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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:01 pm 
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Location: Wirksworth
Thank you for the link Matt. Interesting reading (I had not read that article before). I don't like the word 'blame' as it is down to personal taste, but from what I've read elsewhere, Nick had to be persuaded about some of the arranging - the backing vocals on Poor Boy being a case in point (I've seen Boyd admit that it was his idea and Nick was not at all sure). And yet the album contains one of Nick's most loved songs 'Northern Sky' - which is wonderful, but stands out from the rest of the album. I'm just surprised that 'the team', to be diplomatic, did not see that the approach, style and arrangements for Norther Sky was the way to go.

Anyway, I'll continue to listen to BL because it has its moments and artistic integrity.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:42 pm 

Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 12:53 pm
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Location: Netherlands
My view is that if Nick would have made BL the way people would like it now, he wouldn't have been satisfied. Making an album that has nearly the same arrangement as your debut (in this case: very limited additional instruments and vocals), isn't showing a lot of progress and let's face it, an artist wants to make progress especially when he has no pressure to copy his million-seller :wink: That's what I like about Fruit Tree, the box-set: all three albums are so different.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:16 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 am
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Location: New Jersey
If Bryter Layter had sold more copies at the time its doubtful that Nick would've recorded Pink Moon (which was an about face in comparison with its predecessor)


Pink Moon seems to be how Nick was at the time. Aside from songs he had written earlier like "Things behind the sun" (in 1968 I think)
a lot of the songs are a snapshot of his psyche at the time

the failure of BL really sealed his doom. Aside from the odd spin on the Peel show, I don't think too many people really heard it

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:34 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:47 pm
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Location: UK - England
I really like Bryter Layter it's classic pop to my ears .
It's the kind of sound James Blunt is selling by the millions now ?
Not saying James Blunt is anywhere as good as Nick .
But had Nick released this album today it would have given Blunt's Back To Bedlam a run for it's money .
It's a very commercial chart sound now :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:23 pm
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Location: United Kingdom
I think Nick is a bit like the Velvet Underground - hardly anyone bought the records at the time but his recordings (like VU's) went on to influence countless subsequent artists


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:04 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 am
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Location: New Jersey
The best VU album is Squeezed of course ! :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:00 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:57 pm
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Location: United Kingdom
The only thing Bryter Layter could do without is the Jazz Flute in my opinion….

What are people’s thoughts on the album cover of Bryter Layter too?

How did Squeezed even get past the mixing desk?

Matt’s point about not selling records which would later become celebrated as some of the most influential music ever committed to vinyl got me to thinking of John Keats’s first publication - Endymion, and his two book of poems that followed. Today he is celebrated as one of the greats but at the time he received the same bitter press for his poetry as Nick Drake! Also, the very minimal good press (I say ‘good’ in relation to the others) seemed to focus on the established poets he drank Claret with. I have chosen to write an excerpt form a letter by John Keats. Please note that “Blackwood” and the “Quarterly” were the Rolling Stone and NME of 1816 – 1825…..

I begin to get a little acquainted with my own strength and weakness.-praise or
Blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the
abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works. My own domestic criticism
has given me pain without comparison beyond what Blackwood or the Quarterly
could possibly inflict. And also when I feel I am right, no external praise can
give me such a glow as my own solitary reperception & ratification of what is fine
…. Endymion is as good as I had power to make it – by myself – Had I been
nervous about its being a perfect piece, & with that view asked advice, &
trembled over every page, it would not have been written; for it is not in my
nature to fumble – I will write independently. – I have written independently
without judgement – I may write independently & without judgement herafter. –
The Genius of Poetry must work out its own salvation in a man: It cannot be
Matured by law & precept, but by sensation and watchfulness in itself – That
Which is creative must create itself – In Endymion, I leaped headlong into the
Quicksands, & the rocks, then if I had stayed upon the green shore, and piped a
silly Pipe, and took tea & comfortable advice.- I was never afraid of failure; for I
would sooner fail than not be among the greatest –


(KEATS, Motion, A. Pg 303)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:15 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 am
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Location: New Jersey
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever"

they tell me!

"Its loveliness increases it will never
fade into nothingness but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health,
and quiet breathing."

intro to Endy, yeah


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:01 am 
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I think the cover to BL was awful, particularly when you consider that album art was important in those days. It's a shame that the marketing of Nick's music was so poor - which of course he didn't help himself.

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I have stolen a man
but never a thing of value
I roll up the bamboo blind

Suzuki Masajo


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:11 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:38 pm
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Location: London
A lot of the arrangements on Bryter Later seem very much 'of their time' The songs are still great but sound dated now


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:46 am 
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Yes toffina, to my ears it is the most 'dated' of Nick's records. And it isn't the songs, it's the arrangements.

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I have stolen a man
but never a thing of value
I roll up the bamboo blind

Suzuki Masajo


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:00 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:43 am
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Location: Tx.
Narcissus, Thank you for the Keats quote.... good to read.

Agree with Seran it is not the songs, the songs are great,
I like Bryter Layter, just would like some of the extras toned down a bit
so as to better hear Nick, some of the instruments take away from Nick as opposed to adding to.

Not a good LP cover.

And yes,,, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever"


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:39 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 am
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Location: New Jersey
Covers fine, Nick wouldn't tour!!

BL would've been a great album for Nick to have toured with a band, but by then I think he might have become too introverted. It was down to Joe Boyd that you had the strings, piano, back up chicks singing

Joe Boyd seems to be touring the US with Robyn Hitchcock these days

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:13 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:59 pm
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Bryter layter was my first Nick album and I love it now as I did then, foibles and all. Not all the arrangements are to my taste and the production is decidedly soft-focus and fuzzy (whereas FLL sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday) but the songs are top notch and encapsulates Nick's inherent Englishness very well.

One casualty I've actually noticed is armchair Nick fans targetting FLL for the same criticisms. One cheeky bugger commenting on a Drake song on YouTube actually opined that the strings on River Man were also rubbish, and had Nick got his way everything would be voice and guitar. Like he was some kind of doormat even at the start of his recording career and had strings foisted on him, despite bringing in Robert Kirby as a replacement for the express purpose of getting it right. Pistols at dawn for this pundit, I think...

I also love the cover, period though it is. I thought it was quite iconic and had it's own place in pop culture - I've seen a few shoeless homages.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:03 pm
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I think it's possible to both like BL and ALSO want to hear just voice and guitar for the songs and instrumentals. Although Pink Moon is probably my favorite album, it really does depend on my mood which album I listen to and enjoy most. Regarding Poor Boy, what do you all think of the Teddy Thompson cover during the Barbican Tribute last January? It is true to the Kirby arrangment, complete with backup singers, but I think it sounds great. That doesn't mean I don't also enjoy the voice and guitar version on the bootleg. I think the value of listening to the stripped down versions, for some of us is to hear the evolution of his skills and talent. I don't think it takes away from the rest. For instance, the progression of the song Joey from the bootleg to the final recorded version. It is so much tighter and I like the faster pace but you get a peek at how he worked on the lyrics and the rest to get it right. Anyway, I love the arrangement of City Clock on BL. I love listening to that song, but it would also be very interesting to hear it stripped down. How many times does one get to ride along on the progression of the creative mind? (IMHO).


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