Made to Love Magic

Made to Love Magic

4.0 1
by Nick Drake
     
 

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One of the most revered singer-songwriters in rock and folk, Nick Drake left behind a small yet remarkably potent body of work when he took his own life in November 1974, at the age of 26. He released just three official albums between 1969 and 1972, but fans got a broader peek into his work with the 1986 release of Time of No Reply, a collection of previouslySee more details below

Overview

One of the most revered singer-songwriters in rock and folk, Nick Drake left behind a small yet remarkably potent body of work when he took his own life in November 1974, at the age of 26. He released just three official albums between 1969 and 1972, but fans got a broader peek into his work with the 1986 release of Time of No Reply, a collection of previously unheard outtakes and alternate versions that ranks in quality, if not coherence, with his other recordings. Made to Love Magic supplants that now-out-of-print disc; it contains many of the same tracks, all newly remixed, as well as some new versions and one recently discovered song, "Tow the Line." Recorded during his final sessions in 1974 and thought be the last song he penned, it's a stark, acoustic guitar-and-vocal track that's as haunting as the similarly arranged tunes on Pink Moon. The other recordings from this session -- familiar to those who've heard Time of No Reply -- are equally strong and memorable; "Hanging on a Star" appears here in an alternate version from Time of No Reply. The remaining tracks offer small, sparkling revelations. Drake sounds a little mellower than usual on an alternate, extended version of "Three Hours," with the addition of flute and congas, the latter played by future Traffic member "Reebop" Kwaakhu Baah. Recorded in the spring of 1968 at Drake's earliest session -- with fellow Cambridge student Robert Kirby -- the previously unavailable demos of "River Man" (without the orchestration found on Five Leaves Left) and "Mayfair" reveal Drake's talents already in full flower. For this disc's release, Kirby revisited two songs -- "Magic" (titled "I Was Made to Love Magic" on Time of No Reply) and "Time of No Reply" -- to record his original arrangements for the first time. While some fans might be put off by this posthumous tinkering, they'll find his subtle string-and-brass accompaniment in keeping with Drake's artistic intent. Those new to Drake would do best to begin with one of the official albums, yet Made to Love Magic is an enchanting treasure -- an essential insight into the melancholy grace ever-present in Drake's music.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Hunger for "new" Nick Drake material had reached enough of a fever pitch by the 21st century for Island to try digging up enough for this odd patchwork collection, combining outtakes with remixes of tracks that had been previously issued on the Time of No Reply album. The result is a curious disc that's not quite an anthology of wholly previously unreleased material, and thus of somewhat limited value to Drake collectors, though it contains much good music. The only song here previously unavailable in any form is the 1974 outtake "Tow the Line," a melancholic solo acoustic performance (as are most of the tracks on the CD) that's well up to the standards of Pink Moon and the 1974 tracks that previously surfaced on Time of No Reply. Also new to official release are spring 1968 solo acoustic versions of "River Man" (later to appear on Five Leaves Left with orchestration) and "Mayfair" (a later recording of which was used on Time of No Reply), as well as a March 1969 version of "Three Hours" that's longer than the one later cut for Five Leaves Left. There's also a newly discovered take of "Hanging on a Star" (one of the 1974 outtakes used on Time of No Reply) with a different vocal. The differences between these and the familiar studio renditions aren't knock-your-socks-off different, but certainly good and well worth hearing by Drake cultists. It's the rest of the material that might be the target of criticism from concerned consumers, whether for posthumous tampering or redundancy with previously available albums. Most controversially, two tracks from Time of No Reply -- "Time of No Reply" itself and "I Was Made to Love Magic" (the latter here, for some reason, retitled simply "Magic") -- have been altered to include Robert Kirby's original orchestral arrangements, recorded in 2003. Actually in both instances, the substituted orchestration is integrated very tastefully, but it can never be answered whether Drake himself would have approved or had it done the exact same way. The remaining cuts are simply remixes or remasterings of six songs that appeared on Time of No Reply, the remixes of the 1974 songs "Black Eyed Dog," "Rider on the Wheel," and "Voices" (originally titled "Voice from the Mountain" when it first appeared on Time of No Reply) being done by the original recording engineer, John Wood. Though those remixes of the 1974 tracks in particular are an improvement (the songs on the original release had been mixed onto a mono listening tape), again it's not the sort of thing that will generate revelations unless you're an audiophile. As everything Drake recorded was worth hearing, this CD too is quite worthy judged in isolation, and certainly full of the subdued mystery the singer/songwriter brought to his music. It's just not the gold mine of discoveries for which some might have hoped.
Rolling Stone - Tom Moon
Even singing his most ordinary song, he was transfixing.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/22/2004
Label:
Fontana Island
UPC:
0602498663189
catalogNumber:
B000281202
Rank:
78312

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nick Drake   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Richard Thompson   Electric Guitar
Rebop Kwaku Baah   Conga
Dinah Beamish   Cello
Sally Herbert   Violin
Rory McFarlane   Double Bass
Julia Singleton   Violin
Claire Orsler   Viola
Gina Ball   Violin
Jane Spiers   Flute
Ian Burdge   Cello
Anna Morris   Violin
Amanda Chancellor   Viola
Karen Jones   Flute

Technical Credits

Nick Drake   Composer
John Wood   Producer,Engineer,Liner Notes,Remixing,Audio Production
Joe Boyd   Producer,Audio Production
Victor Gamm   Engineer
Robert Kirby   Producer,Engineer,Orchestration
Simon Heyworth   Mastering
Cally   Liner Notes,Art Direction,Cover Design
Jeremy Gill   Digital Editing,Pro-Tools

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