There were a whole lot of
demons wrapped up in the brilliant, but
tormented soul of Nick Drake, who succumbed
to depression and death before his full
talent was allowed to flourish.
Nick Drake only left behind three complete
albums, “Bryter Layter” being the middle
and most beautiful one. The string arrangements
are superb and with sympathetic backing
from the likes of Dave Pegg, Richard Thompson,
Dave Mattocks and John Cale, the songs
really grab your heart.
In a year when the singer / songwriter
has come back from the Wilderness the
re-issue of Drake’s “Bryter Layter” could
not of been better timed or more welcome.
This is the best way into his oeuvre:
ornate, drenched in melody, emotion, evocative
of a long-lost London and its small, smoky
All told, the songs run counter to his
melancholic reputation, as evidenced by
the very breezy and up tempo opening track,
Hazey Jane II. However, in case you start
getting the idea that it would all be
dog biscuits you are soon brought down
by “At The Chime Of A City Clock”, which
reminds you of who you are listening to.
“You stay indoors, beneath the floors,
and talk to neighbors only”, sighs Drake.
Pretty autobiographical then.
Nick Drake’s, finger-pickin’ guitar rises
above all the musical arrangements to
leave you breathless at his dexterity.
Although the re-mastering of the songs
has given them much more definition and
depth, my problem with this re-issue is
in its time. Forty minutes of music is
not a lot in these days of C.Ds, perhaps
Island Records could have found a few
more songs from Nick Drake’s back catalogue
to give the C.D. buying public a better
deal. If your not familiar with Nick Drake,
the excellent “Way To Blue” is a must
buy. This clocks in at way over the hour
and containing songs from all three albums,
“Pink Moon”, “Bryter Layter”, “Five Leaves
Left” and the posthumously released, “Time
Of No Reply”. It gives a good overview
of Nick Drake’s work plus a nice booklet
with an introduction by ‘Nick Drake Devotee’
Joe Boyd, some photos and complete lyrics.
Not music to listen to when your low,
rather relaxed and contemplative.
Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew