Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday Morning Blue: Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left

I'm feeling a little fragile this morning; last night I celebrated with Ches, a good mate who's just become a granddad.
After too much toasting and Budvar I drove home (over the limit I'm sure) to be admonished by upety emailing mates who'd kept buying me that afore mentioned beer... I know, I'm a feckless pillock and could have knocked a pram pushing granny into oblivion but... the shackles of friendship. Home, contrite and chastened I just kept going, Di's away for the weekend so I was in bad company; myself and a bottle of 18 year old Glenlivet. This King of Tipples always gives poise and dignity to my dishevelment. I played cool jazz (Ketil Bornstad's balmy 'Floating') and then scanned the channels in search of something intense with subtitles. Last night it was 'Beat' Takeshi's 'Yatoichi', the story of a blind swordsman/masseur (I kid you not). Not the usual Yakuza blood fest; this had laugh out loud humour and... tap dancing. I then found Sergio Leon's 'For a Few Dollars More' and marvelled at its unbridled brutality. Tarantino eat your heart out... This has one of the great villains in El Indio and some dastardly henchmen; particularly Klaus Kinski whose face Lee Van Cleef keeps striking matches on. Klaus dares him to do it again to which Lee deadpans "I generally don't smoke 'til after I've eaten; why don't you come back in five minutes." Classic. Speaking of which, I then tentatively made my way up to an empty bed and lost consciousness to Classic FM; I can only sleep with the radio on when Di's away; a throwback to college days.
Anyway; this ramble leads me to sunday morning. Up early, the coffee's on and I'm looking for something to play; something easy that won't hurt too much. Lacking the will to think too hard I reach for the bleeding obvious; Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' and know immediately that I've made the right choice. 
Once I get over that initial irritating edit (who chopped the front off the first chord?) I'm immersed in Joni's "chords of inquiry." I pick up Michelle Mercer's 'Will You Take Me As I Am'; a dissection of Joni's 'Blue' period and I'm transported into the world of wonder and melancholy that this pioneer of songwriting has made home turf. The blackbirds outside are going bonkers; always come to life when Joni's on; maybe they recognise a kindred spirit in that flighty, unfettered voice...
But what to play next? 
This gets me thinking about the perfect sunday morning album
There's got to be gentle melancholy involved; no iPod shuffle allowed; this is a disc that must be played in sequence. Something not too challenging; the aural equivalent of sunday slippers; something that comfortably eases me into the day.
This'll be my sunday post for a while.
Why not listen with me? Then make one weekly recommendation yourself and I'll reciprocate...
So, this week's post 'Blue' album is... 
Nick Drake's 'Five Leaves Left'
I know that it's a bit obvious and will try to go more off piste with future choices, but on this particular morning I'm in need of a sure thing...
All of Drake's 3 albums are sublime; this is the one that resonates for me.
I'll post a track but try and hear the whole thing if you can; if you already own it you'll know that it's worth revisiting.
Calmed, my thoughts return to Ches and his (as yet unnamed) grandson.
It'll be christening presents next.
Bugger the teddy; he might not appreciate them for 16 years or so, but he's getting 'Five Leaves Left' and 'Blue'. I can't think of a better way to start his record collection; his sundays will be blessed.
Ah, 'River Man'; bliss. 
Bacon butty, another coffee, even the babbling blackbirds are silenced and listening...


  1. okay here we go

    this can do an either an sunday morning or a late night whisky supping saturday

    James Yorkston and the Athletes - moving up country

    and please dont bugger the teddy I'm sure there are laws against that kind of thing

  2. Not in Yorkshire there aint...
    Alright, I know that you know I'm in Bucks but that little bit of the red rose follows me everywhere...
    Good call with 'Moving Up Country'. I'm onto a recent Tom Waits collection 'Used Songs' that is a nice companion to 'The Island Years'. Try any early TW up until (and including 'Rain Dogs'). It gets a bit raucous after that... excellent though the later stuff is; I can rattle my own pots and pans sunday morning...
    I'll dig out Yorkston next... ta!

  3. "Music In A Foreign Language" By LC... The wife forced me off the sauce almost 30 years ago (I was a naughty drunk), so I don't know if I qualify; but I think this is a good late night/early morn listen...

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  5. Oops, what happened there?
    Good call Tim; one of my favourite of Lloyds. I was listening to 'Etc' over the weekend; patchy but some great moments.
    Just driven in to work to the Toronto Tim CDs... Driving into London and into the sunrise is still a sight to behold; needs the right soundtrack...

  6. I like "Etc" a lot. 'Fool You Are' is special because Lloyd name-checks Toronto and our London (Ontario!)... catchy ditty too!

    I guess you'll be jetting off soon. Sorry to hear of paradise... lost. I've seen it in too many places. Progress? Do you remember a song by 'The Alarm' called "PERMANENCE IN CHANGE"... good title, eh? Still, at least the weather ought to be better than London!
    I hope the break will refresh and allow you to "swing free" again. Maybe visit "la plage nue" or a spontaneous "streak" through the village square?

  7. We escape to Corsica in 3 weeks; looking forward to it although there's certain trepidation now; never quite know what to expect; open arms or scaffolding...
    I don't think I'll be "swinging free" and streaking at the same time; it gets chilly half way up the mountain...

  8. Luka Bloom
    Keeper of the Flame
    familiar done with a gentle strength

    1. Earnie,
      I cannot find the song on spotify, although enjoying listening to Luka's version of U2's 'Bad', 'You Couldn't Have at a Better Time' and the familiar 'I Need Love'. He's Christy Moore's brother right?

    2. right you are
      have fun on holiday

  9. My Wednesday morning choice for a Sunday Morning album (and there seems little difference these days with mornings spent at the beck and call of kids) is Gram Parsons Grievous Angel. It was also my choice in the days when I would have been in a 'tender' state. It doesn't lose its appeal.

  10. Good call Seamus.
    "Oh my love is like a wild goose" indeed.
    'Love Hurts' 'She' 'Brass Buttons' 'Hickory Wind' and '$1000 Dollar Wedding' still sounding grand...

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