This is surely the most unexpected, strangely compelling release in years – a home recording of self-composed songs made in the 1950s and 60s by Molly Drake, the wife of a successful Warwickshire businessman and mother of Nick Drake, the struggling singer-songwriter who acquired legendary status after dying of an overdose of antidepressants in 1974, aged 26. Nick Drake found posthumous fame thanks to his fragile, haunting songs, and his mother was clearly an influence. As his producer Joe Boyd has written, she was "the missing link in the Nick Drake story – there, in the piano chords, are the roots of Nick's harmonies". Molly's piano-backed songs are brief, some just over a minute in length, and are influenced by the popular music of the day, from show tunes to sentimental ballads. But they are remarkable for their blend of confidence, sadness and quiet intimacy.
Molly Drake: Molly Drake – review
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop