Mother & Son: Molly & Nick Drake

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

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.

Comments [7]

andy from manhattan

This is one of the shows that I have come back to, time and again, since first hearing it on the air, and have shared with countless friends.

I have trouble thinking of a more perfect soundtrack for the chill breezes, falling leaves and rain offered this time of year.

Thanks for calling our attention to this lovely material!

Oct. 23 2014 10:12 AM
Andy C. from Putnam Co, NY

Re the Drakes' music: Thanks for letting us hear this beautiful music! I'm wondering if you haven't played it before though, as it does sound somewhat familiar. I think the reason they weren't more popular artists is that it is all in the same mode/mood. I used to listen to long pieces of non-standard sort of rock-jazz, and things like Philip Glass' music but you still want it to change in basic ways in the next piece of music you listen to. Very good musicians aren't rare. To be really popular you need some variation in your repertoire.

May. 12 2014 05:46 AM
Anne M from New York, NY

What a wonderful, moving show this evening - thank you!

May. 11 2014 09:05 PM
José G. from Brooklyn, NY

Always something beautiful and interesting on SOA. Thank you for putting together another great show!

I love Nick Drake's music but never really dug into his influences. This is a revelation.

Mar. 24 2013 11:09 PM
Sunday eve from nyc

enjoyed the show too!

Mar. 24 2013 09:02 PM
JD from Jackson heights ny

Thanks so much for this wonderful program. I so hear Nick's painful, delicate poetry in his mother Molly's songs. I can't help but think, in particular, of all the women whose voices got buried either by societal indifference, or their own lack of a sense of entitlement. Wonderful to hear her voice at last.

Mar. 24 2013 08:52 PM
Ted L. Cox

Nick Drake makes music from the pathos. That's good for all of us.

Mar. 24 2013 08:44 PM

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