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Reviews: Nick Drake: A Treasury

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Reviews: 7

Review by vonwegen October 7, 2004 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
On first listen, the 5.1 mixes are stunning in places--on the best sounding tracks the acoustic guitar envelopes the listener and new details spring up everywhere on the songs where Nick is accompanied by bass, drums, strings, piano and the occasional electric guitar fills played by Richard Thompson.

The best mix is "Black-Eyed Dog"--if the surround mix doesn't make your hair stand on end, it's time to have your hearing checked. Other standouts include "Hazey Jane 2" & "Northern Sky".

On the flip side, "Pink Moon" is marred by the cheap-sounding microphone (probably a dynamic one) aimed at Drake's acoustic guitar--it distorted because it was likely placed too close to the guitar's soundhole, so there isn't much that could be done to fix that. Similarly, "From The Morning," from the same album, has the same, slightly grungy sound.

On "River Man" there is a fair amount of tape hiss, which is also noticeable on "Cello Song", "Hazey Jane 1" and "Road", but the mixes are otherwise quite nice.

Overall, the sound varies between three and five stars, depending on the track. The performances are all great. If I could give the sonics an overall 3-1/2 star rating, I would.

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Review by JW January 30, 2005 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Nick Drake is surrounded by a lot of mystery and cultish hype, and this SA-CD is a good way to discover what it is all about since the songs here are culled from his three albums. Upon initial listening I felt pretty good about it, but wondered whether it was not too boring - his voice and singing can be described as monotone - and whether it would hold up to frequent listening. I did know though it was a keeper. Upon further exploration the qualities of this singer/songwriter unveiled themselves fairly easily to me.

Mellow, contemplative, an easy style, soft/silky voice and dreamy and at times fragile arrangements. It's far more than a 'man with a guitar'. Stand out songs for me are 'River Man', 'Poor Boy' and 'Cello Song' with their flowing rhythmns, inherent swing and expansive arrangements. 'River Man' is one of those staring-into-the-distance songs. 'Fruit Tree' and 'Way To Blue' are very beautiful, dreamy ballads with nice string arrangements and good picking of acoustic guitar on the first.

As far as sonics are concerned I agree with vonwegen below - though I can only judge the 2CH mix.

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Review by mukkachukka January 31, 2005 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Here it is, the ULTIMATE Nick Drake album. Although he only released three albums in his lifetime, Drake has inspired countless songwriters and musicians (especially those in the alternative rock camp). "Pink Moon" is the song that catapulted him into the national spotlight a few years ago, as millions of Americans heard it in the now-infamous Volkswagen commercial. And with this collection, you get that song and 14 other classic Drake tunes.

The thing that struck me immediately after one listen to this SACD was how organically it flowed from one song to the next. This is no thrown-together greatest hits package. It's obvious that much thought and care was taken into account when choosing the tracklisting for Treasury.

So what does his music sound like? Well, if you've ever heard Kevin Ayers, Drake sounds alot like a really mellow Kevin Ayers. He has a very deep, laid-back, relaxed singing style and most of the tunes are built around his highly-underrated acoustic guitar playing. The lyrics are pretty downbeat and depressing, but brilliant. Some of the songs are just him singing and playing his acoustic, while others have a full electric band. There are even a few songs that have beautiful string and brass orchestrations accompanying Drake. Bowie fans will dig the song, "Poor Boy." Pearl Jam fans will be astonished at how the vocals on the song "Black Eyed Dog" closely resemble those of Eddie Vedder. And anybody who is a fan of Fairport Convention and Bob Dylan would probably greatly appreciate this collection.

In addition, a few of the famous musicians featured on this release are: Richard Thompson (guitar), Dave Pegg (bass), and John Cale (keyboards).

All the layers of this SACD are fantastic, but special mention should be given to the 5.1 mix. Great acoustic guitar sound, rich vocals, and nice use of the surrounds with strings, female backing vocals, and acoustic guitars totally enveloping the listener into the world of Nick Drake.

Hopefully Universal-Island will be putting out more SACDs of their classic rock/pop catalogue in the future, because this one is a true winner!

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Review by Empanadilla September 4, 2008 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Bottom line:
They could only find the Multitracks for the "Bryter Later" sessions since these are the only ones that are presented in real surround; the songs from the other LPs are "Faux Surround",
but still,
it's great to hear Nick's voice and Guitar in SACD, much clearer and with more prescence.

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Review by analogue March 9, 2009 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I had never heard of Nick Drake prior to purchasing this sacd. I was willing to take a chance because some music lovers were excited that this collection was going to be released. Drake passed away in 1974 and since his untimely death has gained in popularity. It is said that he felt ignored, misunderstood and unnapreciated. It's almost as if it took a generation or two to finally understand his sound and the meaning behind his work.

Nikc Drake is a rather unique artist with a very unique style of playing. It's folk oriented to be sure but that would be simplifying his work. His stlye is rather melancoly, nostalgic and downbeat but in a sentimental sort of way. It's rather difficult to put into words. I guess there is a little sadness to his songs. His work makes you think.

His main instrument is his guitar but most tracks have a back up band while other tracks have nice string sections as well. The first track on this collection features a rather beautiful string instrumental that works well and has great emotion behind it.

On the whole I liked the sound of this sacd. Drake's voice is full and stands out, and the instruments are represented fullll and full. I like almost every song on this sacd. The sound was a little dry too. Some may not like this.

I would recommend you taking a chance on the purchase of this Nick Drake collection. If you already know of him or if you are willing to take a chance with an artist you have never heard might very well understand what he was trying to say with his songs.

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Review by ruxtonvet June 1, 2010 (0 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This guy is unknown for a reason - his songs are very boring. The sound on this disc at least in two channel SACD is very muddy. HIs voice is drowned out by the reverberating instruments surrounding him. What a mess.

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Review by Patrick1 June 2, 2010 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Hello and Thanks, RUX, for the clueless review. This is a perfect mix of his GREAT catalog output. From a much heralded performer. The 5.1 mix in no way needs to be flying all over the place. It is mixed properly for the music on offer, and a must have- strictly IMO here. Thanks.

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