Nick Drake was an acoustic guitar player and songwriter. He had a brief career, with three studio albums released between 1969 and 1972.
Drake was considered a tragic figure in music, do to the fact that his career was brief and he died in 1974 at the age of 26. He dealt with major depression throughout his life, which is at times reflected in his music.
Drake was not part of the psychedelic movement at the end of the sixties and early seventies, but was a folk singer and guitarist. His music is beautiful, haunting, elegant and emotional.
He found virtually no success during his lifetime, but after his death, his music was revisited, and as the years moved on he was considered to be very talented, and his music moving. He is an acquired taste, but if given a chance, his music is meaningful and mellow, and is a joy to listen to.
Nick Drake’s debut album, Five Leaves Left, was recorded between July 1968 and June 1969 in London. I would say that Drake was minimalist in his approach to music on this record, with mainly his acoustic guitar and a few others helping out. Much instrumentation was not needed to get his point across, and what instruments were on the record, other than the guitar, piano, bass and congas, fit in perfectly.
The record starts out with a beautiful, haunting song, Time Has Told Me. The guitarwork is exquisite, the lyrics emotional and meaningful, and sets the mood for what is to come on the rest of the record. The instrumentation is not enough with Nick Drake, you have to concentrate on the lyrics, which are full of autobiographical explanations, and with a feel that he is reaching out for love and support.
The next song on the record, River Man, is exquisite and filled with background noise which takes away some of the beauty of the guitarwork and vocals, but in the end it works out fine. An absolutely wonderful song.
Three Hours is musical bliss, slow, haunting, grabs your soul and won’t let go. It amazes me how that I really don’t even like low, slow music. I am much more into drums, and faster music, whether it be from the psychedelic era, or metal, or music in general. Drake grabs me and beckons me to listen. Truly a timeless artist.
Way To Blue is just Nick’s low, silky voice, nothing else needed to say here. Brilliant!
Day is Done starts out with beautiful, intricate acoustic guitarwork, followed by meaningful, soulful vocals. I would encourage anyone to check out Drake’s lyrics, they are beautifully written and performed by an artistic genius, in my opinion. This particular song has lyrics full of regret and sadness, which is autobiographical of Nick’s short life. I can feel the tragedy in his voice, very powerful.
‘Cello Song has beautiful guitarwork, not to mention, challenging to execute, but Nick gets it done in detailed artistic fashion. And that voice and those lyrics are just simply brilliant.
The song, Fruit Tree, seems to me to be Darke’s story of his life, as if he is full of regret and reaching out for help. The lyrics, vocals, and guitar work are mesmerizing.
I can not tell you how happy I am to have found Nick’s music. He was under appreciated in his own time, but he has found appreciation since, and he will forever remain as a reminder of the fragility of life, and what beautiful but tragic music can be left for us to listen and enjoy. A bit of a departure from the psychedelic norm of this website, but nonetheless, a beautiful diversion.