I know already that it will be a Nick Drake summer for me.
When I finally get away, after a wedding next week, for our first week off, I will dip into a pile of books. Most years I try to pick one music biography amongst the novels. I then delve into the artist’s music as I am reading about it.
The rock biog at the top of my list this year is Robert Morton Jack’s tome on a young songwriter from Tamworth-On-Arden who died in 1974 at 26 years of age as pretty much an unknown artist - now the legendary Nick Drake.
This seems to be the Drake book to read. It sound like it has been well researched and has though not “official” it has the blessing of Nick’s sister Gabrielle who handed over Drake’s own papers and her father’s diary.
What lifts Drake above books on Lucinda Williams, Leon Russell and Springsteen’s Nebraska is the release, at the very same time, of a double album of Drake covers. We have had Drake Tributes before including the reverent Way To Blue. This new one is perhaps more adventurous.
The Endless Coloured Ways; The Songs of Nick Drake has an array of artists not easily linked to the quiet atmospheres of Drake. Fontaines DC, Radiohead’s Philip Selwey, Feist and Liz Phair to name a few.
I have only got a listen or two at this stage but am loving Ben Harper’s Time Has Told Me, Lets Eat Grandma’s From The Morning, Nadia Reid’s Poor Boy and Joe Henry sharing vocals with Meshell Ndegeocello on Time Of No Reply are the four that have really struck me so far.
Drake is someone that I have revered for thirty years and yet have not been the devotee that I feel I should be. A perfect summer’s vacation is when I get the time to take an artist that I like so that I can fall in love with them. Who knows we might nip off the M6 and visit his grave next week!
Let us get on the ferry…