Friday, February 24

Nick Drake Tribute (Peter H, music director)

“Bryter Later: The Songs of Nick Drake”
St. Ann’s Church
Brooklyn Heights, NY
November 8, 1997
FM Broadcast (on 11-25-97)

Graphic by Ken Sinyard

REPERCUSSION: For a few years in the late 1990s, Peter had the enviable job of organizing tributes to some of the great, lesser-known artists of popular music. This one, performed in honor and memory of Nick Drake, is a beauty. Peter assembled quite an impressive roster of artists — which is a tribute to Drake, of course, but also an implicit recognition of Peter’s influence, particularly among musicians in the greater NYC area. My only regret is that Peter's voice can only be heard at the end in brief thank-you remarks, but at least we get to hear him play on the instrumental "Horn" and as a backing musician on other songs.

BIG THANKS to WFUV-FM in New York for broadcasting the concert, thanks also to the original taper and uploader, and whoever posted this in cyberspace for me to find and share here.

This is the first of similar shows I will post here, since Peter and Chris have been involved in at least a good handful over the years.

SAMPLE: "Way to Blue (Susan Cowsill vocal)"

1. Intro
2. I Was Made To Love Magic - Syd Straw
3. One Of These Things First - Sloan Wainwright
4. Joey - Terre Roche
5. Things Behind The Sun - Richard Davies
6. Which Will - Duncan Sheik
7. From The Morning - Dana & Karen Kletter
8. Cello Song - Richard Barone
9. Pink Moon - Syd Straw
10. River Man - Katell Keineg
11. Poor Boy - Terre Roche
12. Crowd
13. Horn - Peter Holsapple
14. Been Smoking Too Long - Peter Blegvad
15. Way To Blue - Susan Cowsill
16. Time Has Told Me - Katell Keineg
17. Clothes Of Sand - Peter Blegvad
18. Black Eyed Dog - Mimi Goese
19. Time Of No Reply - Sloan Wainwright
20. Northern Sky - Richard Barone
21. Fly - Richard Davies
22. Hazey Jane I - Duncan Sheik
23. Fruit Tree - Rebecca Moore

“House Band” Musicians:
Peter Holsapple  - guitar, piano, bass (musical director for the show)
Chris Cunningham - guitar
Michelle Kinney - cello
David Mansfield - violin, mandolin
Deni Bonet - violin

St. Ann's looks like a cool place for a concert

The following is part of the New York Times review of the show. (Note the reference to Peter as “Mr. Holsapple”!) You can read the whole thing here.

Spare, Poetic Songs of a Gentle Dreamer
Copyright: The New York Times
Published: November 11, 1997

The word fetish is often misused in describing objects of passion, but it fits Nick Drake's body of work. Fans of the English songwriter, who died in 1974 at the age of 26, treasure the 31 songs he recorded as if they were amulets to be meditated upon privately and shared with the sympathetic few. To love Nick Drake's meditative folk-pop is to join an esoteric society. Organizing an evening in which more than a dozen singers interpret him is a daring, iconoclastic move.

Peter Holsapple clearly knew this when he arranged “Bryter Layter: The Songs of Nick Drake,” presented on Saturday night at the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn. (“Bryter Layter” was Drake's second album.) His musical direction showed great delicacy, while his selection of singers insured that the evening would not grow reverentially leaden.

Peter Blegvad, Terre Roche, Syd Straw, Richard Barone, Richard Davies, Mimi Goese, Susan Cowsill and Mr. Holsapple himself all know what it is like to be working artists beloved by the few while fame only teases, a situation that contributed to Drake's fatal depression. For them, his music is not frozen iconography but a code unlocking key elements of the song forms they embrace. The evening's younger artists -- Duncan Sheik, Katell Keineg, Sloan Wainwright, Dana and Karen Kletter and Rebecca Moore -- similarly used Mr. Drake's songs to explore the inner workings of pop. 

Nick in London; photo by Jef Aerosol

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