Robert Kirby is an old collage friend of Nick's, who arranged most of the songs on Nick's first two albums. They met in Cambridge, while Nick studied English at Fitzwilliam Collage. Robert was at Caius Collage on a music scholarship. He had a working class background, and was lucky enough to have a talent so he didn't have to pay for his studies. Nick had heard of Robert that he was a good song arranger, he asked if they could do something together. Nick had a couple of songs written, and together with Roberts arrangements and a small student orchestra, they performed at collages in Cambridge in 1968. Apart from playing together, they also became good friends.
After being introduced into the music buisness by Nick, Robert got to do many arrangements for other artists. On some occasions he used Nick as a studio musician, as on an educational album for Longman called Interplay. There was also a guy called Mick Audsley who released The dark and devilled waters in 1972, where Nick played guitar on a couple of tracks.
Robert Kirby is still active today and many of his engagements are, apart from the fact that he is an extraordinary arranger, very much thanks to his early works with Nick Drake.
Colleagues & friends