IN NOVEMBER 2014 IT WILL BE FORTY YEARS SINCE THE PASSING OF NICK DRAKE. UNSUCCESSFUL DURING HIS OWN LIFETIME, THE DECADES SINCE HIS UNTIMELY DEATH – AGE 26 – HAVE SEEN RECOGNITION OF HIS EXTRAORDINARY TALENT GRADUALLY WIDEN.
His three albums – FIVE LEAVES LEFT (1969), BRYTER LAYTER (1970) and PINK MOON (1972) – have each found a hugely appreciative audience since their original release dates.
Unusually crafted songs such as FLY, NORTHERN SKY, BLACK-EYED DOG, AT THE CHIME OF THE CITY CLOCK and RIVER MAN have become familiar parts of alternative culture which have, occasionally, drifted over into the mainstream, whether by word-of-mouth praise for tasteful Drake compilations or by their use on film soundtracks and, occasionally, in advertising campaigns. Their influence has become incalculable.
This week Bryter Music, the company set up to manage Drake’s affairs on behalf of his sister Gabrielle, releases a deluxe remastered vinyl version of his second album.
Producer of the first two Drake records Joe Boyd (pictured above) – who has worked with many of the great and the good in his fifty year career, including Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, John Martyn, REM and Billy Bragg – has spent some of his time during the last few years helming a Nick Drake tribute project. Essentially an ongoing series of concerts, WAY TO BLUE has played around the world with the likes of Lisa Hannigan, Teddy Thompson, Beth Orton, Martha Wainwright, Scott Matthews, Neil MacColl and Luluc offering interesting and respectful interpretations of Drake’s work.
A collection of highlights from several of the concerts has been issued and – in the first part of a special double edition of The Mouthcast – Boyd talks us through the genesis of the project and his admiration for the artists involved. He offers insights into the recording of BRYTER LAYTER, and tantalising glimpses of Nick Drake himself.
The second part of this double edition of The Mouthcast features more from Joe Boyd
– plus an interview with Cally, the manager of Bryter Music. Listen here.