In order to fully examine the minds of torment and depression, one would need to be familiar with Nick Drake's 'Black Eyed Dog.' With his transcendant ability to translate his demons into song, Nick Drake accounts a supernatural phantasm chasing him through the darkness of his own neurosis. 'Black eyed dog he claws at my door' - sung in his upper register, with the use of heavey falcetto, sounds like he is straining to survive a nightmare. His performance, despite the sparse production of acoustic guitar and vocal, is expansive. Use of harmonics and finger roll on this song proves the mastery of his instrument, as an amateur guitarist I am baffled by the sound he can create. The singular pulse of the guitar string rings-out with a delicate harmonic while the layering of other voices continue subtly underneath. And the result is the tragic embrace of his own psychological deterioration; a horror unlike the Macabre style of the French, it stands as its own haunting style, that of 'Drakesque.'
As we know his depression did finally catch up to him, and as a revisionist I would say that Nick knew it would all along, sooner or later. One would only need to hear this song and some of the pieces are put into place.
05 Sep 02 ·Liv: they say he had to have several overdubs of his voice on this track until he got it right, because of his depression his voice was trembling.. so far from the classical orchestrations of his early recordings, the sparse instrumentation and the intense emotion of "Black dog" affects you even more as Nick's haunting voice sounds like he's singing through an abyss of infinite darkness and despair.. 28 Feb 03 ·songs-I-love: Actually, the lyrics to this song go "A black-eyed
dog, he CALLED at my door...", but with Nick's way
of singing (or rather: expressing himself), it's
just all too easy to get confused.
The line "I'm growing old and I wanna go home" gets
through my heart like a bullet every time I hear
it. Only few songs can evoke such strong emotions in me. 13 Jul 05 ·kkkerplunkkk: Yes beautiful and chilling, but it's a small comfort to know that this wasn't actually the last song he ever recorded, that sad honour going to the recently discovered Tow The Line.
I love John Barry. Actually he doesn't seem like such a great guy personally, but I love a lot of his music. This track was originally composed for the soundtrack of the 1971 film 'Mary, Queen of Scots'. However, the sound is very modern. The track is built around a recurring piano riff (which incidentally was sampled by the group Chapterhouse on their 1991 indie/shoegazing single 'mesmerize'), and the tune is played by a synthesized, echoey harpsichord. It's a delightfully simple but very catchy track which stands up to repeated listening.
from Play it again (Polydor) available on CD - The very best of (Polydor Europe)