Nick Drake

Gift guide

Reissues

Nick Drake

Made to Love Magic (Island)

Like Jeff Buckley, UK folk martyr Nick Drake was barely a blip on the pop-culture radar when he died in 1974 at the age of 26. Nevertheless, his desolate influence has infiltrated the work of contemporary artists like Elliott Smith and Josh Ritter, not to mention the wallets of those who buy Volkswagens. It's not just commodity culture spawning Drake's cult of personality, though. His angelic beauty and breathy vocals are enough to inspire lifelong devotion, and his haunting, ethereal lyrics are arresting. The sad fact is that Drake was a very sad young man, no more so than on his song "Magic," from which this collection of rarities, remixes, and one recently discovered song ("Tow the Line"), derives its title. "I was born to love no one, no one to love me, only the wind in the long green grass ... I was born to sail away, into a land of forever," he sings on "Magic." It's deeply saddening, given the way he drifted out of life, yet the whimsy of the string and wind arrangements draw attention away from the depressing subject matter. "River Man" is an intimate performance reminiscent of his third and final LP, 1972's killing Pink Moon, and evokes the feel that Drake is in the corner playing just for you, telling the story of his life in Cambridge. This track and "Mayfair," a similar account of life in London, were recorded in Robert Kirby's Cambridge flat in 1968. An early collaborator of Drake's, Kirby retro-fitted the string arrangements for "Magic" and "Time of No Reply." The disc ends with the last song Drake ever recorded, "Tow the Line," which sounds like what we've come to expect from a Nick Drake tune, darkness lurking on the margins. It's a shadow cast by a talent lost, and the sadness is hard to shake, no matter how good it hurts.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Melanie Haupt
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Local sotol makers offer the critical commodity free of cost

March 20, 2020

Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Dishes for sharing (or not) at this tiny Nepalese restaurant

Feb. 14, 2020

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle