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Nick Drake: Way To Blue

Mark Cooper, MOJO, June 1994

WHEN NICK DRAKE'S Five Leaves Left first came out in 1968, albums with gatefold sleeves by moody songwriters accompanied by orchestras were almost two a penny. You pored over sleeves in those days and Drake's almost trumpeted his sensitivity and his existential solitude. He stares pensively out of a toolshed window on the front; elsewhere he stands framed against a brick wall in his sports jacket and jeans as a blurred businessman rushes past with feet no even touching the pavement. Drake stares on in bemusement. The same conceit is maintained on 1970's Bryter Layter where, on the back cover, Drake leans against a motorway parapet as a car hurtles past in a blur of light. The sleeves might as well have quoted those lines from Wordsworth; "The world is too much with us; late and soon/Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..."

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