You are now listening to Monkeyworks’ latest recording – a cover version of the late Nick Drake composition: “Black Eyed Dog”.
A fellow guitar explorer had turned my ear toward Nick Drake and his music years ago. I was taken with the fragility of his voice, the introspection of his lyrics, and the unassuming yet deceivingly complex and finessed guitar playing. Drake was a tortured soul, at least toward the end of his brief twenty six years. He passed due to an overdose of prescription anti-depression medication. Some believe he took his own life, while others see a terrible accident. His lyrics looked deep within and saw, at times, the premonition of his own demise. Nick Drake never sold many records during his life, possibly 15 thousand all told. Yet, it took a Volkswagen commercial with "Pink Moon" in the background to posthumously, by almost thirty years, "re surge" his career.
Good music never dies.
"Black Eyed Dog" was recorded shortly before his death. Its lyrical content is stark, dark, and foreboding. At the same time, the music is simple, almost like a children's song which is an interesting dichotomy. I always liked this particular tune despite its content. It feels like a Monkeyworks kind of thing.
We chose to record the song instrumentally, wisely I might add, so the challenge then became how to convey the utter desperation of the lyrics while playing a children's melody! So enters the lilting cornet. Also, I didn't want to play Nick's guitar part as I view that as sacred ground, so the acoustic bass and later the kalimba assumes the guitar. There then lays out the fulcrum of the tune, colored by the rest of the Monkey people. Hope you enjoy.