The Unthanks have teamed up with Molly Drake's daughter, the actress Gabrielle Drake, who along with being an invaluable and generous guide to Molly's work, recorded her mother's poems for The Unthanks to set to music. So taken were the band by her performances, and by how she brought the poems to life, making them her own as well as serving her mother's words, that Gabrielle is truly given centre stage for parts of the record, with The Unthanks setting spoken word to music, rather than turning the poems into song.
Never intended for public release, Molly Drake's recordings were of limited sound quality, made by amateur enthusiast and husband, Rodney Drake. In a climate where films, stories and music are being rehashed for spurious repeat exploitation, if ever a body of work actually merited reappraisal and fresh presentation, surely the work of Molly Drake is it. The Unthanks have also been able to interpret a few songs that Molly never recorded, based only on Gabrielle's memory of them, transferred to the band using the oral tradition. Bird In The Blue and Soft Shell Crabs are examples. Gabrielle Drake - spoken word; Rachel Unthank - voice; Becky Unthank - voice; Adrian McNally - piano, voice; Chris Price - double bass, guitar, voice; Faye MacCalman - clarinet, tenor sax; Martin Douglas - cymbals on 'Little Weaver Bird'.
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