Tuesday, July 27, 2010

5. Nick Drake - Bryter Layter

Counting down my favorite 25 albums of 1970:

Nick Drake - Bryter Layter

This album was a late bloomer. It started turning up on critics top ten lists and movie soundtracks in the 90's, but seems to have been more or less ignored when it was released in 1970 (basically the opposite of what happened with The Pretty Things' Parachute).

The album doesn't sound much like it's contemporaries. Richard Thompson and John Cale show up on the album, and their influence is recognizable, but the folk elements are more polished than the ramshackle style of Fairport Convention, and the art rock is more mannered and classical-leaning than the rougher sound of Velvet Underground. There's is also a distinct jazz influence - most notably on the fantastic 'Poor Boy'. I'm also a fan of the string arrangements on several of the tracks and the brass arrangement on 'Hazey Jane II', all arranged by Robert Kirby (I'm making a note to check out other albums he's worked on).

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