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

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

  1. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    For someone "struggling to comment", you captured our feelings for Nick & his music....perfectly and beautifully.
     
  2. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters

    I loved reading your post. Thank you so much for sharing it. I very much agree with you that I find Nick's music comforting, rather than 'sad' or 'depressing' as it is often described.
     
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  3. peerke

    peerke Isabelle or Sophie?

    Location:
    Belgium
    Here's a little something I wrote in 2011, about the connection between Françoise and the British singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

    Did the French singer Françoise Hardy ever record songs Nick especially wrote for her?
    The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001) clearly thinks so. In the entry on Nick drake it is stated:
    "He lived for a short while in Paris at the behest of Françoise Hardy (who never released the recordings she made of his songs) and then settled in Hampstead..."

    Here are the facts, at least how I see them:

    As with many thinks in Nick's life, information is rare and often contradicting. Some even think they had a relation and lived together for some months. Others just think he had a crush on the beautiful chanteuse - like many schoolboys in the Sixties. The only thing that is certain is taht they have met a few times.

    The first time was at the beginning of the Seventies. Producer Joe Boyd wanted more people to know the acts on his Witchseason label. A good way to do so was to get some famous artist to cover their songs. Possibly for contractual reasons he didn't chose to compile simply some songs from Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band and Nick Drake on an album. Instead he booked some studiotime, in July 1970, and hired a few session singers. One of them was his own girlfriend, Linda Peters - later to marry Richard Thompson and become known as Linda Thompson - and a young man called Reginald Dwight. He was just starting a career as Elton John and payed the rent by covering hitsongs of the day for cheap compilations.
    Some hunderd actetates of those new versions were pressed and sent to potential clients.

    One of the few who showed some interest in Nick's songs was the French singer Françoise Hardy. She contacted Boyd to let him know that she thought the songs were great and that she would like him to write some for her. A meeting was arranged in her Paris apartment. That visit wasn't exactly a great succes. Arriving in the apartment on the Isle St. Louis Drake withdrew in himself." He never said a word," remembers Hardy in the documentary A Skin Too Few.
    "It was excruciating," said Joe Boyd. "Nick sat there, head down, drinking his tea and didn't say a word the whole time; and I had to fill in the awkward silences." (The Sad Ballad of Nick Drake - Mick Brown in The Telegraph, July 12, 1997.)

    They nevertheless agree that Nick will write some songs and Françoise will come to London to record them there. Time is booked in Studio Sound Techniques (the studio where Nick recorded all his albums with engineer John Wood).
    But before Hardy could come to London, Boyd received an offer from Warner Brothers to go to California. It was too good to refuse, so he sold Witchseason to Island Records.

    Some of the finest British folkmusicians were hired for the Hardy sessions. Richard Thompson played guitar on a few tracks. Another was Fotheringay guitarist Jerry Donahue. He confirms that Nick showed up at least once to watch the sessions.

    "When we were doing Françoise's album, Nick Drake came up and sat next to me in the control room. I was just making some friendly conversation. He was very quiet in between questions; there would just be a gap. Then I'd ask another question. And each time I did, his eyebrows would raise way up, his eyes would widen, and it was like an effort to kind of get the answer out to satisfy the situation at hand - 'I've gotta deal with this - somebody's putting me on the line, they've actually addressed me and asked me a question. I will do my best to get an answer out.'
    Then having successfully managed to crank an answer out, he would withdraw again into silence, until which time I might feel inclined to ask him another question, and the same sequence of events would take place. It was very bizarre. I've never known anybody like him. And he wasn't unfriendly. But you just really felt like you were putting the guy on the spot when you'd ask the most simple harmless questions. I thought he had a real rough time with himself. It was impossible to get to know him, certainly in that brief encounter."
    (Richie Unterberger in Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll (Backbeat Books - 1998))

    When the album If You Listen is released in Spring 1972, there's no sing of song written by Nick Drake. But his shadow hangs over the album. (There are covers of songs by Beverley Martin, Buffy Ste Marie, Randy Newman and Neil Young.)

    If he had written any songs for her they must have ended up on Pink Moon, which he recorded around the same time, during two sessions in October 1971.
    When that album, like the two before, disappeared without making much noice, the Youngman sank even deeper in a depression. He returned to his parent's house, but even there he felt like a stranger.

    In 1974 it appeared like he was getting better. He recorded some songs in February and June, but this time he found it hard to sing and play guitar at the same time.
    In the first week of October he took up an invitation of some friends to visit them in Paris, where they lived in a barge on the Seine.
    While he was there, he decided to pay a visit to Françoise Hardy. But when he rang the bell, he didn't recognize the voice on the parlophone. "It's Nick... Nick..." is all he could mutter before returning on his steps. After a few weeks he returned home where he wanted to improve his French before going back to France. But that was nevcer to be. Four weeks later he was death.


    Françoise Hardy talked about meeting Nick Drake for the first time, to Patrick Humphries.

    "For me, he didn't belong to a particularly British tradition: his style was quite different from that of The Beatles, the Stones and other groups that I was listening to a lot around this time. It is the soul which comes out of his songs that touched me deeply - romantic, poetic... but also the refined melodies. As well as the very individual timbre of his voice, which adds to the melancholy of the whole thing.
    Nick seemed - and was no doubt - so shy, so wrapped up in himself, that in retrospect I'm astonished he managed to come and see me two or three times, even knowing that I appreciated his enormous talent. Communication between us was never great, but I had the impression that to know himself appreciated, loved, gave him confidence; and that to feel that his silence presence was accepted was enough for him."
    (Patrick Humphries - Brief Encounter in Mojo 39 - February 1997)
     
  4. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    [​IMG]

    Nick Drake was a stop on the line from Davy Graham to Jackson C. Frank to Sandy Denny to Fairport to Nick. From Nick Drake I think I must've gone on to Ralph McTell and Duncan Browne and various others more obscure (and his mother Molly Drake). I wish I could live three thousand years and examine every single thread in the tapestry of music down to each demo and unrecorded lyric!

    I wonder if Nick Drake ever led anyone to John Cale, as I imagine vice-versa that might be fairly likely.

    Today I got the Hammer film Demons Of The Mind just because Harry Robinson who worked on Nick's River Man was credited with the music for it!
     
  5. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Wow I missed seeing this thread.
    Amazing guitar technique and totally unique tunings. Each song has something unusual about it from the guitar standpoint. I am looking forward to comment on the technical side of some of the songs.
     
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  6. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    A couple of points regarding his guitar style...he used many different tunings including many that incorporated unison bass strings. The big sound produced from the unison bass strings complimented his vocals. His right hand technique was amazing in his ability to keep a steady rhythm and groove. His use of unusual tunings produced odd chords that he would use as a foundation for his melodies. His left hand was a monster......incredible strength to produce the flowing hammer ons and pulloffs that flowed effortlessly.
     
  7. Nick Drake fan

    Nick Drake fan Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Well, yes, safe to say I'm a fan.
    Big fan.

    My introduction to Nick Drake's music happened like this:

    I'm a lifelong New Orleans, LA resident. And I'm a lifelong hardcore lover of music - recorded music as well as attending live shows. In 1997, I discovered a "local" band called the Continental Drifters. I say "local" b/c none of the band members were actually from New Orleans but that had assembled an "all-star band" of sorts and decided to settle in New Orleans. This band was made up of members of other established bands: Peter Holsapple (The dB's as well as a "fifth" member of R.E.M. for about 5 years), Vicki Peterson (The Bangles), Mark Walton and Robert Mache (The Dream Syndicate), Russ Broussard (The Bluerunners), and Susan Cowsill (The Cowsills). They were an amazing band I was fortunate enough to see over 50 times. The de facto leader of The Continental Drifters was Peter Holsapple. Peter was a music junkie who seemed to know every obscure artist. In 1997, I found out he was playing solo acoustic shows every Sunday night at a club in New Orleans called Carrollton Station so I knew I had to catch this. Peter used these solo acoustic shows to play many of the songs he'd written for The dB's as well as an opportunity to play covers of artists he loved. Two of this artists whose songs he'd regularly cover were Richard Thompson and, yes, Nick Drake. Before he'd play several Nick Drake songs Peter would always tell the audience about this guy Nick Drake whom few knew about but who wrote some of the greatest songs ever. And how when he died in 1974 he'd sold very few albums and was almost totally unknown. But Peter made it a point to say that he wanted everyone to get to know Nick's music and to buy his three albums and listen to every note. I still remember hearing Holsapple's cover of "Black Eyed-Dog" (which he explained was on Nick's "best of" CD called Fruit Tree) and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. So needless to say I quickly went about buying each of these albums - and was absolutely blown away. There isn't a single track of Nick's that I don't flat out love. ("Road" is probably my favorite if push comes to shove.) So I was introduced to Nick's music by Peter Holsapple in 1997 and my love for Nick's music has only grown by leaps and bound since then.
     
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  8. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Demons...
    Any trademark haunting strings on the soundtrack?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  9. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    John Cale by association.
    I got Mike Heron album as Cale was on it but strangely strange not Nick.
     
  10. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    To Scott Appel...major contributor to tribute album Brittle Days. His Nine of Swords and Parhelion LPs are hard to find but well worth it! If you need, contact me. He was granted rare access to Drake's unpublished work by the Drake family.

    Far Leys (Scott's extended cover version from Nicks' short snippet)
     
  11. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
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  12. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Bird Flew By covered by Scott Appel
     
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  13. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Jeremy Harmer's cover of Northern Sky...Jeremy is a wonderful talent, hard to find recorded albums. Jeremy's cover is just wonderful. And the strings! Jeremy is a teacher, musicologist, and his first love as a singer songwriter in his own right, recording freak folk and traditional folk albums since the 60's.

    Such emotion in his pure raw reading.

     
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  14. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    I love all Nick Drake albums (the all 3)
    but Five Leaves Left is my Magical treasure, the music and the hypnotic vocals of Nick Drake Filled with melancholic beauty and create mesmerizing atmosphere . The String instruments ,they are Gorgeous!
    Nick Drake singing and the music are so touching, A stunning album!

    When I am listening to the album I feel that I am diving into an ocean of beautiful sounds, the music takes me to a mysterious and beautiful places, songs like River Man , Day Is Done ,Way To Blue , Cello Song , Fruit Tree bring me to tears every time.

    I love to listen to the album when there is heavy rain outside.
    This is one of my Desert Island albums.
     
  15. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Listen and lyrics first...immerse yourself

    3. Three Hours, Five Leaves Left
    Licensed by: UMG (on behalf of Late Night Tales); CMRRA,
    BMG Rights Management, Abramus Digital, ARESA, and 4 Music Rights Societies

    Wow, Nick's guitar-voice, Danny's bass. So perfect.




    Three Hours
    Nick Drake

    Three hours from sundown
    Jeremy flies
    Hoping to keep
    The sun from his eyes
    East from the city
    And down to the cave
    In search of a master
    In search of a slave

    Three hours from London
    Jacomo's free
    Taking his woes
    Down to the sea
    In search of a lifetime
    To tell when he's home
    In search of a story
    That's never been known

    Three hours from speaking
    Everyone's flown
    Not wanting to be
    Seen on their own
    Three hours is needed
    To leave from them all
    Three hours to wonder
    And three hours to fall

    Three hours from sundown
    Jeremy flies
    Hoping to keep the sun from his eyes
    East from the city
    And down to the cave
    In search of a master
    In search of a slave


    Nick Drake
    Three Hours lyrics © BMG Rights Management


    [​IMG]

     
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  16. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    3. Three Hours

    [​IMG]

    Nick Drake, guitar vocals
    Danny Thompson: upright bass
    Rocki Dzidzornu: congas


    "Nick creates a sense of motion by playing a rhythmical drone on low strings of the guitar, giving the song it's forward thrust. The upper strings dance above the drone in a highly syncopates fashion, almost as if they are being played on a second instrument....The song is essentially modal, meaning it is not based on chords, as most contemporary western music is, but on a scale or mode, in this case a minor scale (Dorian) which is frequently heard in Arabic, Turkish, and Spanish folk music. The song's exotic origins are reflected in the lyrics, which speak of a trip to the east (mysterious and ancient)...

    The droning engine of the guitar carries you along much like a train, picking up speed at the beginning of the song, slowing down didway trough then picking up again, plunging deeper into the strange landscape. Although the lyrics describe the destination as three hours from London, in truth it seems light years away..."


    –Robin Frederick: "A Much Outdated Ruin, From A Much Outdated Style."

    [​IMG]
     
  17. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    Well if River Man left any doubt to this guy's brilliance, Three Hours should have convinced anyone in 1969 that this was really something special. Probably in my top five Nick Drake songs of all time, Three Hours take you on a complicated musical journey. The guitar on this track is just draw droppingly amazing. It weaves in, out and around the soft drumming, speeds up, slows down, takes center stage then slides into the background. The lyrics too just seem so painfully personal, I've always interpreted them to be about his desire for fame and success while faced with his social awkwardness and shyness. He wants to succeed (reference to flying) but without the attention it brings (keeping the sun from his eyes). The Master/Slave line has always left me a bit perplexed.
     
  18. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Just the first three tracks of Five Leaves Left (posted above) illustrate just how diverse and complex Nick's understanding of composition and coloring was--how he created music and wordscapes like a master musician of 60 years and yet still a teenager, is beyond my comprehension. Quite amazing for a 17 year old young man to compose, and a just turned 18 year old to record. Such confidence, subtlety, utter beauty, and complexity. Just...wow!

    The sly, gentle genius revealed in this photo says it all...

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters

    I listened to 'Three Hours' in bed last night (more than once), in anticipation of the thread continuing today. Side 1 of Five Leaves Left is one of my favorite album sides ever and this sits at the very heart of it. I find the lyrics opaque and unusual...lovely, but hard to crawl inside of. The music is just plain stunning. I love the use of conga drums and the middle section with the guitar accelerating in tempo as the bass pulses. The song is over six minutes but has never felt like it to me. It's a real journey of a song. It takes you into someplace deep.
     
  20. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    "The song's exotic origins are reflected in the lyrics, which speak of a trip to the east (mysterious and ancient), a land of masters and slaves where one may search for a story that's never been known." –Robin Frederick, Fruit Tree booklet

    A song with a multilayered meaning to be sure...Nick may have seen the world as a place of masters and slaves (bosses and workers), himself never feeling comfortable in either world. He left college and a degree, and the security of at least something to fall back on, for a life of unsure destinations -- as he told his father, that unsure life was what he desired, when his father tried to convince Nick to stay at university. Nick wanted the excitement, and insecurity of a free-fall musicians life, with hopes of success of course. But success or failure, Nick was willing to take the chance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
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  21. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    "truly life changing moments"
    :thumbsup:

    I become familiar with Nick Drake beautiful music not long time ago (about a year and half ago),
    Five Leaves Left was my first introduction with the magnificent music of Nick Drake.
    I read a lot about Nick Drake before I got the cd ,after reading I just felt that I must buy the cd.
    during listening I felt that I surrounded by waves of Beauty, spiritual atmosphere, Magic ,and mesmerizing tender sadness . I love the album so much so I have both the original cd Hannibal 1989
    and the remastered cd 2000, after that I bought Pink Moon and Bryter Layter.
     
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  22. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    When I see in the forum the love and the appreciation for Nick Drake (lots of pages and threads)
    and when I am talking with music fans that I familiar with I feel glad but also a bit sad that He isn't aware of this ,he did not imagine what kind of emotional and powerful influence his music would have on people, If he could only see that for a moment, he deserves to know, I want to believe he can :)
     
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  23. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    I should say that I also was new at one time to Nick's magic. It has been twenty years since discovering Nick, and life changing indeed. Nick Drake's music is the music that all other music is measured by.
     
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  24. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    I too believe, the sooner you come to hear it, the sooner you can get past the, "Oh. That's different...", and move right on to the :bigeek: For some reason, yes, it's a discovery, moreso than a grower of an artist. You recognise it when you play a taste of Nick Drake for your friends...and they make that face.

    I "got it" that first night I played that track ("Northern Skies") in the back studio at work; but it was some time before I even shared it with folks, because I wanted to hear him in the context of an album; Bryter was the first one I found. His frail, crippled intensity on "River Man" gives me the understanding that, not only does he sound like he'd come in from someplace else, but perhaps he was still there.

    Maybe it's his barely-murmered lyrics that make it hard to understand, maybe I wanted to make sure I got it before handing it off the the friends in my life who usually go for harder-partying anthems; but I kept his music to myself for awhile; in fact he was speaking a different message to me than I had ever been hearing before. I had to turn it up to 11 (my hearing aids, that is)!
     
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  25. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Definitely a very personal artist that is hard to share with those who like some kind of rock anthem thing...not.

    Nick is appreciated and heard fully only in the quietest moments.
     
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