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Old 12-25-2007, 01:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Nick Drake Marathon

Like Crowquill's and Jackhammer's threads, not quite as challenging as Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan here we go anyway. I won't do his collections, since those have a lot of tracks that are on his main albums as well. Time Of No Reply is excellent though. Here's a biography.

Nicholas Rodney Drake was born in Rangoon, Burma on June 19, 1948 to Rodney and Molly Drake. His father's occupation as an engineer saw them move from Burma to India (where Nick's older sister, Gabrielle was born) and eventually back to England in 1951.
The family settled in the county of Warwickshire in the quaint hamlet of Tanworth-in-Arden. The beautiful Far Leys estate was large but cosy and the family were happy there (his parents have since moved.)

Nick's family was a musical one and home provided the perfect atmosphere to indulge in the world of music. Nick had an early love for classical music and as a young child had a desire to conduct. He learned to play the piano quickly and easily.

He attended local schools and eventually entered Marlborough boarding school for boys. Students were honed for entrance into top-level universities. It was here that Drake became a bit of a distinguished athlete, winning several awards for his track and field performances (he held the school record for the 100m dash for some time.) He also became captain of his rugby team.

He was a member of the school orchestra, and dabbled in clarinet and saxophone.

Nick loved to listen to folk and rock and was also a big Beatles fan. He asked his parents for a guitar, and, sensing it might just be a phase before returning to piano, they honoured his request. But eventually Drake had invested in a proper six-string acoustic and was voraciously teaching himself the basics and perfecting his own intricate finger-picking style. He allegedly mastered his chosen instrument in a matter of months and immersed himself into composing.

Drake accepted an English scholarship from Fitzwilliams College in Cambridge, and along with song-writing, delved into copious amounts of reading. He adored poetry, and was a great admirer of William Blake.

Nick began performing around Cambridge, and at the age of 20, he caught the ear of Fairport Convetion's Ashley Hutchings. Hutchings brought him to producer Joe Boyd and upon listening to Nick's tapes, Boyd offered him a recording contract and studio time. (Island Records bought out Boyd's Witchseason Productions in 1970.)

Nick recorded just three full-length albums during his career - Five Leaves Left in 1969, Bryter Layter in 1970, and finally Pink Moon in 1972. His vision for his music, right down to sound and presentation was something he would not allow to be compromised. This strength belied his reticent nature. But where this fierceness failed him was in a desire to tour, and therefore a major part of his vision was cheated. To add to Drake's woes were the lukewarm reviews his albums and handful of live shows garnered.

After Pink Moon, Nick became deeply depressed and retreated to the sanctuary of Far Leys. He began shunning his close friends and his parents became increasingly worried. They finally sought professional help and Nick was prescribed anti-depressants.

He managed to find his way into the studio once more in 1974 to record four more songs. They would find their way onto the Fruit Tree compilation. These songs, weary and dark, tell the tale of a young man terribly lost and despondent. "Black Dog", for instance seems to be his acceptance of death.

In October of that year, Drake left for France to reunite with his friend and fellow folk singer, Francoise Hardy. She had earlier expressed interest in recording some of Nick's songs. Drake returned to England with some renewed buoyancy and direction.

On the night of November 24, 1974, Nick was up and about at Far Leys suffering from insomnia, but in good spirits. This was not an unusual occurrence, and often his mother Molly would get out of bed and keep him company. On this night she could hear some of his favourite classical music wafting from the record player and, for reasons she is still unsure of, she decided to turn over and go back to sleep.

It is said that Nick mistook his antidepressants (Tryptizol) for sleeping pills and took a few to help him sleep. What Nick and his parents were never told was that one of these pills over the legal dose was lethal. Nick found his way into bed and quietly passed away in his sleep. Molly found him early the next afternoon, having decided to let him lie in awhile. She recalls peering through the doorway and seeing "his long, long legs", his body laying across his bed. Nick Drake was a mere 26 years old.

Nick is buried in a far corner of the Tanworth-In Arden churchyard. His modest stone gravesite overlooks a view cluttered with hills and meadows, a most fitting resting spot for a man so enamoured with nature's generous offerings.



-----------------------------------------------

I have named my site "Nature's Son" because I feel Nick Drake was truly just that - a sensitive man deeply in touch with the earth. It doesn't interest me that he may have been mentally disturbed, nor do I think that fact should encumber his vast talent. For a man so young, he was incredibly gifted. Not just musically and vocally, but emotionally as well. To be that in tune with your thoughts, feelings, emotions and heartache is a blessing indeed. In the end it overwhelmed him, but we are rewarded to have the fruits of his emoting spread over three recorded gems. It is to Joe Boyd's credit that Nick's work will always be available and hence new fans gathered. Nick would be blown away with the attention his work is receiving 26 years on, a veritable Van Gogh of the music world. I am certain that Nick's timeless compositions will capture new fans for decades to come.

At the time of constructing this website, I myself am a newly-minted fan. The glorious combination of Nick's brilliant music, stirring voice and poetic looks has haunted me unrelentingly since I listened to the whole of Way To Blue in September of 2000. This site is my humble tribute to him.

I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the love of my life, Joseph Thompson, for introducing me to the world of Nick Drake. This site belongs to you too!

And an extra special thank you to Dave Laing and his website building prowess. His tireless work has made this amazing site a wonderful reality.

AJD - October '00.

Fun Fact: Drake was backed by Fairport Convention on Bryter Layter and occasionally toured with them. Many of his close friends say that the way he was booed when not performing with the Convention was a major factor contributing to his extreme depression.

Five Leaves Left:
An interesting yet typical first album, because like so many other artists, Drake made an album poised between the jazzy, more upbeat songs of Bryter Layter, mixed with the stark, atmospheric folk songs of Pink Moon. The mood of the album tends to melancholy, but with just a bare hint of the party atmosphere on Bryter. Overall my favorite Nick Drake album, mainly because of the more melancholy way Drake uses his backing strings.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Favorite Songs: Way To Blue, Day Is Done, Time Has Told Me, River Man, Fruit Tree, 'Cello Song
Favorite Lyric: When the day is done
Down to earth then sinks the sun
Along with everything that was lost and won
When the day is done.

Last edited by ProggyMan; 12-26-2007 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 12-25-2007, 01:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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River Man is a beautiful song.
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Old 12-25-2007, 01:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Cello Song isn't on my reccomended song list! Editing is needed.
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Old 12-25-2007, 01:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Can I make a few suggestions? A little background on the artist is helpful as not everyone will know what Nick Drake is about. Also expand the review a little. The internet can give you more info on the album, if you are not as knowledgeable/sad (lol) as some of us on here.

Nice idea for a thread though as he has influenced many quality singer/songwriters.
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Old 12-25-2007, 01:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yah, good idea. I'm a big fan(Hint: look at avatar request thread). Anyway, I was planning to do nothing but reviews, but I forgot how obscure he really is. I'll probably just import a short biography, with a few fun facts I know.
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Old 12-25-2007, 02:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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know that I love you
thats my love song
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProggyMan View Post
Yah, good idea. I'm a big fan(Hint: look at avatar request thread). Anyway, I was planning to do nothing but reviews, but I forgot how obscure he really is. I'll probably just import a short biography, with a few fun facts I know.
good ideas and you could also use the "album reviews" forum to do some reviews if you really wanna get in detail of some of his albums. I love what you've written thus far. A little more biography and it'll be perfect.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The song is actually called "Black Eyed Dog". Good thread I was planning on doing Drake once I finished Dylan, it will be interesting seeing how ours compare.
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Crowquill View Post
The song is actually called "Black Eyed Dog". Good thread I was planning on doing Drake once I finished Dylan, it will be interesting seeing how ours compare.
I suggest you make a poll to see what people consider his best album. I was going to, but forgot. As I said I like Five Leaves Left because of the more melacholy way he uses his backing strings.
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