Friday, September 19, 2008

Darker than the Deepest Sea – the Search for Nick Drake – Trevor Dann

I am actually not a big Nick Drake fan – I am familiar with some of his output, but only have one album. I like him, but do not know too much about him, so I thought I’d see what Trevor Dann had to say when I saw this book at the library.

The first thing that struck me about the writing is that Trevor is obviously British and in telling his tale about a British subject he assumes that everyone is familiar with all things English. This is not a major issue, though I do believe that most books that I have read have aimed for a larger audience and Dann limits himself with his British-isms that have no explanations to us non-brits. But, maybe that’s just me!

Nick grew up in a privileged, wealthy family who loved music, so he played at an early age and even wrote and recorded on an early tape machine. He was always shy but this turned extreme as he entered his twenties, to the point of refusing to play his songs live or promote his records in any way. Of course, this proved disastrous to his career and his records only sold a few thousand each. This only added to his depression and seclusion, which caused him to end his life with an overdose of prescription drugs, ironically prescribed for his depression.

Dann gives an overview of all of Nick’s recordings, his successful posthumous career and recent documentaries on the man.

There is not enough known about Drake to give a truly compelling biography, so this book does its best, but it is a limited tale. You never really get to know the person, other than his reclusiveness. Good for fans, I’m sure, but not much for the casual listener.