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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
Spleen Cringe 21 Jan 10 - 07:03 PM
nygelgoose 21 Jan 10 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,999 21 Jan 10 - 07:05 PM
Tug the Cox 21 Jan 10 - 07:06 PM
GUEST 21 Jan 10 - 09:43 PM
Abdul The Bul Bul 22 Jan 10 - 12:53 AM
Johnny J 22 Jan 10 - 02:08 AM
Johnny J 22 Jan 10 - 02:22 AM
Kampervan 22 Jan 10 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,MrCrump 22 Jan 10 - 04:56 AM
Acorn4 22 Jan 10 - 05:09 AM
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
Little Hawk 22 Jan 10 - 07:45 AM
Trevor Thomas 22 Jan 10 - 09:11 AM
Will Fly 22 Jan 10 - 09:25 AM
Ian Doran 22 Jan 10 - 10:03 AM
Hamish 22 Jan 10 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 22 Jan 10 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Gail 22 Jan 10 - 10:45 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 10 - 10:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Jan 10 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 22 Jan 10 - 11:22 AM
Howard Jones 22 Jan 10 - 12:53 PM
Darowyn 22 Jan 10 - 01:09 PM
Phil Edwards 22 Jan 10 - 02:27 PM
Smedley 22 Jan 10 - 03:27 PM
Murray MacLeod 22 Jan 10 - 03:54 PM
Paco O'Barmy 22 Jan 10 - 03:58 PM
Wesley S 22 Jan 10 - 04:03 PM
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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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