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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nick Drake - Pink Moon

Whoa Nelly! This is of course a picture of Nick Drake's final LP - "Pink Moon" - released in the United States as Island SMAS- 9318 through Capitol 1972... This is the first American issue of this and I believe is in fact the first issue of any Nick Drake original full length album in the United States..Unfortunately my copy has the lucky previous owner's name drawn on it- Chester Goggin was smart enough to buy this album when no one else would even if he felt a need to deface the cover art- now Nick Drake is the hippest thing going since the San Francisco treat.. Anyways this has the original Island Pink Rim labels.. at SMAS- 9318 it sits right before Henry Wolff/Nancy Hennings: Tibetan Bells; Island SMAS-9319 on the US Island issues catalog...just 10 issues before The Wailers Catch a Fire original zippo lighter cover at SMAS-9329.. Island Records at this time was just beginning to get really going...many of its releases of British folk and various permutations of Free members or Rabbit Bundrick well they weren't selling very much... but help was on the way in the form of Bob Marley and the Wailers... Anyways at this time Island was distributed by Capitol and I don't think they managed to make much of an inroad with Nick Drake although this album has the works packaging wise.. a gorgeous cover by Michael Trevithick.. a great hologrammed full panel picture of Nick Drake by Keith Morris and full lyrics on the other panel AND of course just incredible music... I notice this issue has a cutout punchout hole probably like most US issues of this LP..this stuff just didn't sell until maybe 15-20 years later when a new generation of artists started covering this stuff (Lucinda Williams, Sebadoh, etc.) and turning on people to its power and majesty...The story behind this album is that by this point Nick Drake was dealing with a lot of issues his ego having taken a beating with the reception to Five LEaves Left and Bryter Lyter which had failed to make a dent in the charts, anxiety issues, depression, inability to perform live to promote himself properly etc.. anyways one day he walks into the Island Records office and without saying a word drops of the master tapes for Pink Moon concealed in a brown paper bag.. walks right out of there.... He would make one more stab to record in 1974 by which point he could hardly play guitar and that would be that...But I hate to overplay the previous 8 lines I have written because I find the mythology that has developed around Nick Drake pretty disturbing.. Ultimately what is compelling about him is his music which stands on its own... This album is Drake at his most naked, fragile and spiritual...From the inner cover I observe that Nick Drake played the gorgeous piano on the title track...because the talent of Nick Drake is such one can't help but be drawn back to the fact that he's no longer with us.. why couldn't he be - like say contemporary folk artist Richard Thompson- playing the Birchmere this year? $30

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