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Nick Drake - hype and reality

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Will Fly 21 Jan 10 - 02:21 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Jan 10 - 02:28 PM
Will Fly 21 Jan 10 - 02:38 PM
Hamish 21 Jan 10 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 21 Jan 10 - 03:58 PM
RTim 21 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM
alex s 21 Jan 10 - 04:46 PM
Spleen Cringe 21 Jan 10 - 05:01 PM
Spleen Cringe 21 Jan 10 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Mariner 21 Jan 10 - 05:23 PM
Will Fly 21 Jan 10 - 05:24 PM
Folknacious 21 Jan 10 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,David E. 21 Jan 10 - 06:46 PM
michaelr 21 Jan 10 - 06:48 PM
nygelgoose 21 Jan 10 - 06:55 PM
Folknacious 21 Jan 10 - 06:56 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 10 - 06:58 PM
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Will Fly 22 Jan 10 - 05:18 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Jan 10 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 22 Jan 10 - 06:13 AM
GUEST, Sminky 22 Jan 10 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 22 Jan 10 - 07:36 AM
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Subject: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 02:21 PM

I'm just watching a clip on The Culture Show about the Celtc Connections festival and, in particular, the songs of Nick Drake. I dread to say it here, but I must be one of the few people in the whole world who think that Drake has been grossly over-hyped. (I should also add that I have to admit that I'm an ex-jazzer who dislikes much of the music of Billie Holiday).

I generally ignore programmes about Drake because I've never cared for his songs, but I thought I'd give The Culture Show a listen. And - out trotted the clichés from the interviewer: "He was self-taught on guitar, wasn't he...?" (Oh, for God's sake!). He was emotionally at a low ebb (So?). And then the usual chat came out about his unusual tunings, his sensitivity, etc., etc.

Now - I'm really not trying to diminish Drake's artistry, in spite of my cynicism. It's the media hype about it all which is so grating. I have known, in 40+ years of playing, some superb and wonderful musicians, none of whom ever made the "cultural charts". No media hype associated with them.

So (and I await the answers in fear and trembling) - is it just bloody-minded old me?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 02:28 PM

Will, I entirely agree. Drake may have had mental problems, but everything I have heard of his has been self-centred schmaltz, and his singing an unfortunate precursor of the "baby-girl" voices that wreck female singing of folk songs and folk-style songs today. I too tuned in hoping to hear something to change my mind - a former law-partner of mine one John Murphy (himself a singer-songwriter who actually spent a lot of the year after graduating in the recording studios being courted by record companies looking for "the next Nick Drake") was at university with Nick and much admired him, and so many fine musicians admire him. But I didn't, and Thompson's remarks were eye-wateringly crass and anodyne.

Oh - and as for the "impoverished singer songwriter bit" - FFS he was not working class or middle class, his family was bordering on county aristocracy.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 02:38 PM

The Culture Show is now doing a section on the recently discovered tapes of Scottish crofter Thomas Fraser, who was a secret fan of early country music and made some fantastic recordings on reel-to-reel tape in his house. Wonderful and fascinating stuff! A lovely, natural voice and unforced performances from a poor man who'd contracted polio and lived a hard crofter's life on Shetland. And an extension of the historical link between Scottish music of the Old World and the country music from the New World.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Hamish
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 03:26 PM

When I was a student many decades ago, I picked up Five Leaves Left in a cheapy remainder bin. I liked it. But not enough to stop me swapping it for a prog-rock album by somebody who I can't even remember the name of now. Yes, it's all very charming and lovely (Nick Drake, that is) but I can't quite see the reverence is fully justified.

Well done on sticking your head above the parapet, though, Will!!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 03:58 PM

Nick's never appealed to me. I keep comimg back to him hoping that he will "click" with me but to no avail; however, lots of people who I admire think he's the bee's knees, and so I'll have to accept that he must have had something special going.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: RTim
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM

I was introduced to Nick Drake - many, many years after he died, by my son. I did not know of him at the time he was recording, etc. even though I was very involved with Folk Music and knew Fairport, etc. and lived in the same area as them.
I find his stuff "interesting" and I am sorry about the circumstances of his demise, but I am sure if he had lived, he would not be classed the Icon he is now portrayed.
As Will Fly suggests, there have been very many other performers who flowered and then came to nought who were just as good who we don't laud over.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: alex s
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 04:46 PM

spot on, Will.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 05:01 PM

For many years "Five Leaves Left" has been in my top 30 essential albums. Still is. At its best a beautiful and haunting album. Nick's voice suits his songs perfectly. I can't imagine how anyone could listen to "Riverman" and come away unmoved. Funny old world, isn't it?

No amount of hype, 36 years after his death, is going to do the poor bugger any good now, is it? For the record, his albums sold pretty poorly when he was still alive. And depression is no laughing matter.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 05:05 PM

Another thought: maybe if he'd got a bit of the recognition he's belatedly achieved when he was alive, he'd still be with us...


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Mariner
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 05:23 PM

I have to say that like Tim,I was introduced to the music of Nick Drake by my sons .And as far as I am concerned he was just another whingeing singer songwriter. Sad to say we still have more than enough of them today.Mind you that is only my opinion .


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 05:24 PM

SC - I think it's possible to recognise the particular talents of a performer without liking them. Many people fall into this category for me (!) - I mentioned Billie Holiday, for example, and I would add Frank Sinatra to my own personal list. I'm enough of a musician, I hope, to understand the art they bring to their music - I just don't particularly care for the music.

With Nick Drake, it's the post-Drake hype that irritates me - as though he was a wonder boy who was totally unique. I just don't believe he was - given other people around at the time. However, I've never been one for introspective singer-songwriters, and - with respect - I don't think we can possibly comment on whether recognition in his lifetime would have had a bearing on his death. This thread is not about his life - it's about the media fog surrounding his life!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Folknacious
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 06:27 PM

I saw him live, in Les Cousins i.i.r.c. He really wasn't anything special. I heard his records when they first came out. They really weren't anything special at the time - there were lots of other songwriter/ guitarists on the contemporary folk scene back then who were a lot more interesting. My two pennorth of theory says that that the art of contemporary folk guitar has largely been lost among today's strummy singer/songwriters so he superficially sounds tricksier than the current crop. He didn't hold a candle to contemporaries like Dave Evans or Steve Tilston back then, but they didn't have Joe Boyd as a 'name producer, or top themselves (a particularly good career move), or get into VW adverts.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 06:46 PM

I liked, and was buying, Nick Drake's music when he was alive and I still listen to and enjoy his music today. However, when I played one of his records for my 23 year old son, who had been hearing about him and was curious, he didn't see what all the fuss was about. Maybe you had to be there at the time, I don't know, but I think his music stands up to time and his subjects are universal and that's why every generation seems to "discover" him. My opinion.

David E.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 06:48 PM

Richard Bridge - "Thompson's remarks were eye-wateringly crass and anodyne."

Would that be Richard Thompson? What did he say?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: nygelgoose
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 06:55 PM

I'm going to defend Nick Drake though I do believe he has been hyped , I mean how many times times can his back catalogue be re-hashed and re-packaged ? However I believe he made three great albums , well, Bryter Layter didnt need all the extra arrangements and backing singers etc , I thought he was better sparce , thats why Pink Moon is so beautiful .
Its easy to say "oh there were loads of other singer/songwriters around at the time,that were probably better than ND ",(So what) that deserved recognition but didnt get it , probably true . Nick Drake was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and have people like Joe Boyd , and John Martyn supporting him .

I agree with Folknacious about Dave Evans ceertainly was an excellent , great songwriter and superb guitarist.

Nick Drake produced a body of work that touched people , and still does to this day , might not be everyones cup of tea , but hey .. there you go .


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Folknacious
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 06:56 PM

Would that be Richard Thompson? What did he say?

Danny Thompson, his idiot brother. Who claimed that until ND came along people were only singing about blacksmiths, mikmaids etc or some such nonsense. And Joe Boyd was saying he'd never heard anybody like ND before.

They should have got out more often.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 06:58 PM

I'm a fan, and have been for years. Whether one likes him or not, he spoke to a whole generation of performers/musicians/songwriters (a generation not well represented at Mudcat) and played a significant role in defining what a certain type of rock/pop music is today. You may not like him, and you may not like the music that he inspired, but that is an issue of personal taste.

As for "Hype"--overstatement is one of the unfortunate conventions of the music world--it seems to be necessary to sell seats and CD's, and the people who do the selling aren't shy about using it.

There is more to this than that, though. When a celebrity dies, particularly in a tragic or pathetic way, all our cultural and personal issues relating to death and martyrdom are pulled into the mix, and they tend to overwhelm everything else. Considering Elvis, or Michael Jackson--what's happened with Nick Drake is relatively minor.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 07:03 PM

Folknacious: "or top themselves (a particularly good career move)"

Pathetic.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: nygelgoose
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 07:04 PM

I totally agree with you M Ted , I wanted to try and articulate something like what you have said myself .


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 07:05 PM

I have never heard Nick Drake. I have heard Elvis and MJ. Despite them being at the 'top' of the music pyramid(s), I liked neither in general but did like some songs in particular. As M Ted said, " . . . that is an issue of personal taste."

There are people who post to Mudcat who don't like Dylan. I can't understand that, but then I don't doubt some folks here will never understand my 'dislike' of Elvis. Ain't worth arguing over.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 07:06 PM

PHEW! saw the programme, mainly others singing his songs, so not fair to use it to judge him. However I have seen many adulations, and always wondered if I was missing something. My view was ' OK, some interesting stuff, but not a really big deal'.
Loved the old Shetland country music.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 09:43 PM

Not sure i have come across so many ND haters, clearly it was philistines like you guys that helped in on his way to somewhere that does.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 12:53 AM

a strange incoherent anonymous stab there Guest.
I didn't hate him and can't really deduce that any of the above go to that level of emotion either, I just didn't like his stuff. Not that keen on Wynder K Frog either.
Not many things I actually 'hate'...cucumbers come close though.

Al


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Johnny J
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 02:08 AM

Even Celtic Connections have got into the act with a tribute concert this year. Mind you, they seem to seek out any excuse for a bit of indulgence. Too much money to spend, perhaps!

Personally, I enjoyed Nick Drake's music. It was around during my younger years although I didn't buy any of his albums until after he died... Not long afterwards, mind you, and before all the hype got off the ground.

However, the albums(Vinyl too) remain in my collection as reminder of Nick's music and that period but the music isn't better or worse than any of the other great stuff going around back then.

We don't know how his music may or may not have developed if Nick had lived. This may have been his only "purple patch" artisticly speaking or he might have gone on to greatness. Yet, there's no guarantee that we would still be making such a fuss about him or that particular period in his career.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Johnny J
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 02:22 AM

"Even Celtic Connections have got into the act"

Oops, I missed the opening post!   :-)


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Kampervan
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 03:13 AM

For what it's worth I like a lot of ND's work.

It's unfortunate that he died so young and we will never know what direction his music would have taken as he matured.

What has been done since his death, in terms of re-mixing and re-issuing is hardly his fault; he's not responsible for all the hype.

He was a shy, reluctant performer, (possibly part of the problems that killed him), but he wrote and recorded his music for what it was.
If you don't happen to like him then that's fine, everyone's disliked by someone, but some of the above comments are mean-spirited, cruel and un-necessary.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,MrCrump
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 04:56 AM

ND passed me by back then, but I was belatedly introduced to his music (by partner's son) a few years ago, & like it a lot - the non-orchestrated stuff seems quite timeless, which to me suggests a real talent, rather than a follower of musical fashion; I have heard his 'before-he-was-famous' cd, & there his debt to Bert Jansch is more in evidence, & I would characterise his music as Jansch-imbued-with-English-pastoralism, as it seems to evoke a similar feeling to eg Vaughn-Williams..I agree that Dave Evans was similarly gifted, & equally timeless, but would suggest that DE is under-appreciated, rather than ND being overly so..all goes back to Jansch, tho, IMO..


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Acorn4
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 05:09 AM

I'm afraid his songs never clicked with me - like Leonard Cohen on a bad day!

I always thought Roy Harper was streets ahead of anyone else writing songs in that vein at that particular time.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 05:18 AM

I personally think much of it goes back to Davy Graham...

I hope I made it clear in the opening post and a later comment that, as far as I'm concerned, it's not a question of "hating" NDs music. That would be stupid and pointless. Not caring for it, or caring for it very much is a matter of taste. It's the (to me) over-blown-ness of the aura surrounding him, which borders on the mythic. Tortured soul, unusual tunings, moody songs, stage-fright and shyness, early death in sad circumstances - all appear to be elements which, in the media circus, amplify his talents.

Not everyone treats his music in this way - but the people interviewed in the Culture Show appeared to be like sheep in their blanket reverence. Even dear old Danny Thompson (NOT Richard's brother, by the way) was spouting tosh, as other posters have indicated.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 05:44 AM

I have not heard his stuff but, like someone else, I congratulate Will for what he says and how he says it. Far too many people just slag off the people they do not like but Will's post was sensible and explained, quite simply, that he felt Nick was just over-hyped. Well done that man:-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 06:13 AM

I thought Nick Drake was pretty good at the time but he didn't do as much for me as Ralph McTell or Bert Jansch. I think perhaps at 13 or 14 I just didn't get it. I don't know.

I suspect one of the reasons we hear so much about him nowadays is that many of the people who edit 'Adult Rock' magazines and who commission music for documentaries and TV adverts are people who were prog-folk fans or undergraduates in the early 70s so Nick Drake's music is fairly easy to reach for if you need a bit of mellow background guitar music. Other than that, I think most people have made up their minds by now whether they like him or not.

And it's quite correct to say that depression is no laughing matter. And it's no respecter of class.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 07:05 AM

I wasn't aware that he was 'over-hyped'.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 07:36 AM

I am so relieved that, in all the posts, no one has described Nick Drake`s music as "the most influential of the time" or some such.(I heard this applied to the music of Ian Drury on the BBC recently and I`m sure you know the frustration when you verbally contradict the presenter but you know he or she cannot hear you.)I know people who have spent a lifetime singing, playing, writing and being thoroughly immersed in folk music clubs and festivals but would not recognise Nick or his music.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 07:45 AM

I was crazy about Al Stewart in the early 70s...and I still love his music. So someone at the time mentioned to me that I would probably like Nick Drake too if I liked Al Stewart so much. I got a Nick Drake record and listened to it a couple of times, but it didn't "click" with me in any particular way. Not that I'm saying it was bad, good or indifferent....it just didn't interest me, that's all. Whatever he was saying, it didn't grab me.

And that's about all I can say about it.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Trevor Thomas
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 09:11 AM

"Tortured soul, unusual tunings, moody songs, stage-fright and shyness, early death in sad circumstances - all appear to be elements which, in the media circus, amplify his talents"

They don't necessarily amplify his talents, but for a lot of people, this is certainly something that can be related to and that make his story more interesting and can be identified with.

When you have a tendency towards depression, it's often difficult to fit in with a roistering crew of jolly fellows with their songs about jolly ploughboys. The music of Nick Drake, if nothing else, is the music of someone with direct experience of isolation, depression, and not fitting in. There is a plenty of room for introspective reflective music, just as there is for dance music, celebratory music, storytelling music, or whatever. Music conveys emotions, and there are lots of human emotions.

Until recently, most people with an interest in acoustic guitar playing, if they were knowledgeable used to speak well of Nick Drake. He was someone who for years was felt to be under appreciated, and only a select few had ever heard his records. They didn't sell well in his lifetime, and not that well after his death. People used to say "why don't more people know about this/listen to this". He was someone you found out about by accident, by word of mouth.

Then one day, his music got used for an advert. In the following week, I believe more copies of Nick Drake's music were sold than had been sold altogether since it was first released. It turned out that lots of people liked it, once they heard it.

So as is usual with anything 'folk related', as soon as someone becomes well known and commercially successful, they get rounded on, accused of 'hype' and invariably "hmph, they're not as good as (insert name of as-yet unsuccessful performer here)"


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 09:25 AM

I don't for a minute think that the exaggerated opinion of ND by the music circus has anything to do with whether it's "folk" or not - and I don't doubt that NDs music speaks to many, many people who can empathise with it. Nothing wrong with, but I have the opinion that some of the comments made about his music's quality have been blown up - after his death, by the media - out of proportion. And, once again, I must point out that I am not accusing Nick Drake's music or Drake himself of hype - as implied, Trevor, in your last sentence. It's the disproportionate attitude - as demonstrated by The Culture Show clip I was talking about - that irritates.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Ian Doran
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 10:03 AM

Nick himself I would assume would be incredulous at the subsequent hype and cult status heightened by the tragedy of his life.

Simply accept him or otherwise on his talent which in my opinion is obvious. His songs were naive and charming in stark contrast to the Simon Cowell endorsed fodder that is pushed at everyone nowadays.   I really enjoy his music and that's that.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Hamish
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 10:13 AM

Ah, Ian: now you've put a whole new perspective on it. Whilst I'm a sucker for sheer pop (Dancing Queen, Ballroom Blitz, See My Baby Jive, etc., etc.) I'd take Nick Drake before Simon Cowell's products any day. On a scale of 1 to 10 where Cowell's stuff is a 1, then Nick would be comfortably into the 8-point-somethings.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 10:21 AM

There's no show without punch... hype is and always has been an integral part of the music industry. To these ears, it neither detracts from nor adds to the music which I judge on its own merits: does it move me?. Don't believe the hype - certainly. But equally don't get so blinded by it that you forget to check out the music behind it on its own merits. Whether it's hyped to the hilt (as now) or the private pleasure of in the know fans (as for most of the past 40-odd years since it was released), the one thing that has not changed about "Five Leaves Left" is the music itself. And that, not presence or absence of hype, is all that should matter to music fans and all they should judge the music by.

Sermon over.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 10:45 AM

Something which hasn't been mentioned is that his sister, the well known actress Gabrielle Drake, has often talked about her brother's music and his life. This in itself might have helped keep him in the media's consciousness. That's not to say it was done cynically or that his music doesn't warrant such attention (I don't know it well enough to judge) but it's possibly a contributory factor in how a legend is formed.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 10:47 AM

I can't stand hype, and I'm no fan of whingey singer-songwriters either, but I agree with Spleen about Five Leaves left. It's not just the songs and the picking - good as they are - but also Kirby's strings and the entire production which give the record a dreamy quality that I find quite magical. None of the other singer/songwriter/guitarists of that period have that effect on me.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 10:55 AM

Naive question from someone not in the know - Is the title of five leaves left taken from the little slip near the end of a packet of Rizlas?

I realy must get to listen to it one day in any case!

DeG


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 11:22 AM

Dave - spot on!

Brian - the late Robert Kirby is one of my musical heroes. I saw him give an illustrated talk at the Green Man Festival a few years ago about his work. What a lovely bloke! For me, good as his arrangements for Nick Drake are, his crowning glory is his arrangement of Shelagh McDonald's "Stargazer". Sublime.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 12:53 PM

The 1970s was the time I started to get heavily involved in folk, but I don't recall hearing of Nick Drake or his songs until he recently began to be hyped as a folk icon.

Now his music's been revived it probably sounds quite unusual and original to modern ears. However at the time the clubs were full of singer-songwriters all turning out this sort of stuff. He doesn't sound particularly distinctive to me. Most of them fell, like ND, into obscurity. Unlike him, most hadn't been recorded.

Admittedly, his stuff's not my cup of tea, and by then the folk scene had polarised into "traditional" and "contemporary" clubs with not much overlap, and I was on the trad side of the fence.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Darowyn
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 01:09 PM

A friend asked me last year to copy his Nick Drake Vinyl onto CD, since he no longer had a Turntable to play them on.
I kept them on my MP3 player for a year to try to get into why he was so idolised.
I agree that the string arrangements are superb, but gradually, one by one, I have deleted them all.
It's just that I'm overwhelmed by the impulse to shout "Pull youself together, man, Get over it!"
It's just too sensitive for me.
Incidentally the friend is a hard core Biker, and he loves all the songs.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 02:27 PM

It's the disproportionate attitude - as demonstrated by The Culture Show clip I was talking about - that irritates.

Will, the Culture Show takes a disproportionate attitude to everything. When they discovered Corinne Bailey Rae, they didn't just say "this singer's quite good" - they explicitly compared CBR with Billie Holliday, and supported this with a point-by-point comparison (is female, check; is black, check; has had a job outside the music industry, check...). Sometimes what you're watching isn't so much hype in the music industry as music feeding into the hype industry.

As a traddie, I'm absolutely fine singing about blacksmiths and milkmaids, so Danny Thompson's remarks annoy me rather. But I do think Nick Drake was rather good. I've sung several of his songs unaccompanied and made them work (well, people clapped), which suggests they're pretty well-made songs. The inevitable question - who else, working in the medium of self-penned songs, finger-picking and silly tunings, do you think was better or more interesting?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 03:27 PM

Good call from Spleen Cringe to mention Shelagh Macdonald's 'Stargazer' - a sublime piece of work.

As for Nick Drake - clearly very talented, in a particular vein, and it's the 'vein' which now seems to exert such appeal. Doomed, pretty, unfulfilled-promise young men will always find a niche market - lots of similarly sensitive types find that such music fuels certain romantic (in the broader sense) fantasies. Drake has become a sort of English-acoustic James Dean.

But I'd rather hear Norma Waterson sing Drake's 'River Man' than his own version.

In Britain, too, the Drake cult was hugely influenced by some articles written about him by the late Ian Macdonald, one of the best ever U,K, music journalists. He (also privileged, unstable and eventually, tragically suicidal) wrote some powerful & evocative articles in the 1990s about Drake that greatly helped to promote interest.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 03:54 PM

can't say I ever cared much for Nick Drake, but Oh Lord, that sister of his ...WHOOAAHHH !!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Paco O'Barmy
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 03:58 PM

Limp.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 04:03 PM

I can understand how you feel about Nick Drake. I for one have never cared for Richard Thompson- even though many people I respect think he's wonderful. I've tried but it never worked for me.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 11:07 PM

By chance, I've been listening to one of my stations on Pandora - the music genome project. I set it up entering Mark Knopfler then it plays a bunch of what it perceives as similar. Richard Thompson, whom I've heard before, and Nick Drake, whom I have not heard until now, are both cycling through, as well as a few other well-knowns.

I have to say, I have clicked to maximize the window several times, today, only to find it was Nick Drake and I really liked what I was hearing. I don't recall hearing a lot of strings, etc., so it must be his early works, but it was his voice that attracted me most, anyway.

Too much hype or not enough...I like his music, so far.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 01:05 AM

Maybe yes, maybe no. He had good taste in guitars.

Don


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:34 AM

Murray, absolutely right about his sister, and a lovely speaking voice too.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:38 AM

Kat - the strings are on the first couple of albums. The second album also some 'rock' arrangements which have dated rather badly. The third album is just guitar & voice.

I met someone who'd known him a while back; she was very dismissive, called him a mummy's boy who should have pulled himself together. I ventured the opinion that it might have helped if he'd cut down on the dope a bit, but this just set off a disquisition on the amounts everyone used to smoke in those days, kids these days had no idea.

I once did Fruit Tree and introduced it with, "This is a song written by a nineteen-year-old lad, about how nobody appreciated him and we'd all be sorry when he was dead. Unfortunately he was right."


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:40 AM

An interesting point about Richard Thompson from Wesley. I happen to think Richard Thompson is a superb writer, performer, guitarist, etc. I've most of his recorded work and have seen him many times. And there are very good and talented musician friends of mine who also can't get on with him - so you're in good company! Another acquired taste for some.

Spot of thread drift, for which apologies.... I'd just make one comparison between Drake and Thompson in terms of their songwriting, which others may think is valid (or not). For me, Nick Drake seemed to me to write songs about his own condition, whereas Thompson seems to write songs about the human condition. Like my thread on the adotion of a persona in songwriting, Thompson's songs, many of which are filled with - as he himself puts it ironically - "doom and gloom". But he himself is not filled with doom and gloom, though his own life has had its fair share of incident.

As has been said above, it would have been interesting to hear how Drake matured had he lived.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:59 AM

I never understood what the fuss was about Nick Drake until I heard Pink Moon. There's only two Drake albums you need: Pink Moon and Family Tree. They're the two albums on which he just plays guitar.

So there's none of the MOR schmaltzy strings. You can really hear that he's got a unique guitar style, influenced by Jansch, to be sure, but also with Robert Johnson and bossa nova and flamenco in there too.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 05:18 AM

Pip, I agree with your Drake/Thompson comparison. Although I might be tempted to put it less charitably, and say that Drake could never see past his own ego, whereas Thompson is aware of the big wide world.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 05:30 AM

"Drake could never see past his own ego"

I think that's a fairly bizarre thing to say. If you read the biography of Nick Drake, the picture you get is of someone who's painfully shy and soft-spoken. Hardly surprising, when you hear the music.

You do get a sense, in the book, of someone who was aware of his talents, and proud of them, as you'd expect, but certainly not an egotist.

If you're talking about the lyrics, well, he doesn't really sing about himself even when there are first-person lines. He wasn't really much of a lyricist - he tended to string vaguely poetic-souding, pretty phrases together, with a slightly melancholy cod-philosophical bent. It's what sensitive young men in their late-teens/early twenties have tended to do for centuries.

They suited his songs though. They conjure a mood. The lyrics on Pink Moon, while perhaps trite in themselves, are quietly rather devastating, in the music's context.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 05:40 AM

"can't say I ever cared much for Nick Drake, but Oh Lord, that sister of his ...WHOOAAHHH !!"

the pair of them sing a lovely harmony duet of "All My Trials" on Family Tree.

The Family Tree album is a beautifully compiled piece of work. It has Nick's early reel-to-reel home demos, with covers of songs by Jackson C Frank, Dylan and few blues standards, complete with a couple of Noel Coward-esque songs written and sung by Nick's mum, among other oddities.

It's really intelligently, thematically compiled and sequenced, and Nick's early demise can't have been far from the compiler's mind. Songs about time, family ties, journeys and commitments. The CD comes with a booklet and a set of photographs that are painfully/wonderfully evocative of the sort of sepia-brown upper-middle-class suburbia that my late grandparents retired into. Must admit it did make me feel a bit weepy.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 05:43 AM

Matt, I mis-phrased what I meant to say. ND wasn't an egotist in the boastful sense, but (compared to someone like Thompson) he was unable to get past his own perceptions (which in his case were bound up with insecurities). He was all inwardness, which is one reason he's become a poster-boy for the screwed-up.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Stower
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 05:52 AM

As with all music - or art of any sort - surely you either 'get it' or you don't? On another thread someone made a disparaging remark about Joanna Newsom, who I happen to think is close to being a genius, but I didn't respond because I don't think any explanation of any sort of art to another person will help them 'get it'. OK, maybe I'm overstating it a little, but I think it's rare that an explanation will help a person 'get it', because that is essentially an emotional or gut reaction, not a cerebral one.

Wherever there is something to be sold - Nick Drake's music, in this case - there will always be hype. Wherever there is art there will be enthusiasts who wax lyrical in what others see as an overblown way. So what's new?

Of course, Nick having been something of a recluse and having possibly ended his own life (this is unclear, as I understand it), he can be made to conform to the 'sensitive misunderstood artist' stereotype so beloved of the media.

I like his music, for its own sake. I don't have to listen to the hype to know that.

Stower.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 06:05 AM

"ND wasn't an egotist in the boastful sense, but (compared to someone like Thompson) he was unable to get past his own perceptions (which in his case were bound up with insecurities). He was all inwardness"

I don't what you mean. Are you talking about his lyrics? Or his personality? It sounds like you're saying a little of both.

I think 'unable to get past his own perceptions' is a bit meaningless. In a sense we're all unable to get past our own perceptions: they're ultimately all we have.

His lyrics were no more self-centred or solipsistic than, say, John Clare's poetry. Maybe you have no time at all for that whole vein of subjectivity typical of English Romantic poetry, which Drake would have studied at Cambridge. That in itself is understandable.

I'm never comfortable with the idea that just someone singing about recognisable, definite, named things is somehow more "outward-looking" than someone dealing in more abstract stuff. Taken to an extreme, it wilfully misses the whole point of what a metaphor is.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 06:07 AM

While Drake's lyrics are mostly pretty callow and kiddy-crayon, that in itself sometimes paid dividends. I might be about to embarass myself here, but I think the combination of naivety and directness in these, for instance, is rather beautiful, even without the music backing them up:

Would you love me for my money
Would you love me for my head
Would you love me through the winter
Would you love me 'til I'm dead
Oh, if you would and you could
Come blow your horn on high.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 10:16 AM

Matt, many have claimed Drake belongs in that Romantic-poet tradition. In which case, the more expansive, outward Thompson would be something like Dickensian. Both valid traditions, both can be done good or badly.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 12:44 PM

Thanks, Pip, for the info. You, too, matt.

I do remember one of the albums listed on Pandora was Pink Moon.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 03:15 PM

GUEST, "Northern Sky" still breaks my heart, especially those lines - most of all that awful last line. The first four lines express naked longing with a really childlike plainness, but as soon as he's gestured towards actually reaching out to someone he has to cover it up with a bit of misty Arthurian imagery. Oh, if you would and you could... then give the poor lad a ring!

This is the sense in which I think Nick Drake's emotional world, as expressed in his songs, was self-centred & self-enclosed (far more so than John Clare, incidentally, who was a terrific observer of nature). So much of what he wrote was about loneliness, rejection and isolation, or else about an ideal love which never quite stays in focus. "Fly" is another example - "Come ride in my merry car by the bay", for goodness' sake. Wonderful song, and the emotions at the heart of it seem very real; they just don't seem to involve any other human being.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:55 PM

In my experience, Nick didn't really catch the imagination of folk club types back in the late 60s early 70s. One could hear lots of songs by his contemporaries in the clubs, Ralph McTell, Bert Jansch, Al Stewart, John Martyn and even the odd song by Roy Harper; and, of course, Richard Thompson's songs were everywhere. It could be argued that Nick's songs were more personal, less universal, and - certainly on first hearing - less catchy. I could easily - and very enjoyably - enter the song world of Al Stewart, but not so Nick's. I also had trouble with the "voice" that Nick used. To my ears, it didn't ring true and certainly didn't sound right coming from the 1960s university educated, middle-class person that he was.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 07:09 PM

Could you explain that last bit? To my ear - coming to it a few years later - Nick Drake's voice was precisely that of a university educated, middle-class person.

Interesting about the songs not being taken up. There's a definite lack of blokishness, which can't have helped; I also wonder if the technique-to-flash ratio is just too high for most people to bother learning them. I mean, a tune like Anji is a sod to play, but sounds brilliant when you do. A lot of Nick Drake's stuff requires you to play eight different chords in a tuning of DADGBF#, and when you can do that what you get sounds... quite nice. I think a lot of the songs are very good, but with a few exceptions they're not *striking* - they don't cry out to be learned.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 07:43 PM

Or EAEAAE. Please, if you want to make relevant class-based observations, learn the differences between middle class, upper middle class, almost county, county, and upper class.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 02:28 AM

Pip Radish, Nick clearly invented his singing voice, and anyone with ears would say that it doesn't go with his background! You'll be telling me next that The Beatles sang with strong Liverpool accents!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:29 AM

lots of interesting sub-divisions there, Richard.

I would have put Nick Drake in at "county", would I be correct? Or was he more "almost county" ?

He only went to Marlborough, so he probably doesn't qualify as "upper class" ...


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:53 AM

Murray: Talking about accents, Bert Jansch and John Martyn have never sounded particularly Scottish to me; certainly, not the way Bert's onetime guitar teacher Archie Fisher does.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 05:17 AM

I think probably "almost county". How extensive were his family's landholdings and how many generations back did they go?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 05:34 AM

There is a colonial dimension - his parents met in ''''the Empire'''' (Burma, to be precise). Father was an engineer (so possibly not 'old money'), Mother the chld of very senior civil servants in imperial India (so possibly 'old money').


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:07 AM

"Nick clearly invented his singing voice, and anyone with ears would say that it doesn't go with his background! You'll be telling me next that The Beatles sang with strong Liverpool accents!"

From what I've heard of Nick Drake's speaking voice, he sang very much as he spoke. He sings in a soft English middle-class accent. Like a (much more) effete, slightly feminised Syd Barrett. He might have softened some of his Ts to Ds, but that's about it.

Listening to Nick singing the blues standards he sings on Family Tree, I always think it's quite impressive that, as a teenager, he had the maturity and confidence to sing them in his public-school educated, English accent, making no concessions whatsoever to how other people would expect them to be sung. (Unlike almost every other non-US singer who's ever sang the blues...)

You might say, as many probably have, that he sounds ridiculous doing so. Nick Drake's voice took me a while to get used to, I must admit. I just thought, initially, he sounded like a wet blanket. But the songs - that is, those of Family Tree and Pink Moon, unimpeded by the schmaltzy, unnecessary production of his other albums – won me over by virtue of being bloody great.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:16 AM

"In my experience, Nick didn't really catch the imagination of folk club types back in the late 60s early 70s. One could hear lots of songs by his contemporaries in the clubs, Ralph McTell, Bert Jansch, Al Stewart, John Martyn and even the odd song by Roy Harper; and, of course, Richard Thompson's songs were everywhere. It could be argued that Nick's songs were more personal, less universal, and - certainly on first hearing - less catchy. I could easily - and very enjoyably - enter the song world of Al Stewart, but not so Nick's. I also had trouble with the "voice" that Nick used. To my ears, it didn't ring true and certainly didn't sound right coming from the 1960s university educated, middle-class person that he was."

Ditto my post above - when I hear Nick Drake's voice, I hear a 1960s university educated, middle-class person! Kind of find it strange anyone would hear anything else.

But, yes, I can see why Nick Drake wouldn't have appealed to folk clubs in the late 60s, early 70s. Actually, Drake would probably have done better if he'd been in LA at that time. The Laurel Canyon folk-ish singer-songwriter scene was a lot closer to what Drake was doing: James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, CSN&Y et al.

In the Drake biography, the descriptions of his solo folk club gigs sound hellish. He clearly wasn't a "performer" at all: he just couldn't talk to people. Patrick Humphries suggests in the book, as many contemporary eyewitnesses he interviews do too, that it would have been much better if he'd been given a band. You can imagine that, if he could have gone out on the road with a bassist or a percussionist, it would have been a whole different ballgame.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:18 AM

I've just come from Youtube were the first thing up of Nick's was Pink
Moon. If anyone doesn't think that he's singing that a song in a manufactured voice that doesn't bear any resemblance to his environment/background then I'm flabbergasted!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:19 AM

Tunesmith - still not with you. When I listen to Fruit Tree or Fly or Which Will, the singing voice I hear is the voice of someone quite young, a bit shy and rather posh. Very RP - a voice that would have slotted right in on Radio 4, twenty-odd years ago, or on Jackanory.

Funny you use the Beatles as a contrast (rather than the Stones, say). There wasn't much of Liverpool left in the Beatles' singing voice, but there was some (listen to the Us in "Penny Lane") - which was pretty revolutionary in itself.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:21 AM

PS. Crossed in the post. Or Pink Moon.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:32 AM

That's "almost county".


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:34 AM


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:36 AM

Interestingly, Nick sounds like John Martyn at times - or vice versa?
Which is a bit strange as John is a Glaswegian.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:37 AM

Pip - that GUEST was me. Cookie problems.

"GUEST, "Northern Sky" still breaks my heart, especially those lines - most of all that awful last line. The first four lines express naked longing with a really childlike plainness, but as soon as he's gestured towards actually reaching out to someone he has to cover it up with a bit of misty Arthurian imagery. Oh, if you would and you could... then give the poor lad a ring!"

yeah, the last line is awful, as are some of the others in that song. It never occurred to me to think of it as Arthurian: I always thought it sounded a bit Christian, a bit "Kumbaya" ish: it sounds like a Bible verse. I sang that song in a church wedding last year, and it was a hit with the vicar: he came up to me afterwards, asked me what it was, and remarked how appropriate it was. (I tweaked one or two of the words - that new-age-codswallop "new minds eye" line - but I kept the "horn" one)

"This is the sense in which I think Nick Drake's emotional world, as expressed in his songs, was self-centred & self-enclosed (far more so than John Clare, incidentally, who was a terrific observer of nature). So much of what he wrote was about loneliness, rejection and isolation, or else about an ideal love which never quite stays in focus. "Fly" is another example - "Come ride in my merry car by the bay", for goodness' sake. Wonderful song, and the emotions at the heart of it seem very real; they just don't seem to involve any other human being."

Don't wanna make *too* much of any conncection to poetry here - ND was ultimately a very cat-sat-on-the-mat lyricist: much less so than Noel Gallagher but a lot more so than Bob Dylan.

But John Clare's poetry remains an apt comparison in the sense that people don't feature overmuch in it: he is as you say an observer of nature, and it doesn't tend to be overpopulated. When people do crop up, they tend to be lone figures, or lone female objects of obsessive (unrequited or lost) love. (The more "populated" Clare poems tend to be ones where he is deliberately, methodically and self-consciously copying Byron eg his satirical ones)

(and of course Clare's poetry could also sometimes be quite cat-sat-on-the-mat: he wrote a lot, and had a hit-rate of about 1 in 5)

When I think of Nick Drake lyrics I do tend to think of nature images. Or at least, country-town images. Bells, spires, rivers, the colour blue, clocks, skies, the shipping forecast, fruit, sun. I don't tend to think of his songs being very indoorsy.

(With the exception of his songs about time, which always bring us back to grandfather clocks in big old surburban houses, or mantelpiece clocks in university halls of residence)


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:43 AM

The Ian Macdonald essay on Drake (it's in M's posthumous collection The People's Music) zooms in on Drake's nature imagery & connects it both to non-European spiritualities and to a rejection of materialistic thinking. (Those two, at the time Drake was working, were often linked.)


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:47 AM

"I've just come from Youtube were the first thing up of Nick's was Pink
Moon. If anyone doesn't think that he's singing that a song in a manufactured voice that doesn't bear any resemblance to his environment/background then I'm flabbergasted!"

prepare to be flabbergasted. he's singing in a posh english accent. if that's a "manufactured voice", I'm curious to know what template setting the factory is using. who do you think he sounds like there? Mick Jagger? Bert Jansch? Bob Dylan?

the only thing I can hear that sounds like a recognisable influence from his time, is the slightly Donovan-esque way he enunciates the "k" on the end of "pink" (so it sounds a bit like "pinka").


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:48 AM

Carrying on with the John Martyn/Nick Drake connection; now, we know they were friends and shared common musical influences e.g. Bert Jansch, and the blues. One vocal mannerism that they both share is the slurring of sounds, and I wonder what is the precedent for that? Did Bert or maybe the I.S.B. slur words?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:55 AM

Now Donovan has been mentioned, maybe there is a Scottish connection! Donovan, Bert, John Martyn - and maybe Robin Williamson?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 07:05 AM

Now it's been suggested, I think there is a Donovan tinge to some of Drake's vocal inflections.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 08:37 AM

Warning! Please keep very quiet about a possible Donovan influence on Nick because, if he hears about it, we will never hear the end of it. Donovan already believes a) that he is one of the major figures in rock history b) that he evented folk-rock c) that he created the "love" generation, and other things besides!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 02:31 PM

OK, we'll whisper. The most intense Drake cultists will want it hushed up too - Donovan remains rather unfashionable in the UK, while Drake's reputation continues to grow. Both of those trends are somewhat unwarranted in my eyes.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: RTim
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 02:36 PM

Well at least this thread made me go and listen again to the recordings I have. He had some Great musicians to back him up, this improves the whole aspect.
His songs are good and interesting enough, but I think that about many performers.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,guest - Jim Younger
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:10 PM

Ah, just want to say that Nick Drake's social class, and however subtly anyone may wish to grade it, has nothing to do with his power as a musician, for me.

An interesting point was raised earlier about trying to copy (or learning, should I say?) ND's guitar style. Like trying to play Nic Jones, it rarely works (never, for me, I should say, but I still have a go).

The guy was unique - yes, there were Jansch, Graham, Dave Evans, and all the other great players of that time ... and others, who we heard once: maybe when they woke up on our kitchen floor, picked up a guitar, astonished all us space cadets, and then vanished ... on a 63 'bus.

And for me, there is real beauty in much of Nick Drake's work, a rare enough quality.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:21 PM

Jansch frequently slurred his words, and likewise Graham. Likewise a whole lot of 60s folksong singers, many of whom were pissed/spaced a lot of the time.

The point about Drake's class is that people portray him as the suffering indigent aesthete. All he had to do to be rich and comfortable was to go home. He was not even trapped in the aspirational spiral of the middle classes.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:25 PM

With respect, Richard, Davy Graham only slurred his words in his later years. His diction, in his early, '60s stuff - as in his conversation - was clear and precise.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:28 PM

Another point about Drake's class background is that the alluring myth of the misunderstood artist is one that invariably appeals to middle-class audiences. (And overwhelmingly male ones.)

Nothing at all wrong with that, but just as equally it does no harm to point it out.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:36 PM

"People portray him as the suffering indigent aesthete"

Do they, though? I don't think he was ever portrayed as skint, just unrecognised in terms of his music. Not really sure of the relevance of his class background - are some people suspicious that poshness is an indicator of inauthenticity? If so, don't worry - inauthenticity is one of the many musical gifts the UK gave to the world, along with the notion that "keeping it real" is wildly overrated... (a paraphrase of Ian McDonald again, this time from the intro to "Revolution in the Head").


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,biff
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:38 PM

gotta approach him from the wordsworth/keats/lake poets angle to see full value, he was a poet on strings, stuck somewhere between aesthetic reverie and despair, a half accomplished personality, speaking from a wisp of a cloud

anyways I like his stuff but not all the time, it's a sweet and sad world, good for sunday afternoons

a friend of mine who is gob struck on him claims to have visited him on the astral plane

since I don't believe in this necessarily i just pass it on to you


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:01 PM

Will - as to Davy Graham - only when he was straight.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:05 PM

Agreed Richard. I knew DG pre- and post-H. I last saw him to speak to in 1968 - a sad and depressing experience.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:28 PM

Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,guest - Jim Younger - PM
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:10 PM


...an interesting point was raised earlier about trying to copy (or learning, should I say?) ND's guitar style. Like trying to play Nic Jones, it rarely works (never, for me, I should say, but I still have a go)...


Oh,   pleeze !!!

Mentioning Nick Drake's guitar syle in the same breath as Nic Jones' is like comparing William Shatner's acting to Dustin Hoffman's.

Drake's specialty was noodling around aimlessly in obscure tunings, I defy anybody to point to a specific example of his recorded guitar work and say, "genius", in the same way as, for example, you could point to Nic Jones' accompaniment on "Canadee-I-O", which for certain will never be successfully emulated, by anybody, anywhere, anytime.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 05:40 PM

I defy anybody to point to a specific example of his recorded guitar work

Things Behind the Sun.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:13 PM

Wordsworth, Keats as influences?

Maybe but I'd place some of Drake's inspiration further back - Donne perhaps, George Herbert, Thomas Traherne, the C17 metaphysical poets.

Regarding "hype and reality", I don't think Ashley Hutchings (who spotted Drake at the Roundhouse) or Joe Boyd (Drake's producer)are exactly hucksters and hype merchants. OK so early death has never generally hindered record sales but that's hardly poor Nick's fault. Boyd managed to get most of Drake's songs out in an easy to obtain form - obviously he's a businessman but hardly Colonel Tom Parker.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:16 PM

now, Pip, what I said was "I defy anybody to point to a specific example of his recorded guitar work and say, "genius"

are you seriously claiming that the guitar accompaniment on Things Behind the Sun is a work of genius ?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 08:22 PM

I believe I read one time that David Geffen had wanted to sign Nick Drake up to his Asylum label. Just imagine Nick backed by Tom Scott and the LA Express. Yikes. If that had happened we sure wouldn't be talking Nick Drake mystique these days.

David E.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 08:45 PM

let's cut to the chase here.

Nick Drake's problem was that he never, ever, got laid.

I was watching "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest " again last night, and I couldn't help but think of the striking similarities between the character of Billy (who does eventually get laid), and Nick Drake.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:05 AM

Nick Drake's problem was that he never, ever, got laid.

And you know that????

Arsehole


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:08 AM

I can't say I often feel the impulse to point to anything and exclaim the word genius. Both Nick Drake and Nic Jones got to be very good guitarists by playing the guitar a hell of a lot. While Drake used a lot more tunings, neither of them routinely played in standard EADGBE tuning.

I think it's fairly pointless to compare Nick Drake with Nic Jones. For me, Nic Jones belongs stylistically in that Martin Carthy tradition of guitar playing, which you can hear in Martin Simpson and new kid on the block Sam Carter. Drake for me is clearly in the Jansch, Graham mould.

As far as getting laid goes, the Humphries biography makes it clear that Nick Drake just wasn't interested. He had plenty of opportunities, he just was a bit of an aesthete. I think he had more than a few hangups, but probably no more than plenty of over-sensitive 20something guys


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:12 AM

It's highly improbable - he probably got lots - right looks, right place, right time, "sensitive", and a more than accomplished guitarist.

I don't like his stuff, and find it slushy (hey, that never hurt with persons of gender) but there can be no doubt that he was very very good as a guitarist.

And while the Nic Jones "thump" can be great when he is in the same time signature vocally and on the guitar, when he crosses the rhythms it becomes infuriating.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:27 AM

not that it matters, but the book suggests, very clearly and convincingly, based on testimonies from plenty of his peers he never had any romances at all. The more you read about him, the less likely it seems that he ever ever had any sex with anyone.

Richard - have you heard the Family Tree album? It might surprise you.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:41 AM

Murray - depends what you mean by genius, really. But I think it sounds great; it lodged in my mind the first time I heard it; and (although I'm not a guitarist) it sounds much harder than anything I can ever imagine myself playing. That'll do for me.

Richard - aargh, Nic Jones's timing! I spent a quarter of an hour working out what time Lord Bateman was in, and sussed it eventually. Then I spent rather longer trying to work out what time the Bonny Bunch of Roses was in, and eventually concluded that it isn't.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Zen
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:57 AM

Interestingly, Nick sounds like John Martyn at times - or vice versa?
Which is a bit strange as John is a Glaswegian


The two were neighbours and friends in their early days which mighthave been an influence on both of them.

Personally, I think Pink Moon is a fine album (I prefer it to the two earlier ones with strings accompaniment).


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 10:16 AM

Vocally, Nic Jones was clearly coming out of Martin Carthy but, surely, Bert must have been his primary guitar influence!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 12:25 PM

Romance? That was the 60s. Sex was a good way of getting to know someone.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM

let's just say, then, it appears Nick Drake never got to know anyone, female or male.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Stu
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 01:17 PM

I like Nick Drake, and discovered him by accident over a decade or so ago after hearing "Chime of a City Clock" on a late night radio show, and was hooked. He's become much more appreciated since then, as everyone I asked had never heard of him at that time.

Eva Cassidy is, IMHO, utterly overrated.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 02:09 PM

Discussions seem to take a seriously downward turn when a person's sex life enters the picture. No doubt those who brought it up or discuss it would reply to the question, "Have you ever masturbated?" by saying, "Uh, yes. I tried it once and didn't like it."

It's his music that is the topic of the thread. Not his sex life.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 02:13 PM

Eva Cassidy is definitely not over-rated!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Zen
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 02:16 PM

No doubt those who brought it up or discuss it would reply to the question, "Have you ever masturbated?" by saying, "Uh, yes. I tried it once and didn't like it."

I rather think it would be the opposite Guest,999! Yes, I agree, let the thread be about his music.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 02:25 PM

Well, this thread has taken some interesting turns - from Nick Drake's sex life, to whether Eva Cassidy has any merit or not. Frankly, I don't give a toss about any of that.

Just to return to the original proposition, my own view would be that Nick Drake was an interesting singer, songwriter and guitarist who - though unrecognised at the time - fitted retrospectively into the contemporary scene which he inhabited. As a guitarist, my opinion of his guitar playing is that it was good - but not distinguished. Guitar genius - on the same plane as, say, Django Reinhardt, Eddie Lang, Rev. Gary Davis, etc. - he was not. His songs are introspective and pleasant, but don't give me insights into the human condition in the way that songs by - say - Richard Thompson, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, John Prine, Jim Webb, and many others - have done.

This was the reason for my original post: the contemporary media culture's opinion of his oeuvre - in my view - has been hyped beyond measure. His work stands as it is - it doesn't require exaggeration.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: MikeL2
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 02:41 PM

Hi Will

I agree with you entirely. This thread even by Mudcat standards has been very wide of the original thread subject.

I agree that good as Nick was his ability especially on guitar has been overrated.

My guitar tastes are from a slightly different genre than yours and I agree with your choices to deserve the word genius but I would choose as mine Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel George Benson and Paco de Lucia.

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 05:32 AM

This thread has prompted me to listen to Nick Drake again, but I'm afraid I still don't get it.

I think it's significant that the style of "contemporary folk" which Nick Drake typifies more or less disappeared after a few years. It was the singer-songwriters such as those Will mentions, who were producing a rather different type of song, who have proved long-lasting.

I'm still of the opinion that the reason he was largely unrecognised at the time was that he was just one of many in the genre, and apparently one with poor performing skills despite his abilities as a guitarist. As I recall, most folk clubs had at least a couple of singer-songwriters performing this kind of song and in a similar style. Of course, most of them were turning out unmitigated crap, but by no means all of them. However most of them were never recorded, never performed outside their local area, and never had the opportunity to be retrospectively discovered.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 05:38 AM

Will - that was a really useful comment, which has hopefully moved the debate on from the slightly defensive "ah, so you're saying he couldn't play?" rut it was getting into earlier. And I think you've put your finger on why Nick Drake became a cult figure to start with, and why he's now being hyped to the skies. As you said,

though unrecognised at the time [he] fitted retrospectively into the contemporary scene which he inhabited

From the Humphries biog, he didn't get anywhere commercially (or critically) essentially because he didn't put the work in - he made a couple of beautiful records and expected the world to beat a path to his door. And that, after his death, made him an icon for everyone who thought they could be the next Dylan/Django/Keats/... if only people would listen, but had no idea how to go about making them listen (and actually, deep down, no intention of trying). Which is to say, just about everyone at a certain age.

As you say, he wasn't another Django (or Dylan, or Keats). A couple of years' gigging and a bit of work on the stage-fright, and he could have been up there with Richard Digance* or Steve Tilston, easily; John Martyn, maybe; Ralph McTell at a pinch. But because the success he actually achieved was so minor, there's no realistic limit on the success he might have achieved. If you're playing support slots at folk clubs then you can aim at headlining folk clubs; if you're basically not gigging at all, except when somebody pulls some strings for you, you can aim at anything and everything, and blame fate or bad luck when none of it comes off. It's like playing two games of football and going down in history as a Pele that never was, not a reliable midfield clogger that never was.

The other half of the story - why the hype now - is, I think, about the but-not factor. We see this a lot any time anyone manages to get traditional song or dance onto the TV - it's morris dancing but not as you know it! he's a folk singer but not a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist! it's folk music but without the leather elbow patches! And so on, and on. This isn't ultimately about perceptions of folk, so much as about the way the cultural hype industry works: you have to have a USP, there has to be a reason for focusing on this performer and not all the others. Of course, a healthy folk scene (or any other scene) is precisely about all the others. So Nick Drake isn't "a neglected singer-songwriter"**, he's "a singer-songwriter but not like all those other singer-songwriters", or "a folk singer but not the kind that sing about milkmaids and blacksmiths" (cheers, Danny).

Has anyone read the Trevor Dann biog, incidentally? I gather the idea is that he was crazy all along (Drake, not Dann). I read somewhere that he was on a major tranquilliser, usually prescribed for psychosis - the 'three drugs' the family doctor prescribed him were the Tryptizol, the major tranq and an anti-Parkinson drug (major tranqs have Parkinsonism as a side-effect). But this may just be early-70s prescribing. God knows how all of that would have played with the dope.

*This could have been a solution to the stagefright problem. Digance and Drake! One talks, one retunes!
**We should all be so neglected.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 07:15 AM

Discussion of 'hype', 'media hype', whether someone is 'overrated' or not is always going to be to an extent a fool's errand, as we all know that hype is simply what the media does.

Another reason that it's a blind alley because we all have our heroes and do so love to put them in some kind of classifiable order. But that, unlike the banal brute fact of media hype, does at least give all us music geeks a chance to wax lyrical about our faves and not-so-faves. Personally, I don't like Richard Thompson, Paul Simon or Paco de Lucia at all, and only like the odd song here or there by Ralph McTell and Steve Tilston (the former more than the latter). John Martyn I always found quite irritating, apart from his early stuff – probably because it sounds a bit like Nick Drake (and/or Bert Jansch).

Hey, we all have different ears and different aesthetics. So I bristle at the suggestion that, given a couple more years, he could have produced something of the calibre of Digence, Tilston, McTell or Martyn. I wouldn't swap the 30 short minutes of Pink Moon for the entire combined discographies of them. For me, Drake was a long way from being just one among many talented fingerpickers, (albeit only on two albums: Pink Moon and the demos comp Family Tree).


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 07:23 AM

"I think it's significant that the style of "contemporary folk" which Nick Drake typifies more or less disappeared after a few years. It was the singer-songwriters such as those Will mentions, who were producing a rather different type of song, who have proved long-lasting"

Howard - you're right in terms of commercial success. But I wouldn't agree in terms of influence and credibility.

There's a whole swathe of contemporary folk-based songwriters who clearly owe a big debt to that generation: singers and musicians such as Alasdair Roberts, Michael Rossitter, Mary Hampton, Spoono, Benjamin Wetherill, Hollowbody, Jason Steel… I could go on all day. It's not Paul Simon, Cat Stevens and James Taylor they're influenced by.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 07:44 AM

I bristle at the suggestion that, given a couple more years, he could have produced something of the calibre of Digence, Tilston, McTell or Martyn. I wouldn't swap the 30 short minutes of Pink Moon for the entire combined discographies of them

Me neither, as it happens. I still listen to Nick Drake sometimes, and I don't even own anything by any of those four people, so I wasn't making a statement about the calibre of the albums. Just saying that if things had gone well for him, Nick Drake would have ended up as one of those performers - playing the same kind of venues, getting played on the same kind of radio programme, raved about by the same kind of people. He wanted to be much, much more - and he was prepared to do much, much less. (Of course, if things had gone well for Nick Drake, Pink Moon would probably never have been recorded.)


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: nygelgoose
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 09:56 AM

Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Paco O'Barma - PM
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 03:58 PM

Limp.



er , have you seen a doctor ?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: nygelgoose
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 10:07 AM

Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:47 AM

"I've just come from Youtube were the first thing up of Nick's was Pink
Moon. If anyone doesn't think that he's singing that a song in a manufactured voice that doesn't bear any resemblance to his environment/background then I'm flabbergasted!"


you'll have to remain flabbergasted then methinks ....


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 01:10 PM

nygelgoode: Let's put it this way, if Nick's father, mother or sister decided to sing, they - I assure you - would sound so very, very different - in nearly everyway you can think of - than Nick. Now why should that be? Nick invented a "voice" which, to be, sounds artificial and very contrived. But if that's your cup of tea, fair enough.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Stu
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 01:53 PM

Have you ever heard recordings of his mother singing? She was a musician and a great influence on the young Drake, and when you hear his work you can hear distinct echos of hers.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 03:18 PM

Nick invented a "voice" which, to be, sounds artificial and very contrived.

You've said this a few times, but you haven't said much about how or in what way!

I'll grant you that his singing voice was mannered - there's a plonking faux-naif plainness and a hushed, breathily intimate delivery, both of which you can hear in songs as far apart as "Mayfair" and "Which will". But saying someone invented a voice usually implies something a bit more extreme, like Donovan or Marc Bolan or the legion of British singers with an acquired American accent.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Haggis
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 03:25 PM

"

nygelgoode: Let's put it this way, if Nick's father, mother or sister decided to sing, they - I assure you - would sound so very, very different - in nearly everyway you can think of - than Nick. Now why should that be? Nick invented a "voice" which, to be, sounds artificial and very contrived. But if that's your cup of tea, fair enough."


There's a recording of Nick Drake singing All My Trials with his sister and their voices are very similar. Also, as mentioned above, the recording of Nick Drake's mum singing Poor Mum (maybe a precursor of Nick Drake's Poor Boy?) shows that he was hugely influenced by her singing.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 03:46 PM

I bet the family sound simlilar on "All My Trials", but I bet Nick doesn't sound anything like he sounds on Pink Moon, for example.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 04:00 PM

Of course, if we're talking about songwriters from this era, we have to have a shout going out for Meic Stevens and his masterful "Outlander"...


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 04:57 AM

"I bet the family sound simlilar on "All My Trials", but I bet Nick doesn't sound anything like he sounds on Pink Moon, for example"

He does.

"Also, as mentioned above, the recording of Nick Drake's mum singing Poor Mum (maybe a precursor of Nick Drake's Poor Boy?)"

I think "poor mum" might have been written as a response to "poor boy". or at least, as a sort of little joke on all the 'poor boy'/'ramblin man' type blues songs Nick would have been playing round the house as a teenager.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 07:52 AM

You can't have it both ways! If you say that Nick's sister and mother sound like Nick on the All My Trials recording, and you say that Nick sounds, on that recording, similar to how he sounds on Pink Moon, then, in you are saying that Nick's sister and mother sound similar on All My Trials to how Nick sounds on Pink Moon which just about the daftest thing I've heard in ages!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 10:00 AM

er, why is that remotely daft? I'm not having anything both ways.

Similar. Not 'absolutely identical'. Not 'completely and utterly indistinguishable' .

Obviously NIck was male and his sister and mother are/were female. So there are gonna be some rather obvious differences.

But in terms of accent, cadence, timbre, the voices of Nick Drake's sister and mother are similar to the voice of Nick Drake.

And the voice of Nick Drake does not change much over the course of his albums.

Funnily enough, he sings on Pink Moon not dissimilarly to how he sings on his teenage home recordings.

As I mentioned above, he does do a funny enunciation thing on his "Ks" (both Donovan and Mark E Smith (!) do something similar) All singing is affected or stylized in some way, however tiny. But I'd say Nick Drake has one of the least affected voices, in terms of accent, in terms of delivery, of any singers ever. There are hundreds of more affected voices: think of any number of Drake's blues-singing British peers.

You can hear his speaking voice on the 'Family Tree' album. It's like his singing voice: the same gentle, rather breathy timbre, only deeper.

(Most people, I find, tend to sing in a slightly higher register than they speak. I certainly do. Aside from the obvious - you don't consciously pitch your speech - it's probably to do with the fact that you tend to sing louder than you speak)


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 10:55 AM

Had Nick never heard Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Donovan etc, he would have sounded like a totally different singer! Put another way, had Nick been born ten years earlier, and first recorded in the mid-fifties, again, he would have sounded totally different than the Nick we know. Why? Because he contrived a "voice" based on his musical influences - which, obviously, includes the way he pronounces words. And, to my ears, the voice he contrived sounds self-conscious and false.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Smedley
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 11:06 AM

If he'd first recorded in the mid-50s, I'd have loved to hear his version of 'How Much Is That Doggie In The Window'........


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 11:16 AM

........ or 'Mystery Train'.........


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 11:31 AM

And, of course, had he recorded Mystery Train in 56, he would have sounded, no doubt, like Elvis!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Guest, Tunesmith
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 03:13 PM

Actually, I just listened back again to Pink Moon and really like it now. Apologies for my earlier piffle.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 04:05 PM

That's not playing the game!


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,GUEST, guest
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:40 AM

I may have guessed you'd say that.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: MikeL2
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:06 PM

hi

For goodness sake of course Nick had intonations of other musicians in his performances !!

What musician and particularly vocalists don't ???

Every honest musician will tell you that he/she has been influenced by people that they admired musically.

Great/popular musicians are copied in their thousands by beginners wanting to learn how to play/perform.

One of the ways we all learn is by listening to music and whether conciously or sub-conciously some of the music rubs off on the learner.

To criticise Nick for being influenced by his predecessors is ludicrous; he was only doing what most musicians have been doing for hundreds of years.

Even the old Traditional musicians were influenced by their previous generations and that is how certain styles of music were born.

I am not sure what was meant by " Nick has a manufactured voice " - certainly it is a voice of his time and no doubt future musicians will be influence by Nick.

By the way I am not a great admirer of Nick.

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:26 PM

Good Lord, I've found myself agreeing with every word R. Bridge has written.
I need a stiff drink.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:59 PM

Of course, there's being influenced and being INFLUENCED! Unfortunately, I've grown up with two or three generations of British rock/pop singers being influenced by American singers and it makes me cringe! Every time I hear Robbie Williams twisting his vocal cords in an attempt replicate Bobby Darin or whoever, I just want to laugh out loud. Likewise, the majority of British blues singers are still trying to sound like B.B., Muddy, John Lee etc. The bottom line, as far as Nick is concerned, is that I don't believe him. I'm not hearing the real Nick Drake but a singer that he has invented.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 05:36 AM

hi

" There's influenced and INFLUENCED ".......

I agree. It's a matter of degree. And there's a difference between influenced and COPYING.

Playing devil's advocate; do you not feel that maybe singers like the Makems have been heavily influenced by their backgrounds??? Would this not be called copying ??

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:34 AM

That's daft! The Makem's are their background! Put another way, wouldn't seem rather strange if a folk singer from the Devon, who admired Dick Gaughan, sang all his west country songs with a Scottish accent?


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:52 AM

It's odd, isn't it... (slight thread creep here)... I was at a music gathering the other evening and a local singer-songwriter sang several of his own songs. I'm not a fan of such stuff, but they weren't at all bad - intelligent, tuneful, heartfelt, etc. However, he sang them all in an accent that was more American than any American I've ever heard, almost supra- James Taylor. By the end of his set, I'd wearied of the accent which was putting me completely off listening. His natural speaking voice was a pleasant Scottish accent, and I just wished he'd sung his own compositions in his own voice. I'm sure they would have had more impact. Somehow, the accent he'd adopted made his songs sound slightly dishonest - as though they weren't his. If he was singing American blues, I could have understood the accent, but not for his own material.


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 03 Oct 18 - 03:12 PM

1997 BBC radio : Kaleidoscope -
Nick Drake - Unsung -
John Wilson explores the troubled life and the controversial death of singer-songwriter Nick Drake with the help of those closest to him, including his sister Gabrielle, producer Joe Boyd and his friend Robert Kirby.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b039g8pk 



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
bbc iPlayer Radio app
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3yvdp3zQJWLtl204z9nxgRt/download-the-iplayer-radio-app 
(then click the '+' on the programme's web page
    then on the app click 
            Menu > My Radio > Listen Later)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 18 - 04:28 PM

My God!

What a horrifying thread!

I love Nick Drake's work. I didn't always. I was travelling along in my car abut five or six years back. Riverman came on the radio - a cover version by a German jazz orchestra. About a month later, I was doing a gig at an open air market. There was a bookstall , the only book of any possible interest was Trevor Dann's biography. Just skimmimg through, I could see Nick must have been in the same room as me at the same gigs, back in 1960's. I never knew him, and had I heard his music - I wouldn't have got it, back then.

But in about three weeks from reading the book I was a completist. The three albums seem to me a wonderful life's work.

Yes I think he was influenced by the poet's he came across in his studies. I hear Houseman somewhere between these lines and the guitar is deceptively simple, but utter perfection.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCRks_98790


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,colin Holt
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 09:21 AM

I agree Big Al....
Horrifying
I stumbled across Drake at Art College in 1975, and have loved his stuff ever since. In my view the first 2 albums are timeless. Not just down to Drakes writing and delivery, but the sensitivity of the production alongside the beautiful string arrangements, especially as Al says Riverman. Harry Robinson created a wonderful landscape which Drake plays over. Pink Moon is naked and at times painful. Drake was obviously a complicated guy....but I agree with Al again.... Lifes work on three discs
The one point I disagree with Big Al on is the guitarbeing deceptively simple.... (Left hand sometimes ... but never the right hand)


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Subject: RE: Nick Drake - hype and reality
From: GUEST,colin Holt
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 09:27 AM

Scanning this thread ... so much dislike amongst so many of you of songwriters.....Why is that ????


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