This is an excellent introduction to the work of Nick Drake. It also provides an entirely new perspective on his genius since the tracks are not arranged in chronological order. The individual albums are all classics but they are very much self-contained units that make one associate a particular song with the album. Way To Blue thus lends a new angle in the mix of songs. Although 10 tracks are repeated from the 1985 Heaven In A Wild Flower, the sound quality is much better.
From the album Bryter Later come Hazey Jane I and II, Poor Boy, One Of These Things First and Northern Sky. Five Leaves Left contributes Cello Sing, Way To Blue, River Man and Time Has Told Me, whilst the stark minimalist album Pink Moon supplies Things Behind The Sun, Which Will and the title track. Black Eyed Dog and Time Of No reply come from the posthumous Time Of No Reply album.
On Sweet Old World Lucinda Williams beautifully covered Which Will and Swans made a bloodcurdling version of Black Eyed Dog, found on their Various Failures album. The group Drive covered his song Road on their early 90s album Out Freakage. The Dream Academy dedicated the song Life In A Northern Town (1985) to Nick Drake. His song Mayfair had already been covered by Millie (of My Boy Lollipop fame) in 1970.
My only complaint about Way To Blue is the omission of Fly, a song that first appeared on Bryter Later and was then included, in a different version, on Time Of No Reply. In my opinion, it is one of his most moving songs. Besides that, this compilation contains the best of Drake’s eerily compelling music but it is still worth it to investigate the original albums.