April 7th, 2014 · No Comments · By

Nick Drake / Fruit Tree (the complete recorded works) (Island Records, Hannibal Records)


What could be more appropriate on this drippy day than talking about the Nick Drake trilogy: Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970) and Pink Moon (1972)? I’m not going to insult your intelligence by explaining the albums’ cult status, or talking about the singer more tortured than Kurt Cobain or Ian Curtis (who shared a similar end)…1969 — The music of Nick Drake began with a introspective first album: a succession of complex psych/folk songs with incredibly gracious moments showcasing acoustic guitar skill and a production full of finesse. 1970 — Though this first opus was not a success, his second, even if it is equally melancholic, didn’t fall into the bitterness trap and Drake even mocks himself and puts on jazzy airs with arrangements just as subtle as the first. 1972 — Still misunderstood at this point, his third and last album saw him at his lowest point. The album is understandably more austere, stripped of all orchestral ornament, yet even more sublime with delicate guitar chords and Drake’s bewitching voice. But the dice have been thrown; “The Mass has been said” (as we say back home) and it’s with this baroque and deeply disturbing oeuvre that he ended it all at 26 years old, creating the arc that would finally give immortality to his songs.


Ed. Note: Melody Supreme, located at 115 4th St. SE off the Downtown Mall, is Charlottesville’s best record store. The owner Gwen Berthy has impeccable taste and a curatorial hunger matched by few. One of my favorite parts of the store is Gwen’s handwritten notes on records. Le DISQUE DU LUNDI is Gwen’s online version of those recommendation gems–posted on Nailgun and available for purchase at Melody Supreme.

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