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Nick Drake

Family Tree

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5 2 0
June 14, 2007

The three LPs Nick Drake had completed by the time of his 1974 death — each of them pretty, vaguely haunting and emo before there was such a thing — have gone from cult treasures to consistent sellers, which explains the demand for this twenty-eight-track collection of rarities, covers and alternate versions, many of them home-recorded. Too bad Drake's back pages are so forgettable. A couple of songs stand up: The gorgeous pastoral daydream "Rain," a low-fi take on Dylan's "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" with bottles clinking in the background, and "If You Leave Me," a blues standard transmuted by Drake's pale-eyed croon. But an early version of the 1969 signature song "Way to Blue" has all the presence of doodles in a sketch pad. And only hard-core enthusiasts or biographers could have much interest in the cameos from Drake's mother or the family-assisted version of Mozart's "Kegelstatt Trio," which shows Drake could play clarinet.

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