Mother & Son: Molly & Nick Drake

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. 

This show first aired April 22, 2012.