ARTYFACTS: Nick Drake - Way to Blue

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nick Drake - Way to Blue

Deserved 4 star review in the Guardian for one of my favourite British singer/song writers. Everyone in my generation has ahd a few mellow moments listening to Drake's metronomic guitar and plaintive voice. Black Dog is a masterpiece of a song, one of the last things he wrote before his death. I literally can't listen to it without a tear coming to my eye. It is so thoroughly nihilistic, greeting death with tragic resignation. It's not often the art of true tragedy is encapsulated in one song, but this is as profound a song as I've ever heard.

Anyway, enough of this melancholy. Lisa Hanngian took this song and imbued it with a rousing form of anger. This could have been a disaster, as the original is quiet and soulful, but it worked - full of resignation but defiance. Krystle Warren sang Time Has Told Me and the audience, like me, had their gut wrenched with this soulful version. She's on in London at the end of February, and I'll be there. Green Gartside's (Scritti Politti) gentle, sweetest girl voice, was entirely suited to Fruit Tree. I'm a fan of Teddy Thomson and still can't see why he isn't seen as a major artist.

Overall the show was a bit ragged round the edges, but that's OK. Who needs an overpolished, over-produced rendition of Nick Drake. It was just a wonderful way to spend a January evening.