midnightrunner

Nick Drake midnightrunner

November 27, 2019
While I do like Nick Drake’s gentle, lilting folk rhythms and soft, melodic world-weary voice I think that it is just a great shame, that he is not around any more, as I think he would sound really good, on a party rocking EDM collaboration with The Chainsmokers. It would be a number one record!!
simonbelmont4

Nick Drake simonbelmont4

December 14, 2019
What in the world is the matter with you, dude?
failed-bohemian

Nick Drake failed-bohemian

December 20, 2018
It's incorrect to state that no-one was aware of Drake in the 1980's. It's just that his posthumous fame has burgeoned steadily, and with constant digital reissue ever since, it's grown to far more vast proportion since. However, anyone with more than a slight interest in the general era/area of music making was aware of Drake in the 80's. The vast majority of his far larger audience now will likely never hear, nor likely ever develop an interest in Michael Chapman, or John Martyn, Roy Harper, Mandy More, Vashti Bunyan, or any number of post-modern late 60's troubadours.
RhubarbRhubarb

Nick Drake RhubarbRhubarb

March 20, 2018
I didn't equate monetary value to musical quality at all, I wondered about the source of your deep seated feelings of resentment at Drake's current popularity and apparent disdain for those who get pleasure from listening to his music. To me it smacks of someone with an axe to grind for some reason and I wondered if you had perhaps sold off your pink Island first press of his first LP in 1983 for a quid, or swapped it for an altered images LP, and it eats away at you to the point you feel the need to rant about how utterly vacuuous his music is and the people who like it are. It was just a theory.

Judging from your comments, I am probably around the same age as you and have probably followed a similar musical path, through the furthest backwaters of obscure 60s/70s music. There were many people who were teens in the 80s who followed a similar course and very often they developed into people who could only enjoy music if it was obscure and not well known. Again, I wonder if this may be the cause of your vitriol against Drake, with Shawaddywaddy and Altered Images chucked in to throw people off the scent. My memory is different to yours and very few knew about Drake in the 80s/90s, his LPs were only still in print because that was a condition of Joe Boyd selling Witchseason to Island at the time, not because they were ever selling anything. Drake has been stolen away from the 'elite' and is genuinely popular with his music on adverts, in coffee shops and on your mum's CD player. All I can say is the artists you feel are more weighty and talented than Drake I am very familiar with and I don't agree. Michael Chapman's It Didn't Work Out is great, but the rest is pretty lame in my opinion. I suppose that is taste and there is no right or wrong, it is entirely subjective. Perhaps you should go back and listen again? Maybe it will click for you on the thousandth listen?
iglu_records

Nick Drake iglu_records

May 8, 2020
RhubarbRhubarb
My memory is different to yours and very few knew about Drake in the 80s/90s, his LPs were only still in print because that was a condition of Joe Boyd selling Witchseason to Island at the time, not because they were ever selling anything.

I'm afraid you are wrong about that last part.
In his book Joe Boyd says that sales of Nick Drake's recordings increased steadily through the years. He writes: "In the late '70s, his family and I started to get an occasional pilgrim from a small town in Ohio, or Scandinavia or the north of England. [...] Then we started getting enquiries about film scripts and biographies. By the time the Volkswagen commercial with "Pink Moon" arrived on American television in the late '90s, there was an established Nick Drake cult, the records were selling tens of thousands *a year* (emphasis mine) and Nick's was a fashionable name for young singers to drop when asked to cite their influences." (P. 261-2)
Nick's records were certainly readily available when I was working in a mainstream record store (FNAC) in France in the late seventies.
black-shuck

Nick Drake black-shuck

March 13, 2018
reply to rhubarbrhubarbs comment- you misinterpreted why ive listened to drakes lps many times, which ive done only to see if im missing something, ditto other bands that i do not connect with eg queen, xtc, and to some extent david bowie, all of whom i like, but find their lps inconsistent and jarring to listen to (except "low"), my comments on drake are what i genuinely think about his music, and a small effort to redress the balance somewhat, as i think his current status is out of proportion to his music, and is the product of fashion rather than objectivity. eg drake was never forgotten or truly obscure, that notion is merely hype and mythmaking. his lps went through repressings, whereas genuinely obscure artists like mandy more or even vashti bunyan up to her mass rediscovery, were never repressed and were genuinely forgotten. overall his music seems weak. the only other comment on drake here begins by stating that he was quote "possibly the greatest folk musician who ever lived" which is surely written by someone who has not heard much folk and, no offence, nonsense...ie surely drake is more of a singer songrwriter albeit with an acoustic folky angle. in tnat respect pentangle, as original folk orientated artists blow his music away. there should be no sense of quote "anger" in my comments, i had 30 minutes to kill in -14 in eastern europe, hence the "review". its also strange that rhubarbrhubarb equates monetary collector value with musical quality, i love eg altered images £2.50p lps as much as dr z and the cash value of lps should not influence ones estimation of musical merit. if michael chapman had blown his brains out after releasing "fully qualified survivor" that lp would perhaps be more generally considered a masterpiece, its a lot more interesting than drakes rather mundane tunes. in the "review" i attempted to cover all aspects of what i honestly think, as a music fan, is mediocre about his music because i have never read a negative criticism of drakes music since he became the poster boy of emo-pop fans. yet as a teenager in the mid eighties nearly everyone i knew was familiar with his lps and thought they were either wishy-washy, rubbish, or just not that interesting...so the current scenario is puzzling, as if everyone suddenly revered Showaddywaddy...arguably the better artists. 8am no sleep for 48hrs, Anti-Drake Revolutionary Faction, Moldova.
black-shuck

Nick Drake black-shuck

November 15, 2020
i avoid reading about artists, musicians or authors, as it invariably puts me off their work. and no one ever really knows anyone, you could live with someone for 30 years and then discover theyre an imbecile or serial killer, any documentaries or biographies are wish fulfilment or projections from the authors psyche...whats left is the artists art,and thats all we can judge. the art/music is an expression of an individual at a moment in time, the best seems to me to be what comes across as the genuine uncontrived feeling of the artist at that moment. when you connect with what they felt or expressed in a genuine way. drake had something to say, but it isnt very interesting. and i get the sense he was desperate to be like elton john, or john martyn, popular, hence his concession to use strings on bryter layter, to me thats actually his best lp, because it had a genuine talent onboard, the arranger. i bought vashti bunyans lp in the mid eighties aged 15 in an ipswich record shop , when i loved the anti nowhere league, stranglers, adicts and hawkwind...and bunyans lp spellbound me, i adored it, id never heard anything like it, rosehip november was like a hypnotic dream of sound, i listened to it over and over. but drake, nothing special, cleverly marketed in recent years, someone like mandy more (but that is me) was a genuine startling original talent, who died forgotten in a nursing home. drake remains mediocre.
iglu_records

Nick Drake iglu_records

May 8, 2020
edited about 1 year ago
In his book "White Bicycles" Joe Boyd writes that "The sale of Witchseason Productions Ltd. [to Island Records Ltd.,] included a provision that Nick's LPs must never be deleted, although I didn't need to argue the point with Blackwell - he loved Nick too." (P. 261) So that backs up the fact that, as you say, Nick Drake's recordings were never forgotten or truly obscure.
a_boy_and_his_vinyl

Nick Drake a_boy_and_his_vinyl

September 1, 2018
Perhaps try watching a documentary about him. A lot of people don't get into nick drake because they really don't know him well. There's no known video, only one interview, and one recording of him talking that has be salvaged during his life. Besides people recalling who he was and how he lived, only he could truly explain. Since he died prematurely we'll probably never know who he was as a person. His songs might be melancholy, but there are many songs of his that have happier tones (Northern Sky, Chime of a City Clock, From the Morning, etc.) Many people give him praise not for his sound but how he arranged his music. He tuned his guitar in weird yet somber turnings that gave him an interesting and fresh sound. And those "emo-pop fans" took his songs and because artists themselves like Robyn Hitchcock and R.E.M. Perhaps the difference between me, a fan, and you, someone who's listened to music for a long time, is how the music affects us. Nick Drake doesn't give us isn't unique, but a bit fundamental. He had something to say, so he said it in the ways that he can. And when you listen, try to listen without thinking of any artist in mind, and give him a chance to be himself with his music. Watch the documentary a "Skin Too Few" and listen to his music just for fun, thats all I want ask. Perhaps you'll understand why people like him. (PS. If you also want to get some good obscure folk music, try Jackson C Frank and Vashti Bunyan)
black-shuck

Nick Drake as reviewed by black-shuck

February 27, 2018
edited 4 months ago
given the religious adoration of nick drake i hope his fans will not react too fervently to the following radical difference of opinion. to give this context im open minded about music, owned tens of thousands of lps and listened to huge amounts of music from all over the world, punk, prog, reggae, anything. and i dont like nick drake, and do not understand his popularity. it seems he is an example of retrospective myth making, and has become the acceptable side of the underground, easy for the middlebrow non-music fans to like and buy into. his music is suitably inoffensive. it drifts by with light guitar playing and whispery vocals, like a slightly jaded young clergyman. it has no power, it is the manifest sound of defeat. the mythos around him is pure wishful thinking and projection. the oft repeated story that he dropped off the master tapes of pink moon at his label and was not recognised is upon closer thought not really a reason for deification. a secretary didnt recognise him, would she have recognised the bass player from gnidrolog, the monochrome set, or elp??? probably not. drake was unhappy and died. so are lots of people, so does everyone. comparisons are perhaps silly, but i cant help think of sandy denny. if i listen to next time around by denny, i hear an extraordinary depth of emotional expression, of grappling with difficulties, of poetic phrasing, elegant and uplifting melodies, of deep sadness, and attempts to understand and crystallise thoughts and moods, in an ultimately beautiful and profound song. denny fell downstairs and died later, slightly mundane, no rock cliche drug od, no hint of glamorous suicide. was nick drake the misunderstood and ignored genius? the ultimate outsider? his lps sold. when i was younger in the 80s he was still well known. the aura created around him is false myth. daily telegraph glamorisation. on his second lp he presumably allowed the production to be awash with strings. it smacks of a label trying to increase sales. in fact did he want to be don maclean? in itself a string laden lp is a commercial cliche. im thus sceptical of him being an idiosyncratic individualist. he allowed that to happen, and posed for contrived cover shots, why? i find his music extremely weak. his vocals are oddly akin to the embarrasing demo tapes i used to receive when running a record label. people who desperately wanted to be stars, singing nervously onto tape in their bedrooms, sadly without talent. drake did have talent, but ultimately what i frankly hate about his music is the aforementioned sense of defeat in it. in fact i think thats why he is popular, because at this point in time, people are lost, disconnected from instinct and nature, and defeated. they associate with drakes uselessness. his music does not uplift, it validates submission. this idea also connects with the so called outsider status, as the entire interest in outsider art is surely because the lack of actual talent in the form makes it easy for untalented non artists to associate with, eg a felt pen scribble by an imbecile masquerading as an artist looks a lot like what anyone lacking technical skill can produce, again it validates non talent as art in a society that worships artists as replacements for gods. this part is self analysis- on a hormonal level it seems lots of women like drake, i think they want to mother him. he sounds like something defeated, giving up, dying. how sweet. non-threatening. as a heterosexual bloke that effeminacy is slightly disturbing and very unattractive. al stewart also has a slightly girly delivery, but hes brilliant, witty, intelligent, and wrote masterful songs. denny, martyn, jansch, renbourn, kate bush, i mean...think of mandy mores astonishing 'but that is me' lp, its genuinely obscure, didnt sell, its a masterpiece of artistic expression, in comparison drake is like a weak cup of tea thats unattractively luke warm. for a unique and slightly forgotten folk lp how about the difficult masterpiece that is carolanne peggs solo lp? george michaels 'older' is a more profound exploration of human misery than drakes pink moon. in closing, ive repeatedly listened to drake over decades to try to find any merit, there may be merit, but the defectiveness of his persona and his message overwhelms anything worthy of admiration. i very rarely dislike anything to the extent i dislike drake, and remain shocked at the praise he receives. to me he is the great false idol of popular music, consumer packaged for the masses, ready to be played by tom cruise in a hollywood atrocity as if el cid, wept at by idiots, if anyone else thinks like this pls post here as i wonder if, though correct, im entirely isolated in my opinion. nick drake fans still reading please go and listen to michael chapmans fully qualified survivor. i humbly beleive that the average nick drake fans lp collection consists of nick drake, beyonce and coldplay.
disintegrati

Nick Drake disintegrati

November 25, 2020
The following is worthy of a Nobel prize in Literature:

"On a hormonal level it seems lots of women like Drake, I think they want to mother him. He sounds like something defeated, giving up, dying. How sweet. Non-threatening. As a heterosexual bloke that effeminacy is slightly disturbing and very unattractive."
iglu_records

Nick Drake iglu_records

May 8, 2020
edited about 1 year ago
A big thank you, black-shuck, for pointing me in the direction of Mandy More's But That Is Me and Michael Chapman's Fully Qualified Survivor.
Both very cool, interesting, and worth the trouble discovering.
I'll check out the other ones you mention that I don't know too.
I came to look at this page because I've been reading Joe Boyd's book "White Bicycles," which I highly recommend to anyone interested in music across many genres, from the late 50s to the 80s.
It's well-written, full of fascinating stories, and has a very eye-opening perspective, and insights on the evolution of music during those years.
Boyd worked extensively with Nick Drake, and he's the one who suggested the string and horn arrangements, so you can blame him for those! :)
(As a parenthesis, listening to Bryter Layter while I'm writing this, I have to agree, some of those arrangements are pure cheese! Yikes!)
Boyd saw that Leonard Cohen was being successful and getting radio airplay with string arrangements on his songs, so he thought that might work for Drake.
Initially, it didn't work until Drake mentioned Robert Kirby, a sympathetic arranger friend he had worked with previously on one occasion.
Personally, I get what you're saying.
I owned all three of Nick Drake's LPs in the seventies, and like you, although I listen to a broad spectrum of sounds, they never really did much for me.
I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.
So, like you, although I tried to figure out over the years why Nick Drake was the object of such adulation, I still don't get it (although I'm going to try again after reading the book!).
Likewise, I never liked Mahavishnu Orchestra, even though many of my friends and many critics at the time thought they were genius.
Although I did like The Tony Williams Lifetime, Mahavishnu left me completely cold.
I also understand your frustration (if that's the right word) that equally or more talented artists that you are aware of have not received the same recognition, simply because they are just unknown to the masses.
Also your feeling that it would be great if these artists were to get just a little bit of the attention that is lavished on Nick Drake (and some others too probably).
But I'm afraid that's a bit of an uphill battle.
At least you got one person to investigate the other artists you believe are worthy of attention and interest.
I would invite other musically curious and open-minded readers to invest some of their time in doing so too.
They might just find it richly rewarding.
To the ones you mention, I would add Davy Graham, for those interested in intricate and inventive guitar picking.
Graham was immensely influential on many UK guitarists, including Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Jimmy Page.
So thanks again for writing that long and personal review and opening my ears to some new and fascinating sounds!
bek12

Nick Drake bek12

May 16, 2019
Nick Drake's music contains subtle magicand power and his lyrics cast spells to those who know how to listen for the messages within them. I have all of his music and your subjective assumption about what other music his fans listen to is unfair and in very poor taste. your review lacks any real knowledge or insight into Nick's life or why he is so deeply loved and revered by his fans and the people who worked with him. He was a genius and there isn't a song of his that is worthy of your vitriol, he certainly isn't a false idol who could be played by any cheesy American actor. Nick would deserve an actor who could play acoustic guitar and sing like he did, and nobody else will ever be as good as he was, so we will wait a long time. Nick Drake contained more grace and poise and musicianship in 26 years of his life than you ever will. If you understand his life with a modicum of compassion and truth then you might begin to understand his music.
bek12

Nick Drake bek12

September 11, 2018
Stop avoiding me T. I know the truth about your Facebook page and other things, why couldn't you just be honest with me? It's not much to ask in a friendship and I had considered you my best friend. Please just come back to Instagram and talk to me. The truth is always best.
bek12

Nick Drake bek12

September 9, 2018
please write to me. I know the truth about the book from Alfies.Stop abusing my trust and talk to me honestly, if you have done some of the most incredible things anyone has ever done for me in my life why do you treat me so badly? just contact me please.
Discman50

Nick Drake Discman50

July 22, 2018
edited over 3 years ago
Some people are born talented, some fall into idolism, with no talent at all. Then there's some that are found to be excellent, long after they leave us. Nick falls into the latter! He was talented, but misunderstood, and obviously born in the wrong decade. If Nick had been born ten years later, well, the whole story of his life would be different. You seem to want others to adopt your point of view, but I'm afraid that the vast majority will not. Nicks position as one of the finest acoustic guitarists, finest lyricists and finest vocalists in folk music, it is rightly earned, and that will always be claimed by the true fans of his music.
MunchinPumkin

Nick Drake MunchinPumkin

May 6, 2018
I just bought this album. Very enjoyable listen.
It has a feather-light quality to it, a melancholy of a singer-song writer.
I am aware of the mythical status of Drake, but that is often when people die unfortunately that young. You have to go beyond that, and value the artist on itself.
humanagain

Nick Drake humanagain

March 8, 2018
For someone you claim to dislike you sure have a lot to say about him. Also paragraphs would make it a whole lot easier to read.
RhubarbRhubarb

Nick Drake RhubarbRhubarb

March 4, 2018
You seem very angry. Perhaps you once had original pressings and sold them cheap, and now you are trying to justify doing that to yourself when part of you craves to get them again? Why would you have 'repeatedly listened to an artist over decades' who you claim to dislike almost more than anything?
jay1997

Nick Drake as reviewed by jay1997

October 8, 2012
Possibly the greatest folk musician who ever lived

In Nick Drake's short life, he has made 3 albums, 31 songs (and that's not including bootlegs or posthumous releases), and toms of still photographs. He has suffered from depression a d insomnia almost all of his life, he has rarely performed live, and the only know footage of him is when he was a baby.

Nick has never made not one bad song. His featherlight voice, unique guitar-picking, and melancholy lyrics reminiscent of William Blake and John Keats rather than shantys and singalongs like most other folk artists do, truly are "a troubled cure for a troubled mind" and "a way to blue"...