connie converse – talkin’ like you (c. 1950s)

During the 1950s, Converse worked for the Academy Photo Offset printing house in New York’s Flatiron District. She initially lived in Greenwich Village, but would later take up residency in the Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem areas. She started calling herself Connie, a nickname she had acquired in New York. She began writing songs and performing them for friends, accompanying herself on guitar. During this time, she adopted smoking and drinking, which starkly went against her strict Baptist upbringing; her still-religious parents rejected her music career, and her father died without having heard a single one of Connie’s songs. Converse’s only known public performance was a brief television appearance in 1954 on The Morning Show on CBS with Walter Cronkite, which artist Gene Deitch helped to arrange. By 1961 (the same year that Bob Dylan moved to Greenwich Village and quickly met mainstream success), Converse had grown frustrated trying to sell her music in New York. That year, she moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her brother Philip Converse was a professor of political science at the University of Michigan. She worked in a secretarial job, and then as Managing Editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution in 1963 which she also wrote for. Following her move to the midwest, Converse appears to have mostly ceased writing new songs. She disappeared in 1974. [Read more here.]

molly drake – i remember (c. 1950s)

Molly Drake (1915 – 1993) was Nick Drake‘s mother – clearly his talent was hereditary. This recording was made during the 1950s at the family home in Tanworth-in-Arden by her husband, Rodney Drake, on a home Ferrograph recorder. A collection of these recordings and poems was released by Bryter Music as a limited privately-pressed edition of 500 copies in 2011. It came out as a single CD with a booklet of poetry housed in a black card portfolio. The album was later released by Squirrel Thing Records in March 2013. The released versions of the recordings were engineered by John Wood and produced by Cally Callomon. John Wood was the sound engineer on her son, Nick Drake‘s albums.