Nick Drake – Bryter Layter (1970)

FrontCover1With even more of the Fairport Convention crew helping him out — including bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Dave Mattacks along with, again, a bit of help from Richard Thompson — as well as John Cale and a variety of others, Drake tackled another excellent selection of songs on his second album. Demonstrating the abilities shown on Five Leaves Left didn’t consist of a fluke, Bryter Layter featured another set of exquisitely arranged and performed tunes, with producer Joe Boyd and orchestrator Robert Kirby reprising their roles from the earlier release. Starting with the elegant instrumental “Introduction,” as lovely a mood-setting piece as one would want, Bryter Layter indulges in a more playful sound at many points, showing that Drake was far from being a constant king of depression. While his NickDrakeperformances remain generally low-key and his voice quietly passionate, the arrangements and surrounding musicians add a considerable amount of pep, as on the jazzy groove of the lengthy “Poor Boy.” The argument could be made that this contravenes the spirit of Drake’s work, but it feels more like a calmer equivalent to the genre-sliding experiments of Van Morrison at around the same time. Numbers that retain a softer approach, like “At the Chime of a City Clock,” still possess a gentle drive to them. Cale’s additions unsurprisingly favor the classically trained side of his personality, with particularly brilliant results on “Northern Sky.” As his performances on keyboards and celeste help set the atmosphere, Drake reaches for a perfectly artful reflection on loss and loneliness and succeeds wonderfully. (by Ned Raggett)


Nick Drake (guitar, vocals)
Dave Mattacks (drums)
Dave Pegg (bass)
P.P. Arnold (background vocals on 08.)
John Cale (keyboards on 07. + 09.)
Ed Carter (bass on 04.)
Lyn Dobson (flute on 06.)
Paul Harris (piano on 04.)
Mike Kowalski (drums on 03., 04., 08. + 09.)
Chris McGregor (piano on 08.)
Richard Thompson (guitar on 02.)
Doris Troy (background vocals on 08.)
Ray Warleigh (saxophone on 03. + 08., flute on 10.)

01. Introduction 1.32
02. Hazey Jane II 3.46
03. At The Chime Of A City Clock 4.46
04. One Of These Things First 4.52
05. Hazey Jane I 4.29
06. Bryter Layter 3.22
07. Fly 3.01
08. Poor Boy 6.09
09. Northern Sky 3.46
10. Sunday 3.42

All songs written by Nick Drake



Rare swedish coloured vinyl edition