Tag Archives: singer songwriter

The lyrics and music of Molly Drake (mother of Nick)

Several posts over the last few months had news of amazing recordings being unearthed. Not the Alexander Bell ones (though they are amazing), but ones of Molly Drake, mother of amazing English folk singer Nick Drake. Turns out they were released a few years ago – along with “Family Tree”, which you can find on Spotify – but they’re new to me, and worth some time.

If you’ve heard any stuff from his three LPs, there’s plenty for you to recognise in her music and poetry. It was her piano that encouraged him in his first reel-to-reel recordings (such as Poor Mum, below). They’re very pretty. What an amazing talent to have had near you, growing up.

Love Isn’t a Right Love isn’t a right, it’s got to be earned
Love isn’t a right that’s got to be learned
Maybe you spent your natural life
Loving husband or loving wife
Were you loving and was your love returned?
Love’s nobody’s fool and nobody’s slave
Love won’t go to school and learn to behave
Ride your love on an easy reign
If love can go it comes back again
Love will haunt us from cradle to the grave
Love’s a whisper, love’s a shout
Love’s a flame that could blow out
Love’s all beauty but make it a duty
And love will lie right down and die
Love, love is a germ you never resist
Love loves the eternal will-o’-the-wisp
Follow him through the darkest day
Love will glimmer and light your way
But grab at him and he flickers away out of sight
Love’s enchanted don’t take it for granted
For love isn’t a right.

How Wild The Wind Blows The acorn carries an oak tree
Sleeping but for a little while
Winter lies in the arms of spring
As a mother carries her child
And never knows
How wild the wind blows
A thought carries a universe
A seed carries a field of grain
Love lies in the arms of change
As a joy carries a pain
And no one knows
How wild the wind blows.

Happiness Happiness is like a bird with twenty wings
Try to catch him as he flies
Happiness is like a bird that only sings
When his head is in the skies
You can try to make him walk beside you
You can say the door is open wide
If you grab at him, woe betide you
I know because I’ve tried
Like a butterfly upon an April morning
Very quickly taking fright
Happiness is come and gone without a warning
Jack-o’-lantern in the night
I will follow him across the meadow
I will follow him across the hill
And if I can catch him I will try to bring you
Why yes, happiness
If I can catch him I will try to bring you
All my love and happiness.


Poor Mum

Clifford T Ward-fest!

Clifford T. Ward typified the early 70s bedsitter singer-songwriter with a series of albums that were at best delightful and at worst mawkish. After a bit of jobbing with bands while working as a teacher, his debut album appeared on disc jockey John Peel’s brave-but-doomed Dandelion Records label in 1972. His second album and his first release for Charisma Records, Home Thoughts, proved to be his finest work and gave him wider recognition. Ward constructed each song as a complete story sometimes with great success.

The beautiful “Gaye” became a UK Top 10 hit but surprisingly the stronger “Home Thoughts From Abroad” and the infectious and lyrically excellent “Wherewithal” failed to chart. Mantle Pieces and Escalator contained a similar recipe of more harmless tales like the minor hit “Scullery” with affecting lyrics like; “You’re my picture by Picasso, you’d brighten up any gallery’.

Ward’s refusal to tour and promote his songs did not help endear the singer to his record company, however, and he switched to the Phonogram Records label for 1975″s No More Rock ‘N’ Roll.
In later years although still recording the occasional album and still reluctant to perform live, Ward received kudos as a songwriter with his material being recorded by artists such as Cliff Richard, Art Garfunkel and Justin Hayward.

He was struck down with multiple sclerosis in 1987 and his health rapidly deteriorated. He managed to record 1991’s vinyl-only album Laugh It Off, and friends and colleagues pieced together two more albums of new songs, out-takes and demos to give the ailing Ward some financial assistance. He finally succumbed to pneumonia in December 2001.