191. Nick Drake - Bryter Layter (1970)
2. Hazey Jane II
3. At The Chime Of The City Clock
4. One Of These Things First
5. Hazey Jane I
6. Bryter Layter
8. Poor Boy
9. Northern Sky
As you are probably aware by now I am a great fan of Nick Drake. He is one of those few, like Jimi Hendrix, who were never able to do shit and go the way of Clapton or Stevie Wonder or even Rod Steward. Nick Drake's story is tragic, he died too young, but he never experienced the inevitable decline.
This is his second album, his middle child, and like the first and third album it is excellent. It is not more of the same as Five Leaves Left. In fact it is a very different animal, firstly it's sunnier and secondly much more jazzy. There is of course a lot of credit to be given to Fairport Convention here, Drake is supported by all members if the Convention here, except for Denny for obvious reasons, and you can tell. John Cale of Velvet Underground was also a collaborator and that is just great!
Drake even manages to make a jazz saxophone in At The Chime Of A City Clock not sound cheesy. The arrangements are just so perfect and his voice so beautiful that there is very little that he can do wrong here. The three instrumental pieces are also highlights of the album, almost as a little overture, intermezzo and finale, they frame the album perfectly. Something we would all be better people if we listened more of, so buy it at Amazon UK or US.
1. Poor Boy
2. One Of These Things First
3. Northern Sky
Though the publicity generated by Five Leaves Left was minor, Boyd was keen to build on what momentum there was. 1970's Bryter Layter, again produced by Boyd and engineered by Wood, introduced a more upbeat, jazzier sound. Disappointed by his debut's poor commercial performance, Drake sought to move away from his earlier pastoral sound, and agreed to his producer's suggestions to include bass and drum tracks on the recording. "It was more of a pop sound, I suppose" Boyd later admitted. "I imagined it as more commercial." Like its predecessor, the album featured musicians from Fairport Convention, as well as contributions from John Cale on two songs; "Northern Sky" and "Fly". Biographer Trevor Dann has noted that though sections of "Northern Sky" sound more characteristic of Cale, the song was the closest Drake came to a release with chart potential. In his 1999 biography, Cale admitted to using heroin during this period, and older friends such as Brian Wells began to suspect that Drake was also using. Both Boyd and Wood were confident that the album would be a commercial success, but it went on to sell fewer than three thousand copies. Reviews were again mixed, and while Record Mirror praised Drake as a "beautiful guitarist — clean and with perfect timing, [and] accompanied by soft, beautiful arrangements", Melody Maker described the album as "an awkward mix of folk and cocktail jazz".