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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of A Great Bunch
Having sampled Nick Drake's genius on "Way to Blue - An introduction to Nick Drake", I went out and bought all three of his main albums. They are all worthy of five stars, but while the stark "Pink Moon" perhaps has a couple of weak links and "Bryter Later" relies on some instrumental passages, I would say that "Five Leaves...
Published on 13 Aug 2000

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful album, poor quality presentation
This is in reference to the 2013 Deluxe boxset.

The album needs no introduction, it's a 5-star job.

This deluxe boxset though, is a shame and a missed opportunity.

* The labels are way off the mark (wrong colour, wrong logo positioning, missing track details), so not as advertised
* Audible ticks on the pressing, especially Time has...
Published 11 months ago by RobL


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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of A Great Bunch, 13 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
Having sampled Nick Drake's genius on "Way to Blue - An introduction to Nick Drake", I went out and bought all three of his main albums. They are all worthy of five stars, but while the stark "Pink Moon" perhaps has a couple of weak links and "Bryter Later" relies on some instrumental passages, I would say that "Five Leaves Left" stands as the ultimate monument to Nick Drake's brilliance.
It contains arguably his greatest songs, the lilting, yearning "River Man" and the harrowing, prophetic "Fruit Tree". There is playfulness too in "The Thoughts of Mary Jane" and "Man in a Shed" but all tinged with his trademark "wistfulness" Other classics are "Day is Done", "Saturday Sun" and the beautiful "Cello Song", which shows off his almost inimitable guitar technique. The whole album boasts an incredible range of interesting rhythms and melodies. If you liked Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" you'll certainly like this
Drake on this record was whimsical yet poignant, hopeful yet hurt. He sang in a whisper that spoke a whole encyclopaedia of volumes. He was one of this country's greatest songwriters and a great musician too. A lot of stuff I used to like now sounds clumsy after listening to this.
Phew! But that's enough. Don't take my word for it. Buy this - and the other two albums too.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise be for subtlety, 27 Jan 2004
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
Nick Drake was never a hugely demonstrative performer, so this, his first and finest album doesn't leap out and grab you by the throat. On the contrary, Five Leaves Left is a collection of beguilingly subtle melodies sung in a voice that contribes to be characteristically quiet, sometimes laid back, and often coiled like a spring. Drake's minor chord guitar and paino accompaniments fit the mood perfectly, enhanced by delicate string arrangements that mirror his fragile presence.
For all the downbeat mood, some tracks are surprisingly uplifting, notably Saturday Sun. But given the tragic end to Nick Drake's career most will remember the edgy bitterness of Fruit Tree's lament about the price of fame, or the inspired chord changes within Three Hours. One thing is for certain: all tracks here will send a shiver down your spine.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very English genius, 20 May 2000
By 
number6@mindless.com (Oxford University, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
Nick Drake was incredible; everyone who's heard him play will agree. "Five leaves left" was his first album, and was promptly ignored by critics and consumers alike upon its release; only relatively recently has his talent started to be properly realised. This is definitely English folk music, but equally has definite jazz, blues and occasionally classical nuances; given that Nick was a public-school boy, it's perhaps not so surprising that his deep, resonant voice has more than a little of an upper-class English accent.
Most of the songs on the album are accompanied by Nick on acoustic guitar, and many of them have string arrangements by his friend Robert Kirby. Nick's guitar playing has attracted attention from just about everyone; it was rare for him to write any song in a conventional tuning, and the work he put into retuning the instrument is apparent from the big, open sounding, slightly jazzy voicings you can hear throughout the album (Incidentally, I hate to be picky, but another reviewer says that he played 12-string guitar; he only ever recorded with one guitar, a Guild M20 six string acoustic).
I suppose the best way to describe the tone of the album would be to use the word "wistful"- there's no out-and-out depression here (as can certainly be heard in some of his later recordings), but sadness permeates all the recordings at some level. It's a hopelessly romantic, dreamy, incredibly beautiful album; anyone with a soul cannot help but fall in love with it.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest albums ever made, 12 Aug 2006
By 
Mike J. Wheeler (Kingswinford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
For anyone who hasn't listened to Nick Drake's music before, this is probably the best place to start. Listen to this and I guarantee that you will buy 'Pink Moon' and 'Bryter Later' within weeks - if you do you won't be disappointed. Both in their own way are as good as this and that's saying something! 'Five Leaves Left' is simply a masterpiece. There isn't a bad or even a mediocre track on this album. Every single note is imbued with a beauty that few artists ever attain, yet this was Drake's debut! From the wonderful opener "Time Has Told Me" to the bluesy "Saturday Sun" the album maintains excellent quality. All Drake's guitar playing and singing is fantastic but what really makes this album one of the greatest albums ever made are the collection of melancholic string-laden songs that make up the meat of the album. "Way To Blue", "Day Is Done" and "Cello Song" are masterpieces, simply stunning. Listen to them and be beguiled. Once you've heard these tracks you will forever compare them to anything you listen to and mostly find everything else wanting. Yet THE standout track on the album rises above even this. "Fruit Tree" just has to be one of the saddest songs ever recorded especially in view of what eventually became of Nick Drake - utterly prescient. 'Five Leaves Left' is truly one of the best albums I've ever heard. If you haven't heard it yet, get it. It'll be the best thing you ever do! Couldn't be anything but 10/10
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the hype - it really IS that good!, 18 May 2007
By 
liz (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
I resisted the pressure to buy a Nick Drake album for many years believing that his cult status was more the result of heavy promotion than unusual talent.

Curiosity finally overcame me, although I still waited for an album to be on special offer...

Listening for the first time I was fully prepared to be singularly undewhelmed. However, from the first beautiful acoustic note I was entirely captivated.

Few people, including myself, have the literary skills to do justice to this incredible album so you will simply have to experience the delight for yourself.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle tour de force, 26 Mar 2007
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
Five leaves left...the message Rizla use to let you know you have nearly run out...is the title Nick Drake used for his debut album. He was to only produce two more in his short tragic life, but in my opinion this is probably his best. The songs all have a haunted melancholic feel, but like an Edvard Munch painting this is turned into a thing of great beauty.
It is quite common for an artist's debut album to turn out to be their best. After all, they come to the starting blocks with a lifetime of their output to hand. As soon as they sign a contract they are on a 12 month treadmill to repeat the same feat.

These languid, autumnal, acoustic guitar-led tunes snake their way through the album, joined along the way by some achingly beautiful string arrangements, particularly on the magnificent River Man...which has to be his finest moment...closely followed by Fruit Tree.
Drakes voice had a tender yearning and infectious calm that belied his inner torment, and awareness of his suicide adds poignant hindsight to the lyrics.

Similarities have been drawn before to stablemate John Martyn. This is not surprising... Drake was joined on the album by the great Danny Thompson on double bass, Tristam Fry on drums...both of whom played on Martyn's albums.
It's consistently strong album the quality remains faultless right through...and although I recommend this as a first taster to Drake, chances are you'll end up buying the other two...and they are all great great albums.
Five leaves Left remains a towering achievement from a sadly missed British artist of immeasurable sensitivity. Timeless.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the greatest debut albums from a very talanted man, 27 July 2003
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
It is difficult when listening to this album to believe that Nick Drake was only 19 years old when he wrote such deep songs such as fruit tree. The album is truly special much more up beat than his final album Pink Moon although still extremely profound which probably reflects his life. My only criticism (for want of a better word) is that in some instances I believe the songs could be even more powerful with less instruments although this is probably because I started my Nick Drake collection with Pink Moon and prefer the tracks where it is just Nick and his guitar however on songs like Way to blue the violins are perfectly used. The album really is something special and any true music fan who listens to this album could not disagree and in my view this album is where you should start your nick drake collection not because in my opinion it his best but because it sets the standard and tone.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius an overused word, 5 Mar 2005
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
My introduction to Nick Drake was around the early 90s through a friend who had been introduced to him by his father - a guitarist. It's strange how Nick Drake's music often spreads like that. I so adore this album, it has one of my favourite tracks of all time "River Man" on it but I also love his other two albums as well. I've re-written what I wanted to say about Five Leaves Left and Nick Drake so many times, but I can't review / explain him. You simply have to take the plunge and experience Nick. I would say one word though - Genius - a much paraded word and I hate using it, but Nick was a very great and rare natural ability. He produced music with a deceptively simple sound but constructed with much complexity in composition, playing and emotion. Nick Drake's music can bring a tear to my eye, and no-one else's music does that. Just buy his three albums, after buying one you will probably buy them all eventually anyway, and it it'll be your life's best purchase. Like me you'll fall in love with his gentle musical genius, and everyone you play the albums to will do too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album EVER???, 15 Feb 2003
By 
carl iredale (halifax, west yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
It is not possible to have ears and not like Nick Drake. REM, Kate Bush, Paul Weller and Everything but the girl all love this boy. The songs here are so strong, so beautiful, the arrangements (by a bloke called Rboert Kirby, also very talented) are just gorgeous, and the whole package is so warm, you could warm your hands on it. 25 years ago (actually its nearly 30 years ago) he was generally unknown. And then he died. Sad, very sad. In a period when the words 'classic' and 'genius' are bandied about with ill-deserved regualrity, it is comforting to find a chap and a record with which they fit. Danny Thompson on double bass, another outstanding musician plays on this album..I can't think of anything critical to say about this. PLEASE buy it, become a convert, impress those already in the know. Spread the word
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, mesmirising, delicate and painfully beautiful, 31 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Five Leaves Left (Audio CD)
'Five Leaves Left' is a magical album that transports you far away from here until you realise how tiny you are under the sky. It is heartbreakingly, painfully simple, and the melodies delicately pluck your heartstrings as this amazingly understated artist plays with pure beauty. The title of 'Cello Song' does not do it justice, the cello in this piece makes me want to weep. It's melody is an unshowy phrase, deep and mourning and tender which makes you want to listen to it until the track wears out. 'Fruit Tree' is a profound and haunting song, especially when you realise the truth in it after you find out about the life and death of the artist. The whole album penetrates your soul and speaks its message with such clarity that you cannot breathe for fear of missing anything. It is also musically light years beyond its time which is perhaps why it went relatively under recognised when first released. It is mesmirising and magical. Tape Track One for someone you love-and keep believeing that 'someday your ocean will find its shore.' I have never heard anything like this before and am truly astounded by it.
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