Wed, Apr. 22, 9pm EDT - 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake

Nick Drake has never reached the level of popularity that many, including me, would argue he rightfully deserves.  The fact that much of his music is drenched in melancholy overtones may be a substantial reason for that lack of fame.  But those not afraid to take a walk on the sombre side are richly rewarded when crawling through the all too brief catalogue of Nick Drake.  

The first of only three studio albums to be completed by Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left (a reference to the message found when nearing the end of a packet of Rizia rolling papers) was recorded between July '68 & '69. The album, ultimately released on September 1, 1969, still remains an astonishingly brilliant debut album by what was then a little know artist.  Drake wrote every track on the LP (a feat he would continue on both subsequent albums).  And at the heart of each of those ten tracks (other than Way to Blue" which contains no guitar) are his rich vocals and beautiful finger picking guitar style.  Although two albums later, on Pink Moon, Nick Drake would illustrate that those elements were really the only two necessary to bring his songs to life, on Five Leaves Left, the additional orchestral instrumentation and arrangements rarely, if ever, feel tacked on or overdone.  In fact the balance between singer / songwriter and accompanying orchestration feel as if they were born to compliment each other.  That point is tremendously illustrated by the intimate feeling that shines through on these recordings. At the end of the day, yes, one could attempt to make the argument that those feelings are not uplifting.  But it would be difficult for anyone to contend that this album does not represent art in one of its highest forms.  So when Five Leaves Left closes out with "Saturday Sun", don't be surprised if you find yourself with a smile on your face!  

Join me on April 22nd for a visit to the world of Nick Drake.  It will be worth the trip!

(*note that this has been rescheduled from April 15th)

44 comments

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Hello to all and welcome to "Album Night!"! Before we get started this evening, here's my usual important reminder for the event: ***Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. Unfortunately, the site will not automatically update on its own.*** See you all soon for this jewel of 1969!

    Hello to all and welcome to "Album Night!"!

    Before we get started this evening, here's my usual important reminder for the event:
    ***Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. Unfortunately, the site will not automatically update on its own.***

    See you all soon for this jewel of 1969!

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Btw, here's a few links if you want to read some album reviews or following along with the lyrics as we listen tonight: Lyrics: https://www.nickdrake.com/five_leaves_left.html Album reviews: http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/3g54 http://www.allmusic.com/album/five-leaves-left-mw0000189840 http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/59671/Nick-Drake-Five-Leaves-Left/

    Btw, here's a few links if you want to read some album reviews or following along with the lyrics as we listen tonight:

    Lyrics:
    https://www.nickdrake.com/five_leaves_left.html

    Album reviews:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/3g54
    http://www.allmusic.com/album/five-leaves-left-mw0000189840
    http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/59671/Nick-Drake-Five-Leaves-Left/

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Anyone out there yet?

    Anyone out there yet?

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    yup. just made it! hi everyone!

    yup. just made it! hi everyone!

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Hi Sarah. Startin in a moment. You did just make it!

    Hi Sarah. Startin in a moment. You did just make it!

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

  • Steve S
    Steve S Pleasantville
    Hey there! Digging this first track so far. Mellow start :)

    Hey there! Digging this first track so far. Mellow start smile

  • Steve S
    Steve S Pleasantville
    Wow, just checked the liner notes. Richard Thompson is playing electric guitar on this one. Love him! Ever hear his stuff?

    Wow, just checked the liner notes. Richard Thompson is playing electric guitar on this one. Love him! Ever hear his stuff?

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Name is familiar to me, but don't think I've heard his stuff. Welcome to "Album Night" Steve!

    Name is familiar to me, but don't think I've heard his stuff.
    Welcome to "Album Night" Steve!

  • Steve S
    Steve S Pleasantville
    And Paul Harris on piano too! Wow, he's plays on a bunch of my favorite artists. Nice!

    And Paul Harris on piano too! Wow, he's plays on a bunch of my favorite artists. Nice!

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    that'a a beautiful opening track!

    that'a a beautiful opening track!

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    those strings are really ominous when they come in

    those strings are really ominous when they come in

  • Steve S
    Steve S
    Nice strings on River Man. Cool lyrics too

    Nice strings on River Man. Cool lyrics too

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    supposedly it's in 5/4 time but i'm not immediately picking up on it

    supposedly it's in 5/4 time but i'm not immediately picking up on it

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    "Three hours from sundown Jeremy flies". Same Jeremy that Pearl Jam sang of? :)

    "Three hours from sundown Jeremy flies". Same Jeremy that Pearl Jam sang of? smile

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    yeah, probably john... :)

    yeah, probably john... smile

  • Steve S
    Steve S
    Cool groove on "Three Hours". Almost hear some influences from Eastern music like from India, maybe even Africa!

    Cool groove on "Three Hours". Almost hear some influences from Eastern music like from India, maybe even Africa!

  • Steve S
    Steve S
    Hey Sarah! Nice to see you again. Think I remember you from one of the past Album Nights! :D

    Hey Sarah! Nice to see you again. Think I remember you from one of the past Album Nights! biggrin

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    yeah, I like the congas on this one. not sure what mode he is in on the guitar. maybe dorian?

    yeah, I like the congas on this one. not sure what mode he is in on the guitar. maybe dorian?

  • Steve S
    Steve S
    He's playing it almost like a sitar. I like!

    He's playing it almost like a sitar. I like!

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    hey steve! welcome back. i think i remember you too

    hey steve! welcome back. i think i remember you too

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    i can see why people say his music is a little depressing. even when the lyrics aren't depressing the music is kind of dark. his voice is beautiful though

    i can see why people say his music is a little depressing. even when the lyrics aren't depressing the music is kind of dark. his voice is beautiful though

  • Steve
    Steve
    Yes, he does have a good voice. Oh, I like this next one, "Day is Done" Heard it on the WFUV radio station one time.

    Yes, he does have a good voice. Oh, I like this next one, "Day is Done" Heard it on the WFUV radio station one time.

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    the absence of guitar on "Way to Blue" is very apparent. but his smooth fingerpicking style returns here on "Day is Done". i like the change on the "Way to Blue" though

    the absence of guitar on "Way to Blue" is very apparent. but his smooth fingerpicking style returns here on "Day is Done". i like the change on the "Way to Blue" though

  • Steve S
    Steve S
    Probably my fav on the album. "Cello Song" has some great stuff going on. Kicking drums, nice picking pattern and of course the cello. Nick sings this one very well.

    Probably my fav on the album. "Cello Song" has some great stuff going on. Kicking drums, nice picking pattern and of course the cello. Nick sings this one very well.

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Everything fits together so marvelously. And the audio quality is so lush. No way you can get this sound with the digital stuff today

    Everything fits together so marvelously. And the audio quality is so lush. No way you can get this sound with the digital stuff today

  • Steve
    Steve
    Great way to describe it John!

    Great way to describe it John!

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    yeah, this one is a bit more upbeat too which is a nice change! like the shaker on the left speaker

    yeah, this one is a bit more upbeat too which is a nice change! like the shaker on the left speaker

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Thanks Steve. How do we get this sound for our recordings??? Might have to invest a tape machine...

    Thanks Steve. How do we get this sound for our recordings??? Might have to invest a tape machine...

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    "The Thoughts Of Mary Jane", track 7, starting now.

    "The Thoughts Of Mary Jane", track 7, starting now.

  • Steve
    Steve
    "Mary Jane"? Could it be what I think it is?

    "Mary Jane"? Could it be what I think it is?

  • Steve
    Steve
    Beautiful song! Wow! Glad I heard it on Album Night! ;)

    Beautiful song! Wow! Glad I heard it on Album Night! wink

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    Nice props to "Album Night" Steve! :) Yeah, could be he wasn't referring to a girl...

    Nice props to "Album Night" Steve! smile
    Yeah, could be he wasn't referring to a girl...

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    his guitar playing is just so brilliant yet effortless. You get the feeling he had complete control of the instrument

    his guitar playing is just so brilliant yet effortless. You get the feeling he had complete control of the instrument

  • Steve
    Steve
    That's my man Paul Harris on piano on "A Man in a Shed"

    That's my man Paul Harris on piano on "A Man in a Shed"

  • Steve
    Steve
    He played on many recordings in 60s and 70s

    He played on many recordings in 60s and 70s

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    "Fruit Tree" might be my favorite on the album. Sadly it's very accurate about Nick and his lack of fame in his day

    "Fruit Tree" might be my favorite on the album. Sadly it's very accurate about Nick and his lack of fame in his day

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    this album has flown by, as usual. nice to sit back and reflect during it. last track is starting off nicely

    this album has flown by, as usual. nice to sit back and reflect during it. last track is starting off nicely

  • Steve
    Steve
    "Fruit Tree" was cool. Nick plays piano on "Saturday Sun". Like the feel of it so far.

    "Fruit Tree" was cool. Nick plays piano on "Saturday Sun". Like the feel of it so far.

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    at least he doesn't leave you off on a downer. it's kind of a nice hopeful song, saturday sun

    at least he doesn't leave you off on a downer. it's kind of a nice hopeful song, saturday sun

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    yeah, it's a great closer. the one thing i observed by following along with the lyrics is that he used words like rain and earth multiple times. great stuff though. a really well put together album on all fronts

    yeah, it's a great closer. the one thing i observed by following along with the lyrics is that he used words like rain and earth multiple times. great stuff though. a really well put together album on all fronts

  • Steve
    Steve
    Yeah, I agree Sarah. Wow, once again, can't believe it's over! Always goes by too fast and kind of miss it when it's done. Great night John! Nice chatting with you Sarah. Hope you all have a good night. Enjoyed this one!

    Yeah, I agree Sarah. Wow, once again, can't believe it's over! Always goes by too fast and kind of miss it when it's done. Great night John! Nice chatting with you Sarah. Hope you all have a good night. Enjoyed this one!

  • Sarah
    Sarah NY
    thanks john for another great album. i'm going to vote on the way out on the main page. my usual thumbs up! what's next on the horizon???

    thanks john for another great album. i'm going to vote on the way out on the main page. my usual thumbs up!
    what's next on the horizon???

  • John Banrock
    John Banrock
    "Album Night" will return in three weeks on Wed, May 13 with 'Santana' by Santana (debut album). Interestingly enough, this album was released just one month before 'Five Leaves Left'. Needless to say, it is totally, totally different. But that's what make music so interesting, right? Thanks again to Steve and Sarah who joined tonight's event! I hope to see you again in three weeks!!! A good night to all!

    "Album Night" will return in three weeks on Wed, May 13 with 'Santana' by Santana (debut album). Interestingly enough, this album was released just one month before 'Five Leaves Left'. Needless to say, it is totally, totally different. But that's what make music so interesting, right?

    Thanks again to Steve and Sarah who joined tonight's event! I hope to see you again in three weeks!!!

    A good night to all!

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