Five Leaves Left

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
It's little wonder why Drake felt frustrated at the lack of commercial success his music initially gathered, considering the help he had on his debut record. Besides fine production from Joe Boyd and assistance from folks like Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson and his unrelated bass counterpart from Pentangle, Danny Thompson, Drake also recruited school friend Robert Kirby to create most of the just-right string and wind arrangements. His own performance itself steered a careful balance between too-easy accessibility and maudlin self-reflection, combining the best of both worlds while avoiding the pitfalls on either side. The result was a fantastic debut appearance, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
It's little wonder why Drake felt frustrated at the lack of commercial success his music initially gathered, considering the help he had on his debut record. Besides fine production from Joe Boyd and assistance from folks like Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson and his unrelated bass counterpart from Pentangle, Danny Thompson, Drake also recruited school friend Robert Kirby to create most of the just-right string and wind arrangements. His own performance itself steered a careful balance between too-easy accessibility and maudlin self-reflection, combining the best of both worlds while avoiding the pitfalls on either side. The result was a fantastic debut appearance, and if the cult of Drake consistently reads more into his work than is perhaps deserved, Five Leaves Left is still a most successful effort. Having grown out of the amiable but derivative styles captured on the long-circulating series of bootleg home recordings, Drake imbues his tunes with just enough drama -- world-weariness in the vocals, carefully paced playing, and more -- to make it all work. His lyrics capture a subtle poetry of emotion, as on the pastoral semi-fantasia of "The Thoughts of Mary Jane," which his soft, articulate singing brings even more to the full. Sometimes he projects a little more clearly, as on the astonishing voice-and-strings combination "Way to Blue," while elsewhere he's not so clear, suggesting rather than outlining the mood. Understatement is the key to his songs and performances' general success, which makes the combination of his vocals and Rocky Dzidzornu's congas on "Three Hours" and the lovely "'Cello Song," to name two instances, so effective. Danny Thompson is the most regular side performer on the album, his bass work providing subtle heft while never standing in the way of the song -- kudos well deserved for Boyd's production as well.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/6/2003
  • Label: Fontana Island
  • UPC: 042284291521
  • Catalog Number: 842915
  • Sales rank: 21,856

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Time Has Told Me (4:28)
  2. 2 River Man (4:22)
  3. 3 Three Hours (6:15)
  4. 4 Way to Blue (3:11)
  5. 5 Day Is Done (2:29)
  6. 6 Cello Song (4:47)
  7. 7 The Thoughts of Mary Jane (3:22)
  8. 8 Man in a Shed (3:55)
  9. 9 Fruit Tree (4:49)
  10. 10 Saturday Sun (4:03)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Nick Drake Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Richard Thompson Guitar, Electric Guitar
Kwasi "Rocky" Dzidzornu Percussion, Conga
Tristan Fry Drums, Background Vocals, Vibes
Paul Harris Piano
Clare Lowther Cello
Danny Thompson Bass
Technical Credits
John Wood Engineer, Remastering
Joe Boyd Producer, Re-Release Producer
Robert Kirby Arranger, String Arrangements, Bass Arrangement
Harry Robinson Arranger
Simon Heyworth Mastering
Cally Art Direction
Stella MacPherson Lyric Transcription
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Outstanding Debut Album!

    A slightly more melancholy album than his later efforts, Five Leaves sees Nick Drake coming into the musical universe fully clothed and with a head of hair. Not many debut albums are this good, it often makes me laugh when I see new singer songwriters' albums with labels such as "outstanding debut" on them. There are very seldom artists with such a well developed vision of music and lyrics. Tracks like Fruit Tree capture that matured spirit in full flower. Robert Kirby, a good friend of Drake's was drafted in to arrange the strings and his arrangements on Way To Blue and Fruit Tree are some of the best. Other musicians work very well along with Drake on the album, and the album is brilliantly multi faceted. My personal favourite song is River Man, the lyrics juxtapose the confusion and understanding of three charachters, each with their own longings and lives. The string orchestration works very well, almost to a magical degree when Drake sings "Betty said she prayed today, for the sky to blow away". Five Leaves is somewhat essential and like Nick Drake, overlooked. Buy this album, or you will never know what you've missed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Too bad there are only five stars...

    Magic. That's just, this whole album. I've never heard a singer/songwriter actually PLAY guitar so well! Granted, I'm only just getting into the genre, but still. I was blown away. And it's so clear to hear Nick Drake's influence among other acoustic artists of today, including John Mayer. Just a beautiful album, it has it's ups and downs. The lyrics are amazing, and the orchestral arrangements make this album all the more perfect. I highly recommend this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews