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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 September 2013
I'll keep this fairly short, as others have given it some fine plaudits, and those who are in doubt will now find the entire concert on YouTube and can make up their own minds.

I'd recorded the concert from TV but didn't watch it for ages. When I did, it was a revelation, right from the opening moments.

I can't imagine a project like this working in the hands of less talented musicians. As it is, it's magnificent. Different reviewers have identified favourites and one or two slightly weaker tracks, but there are no bad ones. I'm perhaps a little less keen on Robyn Hitchcock's contribution, but wouldn't want to carp. As for the rest, no reservations at all. Lisa Hannigan is on top form in "Black-eyed Dog" which sends chills through me every time, Luluc equally impressive on "Fly" (and doesn't try to mimic Nick by following his octave drop on alternate verses - as a poet said, "Something must be left to God"). Krystle Warren does some fascinating stuff in her own right as well as great backing vocals. So for my money, perhaps the ladies have the very best of it. Though that's hardly fair to Danny Thompson, whose incomparable bass underpins the whole thing, or to most of the guys in fact.

The only complaint is that this doesn't include all the songs from the concert. A stand-out one is Kirsty Almeida's "Cello Song" (again, on YT) which is spell-binding. Her voice is haunting and the cello playing is exquisite - how could that be left out? And there are other omissions worthy of inclusion: I'd gladly have forked out more to have got every song.

Someone said on YT that it's "nice, but not Nick". It couldn't be, but his genius survives to permeate these performances and produce moments which can transport the listener, and I agree with Danny Thompson (who knew Nick) that he'd most likely be pleased by them, and proud.
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on 4 June 2013
Great concept - Nick Drake's songs performed by a host of different artists. And some of these interpretations are so good, they bring a fresh perspective to songs that many of us have known and loved for years. Teddy Thompson's River Man, Krystle Warren's Time Has Told Me, Vashti Bunyan's Which Will, Lisa Hannigan's Black Eyed Dog, Shane Nicholson's Rider on the Wheel and Scott Matthews' When The Day is Done are extraordinary.

The Barbican concert in 2010 was one of the best shows I've ever seen. Sadly this isn't that concert, with many interpretations replaced by lesser versions recorded at an later tribute concert in Melbourne. The biggest gap is the absence of Kirsty Almeida, who's Cello Song was mesmerising. She also provided wonderful backing vocals to Teddy Thompson's Poor Boy, a song which, here, is replaced by a similarly rousing Shane Nicholson version. Other notable omissions are Robyn Hitchcock's Free Ride and the ensemble's haunting Voice From the Mountain. I would gladly have dropped the instrumental and somewhat plodding One of These Things First for either of these. It's also a shame that nobody has adequately tackled Northern Sky - Neill MacColl's sub-par version on the night is rightly dropped. I seem to recall that Bernard Butler did an astonishing version of this song at an earlier tribute. It's a great shame that neither he, Teddy Thompson or Scott Matthews were given Northern Sky - or One of These Things First for that matter.

The only real bum note is vocal group Luluc's gauche barbershop Fly. That this lot get to butcher 3 of Nick's songs while Kirsty and Robyn are dropped seems more than a little perverse. Audience noise has been mixed out, which I found odd at first; on the whole however, it serves the material well - whoops and hollers would probably sound out of place on a Nick Drake recording.

Had I never heard the Barbican originals, I would no doubt be less critical. This is still a great CD to have and Joe Boyd's characteristically warm and ebullient sleeve notes make this a great package to have.
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on 16 April 2013
I hesitate to start this review by making it clear that I was originally astounded by Nick Drake's music when in my last year of school in 1969, having purchased his first album " Five Leaves Left" on the strength of hearing the track "Time Has Told Me" upon an Island Records sampler album of the time. I could never understand then why he didn't reach more appreciative ears because tracks such as "Riverman" , "Three Hours" , "Way To Blue" and " 'Cello Song" were simply extraordinary in terms of melody, musicianship - Nick's very distinctive style of guitar playing and musical virtuosity, more specifically Robert Kirby's musical/ string arrangements.
So when the Way to Blue Tour was announced , I picked up a few tickets to go catch the concert at Warwick Uni in the UK in early 2010. Frankly, to hear Nick' s music performed live by such a varied and brilliant group of musicians and orchestral players as featured then and upon this CD compilation was just a rare and beautiful opportunity too good to miss. I have to say a big, big thanks to the ubiquitous Joe Boyd for making the concerts and this album happen. The interpretations of ND's music and finely crafted songs are just sublime upon this album, I cannot emphasise that strongly enough. Go buy it and listen for yourself.
The musical arrangements by Kate St.John are not just a great tribute to Nick and Robert Kirby' s originals but the playing by the musicians involved is top draw. When you take a look at the list of participant musicians and hear the contributions of the likes of the incomparable bassist Danny Thompson, Zoe Rahman on piano then it just keeps on getting better."One of These Things First" , where Danny and Zoe pair up to perform on this instrumental version of the song is truly excellent, echoes of Debussy and Satie within the subtle jazz meandering.
Performances here by Scott Matthews, Teddy Thompson and Krystle Warren on "Place To Be"' , "Riverman" and "Time Has Told Me " respectively are just exquisite listening., as is the duetting of Krystle and Teddy on the now revered "Pink Moon", which now seems to be one of Nick's most loved and endearing songs globally..
The span of artists involved here over the decades from the 1960's through to today is a testament to the timeless appeal of this music and it!s impeccable quality and standing in the playing community, many of it's best being gathered here for your listening pleasure.
This review would have to be considerably longer to give credit to all the artists participating here but Green Gartside's version of the prophetic "Fruit Tree" is laced with the melancholy magic of Nick's original composition.
Nick Drake is one of the most covered artists in terms of tribute albums, there are at least a dozen in circulation, which exemplifies how highly he is now regarded, this is most definitely up there with the best.
During the concert I attended at Warwick, Lisa Hannigan!s barnstorming version of "Black Eyed Dog" almost introduced Nick's original muse into the gathering, it was majestic, as it is here, This is as good a live music album as you are likely to hear this or any other year and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Don't just take my paltry word for it, hear it for yourself.
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on 14 May 2013
Ever since I watched the Way to Blue Concert on BBC4 in 2010 (and on various iPlayer repeats since) I've been waiting for this album and it certainly was worth the wait. Every track is so good it's hard to pick out favourites but Scott Matthew's 'Place To Be', Shane Nicholson's 'Poor Boy', Krystle Warren's 'Time Has Told Me' and Teddy Thompson's 'River Man' are four tracks worth individual mention but the stand out track for me both on the album and on the concert film has to be Lisa Hannigan performing 'Black Eyed Dog'.
Just one question remains when will the DVD of the concert come out?
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on 16 April 2013
A brilliant idea perfectly realised. If you have seen one of the concerts live or on TV, you will know what to expect. Wonderful musicianship and passionate, intelligent versions of some of Nick Drake's songs. I have waited patiently for this CD to come out and am delighted to finally have these songs on disk.

Green Gartside can no wrong (and btw have you heard his songs on Tracey Thorn's Christmas album?) and his version of Fruit Tree is soulful and thoughtful and a cover that for me is up there with the original. I would also pick out One of These Things First and Robyn Hitchcock's slightly psychedelic version of Parasite as beautiful tracks.

This concert also pointed me in the direction of Lisa Hannigan and Teddy Thompson whom I didn't know at the time. An unquestionable, no room for doubt, 5 star CD. How about a follow up? There's no shortage of other brilliant Nick Drake songs in spite of his sadly short life. A genius of a songwriter and these recordings are totally in the spirit of the man. Apparently he never sung many of the songs in public. He would surely be pleased and proud with the performances of those who have done it as a tribute to his great work.
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on 26 April 2014
I was astounded at some of these cover versions of songs by, possibly, one of our greatest talents. For goodness sake, do not buy this: simply disregard it and buy the originals. Nick Drake was gifted. The artists here (with the exception of Danny Thompson) aren't even though we're constantly told they are. Nick Drake wrote some lines on Things Behind the Sun which says it all: 'Once you've seen what they have been/To win the earth just won't seems worth your night or your day/Who'll hear what I say.' He was a man who KNEW the truth. Buy the originals: Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter and Pink Moon are wonderful: the performances, the recording (John Wood), the arrangements (Robert Kirby), the production (Joe Boyd) and the songs themselves. Great music transcends its time and the ND albums have and will endure.
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on 31 January 2016
I have watched the associated tribute concert several times and love it. It would be nice if a box set DVDs became available of all the gigs. Now I have the cd for my car and am delighted. Nick drake was a genius. His music touches the soul ; beautiful music which is timeless. I am thrilled.
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on 18 September 2013
Thank heavens that Nick Drake is now getting the recognition and accolades that he so richly deserves. It is such a shame that it came too late to save him. Truly Late for the Sky. Poor Mum - Molly Drake.
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on 13 January 2014
Nick Drake's songs are wonderful and I love the way he presents them. I saw these musicians playing his songs at The Barbican and have wanted to find this CD for some time. It's superb!
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on 25 February 2014
Wonderful album - an immediate favourite, all the artists have contributed excellent covers of Nick Drake's songs beautifully done especially love River man by Teddy Thompson.
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