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
    Very nice post, BD.

    :tiphat:

    What we wouldn't give for an original poster like the one you posted!
     
  2. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    Thoughts of Mary Jane
    I have seen this song get dismissed a little bit as being just about marijuana ('Mary Jane'), which seems really reductive and obvious to me. I can't say whether Nick was influenced at all by that drug in the writing of the song, but I certainly think there is more to it than just being an ode to getting high. Though in some ways, the lyrics do remind me of 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' such as the image of the brightly colored eyes ('kaleidoscope eyes'). But that song wasn't completely about drugs either. Just interesting and poetic lyrics about a beautiful lady. I quite enjoy the arrangement and this one strongly reminds me of the early work of Belle & Sebastian, who were definitely influenced by Nick. It's a warm, morning kind of song for me with that flute trilling and waking the day as Mary Jane traipses through the green English countryside in the early morning misty rain. I can see her stomping through puddles in her galoshes.
     
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  3. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    Like Tom Petty's Last Dance With Mary Jane, this is one of many songs that have been written & dedicated to a mythical "her", marijuana.
    She was always available and wouldn't stand you up for another guy.
    There's even an arguement that gatefold album sleeves were invented to make a convenient rolling up surface.

    Was lucky to know Nick's photographer, the late Keith Morris. Keith has often appeared in ND films as he was one of a handful of people who spent any time with Nick.
    Mentioned earlier in this thread, there was a retrospective of his 3 ND photo sessions in 2004.
    What struck me more than anything was the physical deterioration over the space of just 3 years.
    We go from...

    [​IMG]

    to...

    [​IMG]

    Keith remembered the sessions for Nick’s last album, Pink Moon: “It was a bleak, grey day… Nick was totally cooperative but said very little, couldn’t interact and found it difficult to look towards the camera. It was like I was intruding on private grief.”

    Keith was a no b#llsh#t guy and when I asked what his thoughts were, the answer was uniquivocal... drugs. He smoked "industrial quantities of dope".
    And there's compelling testimony it didn't end there.

    Whilst we'd all like it to be a sad ode to a long lost girl, first name Mary, its simply a love letter to cannabis.
    And, as it appeared towards the end of a packet of Rizla cigarette papers, the inspiration for the album title

    [​IMG]
     
  4. bhazen

    bhazen Infinitely Baffled

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Here in the PNW, it feels like Autumn has arrived a bit early ... perfect weather for hearing Nick (and other autumnal fellow travelers.)

    How I wish A Skin Too Few was available on DVD.

    That's all I got ...
     
  5. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    I realize the effect on people of Five Leaves Left is apparently stronger than his more "over-polished" release that followed, but it is still amazing to me, this is up to 9 pages, and haven't even gotten to my favorite album yet! The reminisence and detail to these anecdotes, particularly in this forum, just astonishes me.

    I grew up outside of the world of mainstream musician awareness, even with rags like RS, Creem or Down Beat readily available in our own little city. When I discovered Nick, it was in a vacuum of indifference and simple lack of awareness; most people I know had no curiosity of music beyond what they shared with their peers, and certainly no yearning to go beyond the "crankin' up" of the car radio. At parties, other people's record collections seemed mostly distillations of radio playlists with the occasional exception. And here, in this peer environment, I'd happened upon the most intriguing, enigmatic artist of my young life...and had nowhere to go for furthering my quest. So, as I probably do on a day-to-day basis, my grateful thanks to everybody who comes to this forum to share what they know and what they love. 9 pages - and not even completely through Side 2...!

    I can't even tell you when I finally found Five Leaves Left, although it was the 2nd Drake album I bought. A lot of my musical explorations in this midwestern U.S. bounty of at least one chain store, and one head shop/record store in every biger town, helped me learn: if there was an album by an artist you're just getting into...there was always an earlier album somewhere to get an often-less-fully-formed version of his sound before they got "famous" enough to get onto your radar. With Nick, one could clearly consider this first LP far more than just, "a strong first step".

    Just little of the production-sheen of "Chime of A City Clock", and album design and song selections bordering on "concept", that's all. Doubtless it was less than half-a-year after living with Bryter that I made room on the shelf for Five Leaves, barely out of college and leaving home for "career jobs".

    But then "Buddy's Dad" brings up that fifty years have passed since production on Nick's LP debut began, and man, what a splash in the face...on me and my wife's 29th anniversary, no less! And even longer, that I've been able to share this rare, rare find with the love of my life!

    And, in autumn.

    And, on the day we plan to go to our favorite theater to watch Juliet, Naked, book written by Nick Hornby, featuring a character drawn, at least tangentially, from...Nick Drake.

    Wow. If you found his tunings difficult to learn yet satisfying to master - there's yer metaphor right there for my past half-century.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  6. PJayBe

    PJayBe Forum Resident

    Totally agree with you on that one. Where is it???
     
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  7. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
  8. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    2. The Thoughts Of Mary Jane

    [​IMG]

    Thoughts by...

    Robin: On the surface, Mary Jane is a girl who sounds rather straight-laced and proper, even a bit Victorian, all lilting flutes and shimmery strings. But beneath the veneer of respectability, there are subtly subversive elements to the song, which finally bubble to the surface in the upbeat, syncopated tag at the end. Right from the start, the low strings of the guitar are playing a milonga rhythm -- a form of tango -- and there's a hint of bossa nova in the warm, complex chords as they circle around a few common tones. And, again like the bossa nova, Nick uses the vocal melody to alter or complete the guitar chords. Meanwhile the strings and flute carry on as if we are sitting primly in the front parlour. Mary Jane may be a princess of the sky but she's not all sweetness and light. The sophisticated chords, that spirited tag at the end, and the fact that "mary jane" was a well-known euphemism for marijuana, all add up to a bit of fun lurking behind this gentle tribute song.

    Robert: It's quite difficult because I think after "Way To Blue", we were starting to cut our own path. I mean, "Thoughts Of Mary Jane" is quite a simple arrangement, and the flute part is simple. Was "Pet Sounds" around then? It was very English. It was always meant to be very English. "Way To Blue" is definitely meant sound Baroque. "Day Is Done" is definitely "Eleanor Rigby"/George Martin. "The Thoughts Of Mary Jane" and "Fruit Tree" are really Drake and Kirby. We're not trying to copy anyone.

    Excerpts from--"A Much Updated Ruin From A Much Outdated Style", Fruit Tree box

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Love this etched-look ink drawing. Although the artist's image could be imagined to be Ralph or Nick, and that could be the artist's intention...but I am thinking by the way he is dressed, it is drawn from Ralph McTell. They both had a gaunt visage, a tall thin figure and similar hair styles so it could be seen as either, but the casual open shirt, and jeans says Ralph. Very cool nonetheless. Love it.
     
  10. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    There was also a great Nick Drake forum that disappeared a few years ago...it was the definitive Nick Drake forum with a wealth of music and Nick Drake information with members from around the world. But for some reason it deteriorated with some rather nasty posts and dissing of the site, and sadly, just kept going down until the forum host finally just gave it up. Too bad.

    Maybe this thread can ease the loss of that forum and become the new Nick Drake forum within THE forum, here. And I hope this thread will keep going long after the tracks have all been discussed.

    Thanks for all your posts and participation...very satisfying. I wasn't sure how it would go over, or if there would be much participation.

    Thanks to you all!

    [​IMG]

    And by the way, beccabear, love John Stewart too.
     
  11. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    8. Man In A Shed, Five Leaves Left


    UMG (on behalf of Island Records); Abramus Digital, CMRRA, BMG Rights Management, ARESA, and 6 Music Rights Societies

    This one is absolutely amazing, Nick's guitar first, Danny's bass next WOW!, then Paul Harris' piano and Nick's voice. So fine. Jazzy bluesy freak folk!

    Nick Drake: guitar, vocal
    Danny Thompson: upright bass
    Paul Harris: piano

    Man In A Shed
    by Nick Drake

    Well there was a man who lived in a shed
    Spent most of his days out of his head
    For his shed was rotten let in the rain
    Said it was enough to drive any man insane
    When it rained
    He felt so bad
    When it snowed he felt just simply sad.

    Well there was a girl who lived nearby
    Whenever he saw her he could only simply sigh
    But she lived in a house so very big and grand
    For him it seemed like some very distant land
    So when he called her
    His shed to mend,
    She said I'm sorry you'll just have to find a friend.

    Well this story is not so very new
    But the man is me, yes and the girl is you
    So leave your house come into my shed
    Please stop my world from raining through my head
    Please don't think
    I'm not your sort

    You'll find that sheds are nicer than you thought.


    Songwriters: Nick Drake
    Man in a Shed lyrics © BMG Rights Management

    [​IMG]




     
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  12. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    8. Man In A Shed

    Robin: The blues and jazz combination of "Man In A Shed" was a sound Nick would have been familiar with from the recordings of Mose Allison. Friends recall Nick playing Allison's "Parchman Farm" on piano while he was at Marlborough College. It's also possible that Allison's breathy laid back singing style influenced Nick's approach to his voccals.

    Here, Nick is playing the part of the "poor boy" as he will again on "Bryter Layter". The use of the shed versus the grand house to denote social standing is straight out of the blues canon, (...the man is me, yes, and the girl is you") is derived from the sophisticated lyric writing style of the 1930's. It is worth noting that Nick's Mother was an accomplished songwriter whose work was firmly rooted in the standards of Cole Porter, Noel Coward, and the Gershwins.

    John: "Man In A Shed" was just put down with Nick & Danny Thompson. Paul Harris's piano got put on in America. One thing that Joe & I have in common is that we think the most important thing about records is the playing on them. There never seemed to be anybody who could play the piano over here, so off Joe went on this occasion and got Paul to overdub the piano part. He took out the 4-track original multitrack I suppose. Brought it back and...it's not a great piano, I have to say! (see why below...)

    Joe: "Man In A Shed" is where New York comes into the equation. We did a session probably the same day as Time Hs Told Me -- I think it was my idea that Paul should play on that track in New York -- then I came back to England and John Wood said to me. "what the f#ck did you do here? This one is out of tune". Somehow we were listening too loud and didn't notice the discrepancy between Danny's bass, and Nick's guitar and Paul's piano. It may have been that over the course of that afternoon it went out of tune. And so I had to go back and redo it.

    I remember going to New York with a copy of the tape of "Man In The Shed" and going into a studio on 57th street, a little studio, just a very small room but with a nice piano, and redoing the piano part. I'm pretty sure that it was that piano part that we used in the final version, and it wasn't easy because I had to hold my breath and push the record button and erase the piano we had, in order to get a new piano on top.

    It seemed to me a fairly sad song. It's more influenced by Nick's mother, Molly. It had a light touch about it like "Mayfair". As a song, it's very, very English but then Nick takes it and makes something else entirely. And I think Paul's piano also takes it into non-English territory, but if you take all that that stuff away and just look at the song, the melody is very English, of the fifties or forties or something: an English cabaret song.

    --A Much Updated Ruin From A Much Outdated Style. Fruit Tree box

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    Hunh this is the first time I've listened to this song and really focused on the piano and I have to admit it does take away from the song for me. Almost borders on a honkey tonk sound overlaying very beautiful guitar and bass. And that voice, it's nice to hear him singing in a slightly more upbeat manner after the first few tracks on this album. This song is almost downright JAUNTY! lol
     
  14. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Some of you may be interested to know that Nick Drake appeared on the short lived Granada TV programme Octopus in early 1970.
     
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  15. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Different strokes...when that piano comes in it really starts to rock it for me. Love it.

    :tiphat:

    But for you, here it is with just the guitar from "Time Of No Reply", no Danny on bass, no Paul on piano ... a mellower, maybe even melancholy take.

     
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  16. Hexwood

    Hexwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Does the footage exist? A lot of older British shows were erased back in the day.
     
  17. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    So far, sadly, no sign of that existing any longer.
     
  18. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    Man in a Shed
    Interesting that Joe says he thinks this is a "fairly sad song," because I've always found it to be quite optimistic. Perhaps that's just the romantic in me, but I think that the girl will come and stay with him in the shed and they can laugh in the rain together. Isn't the point that, even in poverty, love and joy still exist? I think she'd find that out if she went to stay with Nick. They can mend things together. It's a charming little English song and one of the warmest on the album.
     
  19. Hexwood

    Hexwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Damn.
     
  20. Slack Babbath

    Slack Babbath Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seven Seas Of Ryde
    Totally agree. My wife bought me this last Christmas...had my head stuck in the rest of the day. Beautifully produced .Just watching the A Skin Too Few doc ...fascinating/informative and desperately sad.
     
  21. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    OK....so its Man In A Shed time.
    Something of a jokey/lightweight/throw away song about his father, fidling around in his shed.
    No more...no less.
    For me FLL would be perfect if they had gone for Joey, Clothes of Sand or Time of No Reply. All recorded & ready to go but shelved for this.
    Probably chosen to add some variety or maybe to lighten the mood of side 2.
    But for me its his worst song.
    I'd have saved the aircraft fare getting it redone in New York, just because the piano in the UK was flat. Its just waaaay too busy and overwhelmes the track.

    Have been meaning to swop this track out on Spotify to see if side 2 can be changed for the better.
    If I had to choose a substitute, it would be the utterly gorgeous Clothes Of Sand.
    The lyric alone is just stunning.



    Five Leaves Left Side 2, alt track order, a playlist by barneysdad on Spotify
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  22. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    There are 3 books worth reading IMO,
    Patrick Humphries, well researched book, if a bit all over the place.
    [​IMG]

    If you are looking for the no holds barred Nick Drake story, it has to be the Trevor Dann book.
    Tells it very much like it was.
    IMO its as close as we're ever going to get.

    [​IMG]

    The Gabrielle Drake book is a labour of love.
    Full of never seen photos, lyrics, reviews etc its truly unmissable.
    As you would expect in a book by his sister, the text avoids the darker side of the story.
    Had the pleasure of meeting Gabrielle at the book launch and she was utterly charming & answered all our questions, which she must have heard a 1000 times, with great patience and humour.

    There is no one album, no one film, no one book that can tell the entire Nick Drake story.
    But the Trevor Dann & Gabby Drake books will get you close.
     
  23. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Time Of No Reply is possibly a top five Nick song for me and would have loved to have it included. Joey not so much for some reason. Mayfair not at all...really doesn't do it for me. Clothes of Sand is a great one too. But still like Man In A Shed a lot. A perfect album for me all round. But a couple more tracks mentioned here would have only made it better!
     
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  24. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    Have a listen to this beautiful song...then we'll talk...

    9. Fruit Tree, Five Leaves Left

    [​IMG]


    Listen here:
    Fruit Tree, Nick Drake - YouTube

    UMG (on behalf of Island Records); CMRRA, Abramus Digital, ARESA, BMG Rights Management, and 7 Music Rights Societies

    Nick Drake
    Robert Kirby: arranger

    Fruit Tree
    by Nick Drake

    Fame is but a fruit tree
    So very unsound.
    It can never flourish
    'Till its stock is in the ground.
    So men of fame
    Can never find a way
    'Till time has flown
    Far from their dying day.
    Forgotten while you're here
    Remembered for a while
    A much updated ruin
    From a much outdated style.

    Life is but a memory
    Happened long ago.
    Theatre full of sadness
    For a long forgotten show.
    Seems so easy
    Just to let it go on by
    'Till you stop and wonder
    Why you never wondered why.

    Safe in the womb
    Of an everlasting night
    You find the darkness can
    Give the brightest light.
    Safe in your place deep in the earth
    That's when they'll know what you were really worth.
    Forgotten while you're here
    Remembered for a while
    A much updated ruin
    From a much outdated style.

    Fame is but a fruit tree
    So very unsound.
    It can never flourish
    'Till its stock is in the ground.
    So men of fame
    Can never find a way
    'Till time has flown
    Far from their dying day.

    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.

    Fruit tree, fruit tree
    Open your eyes to another year.
    They'll all know
    That you were here when you're gone.

    Songwriters: Nick Drake
    Fruit Tree lyrics © BMG Rights Management

    [​IMG]
     
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  25. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maine
    An all too prophetic song from Nick...

    Fruit tree, fruit tree
    Open your eyes to another year.
    They'll all know
    That you were here when you're gone.
     

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