I’ve been obsessing over Neil Young lately, particularly his 1971 Massey hall performance of “Heart of Gold”. The first three minutes of that video is just him fiddling with his harmonica and making small talk with the audience. The simplicity and humility of such artists just strengthens my admiration, and is one of the reasons why I like that kind of music. He reminds me of Nick Drake from the album cover of Bryter Layter as he hunches over his guitar while playing the intro.
I love the intro so much that I’ve been trying very hard to play it on my guitar. The chords are pretty simple – Em, C, D and G and and the intro is pretty much Em and D and I’ve been practicing the chord changes all evening. It’s quite rewarding when it begins to sound like something you’ve heard so many times.
Now this would make a great un-birthday present <wink>
And here’s a great cover by Johnny Cash.
And here’s tabs and a guitar lesson.
If someone were to ask me which song from the Pink Moon album that I liked best, I would be completely at a loss. Cos they’re all so darn good. I’ve listened to them all so many times and yet it feels like a new experience each time. Especially “Place to Be”. That always takes me to a place I haven’t been in years. Why I want to go there, is a mystery to me, but there’s a certain warmth in languishing in misery during these cold, hard and troubled times.
Maybe I’m being a tad melodramatic, but Nick Drake can do that to ya.
Been playing Nick Drake on endless repeat the past few weeks and it amazes me how it never gets old. I’ve been nursing a Drake obsession for more than three years now, but then I’ve been known to hook onto particular works for exceedingly long periods of time. Its part of my obsessive compulsive personality, please don’t let it scare you.
Nick Drake’s work is just exquisite, especially Pink Moon. He completed it shortly before his death in two midnight recordings and its just him and his guitar, with only a single Piano overdub on the Pink Moon track (also done by him). It’s as sincere and raw as it gets. Pink Moon is certainly a tribute to the songwriting and musical genius of Nick Drake.
Bryter Layter, 5 Leaves Left and Pink Moon were produced during his life time, with Time of No Reply being produced after his death, containing some timeless classics like “Been smoking too long”.
He was genius that went unnoticed, and it was years after his death that he got the attention that he truly deserved. He makes this prophetic vision in one of his songs, the Fruit Tree:
Fame is but a fruit tree
So very unsound.
It can never flourish
Till its stock is in the ground.
So men of fame
Can never find a way
Till time has flown
Far from their dying day.
Here‘s a link to more lyrics.