Nick Drake

Time of No Reply

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Released in the mid-'80 during one of the many Drake revivals over the years, combining tracks from the original Fruit Tree box set and other outtakes unreleased until then, Time of No Reply is a fine coda to Drake's all too brief recording career. A collection of outtakes and alternate versions of more familiar songs, it parallels Pink Moon in that all songs but two are simply Drake on his own, his guitar and his voice doing all that needs to be done. The majority of the recordings come from the late '60s, from the slew of sessions and home recordings predating the release of Five Leaves Left. They still show Drake working in a touch more traditional mode, but his unmistakable vocal approach is well in place throughout. The title track itself is a gem, raising the question as to why Drake thought it unworthy for initial release, with a softly catchy chorus and sweet, reflective lyrical cast. The takes on "Man in a Shed" and "The Thoughts of Mary Jane," with Richard Thompson adding electric guitar on the latter, make for an intersting contrast to their more familiar studio incarnations. The release concludes with the "final session," four last songs recorded two years after Pink Moon, shortly before his death. The songs included on Time of No Reply should be considered demos and experiments, but there's no questioning Drake's power for understated exploration of darker moments and emotions remained.

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