WUMB November Program Guide

Season’s Readings

Even forty years after his death by a possibly intentional drug overdose, Nick Drake remains an enigma. Forty years on from his incomplete last album, generations of new fans continue to discover his music. His music remains as enigmatic as his short life, and equally intriguing. There have been a handful of books that have tried to detail his life. The best know is Patrick Humphries’ Nick Drake: The Biography. A well respected music writer and researcher, Humphries tries to tease out the realities of Drake’s life through interviews with friends and contemporaries. Using much the same approach, Trevor Dann’s Darker Than the Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake, indulges in some amount of speculation to fill in the blanks.

 Nick Drake: Dreaming England by Nathan Wiseman-Trouse takes an almost academic look at the “English” nature of Nick’s work and how his music influenced the development of what we think of as English Music. While I can’t go along with some of his conclusions it is an intriguing read. Nick Drake: The Pink Moon Files is a rather different animal. Author Jason Creed published a Drake fanzine from 1994 to 2000 and this book is a compilation of his writing over the 19 issue life of that magazine. Most intriguing, for me a least, is his commentary, looking back at those writings some 20 years after the fact.

 Remembered for Awhile may provide the most complete look at Drake’s life and work because it has been compiled by Cally Callomon and Nick’s sister Gabrielle Drake. As they describe it, there are contributions from Nick’s friends, critics, adherents, family, and from Nick Drake himself. They have included excerpts from many of his letters. Some are published whole and some are even photographically reproduced. They describe the project thusly:

“This is not a biography. It is, rather, an attempt to cast a few shards of light on Nick Drake the poet, the musician, the singer, the friend, son and brother, who was also more than all of these. We hope it will accompany all those in search of an elusive artist, who was as indefinable as the morning mist.”

 A hard cover edition will be released in the US in December, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.  There is also a deluxe boxed edition that sells for 150 Pounds ($237 USD). It includes a portfolio of photographs of Nick take by Julian Lloyd in 1967, complete with a signed, numbered, certificate of authenticity and an exclusive 10”vinyl of five Drake performances taken from a John Peel Session for the BBC in 1969. Each copy is signed by the authors and all the contents are contained in a soft covered box.

Of course, books make the best holiday presents for friends, family or yourself. Remember if you are shopping for books at Amazon.com this season, visit WUMB.ORG first and click on their logo. That way they’ll contribute a portion of your purchase to support the station you rely on.

Happy Holidays,
Dave Palmater

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