title was another of Nick's last minute ideas. It comes from the weather and shipping forecast news (broadcast to shipping from BBC).
    The visual alliteration in the spelling gives it a certain 'old worldliness' and could be a reference to the spelling of his friend John Martyn.

    Fruit Tree box booklet/liner notes

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    I'm very excited to begin discussion of Bryter Layter. I seem to have had a similar experience to @inaptitude regarding this record. Bryter Layter has a feeling that is quite different from the other two albums. I found it took the longest to get used to, but I love the record now. It isn't my favorite (it is actually my least favorite of the three main albums) but all three are so amazing that this isn't really indicative of its success.

    One thing I'll say before we get into the songs individually is that I think this album may have been the most influential of the three records in terms of the sound and arrangements. The orchestration has never sounded dated to me (the way that orchestration on James Taylor's first album does, for instance) because I hear these exact sort of arrangements on songs and albums by artists like Belle & Sebastian and Jens Lekman. Even Badly Drawn Boy. I feel like the 1990s saw these kinds of sounds coming back into vogue with a whole generation of new 'indie' artists. Full strings, horns, and drums paired with singer-songwriter/lyrical based material. It's a very warm, cozy, bright sound to my ears.

    I like the title a lot as well. I knew it was a reference to the weather forecasts in Britain (it's rainy now, but brighter later! We promise!!), which is very charming. Reading just now (as I drafted this post) that Nick was also referencing his own emotional and artistic state at the time (looking for a brighter future after having been 'rained on') gives the title even more meaning.
     
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  23. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    I think that's a great point and one I was going to make when we get to the next song, Poor Boy. As you say, this album has kind of come into it's own in the last few decades in terms of the influence and similar sound to a lot of modern music. I'd also add to your list Sufjan Stevens, who has heavily orchestrated music and a similar "soft" vocal style. One could also compare his sparse, introspective album "Carrie and Lowell" as his "Pink Moon" (though, thankfully, without the unhappy ending).
     
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  24. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    John: The studio went through few changes. Between the two records we actually changed the acoustics of the studio. So by the time we did 'Bryter Layter' we had put in another 4 tracks. We changed the acoustics a bit; we made it more controllable. It was a very live studio, which in those days wasn't common at all.

    Since 'Five Leaves Left' Nick had become more assertive in the studio. he was laying down a bit more what he wanted when the takes first went down...It's the quality of the playing and the quality of the people you're working with that matters and 'Bryter Layter' has that in spades. --Fruit Tree book liner notes.

    1- Introduction
    Nick Drake - Introduction - YouTube

    John: I could never quite get out of Nick why he'd done the instrumentals. I remember trying to draw him out on it one day and not getting very far. I think it was Dave Pegg, Mike Kowalski and Nick were pretty much what we kicked off with. I think maybe that 'Introduction' and 'Sunday' we did live with the strings...but the other songs with strings had them overdubbed.

    Robert:...before 'Five Leaves Left' cam e out,Nick and I were working on the instrumental 'Introduction' for 'Bryter Layer', during the summer holiday, possibly before the end of summer term, before we left Cambridge.

    There were never meant to be vocals on this. Nick talked a great deal about concept albums, which were out at the time, and wanting to use instrumental overtures and links between tracks. It was an overture. It was always an overture.

    He wrote the guitar part, I recorded it on the trusty Ferrograph. I worked out some parts, played them to him on the piano, he's say, "no I don't like that, yes, I do like those..." Of course, the thing about 'Bryter Layter' i, unlike 'Five Leaves Left' was that he never heard the arrangements until we got into the studio. The intro uses padded sticks on the Tom-Toms. --Fruit Tree....

    I personally love Nick's introduction...beautiful. -lk

    A beautiful take on the intro by Christopher O'Reily
    Introduction-Bryter Layter - YouTube


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  25. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    2. Hazy Jane II

    Listen here:

    Nick drake - Hazey Jane II - YouTube
    UMG (on behalf of Island Records); ARESA, CMRRA, Abramus Digital, BMG Rights Management, and 4 Music Rights Societies

    Love this amazing opener after the overture. It speaks of amazing things to come on this amazing LP.


    And what will happen in the morning when the world it gets
    So crowded that you can't look out the window in the morning.

    What will happen in the evening in the forest with the weasel
    With the teeth that bite so sharp when you're not looking in the evening.

    And all the friends that you once knew are left behind they kept you safe
    And so secure amongst the books and all the records of your lifetime.

    What will happen
    In the morning
    When the world it gets so crowded that you can't look out the window
    In the morning.

    Hey, take a little while to grow your brother's hair
    And now, take a little while to make your sister fair.
    And now that the family
    Is part of a chain
    Take off your eye shade
    Start over again.
    Now take a little while to find your way in here
    Now take a little while to make your story clear.
    Now that you're lifting
    Your feet from the ground
    Weigh up your anchor
    And never look round.

    Let's sing a song
    For Hazey Jane
    She's back again in my mind.
    If songs were lines
    In a conversation
    The situation would be fine

    Songwriters: Nick Drake
    Hazey Jane II lyrics © BMG Rights Management

    Simply wonderful.

    Nick Drake: guitar and vocals
    Dave Pegg: bass
    Dave Mattocks: drums
    Richard Thompson
    : lead guitar
    Robert Kirby: arrangements

    [​IMG]

     
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