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Nick Drake|Bryter Layter

Bryter Layter

Nick Drake

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With 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 performances 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.
© Ned Raggett /TiVo

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Bryter Layter

Nick Drake

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1
Introduction
00:01:31

Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, Acoustic Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

2
Hazey Jane II
00:03:44

Joe Boyd, Producer - Richard Thompson, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Pegg, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

3
At The Chime Of A City Clock
00:04:44

Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Dave Pegg, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Ray Warleigh, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Kowalski, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

4
One Of These Things First
00:04:50

Paul Harris, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Ed Carter, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Kowalski, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

5
Hazey Jane I
00:04:28

Joe Boyd, Producer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Pegg, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

6
Bryter Layter
00:03:20

Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Dave Pegg, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

7
Fly
00:02:57

John Cale, Harpsichord, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Dave Pegg, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

8
Poor Boy
00:06:06

Doris Troy, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Pat Arnold, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Pegg, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Warleigh, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chris McGregor, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Kowalski, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

9
Northern Sky
00:03:43

John Cale, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Pegg, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Kowalski, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

10
Sunday
00:03:42

Joe Boyd, Producer - Robert Kirby, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Drake, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Dave Pegg, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Ray Warleigh, Flute, AssociatedPerformer - John Robert Wood, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

Album Description

With 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 performances 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.
© Ned Raggett /TiVo

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