Haunted by a Pink Moon
Maybe it's the time of the year...October and November move to a soundtrack of rustling leaves and howling winds, a panorama of early sunsets, the harvest, and its aftertaste of impending winter.
Nick Drake is perfect music for the autumn.
On his first two albums, 1969's Five Leaves Left and 1971's Bryter Layter, Drake and producer Joe Boyd crafted Drake's soft, murmuring vocals and blues and folk-influenced guitar picking with arrangements ranging from baroque and classical to country, folk-rock, and even R&B.
His third album, 1973's stark and emotionally raw Pink Moon, is vocal and acoustic guitar only, save for a short piano overdub on one song.
Drake died of an accidental overdose of antidepressants in 1974, and since then his stature has grown. Underappreciated in his lifetime, he has become more well known in the intervening three decades.
I find all three of his discs to be essential, and I believe that over time Nick Drake will be viewed on par with Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. And maybe on an even higher plane.
We listen to Nick Drake a lot around here, especially this time of year, but in the last 24 hours, things have gotten ridiculous.
Late yesterday afternoon I came across a story that a 331/3 book on Pink Moon is to be released.
Then at about 4:15 this morning, "Three Hours," a haunting, eastern-influenced number from Five Leaves Left, began to play from a portable CD machine in our living room. We had obviously left the player on, but didn't have that song cued up or on "pause." Both Cecilia and I woke up and simply stared at each other in a mix of puzzlement and wonder. How in hell...?
Then, today at lunch, "One of These Things First," from Bryter Layter, emanated from the sound system at the restaurant.
A Halloween ghost? The spirit of Nick invading the consciousness of two of his followers? The whipping leaves and branches of fruit trees serving to remind us of the cost of living one's life purely for art?
Or just a lot of silly coincidences?
Okay, then. Being a writer, and therefore oversensitive to such things, I saw these events as an instruction to share some Nick Drake. Who the heck am I to turn down such a command?