An auction of six early unheard tapes of the English folk singer-songwriter Nick Drake, were supposed to go on sale a few days ago, but it has been stopped over a legal dispute.
The tapes have been in possession of English folk singer Beverly Martyn, who was a close friend of Drake. The sale of the rare tapes was estimated to raise €375,000 at auction.
The tapes were recorded in 1968, before Drake’s debut album Five Leaves Left. They feature the defining soft folk guitar style, that Drake became famous for after his death.
Beverly Martin insured the tapes for €315,000, but lawyer’s representing Drake’s estate have raised issues with the sale. Drake’s estate and his record company are questioning if Beverly Martin is the legal possessor of the rare recordings.
Therefore the auction has been delayed, it is expected there will be a legal battle, questioning who is the rightful owner of the unheard tapes.
The auctioneers Ted Owen & Co, stated because of the legal dispute, they don’t know if the recordings will ever be released. Ted Owen told the Guardian, “the original plan had been to auction the tapes as a piece of folk memorabilia, something that would attract a wealthy fan.”
Never being able to hear the tracks, appears to be the worst outcome for Drake enthusiasts, especially when Ted Owen describes the recordings, “it’s just Nick in the studio, a very pure recording, with no string overdubs, no hesitation. If you’re a Nick Drake fan, it’s to die for.” He continued “there is no hesitation, he just puts it down. It’s poignant and beautifully recorded,” he said.
Beverly Martyn is convinced she is the undisputed owner of the songs, telling the Guardian “I looked after them for 38 years, treasured them,” Martyn said. “I know the person who made the tape and they are happy for me to have it. The Drake family even offered to buy it off me eight years ago for £2,000.”
Auctioneers Ted Owen & Co are hoping the auction can go ahead in October.