Pink Moon is the sound of Nick Drake cracking up. That's not exactly true–some have long thought that his death by an overdose of an anti-depressant was an accident, and not suicide–but this album, recorded over two late nights, certainly sounds like a fever dream. Peter Buck of R.E.M. has called the album "Like an English version of (Robert Johnson's great blues) `Hellhound on My Trail.'" The lyrics to the title song read in their entirety: "Saw it written and I saw it say, pink moon is on its way. None of you will stand so tall, pink moon is gonna get ye all. And it's a pink moon." Aside from a splash of piano, the only instrumentation on this stark and spooky collection is Drake's eloquent acoustic guitar. –John Milward
From the Label:
Nick Drake's final album, released in 1972. With basic tracks recorded in a span of three days, PINK MOON is much more spare than the prior two albums. Because of the disc's lean arrangements, Drake's dexterity as a guitarist is more in evidence than on earlier works. TJ McGrath, writing in Trouser Press Collector's Magazine, says, "The songs are stripped to bare emotion. No lighthearted and melancholy verses – these songs are cloaked in despair. PINK MOON gives no quarter." That said (and it's an accurate assessment), PINK MOON isn't really a depressing record; it's just a darker shade of blue.
Released in 1994 and curated by Joe Boyd, the 16-track collection Way to Blue held true to its claim as An Introduction to Nick Drake. Though largely unknown during his lifetime and brief career, the beguiling English folksinger ascended to a kind of romantic cult hero in the two decades following his 1974 death. His name was known among artists and hardcore record collectors and thanks to Boyd's Hannibal Records label, his three lone albums along with the essential 1986 rarities disc Time of No Reply were all back in print. Artists like R.E.M., the Cure, and the Dream Academy had all cited him as an influence in the mid-'80s, but it really wasn't until the '90s that his gentle, austere music began to achieve the legendary status that it would enjoy well into the 21st century. A handful of other Nick Drake compilations had existed before this one, but Way to Blue remains the definitive primer for aspiring and casual fans.