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January 24, 2002 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-24

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9

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Drake sings the Blues on Pink Moon

T"& efichig an D a ily = W e e k en d , e tc t: M aaz i
Sabbag' s 'Loaded' enters the world of 1970s

etc. From the Vault
By Nick Woomer
Daily Arts Writer
Pink Moon, English singer-song-
writer Nick Drake's final album before
his suicide at the age of 26, has had its
legacy tarnished by critics who insist on
interpreting it solely in terms of how it
was recorded.
Drake, in the throes of clinical depres-
sion that was only exacerbated by the
commercial failure of his first two
albums, 1969's Five Leaves Left and
1970's Bryter Layter, decided to make
his next album a stripped-down affair -
just him, his acoustic guitar and a few

seconds of piano on the title track. When
Drake decided to reenter the studio, his
engineer John Wood told him it was
totally booked and that any recording
sessions would have to happen after
hours. So Drake and Wood spend two
late nights alone recording and mixing
Pink Moon, hardly talking.
With Pink Moon completed, Drake
retreated to his parents' house and was
prescribed anti-depressants. Although
those who interacted with him during
that period of his life occasionally saw
him in fairly good spirits, Drake's
depression generally got worse. On Nov.
25, 1974 he took a fatal dose of the anti-
depressant Tryptizol. Drake didn't leave
a suicide note, causing some to specu-

late that his death was accidental.
More than one reviewer has described
Pink Moon as "ominous," and it is.
Clearly Drake contemplated making his
final exit when he wrote "Road" ("You
can take the road that takes you to the
stars now/I can take a road that'll see me
through") and "Harvest Breed"
("Falling fast and falling free you look to
find a friend/ Falling fast and falling free
this could just be the end").
Sure, Pink Moon is a sad and occa-
sionally morbid album, but contrary to
what rock critics have been suggesting
for decades by inextricably intertwining
it with the conditions under which it was
recorded, its appeal is universal, or at
least extends far beyond black clad clove
smokers.
In as much as Drake's songs on Pink
Moon are "ominous" they are also
deeply personal. Whereas the XY side
of the folk singer-songwriter gender
divide seems to be populated by either
storytelling artists like Bob Dylan and
Woody Guthrie or wussy sentimentalists
like Cat Stevens and James Taylor, Pink
Moon stakes out new territory by head-
ing in the direction of Joni Mitchell's
Blue album.
Blue is one of those albums that cre-
ates a sort of two-way relationship
between artist and listener - by the end
of "The Last Time I Saw Richard," you
almost feel like you've just finished an
intense conversation. She's laid it all out
for you - getting jilted by her lover, the
drugs, the post- '60s cynicism ...
With Pink Moon, the listening experi-

ence is similar.
Drake's virtuosity
on the acoustic
guitar easily
rivals Mitchell's,
but equally
importantly the
album shares the
conversational,f
confessional tone
that permeates
Mitchell's best
records.
Thematically,
Pink Moon is far
more melancholy
than Blue, but it's
about more than
plain and simple
despair. Drake
shares with us his sense of professional
inadequacy in "Things Behind the
Sun" ("And open wide the hymns you
hide/ You'll find renown while people
frown/ At things that you say"). On
"Parasite," he cryptically discusses his
upper-crust upbringing ("Falling so far
on a silver spoon/ Making the moon for
fun/ Changing the rope for a size too
small/ People all get hung"). The most
harrowing song on Pink Moon is the
four-line love song "Know," ("Know
that I love you/ Know I don't care/
Know that I see you/ Know I'm not
there").
Drake communicates an overall
sense of dread on Pink Moon - like
something is about to catch up with
him. The whole album has, in fact,

During the mid 1970s, an entre-
preneurial spirit by the name of
Allen Long became inspired to
smuggle high-grade marijuana into
the U.S. In his latest drug classic,
R o b e r t
Sabbag chron-
icles the true
Loaded: A story of how
Misadventure tons of
Columbia's
on the finest 'grass'
Marijuana Trail made it onto
Robert Sabbag A m e r i c a n
soil.

By Neal Pais
Daily Books Editor

Upon cracking "Loaded," one may
find the story uncannily similar to
that of George Jung, the New
England-raised drug smuggler who
single-handedly established the mas-
sive disco-fueled cocaine market
(and whose story was recorded onto
film in "Blow").
The story begins with a short his-
tory of Long's strange unique expe-
riences with pot - from being sen-
tenced to a term of mental institu-
tionalization for smoking a joint to
his first forays into the world of drug
dealing Mexican weed.
Things escalate rapidly in
Sabbag's novel; from his dealings
with 'El Coyote,' the shady Texan
drug supplier, Long moves to flying
his own DC-3 commercial transport
plane high above the jungles of
South America, pounds of Santa
Marta Gold in tow. As the famously
potent strain made its way into the
decadent settings of New York's
Studio 54 and onto the streets of vir-
tually every metropolis in the coun-
try, Long found himself king of
Jmacaa Baams SPar

cannabis. He came to enjoy fabulous
wealth and power, virtually control-
ling the imported marijuana indus-
try.
In tracing Allen Long's madcap
career as a dope runner, Sabbag ele-
gantly switches locales, romanticiz-
ing the drug trade all the while.
From Northern California to sexy
Miami, the building of Long's
empire is recounted with both great
accuracy and light humor.
Interestingly enough, Sabbag also
describes how Ann Arbor became an
important link in Long's weed net-
work.'
From 1976 to 1980, Allen Long
was responsible for the import of
972,000 pounds of high quality mar-
ijuana into the United States. The
1960s had certainly seen its fair

share of pot use, but Long's and,
cious operations brought marijuar
into a whole new light; as 'reefe
quickly became trendy, it w
pushed strongly into the mainstrear
From Long's reign over Columbia
marijuana emerged today's drug wa
his fearless smuggling paved tt
way for a $30 billion anti-drug can
paign by the U.S. government
marijuana was no longer just 'tt
hippie drug.'
"Loaded" is a fascinating glimps
into the drug underworld. It allov
readers a look at why cannabis
enjoyed by so many America
today. More importantly, however,
provides a background of a decade
old drug war waged on users at
distributors of pot. In his latest con
See ROCK 'N' ROLL, Page 7

Coed Service.
There's nothing we don't do.
Fi
Rush APO
Coed Service Fraternity
Mass Meeting, Jan. 29
8pm Pendleton Rm.
Email:apo.info@umich.edu

been compared to blues legend Robert
Johnson's foreboding "Hellhound On
My Trail" and it's on this level where
the typical listener can meet Drake
head on. Drake's "hellhound" may have
been his depression, but that doesn't
mean listeners all have to be suicidal to
appreciate his musicianship.
Instead of having anxiety about
killing yourself you could be slacking
off in your classes, smoking too much,
worrying about the moron in the White
House, doing too many drugs, cheating
on your significant other, drinking too
much or whatever - life provides
plenty of opportunities to be anxious
about the future. Still there will always
be a select few albums to turn to and
two of them are Blue and Pink Moon.

Grade: A-
Little, Brown and
Company

A
notable jour-
nalist and
bestselling
author, Robert
Sabbag origi-
nally received
c r i t i c a l
acclaim for
"Snowblind,"

his novel dealing with the cocaine
trade. Cult hero Hunter S. Thompson
even praised Sabbag for his first
endeavor in drug literature. Robert
Sabbag will be reading at Borders at
7 p.m. next Tuesday.

Phi Delta Theta

f

I

I
I

Do You Have What it Takes
to Start Something Historical???
Phi Delta Theta is looking for Men who have what it
takes to Start a Fraternity, to become Founding Fathers.
A Fraternity developed around the ideals of Scholarship,
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a responsible Social atmosphere.
Benefits of Joining Phi Delta Theta
1) Over 40 scholarships given out each year
2) An alcohol-free house, close to campus
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to a major job in today's professional world
4) Biannual International Leadership Conferences

5)
6)

Community Service Opportunities
Over 212,000 brothers and 170 chapters Internationally

For more information contact Jacob
Heuser at jacob@phideltatheta.org

The Standard for Brotherhood!

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