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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