Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Family Tree

I´ve always been an admirer of Nick Drake. Dead way too young at age 26 after a long bout with chronic depression, he left behind only three albums that never got much recognition during his lifetime. Nowadays Five Leaves Left (´69), Bryter Layter (´70) and Pink Moon (´72) are widely regarded as classics however.

It´s a small oeuvre, so I was very happy when Island Records finally released Family Tree last year, a cd collecting Drake´s home recordings from the days before he had a proper recording contract. This is Nick Drake finding his form and trying out styles at his parental home in Tanworth-in-Arden, in Aix En Provence and in Cambridge. These tapes were circulating in collector´s circles for ages btw, but the sound quality has been much improved upon here. We learn just how these tracks started to circulate in the first place from the intimate liner notes by his sister: when after his death fans started to show up at the Warwickshire house where Nick was brought up, his parents would welcome these pilgrims with open arms, showing them around and even making copies of these recordings for those who asked.

There´s a lot of interesting stuff to be found on Family Tree, but it only hints at the genius Drake would display later on. So be sure to buy the three regular albums first (or the Fruit Tree boxset, with features a nice extra disc of rest material). The first three tracks below are classic Nick Drake - one from each cd - for the uninitiated among you, while the last three are from Family Tree.

Nick Drake - Day Is Done MP3
Nick Drake - Northern Sky MP3
Nick Drake - Pink Moon MP3
Nick Drake - Blues Run The Game MP3
Nick Drake - Been Smokin´ Too Long MP3
Nick Drake - Way To Blue MP3

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