Nick Drake on Prozac

Nick_garrie As much as we love Nick Drake we can’t help wishing that one he’d hung around a bit longer and that two he’d cheered up a little. Which might be why we love Nick Garrie’s debut album, The Nightmare of JB Stanislas, so much. For while it is a bit OTT describing Stanislas as the River Man on Prozac, Garrie’s masterpiece was recorded at around the same time as Drake was at his peak and he does share his namesake’s love of exquisite string arrangements and delicate melodies. With Garrie though you get a dash of Scott Walker and even, gulp, Peter Sarstedt thrown in too.

Rare as a European George W Bush fan Nightmare was released and sank without trace in 1969, and other than the odd psych nutter prepared to remortgage their home to own the original, remained largely unheard until a couple of years back when an enterprising Korean label put it out on CD. Even these were snaffled up quickly as late sixties folky psych fans lapped up one of the long lost classics of the era.

You only need to listen to a few bars of the astonishing title track to see why Garrie is so rightly revered. It’s a beautiful piece of music spirited along by sweeping strings and dramatic twists and turns. It could almost be an out-take from Scott 3 – yep, it is that good.

There are plenty of other wonderful tunes on Stanislas too. David’s Prayer is, as it says on the tin, a heartfelt plea to the Almighty that’s made even more poignant by a delicate, yet wonderful uplifting tune. Little Bird is another corker, kind of Nick Drake meets The Byrds, and Can I Stay With You and Inkpot Eyes are more brittle songs with stunning melodies. Garrie lets standards slip a little on Bungle’s Tours – think bad Kinks then treble it, and the awful cod-country of Queen of Queens. Nevertheless he manages to redeem himself on the album’s gorgeous finale Evening.

For too long now this album has languished in the vaults, here’s hoping that the first proper reissue on Revola this month gives Garrie the cult status he so richly deserves.

Nick Garrie – The Nightmare of JB Stanislas (1969)


18 Responses to “Nick Drake on Prozac”

  1. thur Says:

    ‘Queen of Queens’ is AWFUL, but ‘Bungle’s Tours’ is really nice, though not as amazing as the rest of the album. Get that new Rev-Ola reissue (or buy my dodgy bootleg copy for $5)!

  2. Stephen Duncan Says:

    Oi! Much as I appreciate your reviews please don’t give out the the typical uninformed bollocks about prozac we usually see in the media. Nick Drake was on an antidepressant, basically the equivalent of prozac in it’s day (he died from an overdose of them remember?). Hence, his music wouldn’t have become any ‘happier’ had he been on prozac. When you talk about prozac as if its some sort of happiness cure its no wonder everyone expects it to act that way, its a drug for an illness… Rant over, just don’t misinform…

    All the best

  3. nick garrie Says:

    Thanks for the first nice review Could you let any new yorkers know I’m playing at Tonic in New york (norfolk st) on june 6th
    thanks Nick Garrie

  4. max Says:

    i think stanilas is a great album and appeals to all sadly missed Garrie’s concert but heard it was of the chart. Favourite song queens of spades. I have heard rumours that Garrie’s son is in an aspiring band and would be very interested to hear some of their stuff
    all the best max

  5. marshal Says:

    Really perfect!k

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