Various Artists

Nick Drake's Jukebox

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Nick Drake's hushed and unhurried recordings have always seemed so insular that it’s difficult to imagine they were influenced by anyone or anything, but of course they were, because every musician builds in some fashion on what went before. This jukebox sampler of tracks that influenced Drake in one way or another seems obvious in retrospect -- each of these 24 selections has a certain melancholy aura and a feel of quiet, controlled desperation that is central to Drake's musical landscape. But even aside from the Drake connection, this is a wonderfully poignant and cohesive playlist, including such varied (but somehow similar, too, in mood) gems as Louis Armstrong's version of “St. James Infirmary,” Bukka White's “Parchman Farm,” Donovan's “Guinevere,” Bob Dylan's “Girl from the North Country,” Bascom Lamar Lunsford's “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground,” Bert Jansch's “Blackwaterside,” and Robert Johnson's “Hellhound on My Trail,” among others. Stick this disc in the player with any Drake disc and hit shuffle -- Drake's delicately haunted world becomes both clearer and more mysterious at once.

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