Release Date: Jan 21, 2014
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock, British Folk-Rock, British Folk, Baroque Pop
The tragically short life of British folksinger Nick Drake left behind some of the most hauntingly beautiful music of its kind, with Drake's softly heartbroken voice guiding his songs to transcendent places over the course of just three classic, near-perfect studio albums. Virtually unknown during his life, Drake's songs have been perpetually reborn in the decades following his mysterious death in 1974. With each new generation that discovers or rediscovers his songs, there have been subsequent repackagings of his minute back catalog, and by the time of Tuckbox, one of several comprehensive discography compilations, the vaults have been combed pretty thoroughly for unreleased material to pad the studio albums.
Nick Drake — as short as his career was, and as tragic his departure from this mortal coil — was an absolutely brilliant songwriter and musician. This isn’t even really up for debate. He released three albums before his death at age 26, and all three of them are basically perfect. His debut album, 1969’s Five Leaves Left, showcased a young singer/songwriter with a poetic voice and fingers that plucked his guitar strings like hummingbird’s wings.
Nick Drake did not lead a colorful life. Shy, abstracted, and bad with eye contact, he shuttled quietly from boarding school to prep school to Cambridge and made few friends along the way. The most rebellious act of his youth was a note politely informing his tutor he was leaving school. His musical career was a disaster, but not a funny or entertaining one—his albums were simply ignored and audiences talked obliviously through his live gigs.
Nick Drake was struggling to find success when he died from an overdose of antidepressants in 1974, at the age of 26, but since then his gentle, haunting songs have transformed him into a folk legend. Now his complete catalogue has been re-released, housed in a replica of his school tuck box. The 5CD set of course includes his three now-celebrated albums, including Five Leaves Left, with lush string backing on songs such as River Man, and the more stark and simple Pink Moon, on which he demonstrated his impressive guitar work.