Nick Drake's Mama.
With cooing vocals rich with longing guided by a gentle stream of tape hiss, a recently unearthed batch of recordings from Molly Drake elicits memories real and imaginary.
I've touched on the subject of the collision of music and memorieshow music can transfer the listener from one space and time to the next affirming Kurt Vonnegut's theories of Trafalmadorian time travel, which proclaim each moment of time is interconnected. One can transfer in and out of moments, both past, present, and future. In this case, the vehicle of time transportation is the music of Molly Drake. And while I can't say I've ever experienced my own mother quivering like Edith Piaf in front of a living room piano with such convicting and mournful words as, "I remember firelight / You remember smoke...I remember willow trees / You remember gnats...I remember oranges / And you remember dust," that doesn't mean I haven't felt the sadness Drake shares. Drake contrasts the subjectivity of memory in these lines. She remembers sweetness (oranges), but her lover remembers none (dust). Despite the connectivity of memories and music, it is different for each person experiencing it.
This depth could have only come from one woman, Molly Drake, who could have only given birth to one special little boy, singer-songwriter Nick Drake. An unreleased collection of Molly Drake's songs will be released by Squirrel Things Recordings on March 5, 2013. The songs were recorded in living room sessions on tape and direct-to-disk recorders in the Drake household in the 1950s. Molly Drake's piano ballads and telling imagery puts you both in her shoes and in that living room. Like her son's music, Drake's songs carry both a pensive sadness and a star-gazing optimism.
The recordings were restored by John Wood, the engineer on all three of Nick Drake's albums. The CD can be pre-ordered from Amazon. On Amazon one can also hear extended clips of songs unavailable on the bandcamp page. The CD includes a custom letterpress jacket, a sixteen page booklet of family photos, and a biography of Molly Drake by daughter Gabrielle. Hopefully her collection of memories can paint this musical heritage a little bryter.