Of all the artists in my record collection, Nick Drake is probably the one I spend the most time trying to introduce to other people. He’s got such a unique sound that I always think people are missing out if they’ve never heard of him. And if it’s a non-muso I’m talking to, I can almost bet 100% that they’ve never heard of him. It sometimes helps these days if you tell people that Brad Pitt is a big fan.
This isn’t my favourite Nick Drake record – that would have to be Bryter Layter – but all three are so good, it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart. Thankfully he avoids the ‘aye-diddley-dee’ pitfalls of a lot of ’60s / ‘70s British folk, and as a result his unique melancholic style doesn’t ever sound dated.
As much as I like Fairport Convention’s Liege & Lief (released in the same year), there’s always that aspect of traditional British folk music that they can’t ever seem to get away from. Drake takes a different path, and he sounds just as relevant now as he did forty four years ago.
There’s a tonne of adjectives that I could use to describe Drake’s music – eloquent, haunting, ethereal – but I always hate that about music journalism; like painting-by-numbers using a thesaurus and a typewriter. It’s hard to pick a hidden gem on this record – every song qualifies –and anyway, his short canon of work is such a buried treasure in itself.
Hit: Time Has Told Me
Hidden Gem: Saturday Sun