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Mother & Son: Molly & Nick Drake

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The powerful, mysterious, delicate music of English songwriter Nick Drake was underappreciated during his brief lifetime. But since Drake's death at age 26 in 1974, his recordings have gradually reached more and more listeners. Drake is now a strong influence on contemporary songwriters, revered as much for his distinctive vocal and guitar style as for his beautiful, melancholy songs. 

It's not hard to hear that Drake's timeless songs were somewhat influenced by the British folk scene of his day, but it hasn't been clear just from where he evolved his distinctive musical style. Now a brand new album gives host/producer David Garland the opportunity to show that the songwriter who had the greatest influence on Nick Drake was his mother, Molly Drake. 

While Molly Drake raised her two kids Nick and actress Gabrielle Drake during the 1950s, this sociable, beautiful, happily married woman wrote introspective poetry and delicate, melancholy songs, which she sang, accompanying herself on piano. Though she apparently had no ambition to publish or promote her songs, her husband recorded them on a home tape recorder for the family's enjoyment. Sensitive and articulate, Molly Drake's songs are, as Nick Drake's original producer Joe Boyd recently observed, the "missing link" in understanding Nick's music. 

David Garland presents selections from "Molly Drake," the new limited edition album of those old home recordings, alongside songs from Nick Drake's three albums, giving listeners the chance to hear the many connections between mother and son. Both were sensitive, talented, insightful people who wrote subtly devastating songs. 

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Comments [13]

Christine

Go to wnyc.org/story/277615-mother-son-molly-nick-drake/
to get the audio.

Sep. 28 2013 12:47 PM
Frank from Providence

I was wondering the same thing R Littrell from Boise, I recall loving the original broadcast, wanted to hear it again...

Feb. 24 2013 11:12 AM
R Littrell from Boise, Idaho

Is there any way to access the audio for this broadcast? There doesn't seem to be a link to the audio.

Jun. 18 2012 05:05 PM
Izabela from Heidelberg, Germany

It was delightful to hear more about the enchantig musical world of Nick and Molly Drake! Thank you for this mesmerizing hour!

Apr. 25 2012 06:21 PM
andy from manhattan

heartbreak never sounded so lovely.

thanks for the illumination of this rich tradition.

Apr. 25 2012 02:11 PM
Devin from NY

Long time fan of Nick Drake, and I've heard a lofi recording of him with his sister, but I never knew about his mother. Simply amazing. I was personally blown away by "I remember." You just don't hear such deep, tight, and artfully written lyrics anymore. A true poet. Thank you so much for this insight into one of my favorite artists.

Apr. 24 2012 08:44 AM
Theduke from Newark, NJ

David, this is the most illuminating program you've done in months or maybe even a year or more (since the Van Dyke Parks).
I remember reading a thing or two about Nick Drake in Rolling Stone in the 70's but I paid no attention other than to think he had the perfect English pop star name. My mistake.
Your presentation tonight was a revelation! I've tonight ordered his discography via Amazon.
"Spinning On Air" is on a roll. Thanks!

Apr. 22 2012 10:58 PM
Sarah from Cobble Hill

what a revelation! thank you for this show--it was great

Apr. 22 2012 09:44 PM
Pamela Knight from Manhattan

This was a delightful hour - thank you, Mr. Garland, for the introduction. I also liked the way you brought in a song by Noel Coward - somehow there was a synergy.

Apr. 22 2012 09:21 PM
dd from Yorktown, NY

Mr. Garland, thank you for introducing us to Molly and Nick Drake. I especially appreciated the haunting nature of Nick,s music and thread you drew between Noel C. , Molly and Nick.

Apr. 22 2012 09:12 PM
patrick411@mac.com from Brooklyn

I never write in, but this was astonishingly good radio! Opened my ears.
Thanks.

Apr. 22 2012 09:12 PM
James from Bedstuy

Tonight's show was a pleasant surprise on a cool, windy, rainy, certainly Nick Drake kind of evening. Thank you so much for shedding on light Nick's influences and introducing me to the beautiful, soulful music of his mother.

Apr. 22 2012 09:04 PM
Rj from Canada

I have this album. It's spectacular. I can't describe why I like Molly's words and music so much, so I will not try. I recommend this album for people interested in the 'entire' Nick Drake musical trail.

Apr. 21 2012 10:56 PM

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