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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Listen to his other recordings first.
If, like me, you are just a bit obsessed by the man behind Five Leaves Left etc and have all his other records then this is another essential Nick Drake purchase. The letter from his sister Gabrielle, to Nick, is especially poignant & is generous in thanking the fans for slowly building his following over all these years. One person at a time.

In isolation,...
Published on 21 July 2007 by Stephen E. Diggle

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Works in progress!
There are a few good songs on here that are in their infancy and I'm sure would have made it onto Nick's next album if he had lived on further.
The rest for me seemed less special and boring compared to Nick's album works and what is on the "Made to love magic" CD.
I prefer to celebrate all of Nicks works but alas not on this "Family Tree" album.
Published 17 months ago by M. Ayden


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Listen to his other recordings first., 21 July 2007
By 
This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
If, like me, you are just a bit obsessed by the man behind Five Leaves Left etc and have all his other records then this is another essential Nick Drake purchase. The letter from his sister Gabrielle, to Nick, is especially poignant & is generous in thanking the fans for slowly building his following over all these years. One person at a time.

In isolation, these recordings will do little to reward the newcomer. But if you are familiar with his work, they are a great insight into the very early days of Nick Drake who was to become one of the finest singer songwriters of the 20th century.

The inclusion of his mother, Molly Drake, illustrates perfectly that Nick came from a truly musical household. And the light-hearted tracks particularly help dispel the unremitting gloom that usually goes with the ND legend. But when contrasted with the subject matter and singing style of, for example, "Black Eyed Dog" it is truly shocking just how much he deteriorated in a few short years.

If you are unfamiliar with Nick Drake, don't start here. Buy the 3 main albums and when he has taken your soul a prisoner and you wonder how you ever managed to live without them, then look into the less mainstream releases.
None are especially satisfying in isolation, but I would recommend a certain unoffical set of LP's that have the original Five Leaves Left orchestral arrangements that were rejected by Nick. The project was given to his Cambridge friend, Robert Kirby. Then you will truly know what a huge contribution Robert made to the wonderful piece of work that is Five Leaves Left.

So an interesting piece in the ND jigsaw. But I do hope this now draws a line under further Nick Drake releases, as the sound of barrels being scraped could be getting dangerously close.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tanworth-in-Arden demos remastered - plus unheard material from the vaults, 8 Aug. 2007
By 
C. O'Brien (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
If Jeff Buckley's mother Mary Guibert needed an object lesson in how to manage her son's legacy, she could do a lot worse than copy those who run the estate of deceased singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

Rather than flooding the market with overstuffed "legacy editions" and live collections, Drake's sister Gabrielle has wisely put out only the best of his work. This is probably the best rarities collection yet - finally remastering the so-called "Tanworth-in-Arden demos" which have been circulating in inferior sound quality on the net for years.

Family Tree gives you a mixture of Drake's pre-fame home demos, comprising covers of blues classics and prototypes of songs which were later to appear on his debut album Five Leaves Left. The blues covers offer a surprising amount of insight into how Drake's own songwriting was to develop, the wistful sadness with which he imbues them contrasting with the summery sweetness of his very English voice. The brilliance of his fingerpicking style on guitar is also highlighted here, with his work on Robin Frederick's "Been Smokin' Too Long" an especial delight.

Not widely circulated in bootleg form are a couple of bittersweet, Ivor Novello-ish songs from Nick's mother Molly, a duet with his sister and a version of Mozart's Kegelstatt trio played by a collection of family members, with Nick himself on clarinet - a reminder of how close-knit and creative this middle-class rural family was. Drake's youthful experience was as far from the bluesmen whose songs he explores here as it's possible to get - yet his disappointment and depression was every bit as real.

Yes, Family Tree is for completists - for an introduction to Nick Drake, choose the "greatest hits" compilation Way To Blue or just pitch in and sample the genius of his final work, the bleak and beautiful Pink Moon. But for those already familiar with his work, these recordings offer a fascinating glimpse into a genius just beginning to flower.

First published at subba-cultcha.com
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come into the Garden...., 11 July 2007
By 
Ross (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
I was nervous about listening to this album as I feared it might be material which was being released just for the sake of it rather than because it needed a wider audience but I needn't have been, it's an absolute joy. The recordings are understandably not amazing quality (though most are perfectly fine to listen to) but that doesn't detract from how special they are. To hear him talking and joking in between tracks and chuckling in the middle of one song when he forgets the words is truly precious. For someone who has only ever heard his 3 studio albums it is nice to get a glimpse of Nick Drake the person as well as the musician... The mix of traditional folk and blues covers alongside his own compositions and his mother's songs strikes a good balance and gives an interesting idea of his early influences. ... I hope other Nick Drake fans and those just discovering him through this album enjoy it as much!

(Oh and on a side note the packaging, which caused the delayed release, is pretty special too!)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, But Should Have Been better!, 3 May 2008
By 
T. Neale "MRMOJORISING" (Cheltenham, Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
Other reviewers have already commented at some length as to the merits of these old home recordings by the masterful Nick Drake and they are excellent, but I feel this collection could and should have been better. What we have here are a selection of home recordings extremely well remastered. These recordings have been floating around on the net and on at least 9 unofficial bootlegs for several years but the difference in the sound quality on this official release is significant and therefore justifies the purchase of this set without a doubt. But the real problem I have with Family Tree is that this cd alone will not make you want to throw out your old bootlegs because this set is simply not long enough to satisfy a big Nick Drake fan and after all that's surely who this set is really aimed at. The casual fan is not going to want to go beyond a 'best of' compilation or the three main albums but someone who's really into Drake's music is going to want a lot more than this and herein lies the problem with Family Tree. We get one wonderful Dylan cover (Tomorrow is a long time) but not the other one (Don't think twice, it's alright)we also miss out on some other great covers namely Betty and Dupree, summertime, Dino Valente's 'Get together', Cocaine blues etc. Commendably at the end of the set we get lovely stripped down versions of 'Day is done' and 'way to blue' but why not the beautiful stripped down versions of 'Three hours', 'Hazey Jane' or 'fly'? Where is the sublime 'picked' version of 'Place to be' or the great sounding parasite takes etc etc. Im not suggesting that every single track, take, alternate version has to be included but there are some real ommisions here wich is a real pity beacuse they sound great even on substandard bootlegs. Family Tree was never never going to be a commercial venture so why not go that bit extra and give the real fans something to really sink their teeth into? Another reviewer said that they hoped this would be the last Drake release for fear of 'Scraping the barrel' I personally think one more volume would wrap things up nicely. Buy this for the great music and sound (comparitively speaking) but don't throw your boots away just yet!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Legend Continues....., 11 July 2007
By 
Mr. Neil J. Randell (Holt,Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
This time last year i had'nt even heard of Nick Drake! I was given a CD to listen to by a work colleague who thought i might like it entitled 'Bryter Later'
To my surprise it instantly grew on me and lead me to finding out more about this singer!
A year on and i'm listening to this new CD of Nick's 1960's demo's and i'm taken in by them!It actually feels as if one is actually sitting on the sofa in the lounge at Far Leys and Nick is giving his private performance...yes there are hisses,yes there is background noise but come on it was the 1960's and recorded on very basic equipment....Its a real treat to actually have insight into Nick's private world where only his family was privvy.
For old and new fans alike this is a must and although its not the sort of music you could listen to as background(you do need to concentrate on what you are listening to)its well worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dig a little deeper, 17 Feb. 2010
By 
A. Murdoch (Glasgow United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
In my opinion, 'Family Tree' is not 100% essential listening but is an interesting audio document if you want to dig deeper into the Nick Drake legacy. I had previously heard this in almost unlistenable bootleg form but in its official remastered form it is a lovely piece of audio verite. The family contributions add a certain charm to the recording and the numerous 60s folk & blues standards show what an excellent and individual guitarist Nick was.
The three albums issued in Nick's lifetime should be your starting point (or one of the compilations), then the excellent companion piece 'Made To Love Magic'. If that STILL doesn't satisfy your investigation of Nick's music; then and only then, check this out. It is not a bad album nor a rip-off but a pointer to the treasures to come. Best track? A wonderful solo piano/vocal 'Way To Blue'. If you enjoy Nick's guitar playing, there is much to enjoy here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful packaged gem..., 30 Jan. 2008
By 
B. Garner "Mo Backstep" (bath) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
I agree with the other reviewers here by saying that this is definitely one to check out after you've heard Nick's three studio albums. I'd also recommend checking out 'Made to love magic' and if you are, at that point completely obsessed with finding everything Nick did (like me!), check this out.

One thing I will say that other reviewers failed to mention is that even if you have got hold of some of these tracks on bootleg releases over the years, this is still worth getting hold of. The edits are different, some tracks are different takes completely, and the sound quality is vastly superior. Not to mention the clips of Nick talking and introducing some of the songs. Also there are some tracks I've never heard before on any release.

Definitely obsessive details, but important ones for purists like me...!

But what really stands out for me is the concept of the album. The tracks have been tenderly put together, and many run together as a mix. Add the tracks by Nick's mother and the family playing together and you have a wonderfully thought out and interesting album as a whole. I just feel that it's a really lovely idea. A lot of time and care has been put into this collection, and in my opinion, it all works.

Oh, and for the record - I thought Nick's clarinet playing was pretty good!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but not for new fans.., 23 July 2007
By 
P. Philips (Sutton Coldfield UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
I agree with other reviewers who have said that it's best to listen to his other albums first. I'd recommend starting with his 1st 2 official releases, Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter, these are both readily available at a reasonable price as are most of his albums.
If you like those you might then like to try this album. It consists of several home demos and similar recordings from 1967-69, the standout tracks being Come Into The Garden and They're leaving me behind.
Other notable tracks include his take on Bob Dylan's Tomorrow Is A Long Time, and there's a nice version of Way To Blue, which of course appears on his debut, Five Leaves Left. The quality of the tracks on this disc is a bit uneven, but this is to be expected given that they were mostly recorded on a 1960's reel-to-reel tape machine. They have been remastered quite well though, and the generally lo-fi sound somehow fits quite nicely. A recommended purchase then for Nick's fans old and new. Timeless stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After all those years, 24 May 2013
This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
In his lifetime Nick Drake meant nothing but by the 80s all that began to change when the Dream Academy made Life In A Northern Town which was dedicated to the deceased singer.
Drake emerged at the same time as Claire Hamill and was unknown to me and everyone else it would seem except perhaps John Peel.
It was hardly a surprise re Drake's low standing at the end of the 60s as this was the time of psychedelia and Drake was more to do with singer songwriter folk influenced and low key music not played on the radio
A man who refused to do personal appearances could have sunk without trace and through the 70s he did just that.His early death turned him into a Cult Artist especially in America exactly as with Eva Cassidy.
Today people claim him as a Genius and though I would never go that far I find it quite impressive how every last inch of his music is now being marketed not to the masses but to fans.
Such as those who'd buy this CD or his mother Molly Drake or the Tribute albums
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Drake: Family Tree, 3 Nov. 2012
By 
Kristian Svensson "kristiansve" (Borås, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Tree (Audio CD)
Family Tree by Nick Drake is a collection of bootleg recordings done at home by Nick Drake and his family. Mostly it's Nick himself who sings solo pieces and we get many examples of his excellent guitar picking. Many early versions of later famous songs are seen for the first time here, like Way to Blue and Day is done.

Something to note is that they've used a kind of cross fading technique when changing between the songs, so there's not one silent moment. It's definitely the surge of new material from this artist that has made the publishers release this CD. I'm not sure if Drake himself would say yes to release this. but it sure is a delight to listen to. I hope Nick Drake's legacy can be maintained for many years to come.
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