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Nick Drake — River Man
Album: Five Leaves Left
Avg rating:
8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1969









Released: 1969
Length: 4:16
Plays (last 30 days): 2
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.
Comments (187)add comment
If I have to make a choice to bring back one musician back from the death I probably choose Nick Drake. Not only he would be delighted to see the positive feedback his music would get in 2020, but also he wasn't finished yet.

Freddy Mercury is very high on the list too. But that's just me being curious about what he would be able to produce. He had his fame during his lifetime. Nick did not have that.
Up to 10. Calming, lovely, beautiful and soo hope inducing.
Gone too soon but the music that he left us is simply timeless and golden☺️
Wish Nick Drake had lived long enough to score today's "Welsh noir wave" of cop procedurals-series (Amazon Prime/Netflix). Dark could go to a whole new level of dark. 
One more godlike RP discovery, and addictive chords.
 (anonymous) wrote:
This is among my top 5 favorite songs ever. The time signature is something strange (haven't figured it out yet) and I'm not convinced that the vocals are the same time sig. as the strings. Nick's phrasing is also very interesting - almost *never* "on" the beat, always close. The chords in the strings are beautiful. It just works on so many different levels and takes me downstream somewhere every time I hear it... :cool:
 

It's in 5/4.
 dublanica wrote:
Have never heard him until now.  Pity!  What a great song.
 
It's always "wait, what did I just hear? who? play it again. How did I not know of this guy?"
 (anonymous) wrote:
This is among my top 5 favorite songs ever. The time signature is something strange (haven't figured it out yet) 
 
Yep one on my fav list too.
Signature seems to be 5/(4/8)th most of the time. Sometimes switching back to 3/4 or 4/4 if you use his guitar as a drum machine for an indication on the rhythm.
Long may Nick rest happily knowing his music is very much appreciated
I definitely declare myself a fan of Nick Drake
What a great song.
 (anonymous) wrote:
This is among my top 5 favorite songs ever. The time signature is something strange (haven't figured it out yet) and I'm not convinced that the vocals are the same time sig. as the strings. Nick's phrasing is also very interesting - almost *never* "on" the beat, always close. The chords in the strings are beautiful. It just works on so many different levels and takes me downstream somewhere every time I hear it... :cool:
 

I concur.
Also, I had to like this post as it was written 17 years ago!
 dublanica wrote:
Have never heard him until now.  Pity!  What a great song.
 

You have many treats in store.  Try "Under a northern sky" next.
The slide show that goes with this music just enhances it even more. The two together transport you to such a lovely, peaceful place.
 alanrh wrote:
It's in 10/4 or 2 bars of 3 followed by a bar of 4.

 

Thanks for that. 
The string arrangements are really sublime. 
Have never heard him until now.  Pity!  What a great song.
 radioparadise9 wrote:
"I know this sounds corny."
No, it's more conceited.

"I went from Nick Drake to Molly Hatchet."
You were nobody when you started and nobody when you finished.
 
Why the hate?
Lovely song regardless. 
It's in 10/4 or 2 bars of 3 followed by a bar of 4.

(anonymous) wrote:
This is among my top 5 favorite songs ever. The time signature is something strange (haven't figured it out yet) and I'm not convinced that the vocals are the same time sig. as the strings. Nick's phrasing is also very interesting - almost *never* "on" the beat, always close. The chords in the strings are beautiful. It just works on so many different levels and takes me downstream somewhere every time I hear it... :cool:
 

 boober wrote:
I know this sounds corny.....but I recently went into a recording studio and laid down 13 vocal tracks over various karaoke tracks. This was one of them. I did this to hand out to other musicians to show my vocal capabilities. I went from Nick Drake to Molly Hatchet.
 
"I know this sounds corny."
No, it's off topic. 

I went from Nick Drake to Molly Hatchet."
You didn't go anywhere .... you were boober when you started and boober when you finished.


He was so ahead of his time, and this is good music, incidentally, for nighttime road trips...
not even close. alexi murdoch i can see
 trekhead wrote:
Ray LaMontagne/Nick Drake,
interchangeable?

9.
 
They're not very interchangeable to me.  Ray LaMontagne is certainly influenced by Nick Drake, but his music often comes across as affected or contrived to me, not nearly as sincere and alienated as Nick Drake's music seems, but it's all individual perception anyhow.
Nick Drake's songs always leave me in a state of existential dread... in the best way possible.Nick Drake
Timeless and wonderful.
this song aged really well. this as well could be a 2016 release.
My God. So beautiful.
 rocklandlove wrote:
One of the most exquisite pieces of music ever written, with a string arrangement by Robert Kirby to match. And the 5/4 time signature adds to the mystery and timelessness of the song.

 
I agree with you!
The strings are exquisite.
One of the most exquisite pieces of music ever written, with a string arrangement by Robert Kirby to match. And the 5/4 time signature adds to the mystery and timelessness of the song.
The rating I give this song is directly proportional to the number of times I hear it.
 ISteely_D wrote:

This is important. This means something.

    
It means that an artist has succeeded in a primary mission to reach the still beating heart     {#Idea}
There is something magical in the frequencies, the resonances, the Quantum-boosting things going on in this man's voice and strings!
I cannot believe I have not rated this most outstanding song/artist      yes a 9       {#Cheers}
 MJdub wrote:
Never noticed this is in 5/4.  Another masterpiece by Nick Drake

 
The melody and arrangement really make it sway, so it doesn't sound as "choppy" as 5/4 can sound sometimes.  Nice song.
Heard a Nick Drake song on an italian tv commercial...I could't believe it.
I know this sounds corny.....but I recently went into a recording studio and laid down 13 vocal tracks over various karaoke tracks. This was one of them. I did this to hand out to other musicians to show my vocal capabilities. I went from Nick Drake to Molly Hatchet.
 Cynaera wrote:
It's early morning. The sky is blue, the air is cold, there's frost on the rooftops and two ring-necked doves perched on the telephone wire outside my window. I'm drinking my first cup of coffee, and this song is playing.  How could things possibly get better?  I agree with those who say that this song makes everything quiet around them. I'm peaceful and content, for the first time in weeks.  Mr. Drake, you were ahead of your time - a Renaissance Man in a world of cretins.  Thank you for your music.

 
This is important. This means something.
Never noticed this is in 5/4.  Another masterpiece by Nick Drake
This clearly shows the influence Nick Drake had on Ray Lamontagne and his "Be Here Now" song, another RP fav.
 Peter_Bradshaw wrote:
{#Bananapiano} ... One of the best albums ever made - this track is something else.  Anything less than "Godlike" is a crime against music.
 
Absolutely... few tracks are as evocative as this.
Very nice!
{#Bananapiano} ... One of the best albums ever made - this track is something else.  Anything less than "Godlike" is a crime against music.
 TheLib wrote:
I've been listening to Nick Drake since the mid-70s.  His music really is timeless.

Ilona Knopfler does a cover of this that I like quite a bit.  You can check it out on iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/river-man/id339951085?i=339951275

 

That's really cool.  Seriously.  I started around 2000.  I bought one CD, and then another, and I liked them both.  But when I became a regular listener of RP.  Well.  Fuck.  I am a Nick Drake Drone now.
I am a bit dumbfounded, I thought this was relatively recent music, but it was made before I was born even 0_0
I've been listening to Nick Drake since the mid-70s.  His music really is timeless.

Ilona Knopfler does a cover of this that I like quite a bit.  You can check it out on iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/river-man/id339951085?i=339951275
nice wintry song.
Shimmering and floating like a Rothko!
Well, that was beautiful.
Majestic artist!

I think if I could only listen to one song forever....  this would be it.


File Under:

lots of fuss...decent artist.

(see Elliot Smith)
Beautiful song. {#Clap}
gorgeous.
 Bleyfusz wrote:
Ain't it strange how beauty can hurt?
 
bump

twelve
Eleven
Another 1969 release. What a year and this one shows the broad range of music that exploded that year.
{#Yes} jagdriver wrote:
Quite a loss here. I think his stuff is incredible.
 


 Jamunca wrote:


Does that mean you give 9s to Ray's stuff too? BTW, I saw him live in Asheville, NC and he had all the stage presence of a statue. Definitely better recorded than in person. I wonder if Nick would've been the same, given his personal issues.
  From what I've seen and heard in the documentary(that is not fully funded)his friends say his live performances were not nearly as good as his live shows.....and it hurt him.Boy was he good in the studio!


It's early morning. The sky is blue, the air is cold, there's frost on the rooftops and two ring-necked doves perched on the telephone wire outside my window. I'm drinking my first cup of coffee, and this song is playing.  How could things possibly get better?  I agree with those who say that this song makes everything quiet around them. I'm peaceful and content, for the first time in weeks.  Mr. Drake, you were ahead of your time - a Renaissance Man in a world of cretins.  Thank you for your music.
Ain't it strange how beauty can hurt?
 sirdroseph wrote:


How bout this? No, they definitely are NOT!!!!{#No}
 
Actually I love NIck, but if I didn't know any better sometimes, Ray sounds a lot like him.{#Yes}

 trekhead wrote:
Ray LaMontagne/Nick Drake,
interchangeable?

9.
 

How bout this? No, they definitely are NOT!!!!{#No}
To quote the astronauts as they viewed the pretty unidentified lights in orbit; "Beautiful....just beautiful!"{#Sunny}
The tortured soul rides downriver, rolling his own...
Quite a loss here. I think his stuff is incredible.
The shift back and forth between major and minor key just hypnotises me. The atmosphere is so thick you could cut it with a knife. A stunning song. Remember folks it's Ray LaMontagne ripping off Nick Drake, not the other way round.

 trekhead wrote:
Ray LaMontagne/Nick Drake,
interchangeable?

9.
 

Does that mean you give 9s to Ray's stuff too? BTW, I saw him live in Asheville, NC and he had all the stage presence of a statue. Definitely better recorded than in person. I wonder if Nick would've been the same, given his personal issues.

solid 10, awesome!


 jagdriver wrote:
{#Boohoo} {#Guitarist}

Really great arrangement.

 
Might go nicely with The City by Mark-Almond.
It sounds as though this is someone i should have heard of but i haven't.  I couldn't get above 6 for this one though.  Felt it was OK but a bit long for the lack of variation in the song.
What a great song; one of ND's best, and that's saying a lot.
This song makes everything quiet around me...a truly outstanding song.

Andy Bay made an excellent cover of this song. You can find it on the album "Incredible Sound of Gilles Peterson" (1999) from the eclectic DJ/Producer Gilles Peterson. A great album too, from a great DJ.


{#Boohoo} {#Guitarist}

Really great arrangement.

 theanniewithin wrote:


I could have said that exact thing!  Perfect.{#Good-vibes}
 
Ditto.

 fuace wrote:
never fails; his voice always makes me just stop and listen.

 

I could have said that exact thing!  Perfect.{#Good-vibes}
never fails; his voice always makes me just stop and listen.
Ray LaMontagne/Nick Drake, interchangeable? 9.
This selection works for me real nice this time of the day...... Mid morning
Having put pen to paper many times in an effort to capture and convey a moment . . . or two, I find deep admiration for those that also blend the music and deliver the message however it is received. Nick Drake . . . fantastic and sad all at once
coolpeople_rule wrote:
This guy has more than a normal dose of talent!!! Like Beck on roids....
Had... sadly.
Nick's music makes my soul feel clean
This song has so much going for it: intriguing and beautiful lyrics, interesting musical form, a stunning strings arrangement, and Nick's uniquely moving voice. A 10 if there ever was one.
This guy has more than a normal dose of talent!!! Like Beck on roids....
wow, 2 Nick Drake tunes in half a day. Love it.
kazuma wrote:
How in the wide world of sports does a 21 year old come up with something like this? In 1969?? Wow.
Yes, couldn't agree more. Stupendous talent. Quite a few similar originals around that era........ :daisy:
Ngoziman wrote:
Nice video here - River Man - just click the Watch link and choose your media. Ghostly black and white stills - very evocative.
Thank you. That was perfect for a cold, windy November day in upstate NY. Winter's coming, all is lost, tucked away for a warmer day far away.
blissssssss
Snoodle wrote:
A painfully beautiful song from a beautiful record – probably his "happy" record from the three he recorded.
Don'y you think Bryter Layter is the "happy" one?
Ngoziman wrote:
Nice video here - River Man - just click the Watch link and choose your media. Ghostly black and white stills - very evocative.
Well, it was you whom I wanted to answer: the ambient sounds are a bit disturbing, in my opinion.
Kokoloco53 wrote:
Nice, very nice, reminds a bit of an old Joni Mitchell song's melody, can't place it though. Thanks Radio Paradise for continually upgrading my horizons.
Maybe Songs to aging children, which is the one she sings during the funeral scene in the Alice's Restaurant movie?
MtnGoat wrote:
Indeed. Hope you're still around to get this, thanks for that link. C.
They should have just left out the ambient sounds.
kazuma wrote:
How in the wide world of sports does a 21 year old come up with something like this? In 1969?? Wow.
See: Neil Young
The kind of beauty that hurts inside.
First time I heard this I gave it an 8, after checking out his other albums this is now a 10! Clearly a very troubled man, but truly gifted.
Something about this song is making me think of Gordon Lightfoot, but I like it. Very soothing...
kazuma wrote:
How in the wide world of sports does a 21 year old come up with something like this? In 1969?? Wow.
No doubt..it's timeless.
Wadro13 wrote:
I enjoy this, but it sounds so much like everything he does. Having not explored his music extensively, it is a disappointment that the few songs I've heard from him would have such a remarkable similarity!
This is a lot heavier than most of his stuff - musically speaking, at least. (His mood isn't always exactly "sun-shiny day"). Great track though, I love it.
woozurdaddy wrote:
Nick Drake is a 10 all around. A shame he didn't live...
Totally! Had to give a 10 myself, because every song Nick Drake made is divine. But must say that there are many other of his songs I like better. Also agreeed that there is a big Nick-Drake-shaped-hole-in-the-universe; it's sad that he was so unhappy in life and died so young :cry:
An all-time classic - (along with a host of his other songs) I've been listening to Nick Drake for over 20 years now and never tire of it. What a shame his success has only been posthumous.
Chills. Unbelievable.
How in the wide world of sports does a 21 year old come up with something like this? In 1969?? Wow.
I think it's my first 10, but I'm stingy. This is the absolute best Nick Drake song, and that's saying something. He says things that just can't be said properly in any other way.
Wow. Three Nick Drake songs in one day. Wonderful wonderful!
Ohhhh...yes, just beautiful. Thanks R.P.
This is an absolutely gorgeous song. Great for a rainy day.
Check out the Brad Mehldau version of this song on his Art of the Trio album. If you appreciate jazz piano such as Keith Jarrett and that kind of thing, then I can recommend a listen. He (Brad) also plays an amazing version of Thom Yorke's Exit Music from a Film.
:sunny:
deanofox wrote:
It's all a breath of fresh air from the rubbish that is overplayed on so many radio stations around the world today.... although my girlfriend thinks i'm too old before my time! :)
You need a new girlfriend :) Just kidding - you need to educate her to be too old like you.
Before RP I had never heard of Nick Drake, I guess it was because I was never interested in this genre of music. Well a week after first hearing this song on RP I went out and bought 'Nick Drake - A Treasury' on Super Audio CD and it sounds fantastic. I'm looking forward to buying more of his stuff and many more from similar artists. It's all a breath of fresh air from the rubbish that is overplayed on so many radio stations around the world today.... although my girlfriend thinks i'm too old before my time! :)
Ngoziman wrote:
Nice video here - River Man - just click the Watch link and choose your media. Ghostly black and white stills - very evocative.
Indeed. Hope you're still around to get this, thanks for that link. C.
so smoooooth...love this so much. Well worth the price of admission - thank you RP :daisy:
He looks like Kevin Bacon. :dancingbanana: Footloose...
Old_Pink wrote:
This song creeps me out, but in a good way.
Oh yes--a very good way.
Gorgeous music. Want to cry.
smilestoomuch wrote:
This song really reminds me of Duncan Sheik.
Duncan could only wish....
This song creeps me out, but in a good way.
I love som of the ole Nic