The short life and tragic death of Nick Drake were not without some great tunes made by the man. This album is his second offering, and like the previous debut album that he did, it is seen as a genuinely underrated classic in solo career musicianship. Nick Drake made some great music on 1969’s Five Leaves Left, so let’s listen to this album and see how it fares in comparison, and hopefully, this will also be a good listen.
Introduction launches the album off with some acoustic fingerpicking in the left channel and a melancholy string section in the right channel. This also has some double bass underneath and is a bittersweet instrumental to begin this album with. A good introduction to the music ahead, and very pretty and beautiful indeed. Gorgeous.
Hazey Jane II begins with Burt Bacharach style horns and a nice groovy backbeat. This is very unusual compared to what was on Five Leaves Left two years earlier. Nick Drake sings in a very resonant and nicely delivered way. Indeed, this music still sounds very decent and special to this day. An explorational piece of music that is simple, melodic and beautiful, Nick Drake sings tremendously well on this album. Some Fender Stratocaster mid-position guitar sounds are here, along with delicious saxophone as well. Enjoyable and expressive, this tune sounds really excellent. A simple, yet tasty sounding piece of music, Nick Drake was a great musician. Excellent songcraft, this sounds really joyful and fantastic. “If songs were a line in a conversation, the situation would be fine…” is sung by Nick Drake at the conclusion of this track. Good work.
At The Chime Of A City Clock begins with some nice acoustic strumming in the left channel, some subtle yet complex drumming in the right channel and Nick Drake’s pretty and distinctive singing over the top of it all. This is again, very good and underappreciated music. Singing about travelling throughout London town with a touch of violin in the background, Nick Drake sounds as though he isn’t the happiest person in the world. Still, that is okay for the music here. He does a great job on this song, and there is some additional saxophone on this tune as well. A very good and passionately delivered tune, this is especially pretty and good to hear. Enjoyable and excellent, this music is extremely memorable and simply good. An interesting piece of poetry set to simple and very gorgeous songcraft. A mellow and imaginative tune, without druggy Psychedelia which was popular around the time, Nick Drake does very well here. Refreshing and interesting to listen to.
One Of These Things First begins with some nice and gentle acoustic fingerpicking in the left channel, followed by a piano in the right channel. This has some great percussion in the background as well, as Nick Drake sings nicely about self-comparisons of what he might have been. Nonetheless, this is a good song that sounds gentle and relaxing. An interesting and wonderful composition, this is joyful and upbeat. A very enjoyable tune to hear, the lyrics and melodies speak for themselves. Really pretty and interesting music, this is a good cross musically between Bob Dylan and Van Morrison’s musical explorations, if you think about it in a sense. Nonetheless, a very listenable and upbeat piece of music that sounds descriptively great. Nice music to hear, this is enjoyable and wonderful. If you need a story of what one can be, set to acoustic based music, then this is your tune. Brilliant.
Hazey Jane I begins with some excellent acoustic guitar work, subtle cymbal hits and a string section that sounds brilliant. This song then gets going, and Nick Drake sings in a direct and passionate way. This is completely different to the other Hazey Jane of the record that came earlier on. The subtle percussion in particular is of great attention here, and the music is very moving in this song. A very enjoyable and intricately played piece of music, this is an essential listen from this album. Nick Drake deserves to go down in history as an underrated solo musician who needs more time to be listened to by regular people. In any case, this is a piece of music that evokes sadness but is really brilliant listening. A fine piece of music, this is a real winner. Most beautiful, and moving throughout. Simple music that works, and should be heard for that reason alone. Brilliant work.
Bryter Layter begins with a slow and melodic acoustic guitar part, subtle percussion and a flute joining in. Once again, this is pretty and very memorable music that must be heard. Soon enough, a string section also joins into this piece and it does sound really excellent. Obviously, Nick Drake was very good at his musical art form, and even an instrumental such as this is worth your attention. Some lovely playing throughout powers this melodic tune along very well. A totally enjoyable and listenable tune, even without any singing on it. Does it need singing? The clear answer is no. Great music and musicality here, however. An awesome listening experience, this sounds very classy. Worth hearing.
Fly begins with more acoustic fingerpicking and a sad sounding viola. Soon enough, some pretty extra playing enters and Nick Drake sings in a high octave delivery with a sense of urgency. This is very gorgeous and well delivered, and it sounds amazingly fresh and decent musically. This is dramatic and simple music to hear. Like Nick Drake’s state of mind at the time, there is a huge undercurrent of sadness within this music. Still, its simplicity and effort are really excellent here. Well worth hearing. The harpsichord keyboard is also great, too. A brilliant listen.
Poor Boy begins with some mellow Jazz style guitar, piano and has Nick Drake singing along very nicely about being poor and doing what one can do so to survive. Nonetheless, this music is very strong and upbeat to hear. There are female gospel soul style backing vocals present as well during the instrumental break, which add an extra bit of flavour to this song. A saxophone solo emerges that sounds really sweet. Nick Drake obviously had the ability to pick out the best sounds on his songs for musical listening on this album. He succeeds at making simple and easy listening style music, and it sure sounds excellent. This is an extended listen at over six minutes long, but is worth the listening experience. The Jazzy piano solo is audibly delicious and energetic to hear. A very lovely and pretty tune, this is a thrilling listening experience. Enjoyable and artistic music, the music to hear is fantastic and hugely underrated. Towards the end a gorgeous mesh of the backing gospel vocals, saxophone and piano make this sound exceptionally good. A really nice tune from start to finish.
Northern Sky is the most popular song from this album. It begins with organs, acoustic strumming, xylophone and more subtle percussion. This is very pretty and excellent listening that deserves to be played around a campfire with acoustic guitar and singing. Some extra piano enters, and this whole piece sounds really majestic. A truly enjoyable and listenable tune, this is something that stargazers themselves will love. A pretty piece of instrumentation, this sounds extremely decent. It is sad in retrospect that Nick Drake’s status was not very prominent until after his premature death. Still, the music here is very enjoyable. A wonderful tune and a must-listen from this album. The end is magical.
Sunday is the final tune on this album. It begins with more flute and fingerpicked guitar. This does sound very good, once again. Soon enough, bass guitar and a mellow set of orchestrated sounds that sound very impressive and imaginative enter. Nick Drake certainly knew how to get such pretty sounds together. A very enjoyable tune, this sounds very professionally done and musically moving. Sure, it is an instrumental, but a grand one at that. The musical melodies will sweep you away here, particularly the flute in the right channel. A very excellent listening experience, this sounds very relaxing. Great tune to hear. It ends with the acoustic fingerpicking and flute rivalling it out for your attention. Brilliant.
Much like the first album by Nick Drake, this is an essential listening experience for fans of acoustic based music to listen to. Admittedly, there are more polished and layered songs on this record. However, this is just as good as the first Nick Drake album in terms of overall quality. It cements his place as a musician extraordinaire and something in Pop/Rock history to pay attention to. Great job here, and Nick Drake certainly did well here.