Nick Drake: Family Tree

By: Nathan Rodriguez

There's something vaguely voyeuristic about Family Tree. It is a 28-track collection of alternate takes, unrefined skeletons and a few diamonds in the rough from an artist that became truly famous only posthumously.

Songs like "Time Piece" may leave some scratching their heads, but you also get the sense that this is the final unearthing and release of Nick Drake's material. The owners of his estate scoured the reel-to-reels for enough slivers of genius to assemble a makeshift album.

The low-fi recordings provide a warm and intimate feel, and there are a handful of songs worth several listens, including an excellent version of Jackson C. Frank's immortal melancholy folk staple "Blues Run the Game" and a spot-on duet with his sister Gabrielle on "All my Trials."

It's a laidback affair, with Drake's amiable, subdued plucking and melodic whispering successfully converting Dylan's "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" into his own creation. There is a fair amount of talking between songs, glasses clattering in the background, which lends a certain "behind the music" feel.

Many tracks here have a certain novelty appeal rather than the substance of his more polished, enduring work. Considering Drake produced only three official albums before his untimely passing in 1974, b-sides and outtakes are few and far between. For that reason alone, this release is worth a listen even if it is hit-or-miss.

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[Published on: 8/30/07]

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Comments

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/31/2007 05:27AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

Its great.. a bunch of rusty analog recordings from way back when.

I really love this guy.. A legend of songwriting. He is soothing and a lyrical genius. there is even one track of his mother solo on the piano.

Nick Drake, a treasure.. =)

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/31/2007 12:14PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RothburyWithCheese

Just finished reading his biography. What a talent! I have his complete home demo recordings on cd. Stunning! Why is there only 2 comments on this? If you are into Iron and Wine, Jose Gonzalez, M. Ward, or (godforbid) Bright Eyes, check this shit out!!!

Yellanugget starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/31/2007 03:36PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Yellanugget

I got this album two days before this article was published, and I have to say it is a great album, and he's a treasure indeed! :)