NICK DRAKE - FIVE LEAVES LEFT (1969)Rarely has an album been recorded that is more tragically self-aware than Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left. The title refers to the marking on the inside of a packet of cigarette rolling papers that indicates only five more remain; a prophetic title indeed, given that five years after the release of his stunning debut album, Nick Drake would be dead at the age of 26.
Nick Drake was more of a poet than a performer, shy and introverted, and terrified of playing before an audience. It is lucky and ironic that during one of his infrequent gigs he was spotted by a member of established English folksters, Fairport Convention, who convinced their producer Joe Boyd to give Drake a listen. Boyd was impressed enough with Drake's demo tape that he
signed him to a contract in 1968 and set to working with Nick on his debut album.
Drake's sensitive guitar work and sensitive vocals are backed by the baroque sounds of a chamber string group, and the platter's lyrics show maturity well beyond the age of their 20-year-old creator. Newcomers be forewarned: this music is as infectious as it is bleak.
+ 'Cello song (4.48) [mp3]
+ River man (4.01) [mp3]