Nick Drake Made To Love Magic CD
A companion piece to his three studio albums, Made to Love Magic is a “new”
Nick Drake album comprised of rarities, out-takes and
remixes, including the recently discovered song, Tow The Line, that has not been
heard since it was first recorded in 1974. The earliest recordings on this album
stem from his time at Cambridge University in 1968 where he met and performed
with fellow student Robert Kirby. In the Spring of 1968 Kirby recorded several
of Nick’s new songs. Luckily these tapes have survived and are released here for
the first time ever. River Man is the only version known to exist without
orchestration and is thought to detail Nick’s days in Cambridge, whereas Mayfair
exists here in its earliest known format, a wry and light hearted view of the
London Nick was getting to know.
On leaving Cambridge and entering a recording studio, Nick was writing what was
to become his debut album Five Leaves Left. Joey and Clothes of Sand both
recorded towards the end of 1968, are two songs that never made it onto the
album. These two songs plus the alternate version of The Thoughts of Mary Jane
previously appeared on the compilation album Time Of No Reply. In early studio
sessions Nick used Richard Hewson as an orchestrator, but his unhappiness with
the results led him back to colleague Robert Kirby for most future arrangements.
By this time the debut album was already too full for Magic and Time Of no Reply
so Robert’s original arrangements remained on manuscript only. It was to these
scores that Robert returned in 2003 and a new ‘original’ arrangement was
recorded. You now hear the song as Nick intended it to be heard.
The melting pot that was Island Records in the late ’60s caused many artists to
collaborate with each other. Label boss and producer Chris Blackwell was a
strong believer in cross-fertilization both in musical styles and personalities.
Nick was friends with both John Martyn and Richard Thompson amongst others on
the varied roster. In March 1969 Nick found himself in North London’s Morgan
Studios — a rare departure from Sound Techniques where most of his work was
recorded — to play a version of Three Hours with the late ‘Reebop’ Kwaakhu Baah
on congas and an unknown flautist.
This version was recorded 2 months before the one that appears on Five Leaves
Left. It was discovered on a multi track and is released in a mixed version for
the first time. It is longer and more relaxed than its final version almost
amounting to a ‘jam’ session. After the release of the Pink Moon album Nick
returned to the studio to record what was thought to be his last 4 songs — Black
Eyed Dog, Rider On The Wheel, Voices and Hanging On A Star. These were hastily
mixed and later appeared on the Fruit Tree box set. The versions here are
properly mixed stereo versions by the original recording engineer; John Wood.
Hanging On A Star is a newly discovered take of the song with, it was judged, a
better vocal; Nick recording voice and guitar separately for the first time. It
was during this recent mix that the tape was allowed to run on and Tow The Line
made itself known, never having been mixed or, indeed, heard since 1974.
By returning to the team of John Wood and Robert Kirby, and with the full
co-operation of Nick’s sister Gabrielle, we have, in this release, a companion
piece to the three studio albums: Five Leaves Left, Bryter and Pink Moon. The CD
has been digitally mastered using the very latest technology, and is a fitting
addition to the short but all-encompassing canon of work Nick recorded in his
few years in the studio.
1. Rider On The Wheel
3. River Man
5. Thoughts Of Mary Jane
7. Hanging On A Star
8. Three Hours
9. Clothes Of Sand
11. Time Of No Reply
12. Black Eyed Dog
13. Tow The Line