Nick Drake was the quintessential fragile genius. His late-1960s and early-'70s albums combine pastoral, very British romanticism with a jazzy folk lilt that owes a debt to Tim Buckley and Tim Hardin. His hypnotic whisper of a voice and his virtuosic fingerpicking were the perfect emissaries for Drake's songs of quiet longing and displacement. Though he was virtually unknown during his too-short life, he would posthumously inspire a subsequent generation of artists.
Reissue of the late British folk icon's 1970 sophomore album. Ten tracks. Island.
The second album from Nick Drake came in 1970, and while not quite as melancholy as his debut, Five Leaves Left, there are certain brooding qualities that continued to propagate the Nick Drake mystique. Horns, flute, and strings arrangements lift such songs as "At the Chime of a City Clock" and "Hazy Jane I" and "II" out of the realm of sad, folk-guitar music into something jazzier and lighter, while the beautiful piano and simple guitar of "One of These Things First" laments what could have been without sounding like a song of despair. But two tracks featuring John Cale on various instruments (such as viola and harpsichord) have the dark fragility of "Pink Moon": the lovely "Fly" is a fragile apparition, and "Northern Sky" is a dreamy, brooding plea for long-lasting love. Definitely not the same mood music as his starker work, but still a fine showcase for Nick Drake. --Lorry Fleming
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