Molly Drake: Nick Drake’s mum is the lost British singer you need to know about

'The Tide’s Magnificence: The Songs and Poems of Molly Drake' is out now

Brit folk fans will all be aware of the late, great Nick Drake, the genius behind the tender, contemplative late 1960s and early 1970s albums ‘Five Leaves Left’, ‘Bryter Layter’ and ‘Pink Moon’. But it turns out Nick wasn’t the only one with musical and poetic talent in the Drake family. A newly released boxset, ‘The Tide’s Magnificence’ looks at the work of his mother Molly Drake, whose music wasn’t known outside of the Drake family until long after her death in 1993.

The set features two CDs of Molly’s own music as well a host of her poems; all of which is said to have influenced her son’s much more well known – but no less stunning – work. Molly’s gorgeous music has to be heard to be believed; a delicate, almost jazzy kind of balladry, it’s lead by her cut glass vocals (she was the daughter of a Sir, after all) and evocative lyricism. But it the haunting quality of the recordings featured on these two discs which sticks out the most. Though these are ostensibly simple piano songs, they’re far from easy listening. There’s a fragility and depth of emotion here that’ll will only leave you with dry eyes if you have a heart made of pure stone.

 

The 79 poems in the boxset offer a deeper look into the life and mind of Molly, including works written as a young woman living in Burma and India. There are also diary extracts, photos, handwritten notes and an introduction written by Molly’s daughter and Nick’s sister, Gabrielle Drake as part of the rather lovely indeed 196 page hardback set. “There was always a part of my mother that remained unknowable, unattainable and her own. All of us – especially my father – understood this. It was no mystery to us.” This boxset will certainly get you a little closer to knowing what Molly was all about, but there’s still an magical, intangible quality to these songs – which makes them all the more fascinating.