Nick Drake's Albums
Nick Drake's untimely death in 1974 not only cut a life tragically short, but also a musical career. Nick released just 3 albums, with a 4th released after his death containing unreleased material, demos and the 4 songs that were to be on his 4th album. Though during his life his music went relatively unnoticed, over the years his popularity and influence has continued to grow.
For the newcomers wishing to hear more Nick Drake, knowing where to start is a tough decision. Way to Blue, the Nick Drake 'best of', does indeed contain many of the highlights of Nick's albums, but with so few albums available, a copy of his 'best of' can quickly become redundant should you decide to explore further. I personally first discovered Nick through an inclusion of Northern Sky on a late 60s/early 70s compilation called Back on the Road. I then discovered the previous 'best of' album called Heaven in a Wild Flower. I then gradually acquired his 3 albums and the post humous collection Time of no Reply.
For those wishing to jump straight into an album, bypassing the 'best of', I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Five Leaves Left, named after the warning message found near the end of packs of cigarette papers, was his first album. The album was recorded while Nick was still at Cambridge University and contains many of his most memorabe songs such as Fruit Tree, 'Cello Song , Time Has Told Me, and River Man.
His second album, Bryter Layter, both producer Joe Boyd and engineer John Wood cite as the only perfect album they ever made, the album they thought would make Nick a star at the time.The album features a full backing band of 'house' musicians including Dave Pegg (bass),Dave Mattacks (drums) and Richard Thompson (lead guitar) of Fairport Convention and John Cale (celeste, piano and organ) from the Velvet Underground. Notable tracks include Hazey Jane I, Hazey JaneII, At the Chime of a City Clock and Northern Sky.
Many of you may have discovered his music through the use of his song Pink Moon on an advertising campaign. This track is from his album Pink Moon. This was his third and final album and was very stark in comparison to the first two, stripped bare of their lucious orchestration. With the exception of the small piano part on Pink Moon, only Nick's guitar and vocal appear on the album. One of the most notable and striking songs from the album, 'Know', which I believe also appeared in an advertising campaign, consists of just 4 notes repeated on the guitar with Nick mostly humming over it. For some the album is not as immeditaley accessable as the others, but many (myself included) consider it to be his finest work.
This album of unreleased rarities, remixes and re-arrangements follows the discovery of an unheard Nick Drake song 'Tow The Line' found at the end of a tape reel over 20 years old. 'Tow the Line' is thought to be the last song Nick ever recorded and is similar in vein to his other 4 previously released final recordings. Two of those songs also appear on the album - an unreleased version of Hanging On A Star and a remix of Black Eyed Dog. Other unreleased versions include 'Three Hours' and a solo rendition of 'River Man'.
Nick Drake’s "Family Tree", to be released June 19, 2007 by Tsunami LG/Fontana, will feature previously unreleased tracks from the vaults of the Estate of Nick Drake. The album, produced by Drake Estate manager Cally, tells the story of Nick Drake’s musical development in the years prior to recording his official debut, Five Leaves Left.
Read the press release for more details, inc track listing