Missed Masterpieces: Nick Drake | Buzz Blog
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Missed Masterpieces: Nick Drake


If you’ve been following this column at all, you know I write a lot about hard rock, punk and hardcore. But I am, and always have been, a big fan of … of … what do you call it? I guess mellow music. I hate soft words like “mellow.”---

But if you enjoy what we’ll call “acoustic music,” then you need to hear the music of the late British artist Nick Drake.

Drake only made three albums, but if you hear any one of them you’ll need to own all three. His first album, 1969’s Five Leaves Left (a marijuana reference) is my favorite of Drake’s three albums. I think it has the best balance and more of his best songs, even though he doesn’t have any bad ones.

Bryter Layter (1970), Drake’s second album, is his most instrumentally ambitious album. It has many guest musicians, most of them from Fairport Convention, like the great Richard Thompson. It’s Drake’s most complex album. I just don’t think the songs are as good on this album as the other two. And as far as I’m concerned, well-written songs are the most important thing in music (I don’t give two shits about anything if the SONGS aren’t there.)

Drake’s third album, Pink Moon (1972) is the music critics’ favorite. It’s a spare album with just Drake’s marvelous voice and his acoustic guitar. It is a wonderful album.

A few hours after Drake sent off the master-tapes for Pink Moon, he went home and either overdosed or committed suicide, depending on who and what you want to believe. Drake was only 26 years old at the time.

Personally, from the information I’ve attained on Drake, I think he committed suicide. I just think Drake was a gentle soul who couldn’t take the cruelness of this ugly world.

You can buy the album Fruit Tree, which is a compilation of all three albums. I didn’t do that. I bought all three albums separately, and I’m not exactly sure why, but it was important for some unknown reason, to me, to do it that way.