NICK DRAKE: FAMILY TREE
To Be released June 19, 2007 by Tsunami LG/Fontana
Family Tree explores the upbringing of an artist who– in his tragically short career– produced three albums which continue to be treasured by fans. Recorded in the late 1960’s, the 28 tracks feature lo-fi recordings made on a reel-to-reel tape recorder at his home, Far Leys in Tanworth In Arden, as well as eight songs recorded on cassette during his sojourn in Aix En Provence. The inclusion of two songs, “Poor Mum” and “Try to Remember”, written and performed by Molly Drake bears testament to her musical influence on her son, conscious or otherwise.
After Nick Drake’s death in 1974, his parents Rodney and Molly Drake began to receive visits from fans compelled to understand more about the source of his music by traveling to the place where he lived and died. For Rodney and Molly, this was no invasion of privacy. On the contrary, aware that this might be the beginning of the recognition that their son had longed for in his lifetime, they invited those fans in and quite often shared the music a young Nick had recorded on an early reel-to-reel recorder. Often fans left with their own cassette tapes of those songs.
Some third and fourth generation versions of these tapes circulated among collectors on rare bootlegs for decades. The overwhelming fan demand for unreleased material or stronger versions of these poor-quality bootlegged songs has thrown up a challenge to the estate to release something worthy of his legacy.
The Family Tree release will include a letter written from Gabrielle Drake to her brother in which she reminisces about their growing up, their family life, and explains how she has tried to preserve his legacy as she thinks he would approve. “I hope that, in the circumstances, you could have given Family Tree your blessing. Or if not, that you could have at least looked on with that wry smile of yours.”
Family Tree, unlike Nick’s albums which contained only his own material, features the young artist mastering the compositions made famous by Bob Dylan, Blind Boy Fuller, and Jackson C Frank. It also showcases his early songwriting skills on tracks like “They’re Leaving Me Behind,” “Blossom” and “Come Into The Garden.” In segues between tracks, the listener hears Nick speaking aloud to himself, even laughing in between takes. The album also includes two versions of songs that ended up on Nick’s first album Five Leaves Left which were recorded by his arranger Robert Kirby whilst they were both studying at Cambridge University in 1968.
You need only hear Nick and Gabrielle’s exquisite blood harmonies on “All My Trials” – or Nick playing clarinet with his aunt and uncle on “Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio” – to realize that this was a house whose inhabitants entertained themselves and each other by playing music. In the album closer “Do You Ever Remember?” Molly Drake sings not just for their sorrow, but also for the laughter that once resounded throughout a happy, loving home. It’s a laughter that resounds – sometimes literally – throughout the whole of Family Tree. In doing so, it brings us closer to who Nick Drake was than perhaps any written account of his life thus far.
In addition to the release of Family Tree, 2007 will see the release of an upgraded version of the Fruit Tree Box Set – which includes Nick Drake’s three original studio albums; a new book; as well as a DVD of the A Skin Too Few documentary. Fruit Tree will also be available in limited edition vinyl.
1. Come In To The Garden (introduction) (Nick Drake)
2. They’re Leaving Me Behind (Nick Drake)
3. Time Piece (Nick Drake)
4. Poor Mum (M.Drake) performed by Molly Drake
5. Winter Is Gone (Traditional, arr: Nick Drake)
6. All My Trials (Traditional) performed by Nick and Gabrielle Drake
7. Kegelstatt Trio for clarinet, viola and piano, (W.A. Mozart)
8. Strolling Down the Highway (Bert Jansch)
9. Paddling In Rushmere (Traditional)
10. Cocaine Blues (Traditional)
11. Blossom (Nick Drake)
12. Been Smokin’ Too Long (Robin Frederick)
13. Black Mountain Blues (Traditional)
14. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (Bob Dylan)
15. If You Leave Me (Dave Van Ronk)
16. Here Come The Blues (Jackson C. Frank)
17. Sketch 1 (Nick Drake)
18. Blues Run The Game (Jackson C. Frank)
19. My Baby So Sweet (Traditional)
20. Milk And Honey (Jackson C. Frank)
21. Kimbie (Traditional)
22. Bird Flew By (Nick Drake)
23. Rain (Nick Drake)
24. Strange Meeting II (Nick Drake)
25. Day Is Done (Nick Drake)
26. Come Into The Garden (Nick Drake)
27. Way to Blue (Nick Drake)
28. Do You Ever Remember? (M. Drake) performed by Molly Drake