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Nick Drake – Bryter Layter

Review: 023
Date: 7 May 01


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians: n/a

Tracks Listing:
1. Introduction
2. Hazey Jane II
3. At The Chime Of A City Clock
4. One Of These Things First
5. Hazey Jane I
6. Bryter Layter
7. Fly
8. Poor Boy
9. Northern Sky
10. Sunday


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 nightclubs.

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


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