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on 12 June 2017
i have known the music and loved it for a long time.
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on 9 December 2017
Beautiful soulful enigmatic
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on 10 January 2018
One of the best albums ever
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on 14 February 2014
Nick Drake has lately become my new love. His music is sad but makes me happy. So glad that my brother introduced me to him.
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on 27 July 2003
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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on 14 July 2006
This, Nick Drake's first album, is one of the most beautiful CDs that I have ever heard - the autumnal lyrics of endings and gentle sorrow, the astounding and brilliant technical accuracy of his guitar work and the sweeping sadness of the strings combine to create an absolute delight from beginning to end.

I cannot overstate how good this CD is - there is genuinely not a single dud track - they're all strong, they're all well stuctured lyrically, played with finesse and sung in Drake's gentle slightly upper-class voice that insinuates itself gently between the guitar and strings.

Listen to this while looking out the window at the sunset, possibly in mid-October. You will cry.

Best Track: All of them. Ok - if I had to pick one, it would be 'Day is Done'. And 'Three Hours' and...

It is such a tragedy that we only have three CDs of such a great talent. Keep the memory alive.

Please.
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on 5 March 2005
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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on 17 July 2007
Having owned Five Leaves Left for many years, it's still played regularly.
It never, ever, fails to disappoint. And there is always something new to find in it. It follows no fashion, draws influences from the best of the best and is completely timeless.
Nick Drake was one of England's very finest. His vocals, compositions & guitar playing are straight out of the top drawer.
And it doesn't stop there.
The orchestral arrangements - Robert Kirby, backing musicians - Fairport Convention & engineering by John Wood are nothing short of superb. Their quality, sympathy and restraint combine to make a work of pastoral beauty that vastly exceeds the sum of it's parts.
Don't dwell on the early death scenario, just celebrate his short life and the fact that you have just discovered a long lost gem.
The head of Island Records, Chris Blackwell insisted when he sold Island, that Nick's albums must never be deleted. This is the label that gave us Bob Marley, so if that's not a recommendation I don't know what else you need.
ESSENTIAL.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 March 2016
The very stuff of legend – 1969 British vinyl LP first pressings of Nick Drake's beautiful Island Records debut album "Five Leaves Left" have been attaining as much as a grand on the open auction market in the right condition. Said to have sold less than 500 copies – genuine 1st issues on the fabled 'pink' Island label are notoriously rare. But its one of those occasions where the money is warranted because when you hear this (now cheap as chips) CD remaster of that magnificent beginning – you wonder how in God's name did something this beautiful and brilliant go largely unnoticed? Whatever you look at it - 'masterpiece' is a liberally overused phrase in reviewing – but in this case it may even be inadequate. 'Time Has Told Us' indeed - here are the 'Way To Blue' details:

UK released June 2000 – "Five Leaves Left" by NICK DRAKE on Island IMCD 8 (Barcode 042284291521) plays out as follows (41:45 minutes)

1. Time Has Told Me
2. River Man
3. Three Hours
4. Way To Blue
5. Day Is Done
6. 'Cello Song [Side 2]
7. The Thoughts Of Mary Jane
8. Man In A Shed
9. Fruit Tree
10. Saturday Sun
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Five Leaves Left" - his debut vinyl album released 1 September 1969 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9105. Its first US issue came in 1976 on Antilles Records AN-7010.

The 12-page booklet produces the lyrics for all the songs, track-by-track credits, has some photos of master tape boxes and a photograph of hand-written lyrics. It’s a shame though that there aren’t any explanatory liner notes – especially for such a beautiful record – but all that goes out the window once you lay your tired lugs on the masterful Audio...

Originally Produced by JOE BOYD – JOHN WOOD and SIMON HEYWORTH have handled the 24-bit CD remaster at Chop-Em-Out in London and they've done a truly beautiful job. There have been other reissues since 2000 (especially the 5CD "Tuck Box" from 2013 which I've reviewed extensively) but all have used these remasters and with such sweetly crisp and warm audio – why not. A gorgeous sounding CD – now to the music...

Taking its title from a message you receive in a packet of Rizlas for roll-your-own cigarettes (you've "Five Leaves Left") – it opens with Danny Thompson of Pentangle on Double Bass supporting Drake on Acoustic guitar for the beautiful "Time Has Told Me". He's joined on Piano by future Manassas keyboardist Paul Harris (Stephen Stills' band) and equally nice guitar licks from Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson. The primarily acoustic "River Man" shows up the remaster - rolling Spanish acoustic guitar – stunning String arrangements by Harry Robinson – it's the kind of melancholy song that will stop you in your tracks – both touching and magisterial at one and the same time. Danny Thompson returns on Bass but this time with the added percussion of Rocki Dzidzornu on Congas (he turns up again on "'Cello Song") for the stunning "Three Hours". The song is a kind of Jazz-Folk trip – like John Martyn at his Folk-Soul best. It's at this point that you have to double-take – how could something as utterly brilliant as "Three Hours" have gone unnoticed in September 1969? Then you’re hammered with more gorgeous String arrangements for "Way To Blue" but this time courtesy of Richard Kirby. Side One ends on the lovely "Day Is Done" again with exquisite String Arrangements from Kirby.

Side 2 opens with my favourite Nick Drake song – a swaying Folk-Rock-Soul tune that’s liable to send me into rapture – "'Cello Song". Everything that's fantastical about his music is contained in this peach. Those acoustic rhythms he builds like England's answer to Tim Buckley – complimented by brilliant players like Danny Thompson on Double Bass and Dzidzornu on Congas. But giving the melody a spine-tingling beauty and sailing over the song's shuffle is a gorgeous drawn Cello note played by Claire Lowther. Surely this was the single Island should have released? Both "The Thoughts Of Mary Jane" and "Man In A Shed" feel like the Folk-Rock of "Stormbringer" by John Martyn – with Paul Harris and Danny Thompson playing Piano and Bass on "Man In A Shed". The 4LP set put out by Island in 1979 and reissued on CD by Hannibal Records in 1986 was called "Fruit Tree" after the album's second last song – another gorgeous string-laden melody (Richard Kirby arrangements). It finishes on the piano-beauty of "Saturday Sun" which Alexis Korner covered on his self-titled Rak Records album in July 1971 (SRAK 501) – I believe he was the first musician to officially cover a Drake song. Tristam Fry plays the Drums and provides those sweet Vibes (he's sessioned for huge swathes of legendary artists including The Beatles and Frank Sinatra).

You could go all the way and purchase the 5CD set "Tuck Box" which has now been reduced in 2015 to a more affordable price. His only other two LPs "Bryter Layter" and "Pink Moon" followed in 1970 and 1972 and made up the perfect triumvirate before he sadly left us in 1974.

"...When I remember those people and places...they were really too good in their way..." – Nick Drake sang on "Saturday Sun". Was he too good for this world? How can something as ethereal and gorgeous as this have gone largely unnoticed in his short life span? It’s hard to know.

Do yourself and your Soul a solid and get this man’s beauty into your life and onto your sound system as soon as possible - because time 'has' told us - Nick Drake is a very rare find indeed...
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on 18 May 2007
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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