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
    Absolutely one of my all time favorite Drake songs. No words to express...listen, and listen again.

    Words expressed by Robin and Joe and John forthcoming.

    The guitar intro, then the congas, Danny's percussive bass, and then the 'cello. Stunning.
    The fade out with the 'cello, congas and Nick's sweet humming...then just congas, fade...


    6. 'Cello Song, Five Leaves left



    Nick Drake: guitar, vocal
    Claire Lowther: 'cello
    Danny Thompson: double bass
    Rocki Dzidzornu: congas

    The stunning lyrics.

    'Cello Song
    Nick Drake


    Strange face, with your eyes
    So pale and sincere
    Underneath you know well
    You have nothing to fear
    For the dreams that came to you when so young
    Told of a life
    Where spring is sprung

    You would seem so frail
    In the cold of the night
    When the armies of emotion
    Go out to fight
    But while the earth sinks to its grave
    You sail to the sky
    On the crest of a wave

    So forget this cruel world
    Where I belong
    I'll just sit and wait
    And sing my song
    And if one day you should see me in the crowd
    Lend a hand and lift me
    To your place in the cloud

    Nick Drake
    'Cello Song lyrics © BMG Rights Management

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  2. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    One of nick's most uplifting songs.

    "And if one day you should see me in the crowd
    Lend a hand and lift me
    To your place in the clouds."

    [​IMG]
     
    Parachute Woman likes this.
  3. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    [​IMG]

    "You sail to the sky
    On the crest of a wave..."
     
  4. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    Cello Song
    As I noted at the beginning of the thread, this was one of the first two Nick Drake songs I heard (along with 'Northern Sky') and it instantly slayed me. Could music be this beautiful and intimate? The cello is one of my favorite instruments and I think has one of the most gorgeous and rich tones of any instrument. Every piece off the arrangement is perfect but my favorite piece is Nick humming the cello melody. That sends shivers down my spine when he does that.

    And the final verse:
    So forget this cruel world
    Where I belong
    I'll just sit and wait
    And sing my song
    And if one day you should see me in the crowd
    Lend a hand and lift me
    To your place in the cloud


    Nick has lifted me time and time again to his place in the cloud. I find real solace in these words.

    Also, a note: this song is the only place I have ever seen the word cello written with an apostrophe, indicating something has been omitted. I know it is short for "violoncello" but the name has been shortened for so long, and I've never seen that noted. Is this a British thing? I played violin in an orchestra when I was younger and we only ever wrote it "cello."
     
  5. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    From the Fruit Tree book:

    Robin: In case you are wondering: the word 'cello in the title has a apostrophe in front of it because it is a shortened form of: violoncello. In today's slapdash music industry, we never refer to it that way and have long since dropped the apostrophe. Nick's proper usage recalls a world of classical music with its respect for tradition and accurate detail".

    Love the 'cello too...favorite classical string instrument. I'll never write 'cello any other way now.

    [​IMG]

     
  6. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    Top 5 Drake song for me. I do find the congas drumming slightly distracting, particularly being so hard panned to the right, but the beautiful guitar, singing and cello more than make up for that.
     
  7. KaptKopter

    KaptKopter Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Thanks! Indeed it is and probably my favourite guitar player as well, you have good taste :cheers: one of my favourite albums of all time.
     
  8. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    It is not so jarring I am sure when listening at home with good acoustics, through a solid stereo system (as I always do when not working)...no headphones here.

    With everyone live and together in studio (except the 'cello, which was recorded later by Claire after one listen it seems--one take), I like to imagine being right there in studio watching that amazing trio work their magic:

    Nick seated front and center, Danny on the left, and Rocki on the right (just the way it comes out of the speakers). Live, with mics in place, John working his genius at the sound board: analog four-track magic. Love the congas. Adds a special touch and exotic magic to the piece. It could have been a 'cello/guitar/vocal piece like Beatles' Yesterday, but the congas give it another dimension entirely. Special.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
    beccabear67 and Parachute Woman like this.
  9. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Side bar: A very good friend of Randy's (and a great friend of mine) helped to facilitate the release of much of the late Randy California's/Spirit material that has been issued since his tragic drowning. Randy's mother asked my friend to go through the boxes and boxes of tapes that were in still Randy's garage. My friend has some good stories about best friend Randy, and also Cass who lived down the road from my friend. My friend spoke of seeing Cass driving by (already in his late 70's) in his big classic convertible, shaved head, still wearing those iconic sunglasses.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
    alexpop likes this.
  10. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    Worth concidering that any artist commiting their music to vinyl would spend a great deal of time & soul searching in deciding on the dreaded.... track order.
    Which song would give an overall impression of a new artist and so be a contender for track one?
    How do you balance each side?
    Whats good enough to open side2 & therefore keep the album on the turntable?

    My 1st time of hearing FLL was on vinyl and it was a heavily played 1st press on a terrible record player, but the power of the songs hit me for six.
    River Man on side one was unlike anything I'd heard before. It was Eleanor Rigby esque but waaaaay more mysterious, powerful & meaningful.
    Way To Blue had you desperate to turn the album over to hear side 2.

    'Cello Song was the song that truly confirmed you were in the presence of something very bloody special.
    (As much a tribute to the 'cello playing of Claire Lowther, who recorded it in one take)
    By now there was no way this album would not make it to the end of side 2.

    This song has that all too rare quality of being actually truly timeless.
    Recorded last week, it would have the same relevance and resonance now that it had when recorded almost 50 years ago.

    A rare rare piece that instantly became a part of my own musical DNA the very 1st time of hearing and will always remain there.
     
  11. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    I ran across an album when i was young of 'Cello music by Ofra Harnoy (and she was young then too), it was in the local library, so 'Cello Song is in my top five Nick Drake favorites which I return to regularly.
     
    lemonade kid likes this.
  12. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Cello Song

    Open tuning and a capo at the 6th fret....I am not sure of the tuning. My chords are what is heard in standard tuning.

    Opens with an E flat chord. Nick's brilliant use of melodic motion bursts from the simple chord.....with variations on the motifs and use of voicings. His steady and strongly unwavering rhythm propels the song like a freight train. Brilliant groove. Nick's incredible rhythmic attack is one of the harder aspects of his playing to replicate. At :16, the chord shifts to the tonic B flat....the song's key. IV-I is another Nick trademark. At :27 the cello plays a minor second that colors the melody with some melancholy. Nick's vocals are very folk based as the entire song. At 1:24 a minor chord turns around the IV-I interplay. At 1:33 Nick sings the melody first heard by the cello. Everything repeats. At 3:21 Nick and the cello sing in unison to set up the outro. The percussion comes up in the mix. The song starts to fade and the bass gets to show off some melody. The song gradually fades to an end.

    Another fantastic song and one of the more traditional folk sounding songs from the album. One of his more simpler songs chord wise but you would never know it with all of the motifs and voicings that seem to continually change.
     
  13. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    6. 'Cello Song

    Robin: This is the kind of simple, bare-boned song to which Nick would return on the "Pink Moon" album. It consists of just four lines of melody and three chords, one of which is held for 16 bars under the 'cello line. At first glance, it seems there's not much going on musically and yet Nick manages to evoke a sense of ethereal mystery with such commonplace things.

    The feeling of floating, of being disconnected from solid ground, is central to Nick's music. You can hear it on song after song (Hazey Jane I, Free Ride, Fly, Which Will, Pink Moon, Place To Be, and others). He generally accomplishes it in two ways: 1) by shifting the emphasis around among different beats and 2) through the use of melodic phrases that do not begin or end where we expect. Over and over, he finds ways to make the first beat of a bar -- that rock-solid anchor of popular music -- into an ambivalent question mark. 'Cello Song is a great example. After setting up a steady drone in the intro, emphasizing Beat 2 then shifting to Beat 1, he abruptly changes to a precise fingerpicking pattern that alternately emphasizes Beats 1 and 3. When the 'cello line eventually enters on Beat 3, we feel ourselves losing touch with solid ground--where is Beat 1? Then, the vocal delivers us into a floating world: some of the lines begin on Beat 1, others Beat 3; phrases are five bars long instead of the usual four. By playing with emphasized or 'strong' beat, Nick cuts us loose from our anchor. We are drifting, no longer sure where we are. This is exactly the feeling he wants to create, so that we, too, know what it's like to be suspended between the clouds and the earth as it sinks deeper into its grave [see lyrics]. --Fruit Tree book

    [​IMG]
     
  14. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    On the 'cello part:

    Joe: I knew you couldn't just book a session 'cello player. It had to be someone who could wing it and follow suggestions from Nick and try different things and not have a written part. I don't think there was any part written out for her (Claire Lowther), I think Nick hummed the line and then he said. "I want you to echo that." Nick took a firm interest in that process, the 'cello part, he had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted.
    --Fruit Tree book

    [​IMG]

     
  15. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Excellent description.
    The technical term for what Nick does with the beat is rhythmic displacement. He was a master at it. Many players use the same repeating motif and rhythmically displace it. Nick took it a step further and did it with different motifs. Sometimes he would change them in an improvisatory fashion.
    "Four lines of melody and three chords" ....typically the definition of a folk based song.
     
    Parachute Woman likes this.
  16. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    FLL went through a number of changes in track order before release.
    Heres a promo cassette with 'Cello Song first...

    SIDE ONE- CELLO SONG, THE THOUGHTS OF MARY JANE ,MAN IN A SHED , FRUIT TREE , SATURDAY SUN

    SIDE TWO- TIME HAS TOLD ME ,RIVER MAN ,THREE HOURS ,WAY TO BLUE , DAY IS DONE.

    THE RUNNING ORDER GIVEN ON THE BACK OF THE INLAY OMITS " WAY TO BLUE" FOR SOME REASON.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Cool treasure but OMG, what an ugly cover...Cassettes and 8-tracks were famous for messing up established track order to fit the format. No creative sense to it.

    FLL: Joe & John were in charge of the track order after final mixing. Joe had final word. The songs would be juggled around like puzzle pieces, trying to get each album side approximately the same length. Partly math, and partly creative flow I suppose. It could change quite a bit, as they worked on some kind of proper sequence. Joe had the last word though. The artists at Witchseason really had no say, and Nick likely didn't care anyway.

    Side bar: For Bryter Layter, it was Nick's notion to have instrumental tracks opening and closing each side. (Side one ended up without one). He was hearing those kinds of concept albums and admired Pet Sounds' and other albums' instrumental tracks. He saw it as a way to give the album more appeal--maybe sell better. Nick was adamant about it. Joe thought the instrumental tracks were mercifully short. I like them and they work for me--I see what Nick was trying for.
     
    Parachute Woman likes this.
  18. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    Joe & John cut strips of paper with the track names on, in corresponding lengths to the track duration.
    These were then moved around until they physically fitted each side of the vinyl album and had the right balance of songs.
    An interesting anachronism to have 2 "sides", something that became redundant after CD became the dominant medium.
     
  19. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    That's why I still prefer vinyl. Having to get physical with the music, flipping the platter. Loved it in 1967. Love it still. The art of sequencing two album sides was pretty great when the bands were involved or even creative guys like Joe Boyd, who was I am sure still concerned with creative sequencing too.
     
    alexpop and Buddys Dad like this.
  20. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    Vinyl first for me too!
    Not ashamed to admit that when I assembled the hifi, it was with an eye to playback the music of ND to its best advantage.
    The TT and amps are all hand built down the road in Nottingham.
    The amps are driven by English valves (tubes) from the 70's.
    The speakers, Quad electrostatics, were designed by an engineer who was also a keen musician.
    Its about as close as I can get to having the band in the room.
     
    alexpop and googlymoogly like this.
  21. beatleroadie

    beatleroadie Forum Resident

    Now that a few other posthumous releases have come out, is there a single disc "Best of Nick Drake" so to speak out on vinyl that includes some material not released during his lifetime?
     
  22. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Not the I know of. That would be sweet.
    Actually, "Made To Love Magic" and "Family Tree" are on vinyl and still to be had. Nothing else at least in the USA...try Bull Moose to order.
     
  23. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    No one album will do it, but...
    Made To Love Magic, very much a Robert Kirby & John Wood project, who were/are hugely protective of the ND legacy.
    Has an essential version of River Man from early 68.
    And some truly stunning reworked music discovered on tape in Robert Kirby's potting shed.

    Check out Time Of No Reply for tracks that (sadly) missed the cut for FLL.
    And Time Has Told Me.
    Discussed earlier in this thread, they reveal a great deal about how FLL came to be the album that it is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    PhantomStranger likes this.
  24. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Been "away" but thanks to Buddys Dad I woke up. This one has a bit of sly Nick humor with his double meaning for "Mary Jane".

    Hard to explain my feelings for this one: more wistful than despairing lyrics, and rather uplifting, while melancholy, but still a summery breezy tune with that flute. Nary a Nick Drake tune that doesn't somehow tug at your heart strings...this one included.

    And, Buddys Dad, it is quite satisfying that you (and likely many more) want more Nick Drake, not allowing me to let the thread languish for long without a new song.

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

    7. Thoughts Of Mary Jane, Five Leaves Left



    Who can know
    The thoughts of mary jane
    Why she flies
    Or goes out in the rain
    Where she's been
    And who she's seen
    In her journey to the stars.


    Who can know
    The reasons for her smile
    What are her dreams
    When they've journeyed for a mile
    The way she sings
    And her brightly coloured rings
    Make her the princess of the sky.


    Who can know
    What happens in her mind
    Did she come from a strange world
    And leave her mind behind
    Her long lost sighs
    And her brightly coloured eyes
    Tell her story to the wind.


    Who can know
    The thoughts of mary jane
    Why she flies
    Or goes out in the rain
    Where she's been
    And who she's seen
    In her journey to the stars.

    Nick Drake
    Lyrics ©BMG Rights Management


    Nick Drake, vocals & guitar..some very nice picking here. Nothing fancy sounding at first listen, but so effectively perfect
    Robert Kirby, arrangement
    flute, uncredited but oh so nice

    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
    EddieMann, George P and Buddys Dad like this.
  25. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    Hard to believe but its a half century since Nick first started to record FLL...

    1968

    February - Nick's first public performance, at the Roundhouse, London, as part of a two-day festival for peace. He supports Country Joe MacDonald. Nick was given a ten-minute slot at about two in the morning. His performance was observed by a member of Fairport Convention, who mentioned it to producer Joe Boyd. Boyd subsequently arranged a meeting and is presented with a tape of recordings by Nick.

    April/May - Nick first meets Robert Kirby, a classical arranger, and they begin to work together on some of Nick's songs.

    May - Nick performs at a party at Tanworth in Arden.

    ? - Nick performs at Cambridge balls with a small orchestra and Robert Kirby. His set includes Way To Blue, The Thoughts of Mary Jane, Day Is Done and Time Of No Reply.

    July - Sessions begin at Sound Techniques for Nick’s first album.

    10 October - Man in a Shed and Mayfair are recorded.

    11 November - Clothes of Sand and Joey are recorded.

    20 December - Time of No Reply and The Thoughts of Mary Jane are recorded.

    ? - Julian Lloyd takes colour photographs of Nick wrapped in blanket in bush.

    1969

    early - Nick performs at the Pitt Club, Cambridge, with an orchestra.

    March - records a live version of Three Hours.

    29 April - photo sessions with Keith Morris at Gunther Hall, Chelsea; a derelict house near Wimbeldon Common; and outside the Morgan Crucible Factory, Battersea. Photos from derelict house used for cover of Five Leaves Left.

    10 June - Nick performs at Oxford Caius May Ball, with an orchestra.

    5 July - Melody Maker – notice re the imminent release of Nick Drake ’s first album.

    5 August - BBC1 radio session – Nick records 4 songs for the John Peel show – 1. Time of No Reply, 2. Cello Song, 3. River Man and 4. Three Hours. No copy of this performance has been made public.

    26 July - Melody Maker – review of Five Leaves Left.

    1 September - Five Leaves Left is released in the UK on Island ILPS 910S.

    24 September - Nick performs at the Royal Festival Hall, supporting Fairport Convention and John and Beverley Martyn. 'The audience were quiet and respectful,' said Joe Boyd of the performance. 'Nick's performance was brilliant, the audience were mesmerized.' This was to be one of the few highlights of his performance career.

    4 October - Nick performs at the Upper Room Folk Club, located in the Goodwill to All pub, Middlesex.

    4 October - New Musical Express review of Five Leaves Left.

    10 October - Nick opens for Fairport Convention.

    15 November - Nick performs at the Cousins folk club, London.

    ? - Nick plays at a folk club in Hull. Folk singer Michael Chapman was there: 'Sometime in 1969, at a pub called the Haworth. The folkies did not take to him; they were a real silver tankard and finger-in-the-ear crowd. The folk crowd wanted songs with choruses. They completely missed the point. They just didn't get the gentleness, the subtlety. Nick played beautifully. I suppose they were all his own songs, I recognised some from the album. He didn't introduce any of them; he didn't say a word the entire evening. It was actually quite painful to watch. I don't know what the audience expected, I mean, they must have known they weren't going to get sea-shanties and sing along at a Nick Drake gig!'

    ? - Nick's last gig of 1969 was at a social club in Smethwick, near Birmingham, where Nick played to an unattentive crowd between a dinner and a disco. 'That really destroyed him,' said John Martyn some years later on Radio 1, 'because I think they would have rather listened to the Troggs. So I think that was a major blow to his confidence. I remember him being defensive about that for days and days.'

    [​IMG]
     
    PJayBe and lemonade kid like this.

Share This Page