The auction of a rare recording made by one of British music's most enigmatic characters has been halted amid a bitter row over its ownership.
The music world had been eagerly awaiting the sale of demo tapes made by
Given to folk singer
It is unclear whether the recordings would ever be able to be released publicly.
Martyn is adamant she is the rightful owner and Owen said he hoped the auction would go ahead in October once the matter was resolved. "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 pounds 2,000."
The row highlights the huge esteem in which Drake is held, 40 years after he died from an overdose of antidepressants. Since his death, he has been discovered by successive generations who have been drawn both to his music and his tragic aura. His friend the strings arranger
The tapes' importance lies in the fact that they are a rare recording of Drake playing his songs in one live take. His shyness meant that he struggled in front of crowds, which made it difficult for him to build up a fan base that would become familiar with his work in his lifetime. "Nick could not handle gigging live," Martyn said. "He just fell apart. He was so disappointed nobody bought his records."
Martyn, who was married to the late folk singer
Drake, who came from Tamworth-in-Arden in
The Martyns were given the tapes by a representative of Drake's record company, Island, a couple of years after his death. It took three weeks before
Martyn, who is in poor health, said she now needs to sell the tapes to raise money. She has earned almost nothing from the music she made with her late husband, from whom she is divorced. "It's getting a bit late for me to hold on to these tapes. And I really would like other people to hear them."
Drake would be surprised by the regard in which he is held today, Martyn said. "Maybe it's to do with the seriousness of him - the tortured soul. This really sad, sad, pretty man . . . I sometimes wonder if he were still alive whether the people who bought his records would still have the same interest."
three much admired albums before his premature death in 1974; above,
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