Molly Drake was the mother of Nick Drake, and a remarkable songwriter in her own right. Her home recordings were finally released a few years ago, and now The Unthanks are reinterpreting the material for their Diversions series. With Molly’s daughter Gabrielle Drake on board, we even have some never-recorded songs played here, via her memories. LP release on RabbleRouser Music.
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- Diversions Vol. 4: The Songs And Poems Of Molly Drake by The Unthanks
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It's probably fair to say that had Molly Drake not been Nick's mum then her songs and poems wouldn't have left the family hearth. It makes you wonder what else is out there - how many other songwriters work is hidden away in family heirlooms. Here the Unthanks sift through Mrs Drake work and perform it in a pretty but sometimes saccharine style. The best bits of course are those moments when you see evidence of the musical DNA that would be passed down to her son. 'How the Wild Wind Blows' for example has the same kind of melancholy that haunted 'Fruit Tree' with some gorgeous string work and that strange sense of foreboding. 'Little Weaver Bird' is also utterly gorgeous, the Unthanks breathy vocals are joined by piano and woodwind to create a wonderfully autumnal atmosphere that is as sad as October fires. The album is broken up with some spoken word contributions by Molly's daughter Gabrielle Drake of some unreleased Drake poems. Fine as a historical document but they do break up the atmosphere.
There are several examples of Drake's brilliance here, aptly interpreted by the Unthanks which makes this a more than worthwhile exercise.
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