Nick Drake Album Reviews

A gentle sounding English folk-singer, Nick Drake hardly caused a ripple during his short life-time; he was too shy to play live, and barely sold a record. Posthumously, his small catalogue has earned plenty of attention; his delicate and measured approach produced some of the most timeless music of his generation. A talented guitarist with a gentle voice that’s perfect for his material, it’s difficult to dislike Drake’s sensitive approach. While he can become monotonous if you’re not in the mood for his elegant ramblings, it takes a cynical mind to completely dismiss his unassuming talent.

All three of his albums are different in character; debut Five Leaves Left is more conventionally folk, Bryter Layter is lusher, while Pink Moon is rawer with Drake alone with an acoustic guitar. Throughout his short career, Drake was remarkably consistent; I count one substandard song on his three studio albums, the generic ‘Know’ from Pink Moon. Because of this consistency, choosing a favourite Nick Drake album can be a difficult process, and it’s probably more about which album’s sound you prefer than about the albums’ content. I prefer Bryter Layter, but that’s probably because it was my first Nick Drake album – if you like him, you’ll probably want to hear all three of his studio albums. There are also some albums of out-takes – I’ll cover 2004’s Made To Love Magic sometime, but it’s not as essential as his studio recordings.

While Drake’s become a cult figure, he enjoyed very little success in his lifetime – he had difficulties playing live, partly because he was a self-taught guitarist who employed a lot of different tunings and had to re-tune between songs. But he’s since been recognised as a major talent, and a lot of his music has a timeless quality – his hushed delivery feels apiece to a lot of 21st century Indie records.

Ten Favourite Nick Drake Songs

Northern Sky
Things Behind The Sun
Fly
River Man
Pink Moon
Road
One Of These Things First
At The Chime Of A City Clock
Hazey Jane II
Place To Be