Bryter Layter

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Bryter Layter
Bryter Layter.jpg
Studio album by Nick Drake
Released 5 March 1971[1]
Recorded 1970, Sound Techniques, London
Genre Electric folk, folk rock, baroque pop, folk baroque
Length 39:09
Label Island
Producer Joe Boyd
Nick Drake chronology
Five Leaves Left
Bryter Layter
Pink Moon

Bryter Layter, recorded in 1970 and released in March 1971,[1] was the second of three albums by British folk musician Nick Drake. Like Five Leaves Left, the album contains no unaccompanied songs: Drake was accompanied by part of the British folk rock group Fairport Convention and John Cale from The Velvet Underground, as well as Beach Boys musicians Mike Kowalski and Ed Carter.[2] Initially scheduled for release in November 1970, with UK promotional copies being sent out at the time, dissatisfaction with the artwork meant that the album was held over into the New Year.[1]


A 13 March 1971 interview with Nick Drake in Sounds, promoting the new release of Bryter Layter, with the album being described as "having been released only last week" (ie. 5 March 1971), contrary to the long held misconception that album was released in November 1970, which is when early promotional copies appeared, before being pulled for an artwork overhaul.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
The Music Box 5/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork Media (9.7/10)[5]
Q 5/5 stars[6]

In 2000, Q placed Bryter Layter at number 23 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. Q (January 2001, p. 95) – Included in Q's "5 Best Re-Issues of 2000".

In 2003, the album was ranked number 245 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

NME (18 September 1993, p. 19) – Ranked No. 14 in NME's list of The Greatest Albums of the '70s. In 2000, NME included "One of These Things First" on a CD titled NME Presents Under the Influence, which included songs by some of most influential musicians and bands in music history.[7]

Entertainment Weekly (12 May 2000, p. 24) – "The exquisiteness of the first album is expanded upon in 'Hazey Jane I', 'Fly' and a genuinely optimistic love song, 'Northern Sky'." – Rating: B+

Mojo (July 2000, p. 99) – "Certainly the most polished of his catalogue....[It] begins to suggest a whole other tableau of unexplored possibilities....God, how damn confident it all sounds. He knew how good he was."

Alternative Press (March 2001, p. 88) – "With a voice paradoxically feather-light and grave, [one] of the most beautiful and melancholy albums ever recorded."

Q (May 2007, p. 135) – "Drake and producer Joe Boyd ratcheted up the production from the singer's debut album for this slick pop-folk set inspired by stoned late-night rambles around London. Hazey Jane II and at the Chime of a City Clock offered more hooks than a pirate convention, but mainstream success proved tellingly elusive."

A 6 March 1971 advert for Bryter Layter in Melody Maker, the day after its belated release.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Nick Drake. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Introduction"   1:33
2. "Hazey Jane II"   3:46
3. "At the Chime of a City Clock"   4:47
4. "One of These Things First"   4:52
5. "Hazey Jane I"   4:31
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Bryter Layter"   3:24
7. "Fly"   3:00
8. "Poor Boy"   6:09
9. "Northern Sky"   3:47
10. "Sunday"   3:42


Nick Drake performs vocals and guitar, except where indicated otherwise.

  • "Hazey Jane II"
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
    Richard Thompson – lead guitar
    Brass arrangement by Robert Kirby
  • "Hazey Jane I"
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
    Strings arranged by Robert Kirby
  • "Bryter Layter"
    Nick Drake – guitar
    Lyn Dobsonflute
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
  • "Northern Sky"
    John Cale – celeste, piano and organ
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Mike Kowalski – drums
  • "Sunday"
    Nick Drake – guitar
    Ray Warleigh – flute
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
    Strings arranged by Robert Kirby

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom 6 March 1971 Island LP ILPS 9134
May 1987 CD CID 9134
26 June 2000 IMCD 71



  1. ^ a b c Drake, Gabrielle, Nick Drake: Remembered For A While, Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
  2. ^ Music Blogger. Bryter layter: Nick Drake's Gabrielle Drake sheds a little light on her late sibling. SF Bay Guardian Online. 27 September 2007.
  3. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Bryter Layter - Nick Drake : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  4. ^ John Metzger. "The Music Box review". Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Greene, Jayson (22 January 2014). "Nick Drake: Tuck Box : Album Reviews : Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Q, May 2007, Issue 250.
  7. ^ "Various – NME Presents Under The Influence (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 4 December 2011. 

The title is in reference to Queen's English and BBC weather reporters who would describe the weather as "brighter later".[citation needed]

External links[edit]