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Nick Drake — Cello Song
Album: Five Leaves Left
Avg rating:
8.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 3042









Released: 1969
Length: 4:40
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Strange face, with your eyes
So pale and sincere.
Underneath you know well
You have nothing to fear.
For the dreams that came to you when so young
Told of a life
Where spring is sprung.

You would seem so frail
In the cold of the night
When the armies of emotion
Go out to fight.
But while the earth sinks to its grave
You sail to the sky
On the crest of a wave.

So forget this cruel world
Where I belong
I'll just sit and wait
And sing my song.
And if one day you should see me in the crowd
Lend a hand and lift me
To your place in the cloud.
Comments (337)add comment
Any rating for Nick below 11 is not acceptable!
Love love love Nick's music. Stops me in my tracks every time. Don't recall ever hearing him on the FM waves growing up.  Now, it's as if discovering Cat Stevens for the first time.  Thank you RP!
I love his work even more now that I know Gabrielle is his sister.  She was there during my formative years ...
 Tomasni wrote:
Rating for me STILL 8 -Most Excellent 
 

I like this one very much and I agree. Some people do not understand that this is a very high rating. They are the same who demand an "11" for some songs.
Long Live   Radio Paradise
Rating to me  is STILL 8 -Most Excellent 
 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
 WeAdmire wrote:
Listening to Nick Drake highlights an RP omission - I haven't heard any John Martyn.

WeAdmire, you are mistaken, Hohn Martyn songs played are many times on RP - open the Tab above called 'Artists' and type in John Martyn to see how often.

I have even posted comments on them in the past.



 
Any from "The Tumbler" when he was basically a contempory of Nick Drake?
Long before 2 Cellos.
 WeAdmire wrote:
Listening to Nick Drake highlights an RP omission - I haven't heard any John Martyn.

WeAdmire, you are mistaken, Hohn Martyn songs played are many times on RP - open the Tab above called 'Artists' and type in John Martyn to see how often.

I have even posted comments on them in the past.



For years I appreciated Nick Drake's genius as a singer/songwriter. I now appreciate his brilliance as a guitarist and innovator whose open tuning and fingerstyle arrangements are absolutely next level.
Listening to Nick Drake highlights an RP omission - I haven't heard any John Martyn.
I just love this song so much.
 Webfoot wrote:
And smoking may have been, God forbid, a comfort to him.
 
Unfortunately I think what he was smoking probably contributed to his mental health issues.

 Hannio wrote:


Smoking didn't shorten Drake's life one little bit.

 
And smoking may have been, God forbid, a comfort to him.
Ahhh, I can always count on RP for a great Nick Drake track!
It looks to me that the album cover "Fruit Tree" is a collection including Cello Song while "Five Leaves Left" was a single album.  There is a song on one of the Fruit Tree discs called "Been Smoking Too Long".  Maybe that's where the idea for the cover came from.
 haresfur wrote:

The original cover. Better?



 


 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
The cover of the album shows Nick Drake smoking - why would they have chosen that particular image?  Presumably because that was in the days when when smoking a cigarette was still considered 'cool'.  Unfortunately all those smokers are now very sick or dead -  a very sad indictment of society and human weaknesses.

 
The original cover. Better?


Kick it!
It may or may not be his best, but it's certainly my favorite.
For me  7 - Quite Likeable
Did Alexei Murdoch channel him ?
 
The cover of the album shows Nick Drake smoking - why would they have chosen that particular image?  Presumably because that was in the days when when smoking a cigarette was still considered 'cool'.  Unfortunately all those smokers are now very sick or dead -  a very sad indictment of society and human weaknesses.

 

Smoking didn't shorten Drake's life one little bit.
Grew up just a few miles from his parents' house, and wandered many of the same Warwickshire lanes and fields that I can hear in this music. Bless you Nick. Still missed.
 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
The cover of the album shows Nick Drake smoking - why would they have chosen that particular image?  Presumably because that was in the days when when smoking a cigarette was still considered 'cool'.  Unfortunately all those smokers are now very sick or dead -  a very sad indictment of society and human weaknesses.
 
That photo is one of the covers from a compilation of his 3 albums called "Fruit Tree" which was released a few different times - the first time being in 1979.  Some designer probably chose that photo because they liked it.  However this song originally appeared on an album titled "Five Leaves Left", which was a reference to cigarette rolling papers.
 PurplePrincess wrote:
Just kills me in ways I cannot express, lucky for me,  he could.

 
You're saying that he could express how the song kills him? Morbid.

Just kidding. I absolutely love his music and think it is a damn shame that he took the path that he did to deal with his demons, problems, etc. It's just hard to resist an opportunity for clever wordplay.
Just kills me in ways I cannot express, lucky for me,  he could.
Interesting, in the last few moments of this tune, I heard the intro for Owiny Sigoma Band's Harpoon Land...

 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
The cover of the album shows Nick Drake smoking - why would they have chosen that particular image?  Presumably because that was in the days when when smoking a cigarette was still considered 'cool'.  Unfortunately all those smokers are now very sick or dead -  a very sad indictment of society and human weaknesses.
 

While I understand and sympathise with your point I feel that the current fashion of applying modern standards and morals to historic events (or in this case photographs) is not sensible. You are making a value judgment of a photo taken in the 60’s when everyone smoked. I see real dangers in deleting history that doesn’t conform to current morals, at best its cultural vandalism and at worst it becomes Orwellian. 


I highly recommend reading the tragic yet amazing bio of Nick Drake on Wikipedia.  It will change how you hear his songs forever.
 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
The cover of the album shows Nick Drake smoking - why would they have chosen that particular image?  Presumably because that was in the days when when smoking a cigarette was still considered 'cool'.  Unfortunately all those smokers are now very sick or dead -  a very sad indictment of society and human weaknesses.

 
why my oh my such a post lol this came out in what 1969 1970 many many things have changed good and bad, me thinks you need to lighten up just a little lol {#Lol}
Sublime
{#Notworthy}
The cover of the album shows Nick Drake smoking - why would they have chosen that particular image?  Presumably because that was in the days when when smoking a cigarette was still considered 'cool'.  Unfortunately all those smokers are now very sick or dead -  a very sad indictment of society and human weaknesses.
 Kaw wrote:
Beethoven — Für Elise
Kate Bush — Cloudbusting
Nick Drake — Cello Song

There will never be a radiostation playing these 3 great musical pieces together. Not even in a year.

 
As others have mentioned, that is Bill's superpower (one of them!).
The sets and segues are phenomenal, and only found here.
WOA.  Impressive guitar at the beginning.
One of my all time top five songs. Magnificent.

I stopped listening to Nick Drake on CD or MP3 a few years ago as I was worried that if I over listened to him I would damage that special pleasure I get from his music. It’s therefore always good to get a surprise fix of his work on Radio Paradise. However Bill, I think that you could cast your net a bit wider and include some of the less well-known tracks as well.


 Kassbomb wrote:

Yes!!

 
And today it played this excellent combo again! Love RP!
This guy has an unreleased recording of this: https://www.thestrangefaceproject.com/

I saw him do a talk and he wouldn't play it to us. The cad.
 Proclivities wrote:

From Wikipedia:

Personnel
Nick Drake – vocals, acoustic guitar on all songs except "Way to Blue" and "Saturday Sun", piano on "Saturday Sun"
Additional personnel
Paul Harris – piano on "Time Has Told Me" and "Man in a Shed"
Richard Thompson – electric guitar on "Time Has Told Me"
Danny Thompson – double bass on "Time Has Told Me", "River Man", "Three Hours", "Cello Song", "Man in a Shed" and "Saturday Sun"
Harry Robinson – string arrangement on "River Man"
Rocky Dzidzornu – congas on "Three Hours and "Cello Song", shaker on "Cello Song"
Robert Kirby – string arrangement on "Way to Blue", "Day Is Done", "The Thoughts of Mary Jane" and "Fruit Tree"
Clare Lowther – cello on "Cello Song"
Tristan Fry – drums and vibraphone on "Saturday Sun"



 
Thanks!
The opening sounds like a song from Paul Winter Consort. 
 Kassbomb wrote:

Yes!!

 
Try in one hundred years. Bill is his own special musical savant.  
 Kaw wrote:
Beethoven — Für Elise
Kate Bush — Cloudbusting
Nick Drake — Cello Song

There will never be a radiostation playing these 3 great musical pieces together. Not even in a year.

 
Yes!!
 Steely_D wrote:
This version is a nice cover.

 
+1
This version is a nice cover.
 Kaw wrote:
Beethoven — Für Elise
Kate Bush — Cloudbusting
Nick Drake — Cello Song

There will never be a radiostation playing these 3 great musical pieces together. Not even in a year.

 
Agree
 haresfur wrote:
Anyone know who else played on this track?

 
From Wikipedia:

Personnel
Nick Drake – vocals, acoustic guitar on all songs except "Way to Blue" and "Saturday Sun", piano on "Saturday Sun"
Additional personnel
Paul Harris – piano on "Time Has Told Me" and "Man in a Shed"
Richard Thompson – electric guitar on "Time Has Told Me"
Danny Thompson – double bass on "Time Has Told Me", "River Man", "Three Hours", "Cello Song", "Man in a Shed" and "Saturday Sun"
Harry Robinson – string arrangement on "River Man"
Rocky Dzidzornu – congas on "Three Hours and "Cello Song", shaker on "Cello Song"
Robert Kirby – string arrangement on "Way to Blue", "Day Is Done", "The Thoughts of Mary Jane" and "Fruit Tree"
Clare Lowther – cello on "Cello Song"
Tristan Fry – drums and vibraphone on "Saturday Sun"


https://www.thestrangefaceproject.com/

Fun stuff. Saw him do a talk at Edinburgh Fringe, didn't get to hear the recording unfortunately... 
Anyone know who else played on this track?
 OceanBlue wrote:
This song will never stop being a masterpiece.

 
Quite well stated and I agree emphatically. 
Brings me back to Bert Jansch and that's a nice journey.
I adore his work. It's a tragedy he ended his life. What a gift he was.
1970 northern Michigan — man this takes me back ty {#Notworthy}
Second time I heared this song today. First on my phone while riding to work. Second time on RP.
 
Beethoven — Für Elise
Kate Bush — Cloudbusting
Nick Drake — Cello Song

There will never be a radiostation playing these 3 great musical pieces together. Not even in a year.
 jazzdevil wrote:
I'm not much fond of the folk but he is perfect
 
Ah, c'mon, what did the folk ever do to you?  ; )
I'm not much fond of the folk but he is perfect
Beck's Morning Phase followed shortly thereafter by ND's Cello Song.  Stunning.  Can't help but think that the Grammy voters gave Beck the LP of the year in an effort to make amends for totally ignoring the likes of Nick Drake, John Martyn, and Bert Jansch over the years.  Too late, as no one really cares (well, except for Kanye) what the 'establishment' (i.e. shallow and irrelevant) music industry thinks.  Only upside is that Morning Phase may have found its way into a few more record collections, er, I mean, iPhones.
In Spotify I have a list of 20 of the best music tracks I know. This is one of them.
Thanks RP for introducing Nick Drake to me.
Steely_D that is a sweet, strong remembrance, thank you!  : )
Suddenly it's a very quiet Sunday morning in 1982 and I'm sitting in a hospital ward full of indigent women in various stages of labor and this comes on the eclectic radio program I listen to.
Cup of coffee. Some quiet periodic moaning in the background, waiting for one of the recent Vietnamese immigrant women to announce that she needs the toilet. She'll really go in the bathroom, stand on the seat, squat, and try to deliver the baby without us knowing. We'll encourage her to lay on her back and do it the more difficult way, the way it wasn't done for all the other millennia.

It's a room full of quiet, joyful, subtle expectation and (mostly) happiness.
That's what this tune always brings out in me - but especially this quiet beautiful Sunday.

Thanks, BillG 
I just love Nick Drake's music.
It's so sad that a world of stupid, manufactured music passed him by. 
This song will never stop being a masterpiece.
Very nice piece 
we will order this 
 Toke wrote:
This track shows his mastery of the guitar, I never hear much his prowess of the guitar until I heard a Documentary on the Radio. It was about when he visited the UK before he was recognised and doing gigs in small clubs in London. In fact he packed out one club and his slot was not very long and his companion nipped down the road to another club and asked the owner if he would like Nick to come along which he agreed. The upshot of that was he left the other club where he had been playing and took most of the clientel with him,. It was this feamale companion who was on the Radio who commented on his guitar playing.

 
Great story! I laughed out loud at Nick's sudden following shifting clubs. Shame he felt he couldn't make a go of a music career...
This track shows his mastery of the guitar, I never hear much his prowess of the guitar until I heard a Documentary on the Radio. It was about when he visited the UK before he was recognised and doing gigs in small clubs in London. In fact he packed out one club and his slot was not very long and his companion nipped down the road to another club and asked the owner if he would like Nick to come along which he agreed. The upshot of that was he left the other club where he had been playing and took most of the clientel with him,. It was this feamale companion who was on the Radio who commented on his guitar playing.
Happiness and sadness in the same song
 
 aaronm wrote:
... He sounds like someone who would absolutely fit into the modern music scene. I just assumed he was current.

 
I agree that many of his songs can fit into any time period, but part of the reason he fits into today's music scene is because his music has been purchased and played much more in the last 15 years than it was during his lifetime; due largely to a particular Volkswagen ad.  Also, there are a large number of contemporary artists who are clearly influenced by his work.
Thanks Nick.
 stephw wrote:
1969? This is phenomenal - obviously way ahead of his time. This song could be played on any alternative radio station today and fit seamlessly in.
 

It is being played on an alternative radio station and I’d say it fits in just perfectly!


 WonderLizard wrote:
45 years ago. Utterly timeless.

 
I was surprised to see it was that long ago!  Timeless, indeed..
45 years ago. Utterly timeless.
 willmcnaught wrote:
1970 Freshman in college in N Michigan first heard this.. 2014 I STILL love this song. If he only knew how many people have heard this now, and I hope he is smiling{#Notworthy}.!

 
Traverse City, or Marquette?
8 > 9

Maybe sometime I'll write about how near-perfect this song is. 
 bpkengor wrote:
listened to this today with speakers that are very separated in my room.     the drums/bongos at then end isolated in the right track was a fascinating finish...

 
There is a shaker in there, too.  The clarity of the recording and the mix is equal to the song.
35 people gave this song a 3 or lower ...   thaw out your hearts! 
1969? This is phenomenal - obviously way ahead of his time. This song could be played on any alternative radio station today and fit seamlessly in.
so outstanding it's almost...godlike
1970 Freshman in college in N Michigan first heard this.. 2014 I STILL love this song. If he only knew how many people have heard this now, and I hope he is smiling{#Notworthy}.!
 drivingunit103 wrote:

...Amen

 
A salut to the man Bill...Thankyou so much for continuing your talent and quest 
 coloradojohn wrote:
I just still can't get over how long ago he did this, and how often people like Jose Gonzalez, Josh Ritter, Neil Halsted and countless others (I know thanks to RP!) seem to tap into the same sounds he made in his day. Ear-bending, and absolutely brilliant in heartbreaking ways...
 
Reposting this as I don't think it can be said better
 coloradojohn wrote:
RP should get some awards for educating us all with such cool, timeless, obscure artists like Nick Drake! Thanks again, Bill and all at RP!

 
...Amen
Colossal!
What a genius, which contemporary acoustic guitar singer songwriters even come close to Nick Drake?
listened to this today with speakers that are very separated in my room.     the drums/bongos at then end isolated in the right track was a fascinating finish...
 aaronm wrote:
Okay, here's something super embarrassing: until just now, I had no earthly idea that Nick Drake died in the seventies.

My only real exposure to him was through RP and his inclusion on random soundtracks I'd heard over the years. He sounds like someone who would absolutely fit into the modern music scene. I just assumed he was current.
 

While the phrase ‘Timeless’ is grossly overused I don’t think its inappropriate in the context of this masterpiece.


 TerryS wrote:
Just logged on and this greeted me......................mmmmhmmm.

 
I LOVE when that happens.....!  {#Wink}
Just logged on and this greeted me......................mmmmhmmm.
No haters on this song... I guess I cannot do the h8rhater operatic bawling about people not liking my band
{#Heartkiss} G O D L I K E + + + + +
love this so much 
 

 Dave_Mack wrote:
This one is soooo good.  Think I may have to give it a 10.  It's a 9.5, methinks.

ETA: Bumped it up to 10 today.

  
run4more wrote:

Me too—took me 18 months longer for some inexplicable reason

 
Ok guys. A 10 should not be given lightly.
 coloradojohn wrote:
I just still can't get over how long ago he did this, and how often people like Jose Gonzalez, Josh Ritter, Neil Halsted and countless others (I know thanks to RP!) seem to tap into the same sounds he made in his day. Ear-bending, and absolutely brilliant in heartbreaking ways...
 
very well said!
I just still can't get over how long ago he did this, and how often people like Jose Gonzalez, Josh Ritter, Neil Halsted and countless others (I know thanks to RP!) seem to tap into the same sounds he made in his day. Ear-bending, and absolutely brilliant in heartbreaking ways...
Okay, here's something super embarrassing: until just now, I had no earthly idea that Nick Drake died in the seventies.

My only real exposure to him was through RP and his inclusion on random soundtracks I'd heard over the years. He sounds like someone who would absolutely fit into the modern music scene. I just assumed he was current.
RP should get some awards for educating us all with such cool, timeless, obscure artists like Nick Drake! Thanks again, Bill and all at RP!
i like conga session
 
Makes me wonder what universe I've been in all those days.
Thank's Nick for leaving such a legasy.
Wherever you are.
I feel like I hear this song every other day.
 Cynaera wrote:

I was thirteen in 1969 - I knew that stuff was taking place, but at the time, I was too self-involved to concern myself with it.  If it didn't touch me directly, it didn't mean anything to me.  I've changed a lot since then, thank goodness.  And Nick Drake is still one of my favorite artists, RIP...
 

We miss you so much Cynaera...

love this song...
 
strong piece, its tone makes me think of Richie Havens, a smart moving beat
Love the hand drumming.
This is probably my fave ND song.  That makes it one of my fave songs.
Before I looked this song in particular reminded me of the 70's folk band Tir Na Nog, this is very close and very good!!!{#Bananapiano}
One of the few songs that compel me to stop, pause and so nothing but be enveloped by it. To me it touches something deeply human and very ancient.
 Dave_Mack wrote:
This one is soooo good.  Think I may have to give it a 10.  It's a 9.5, methinks.

ETA: Bumped it up to 10 today.

 
Me too—took me 18 months longer for some inexplicable reason
At least 3 of the most beautiful minutes of your life you will spend listening to this song. I, too, so wish he were still around.
interesting continuation peter gabriel i grieve
to nick's song
i was going to say something about that
but i forgot what it is 
Nick reminds us why we need to be true to ourselves. Our contemporaries may not appreciate us, but time will. Spans all issues too. And Zach Braff and RP bring him to us. It does take a village...
I can hear some clipping while this track is playing... His voice is distorted, Bill check your levels or get a better version of this song!
 rabbi_phil wrote:
George: ...i don't even like the Drake.   Jerry:you don't like the Drake?  George:hate the Drake. Elaine: I *love* the Drake.  Jerry:how could you not like the Drake?   George: who's the Drake?  Elaine: WHO'S the Drake?  Jerry: the Drake is good.  Jerry: Do You like the Drake?  Kramer: I Loove the Drake!          Rabbi Phil:  Drake is good, love Drake.      
 
{#Notworthy}
LOVE THE DRAKE!  {#Notworthy}
Wow, first time for me. I really like it - very mellow in a good way (I don't usually care for mellow).{#Cheers}
Love this so much, but i just hear the effects of a sharp compressor or someone overeager on a fader "Bill?" 
Timeless beauty.
Ditto.

dwlangham wrote:
I had NO idea this song dated from 1969. Ashamed to say that it really caught my ear for the first time when I saw the movie "The Blind Side", which uses this song in its opener.
 


Wish he was still alive... This is so beautiful! His guitar playing, his voice... Godlike! I rate it a 10!
Simply Timeless.
What a stunning track from a long forgotten musician.

Thanks RP for making me aware of Nick Drake over 10 years ago when I first tuned in to RP.
Hear ye, hear ye!  (I was just gonna come on to say the same thing...)
—————

creekgirl wrote:
exquisite.  I am grateful for every Nick Drake song RP plays.

thank you!