Unheard Nick Drake Recordings to Be Sold at Auction

Unheard Nick Drake Recordings to Be Sold at Auction
Nick Drake's albums featured lushly orchestrated arrangements, but we may soon hear the late folksinger's early work in a stripped-down fashion thanks to a reel of tape from 1968 that will soon be auctioned off.

The master tape, which contains six songs, belonged to a musical acquaintance of Drake, Beverly Martyn (the widow of John Martyn), who is selling the recordings because she is in poor health. The estimated sale price hasn't been announced, but it's been insured for £250,000 ($457,684 Canadian).

The reel, which is signed by Drake, was recorded in a studio in 1968, as he was preparing for 1969's debut album Five Leaves Left. It features him either playing guitar or piano on stripped-down versions of songs like "Fruit Tree," "Saturday Sun" and "Cello Song."

"He was young, he sounds full of fun, he sounds light and his guitar playing is absolutely excellent," Martyn told the Independent. "It really shows that he didn't need to have this whole layer cake of strings. Okay, the strings were great on the album, but this is just him and it makes it more personal."

It will be sold by Ted Owen & Co. on July 31. The auction will also include Jimi Hendrix's Gibson guitar, the Beatles' RIAA awards and more.

Of course, the real question for fans is if this will be bought by a collector who will keep it under lock and key, or if the contents of the tape will ever be made public.

"I don't want this tape to get lost or get into the wrong hands if anything happens to me," Martyn said. "I've cared for this [tape], I've loved it and I've had my time with it. Someone else should be able to enjoy it and I know there are people out there who are made for him."

Drake died at age 26 in 1974.