Saturday Songsters – Nick Drake

It’s  Saturday and so time for another Saturday Songster post. This week’s track is ‘The Riverman’ by Nick Drake.

Nick Drake (1971)

Nick Drake was an English singer-songwriter who released three albums before he overdosed on antidepressants in 1974. He’s often seen as being a ‘doomed romantic’ – a talented musician whose shyness and dislike of live performance led to depression and ultimately to suicide. During his lifetime he gained only limited recognition. In the years since his death, however, his music has steadily gained wider notice and appreciation. He’s been cited as an influence by artists such as Robert Smith of The Cure, David Sylvian of Japan and  Peter Buck of R.E.M.

I was first introduced to his music as a student in the late 1990s. The acoustic, guitar based sound, the fragile vocals and the haunting lyrics drew me. My favourite album is actually his third, ‘Pink Moon’, but the song that I’ve chosen to share is from his 1969 album, ‘Five Leaves Left’, and is a track that I can happily listen to over and over again.

The Riverman

Betty came by on her way
Said she had a word to say
About things today
And fallen leaves.

Said she hadn’t heard the news
Hadn’t had the time to choose
A way to lose
But she believes.

Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the plan
For lilac time.

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
And all night shows
In summertime.

Betty said she prayed today
For the sky to blow away
Or maybe stay
She wasn’t sure.

For when she thought of summer rain
Calling for her mind again
She lost the pain
And stayed for more.

Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the ban
On feeling free.

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
I don’t suppose
It’s meant for me.

Oh, how they come and go
Oh, how they come and go.

Lyrics from azlyrics

If you’d like to know more about Nick Drake or would like to check out more of his music, you can visit his website here or his Wikipedia page here.

6 thoughts on “Saturday Songsters – Nick Drake

    1. I’ve always found his music beautiful. His is definitely a sad story. Strangely enough, he even almost predicted the way his music would be remembered in a song called ‘Fruit Tree’ – “Fame is but a fruit tree, so very unsound / It can never flourish, till its stalk is in the ground.” Thanks for visiting. 🙂


    1. True. From everything I’ve read, the main cause of his depression was that his music wasn’t appreciated whilst lesser musicians became famous. It’s just a shame that he couldn’t have gained any more recognition in his lifetime.

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