Imagine yourself at the head of a band which is tired to death of playing straightforward blues numbers but doesn't really know how to do anything else - it's just learning. Imagine that, in a desperate attempt to revitalize your sound, you bring on a young folkie who's so timid about both his instrument and his voice, he manages to make them almost inaudible on record.
Imagine that he's no big songwriter, you're no great songwriter as well, but you painfully want to record some material of your own. Finally, do not forget that you have to keep up to the epoch's expectations and be a little inventive, a little intelligent lyricswise and with just a slight touch of psychedelia, too. Keep all of these things in mind and you'll have no trouble imagining what a record like Then Play On , released in the fall of , must have sounded like.
Actually, if you take a listen to it immediately after Mr Wonderful which I just did , it doesn't sound too bad at all, and in every respect it's a huge improvement; Fleetwood Mac are finally beginning to find a style , one of the first of many of their subsequent ones.
The blues covers are gone, their place being taken over by mainly two genres: At some points, however, both of them manage to blend together, giving the record a feel almost as uniform as that of its predecessors. But this time, at least, it's the band's own style - clumsy, erratic and most unsure of itself, but there it is. The most striking thing about Kirwan at this point was that he mostly avoided loud, in-yer-face rock tunes, instead relying on ultra-quiet, almost freezingly silentious ditties. Some of these really rely on good musical ideas and could have easily been turned into a hit with a bit more elaboration 'When You Say', with a wonderful verse structure but lots of annoying la-la-la's , but most of them are just deadly boring 'Closing My Eyes', 'Although The Sun Is Shining'.
Plus, he gets in an instrumental which is, well, ambivalent, whatever that may mean in the context 'My Dream'. Sure enough, all of these tunes don't even hint at the blues uniformity of Mr Wonderful , but I wouldn't say this one's a better alternative. Moreover, I always thought Green was a so-so lyricist until I actually heard and browsed through Kirwan's texts. My God, why couldn't they have hired Bernie Taupin instead?
It's strange, but the day is really saved only by some of Green's numbers. Maybe his creative spirit was somewhat disturbed by Kirwan's coming, or maybe he just grew up. Anyway, even the few hardcore blues numbers sound quite entertaining the drunken craze of 'Rattlesnake Shake'; the bizarre feel of 'Show-Biz Blues' , but the record's highlight is the nine-minute workout 'Oh Well' which begins as a rip-roaring heavy blues and inspires Led Zep for 'Black Dog' in the process and then suddenly transforms itself into a moody, but strangely charming acoustic shuffle, at times punctuated by echoey electric licks, keyboards and strings.
It's no masterpiece, of course, but the main point of surprise is that seven minutes of slow, repetitive acoustic notes should annoy one to death - and yet, for some obscure reason, they don't. Also noteworthy is the fact that 'Oh Well', at least, the fast part of it which also constituted the bulk of the single edit had become the band's only live standard to be kept for many many years since Green left the band; it was even sung by Buckingham as late as ! Some of the minor numbers, like the countryish pastiche 'Like Crying' Kirwan!
On the other hand, the two instrumentals 'Searching For Madge' and 'Fighting For Madge' don't sound that good at all, whoever 'Madge' might be. Neither Fleetwood's ferocious drumming, nor Green's flawless technique do much to save them from belonging in the same wretched Mr Wonderful bag. Oh well, at least there are a few minutes of solid jamming to be found on 'Fighting'.
The thing to note about the record is how goddamn DARK it all sounds. Not 'spooky', actually; it's a strange, dusky kind of atmosphere, created by all the silent and slow numbers, with lots of echoes and sound depth until it begins to feel you're wandering through dark empty halls trying to find an exit and finding none - apparently, something of the kind was truly torturing Peter at the time, while Danny was only happy to oblige.
If anything, this dark, introspective atmosphere is the coherent theme for all of this album, except the stupid 'Madge' bits, and for the atmosphere I'm even ready to forgive any individual flaws. Hell, in this context even the most boring Kirwan noodlings suddenly make perfect sense: This atmosphere is indeed something unique and unprecedented: Then Play On certainly won't have you waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweat on your brow. CD II: Too often, the general impression of a band depends not so much on its general abilities as on the means of representation chosen for the band in question.
The preceding studio albums don't have any reason to exist at all unless the original recordings of Elmore James become unavailable. It's just that their live and studio sides never coincided all that much. Sure enough, the BBC recordings present us with a lot of blues covers, some reproduced almost note for note according to studio performances; even so, I would rather hear this stuff on a live basis in hope of at least some spontaneity and rawness that's unintentional , not a "Fourties reproduction" through cracking, hissing and poor production.
But generic blues was only one side to the story. First of all, you have Spencer with his fascination towards rock'n'roll and pop-rock and idolization of Elvis and Buddy - he's all over the place here. Second, you have Kirwan with his folksy influence. Third, you have certain Green originals that are moody and thoughtful and passionate and go ten thousand miles beyond limp reproductions of 'I Believe I'll Dust My Broom'.
You have all kinnds of little failed and unfailed experiments. In short, a concise, involving and almost panoramic view of the whole shenanigan. All this lovingly packed within two shiny discs and graced with cool photos and Fleetwood's respectful liner notes. It's as close to "ultimate representation" as possible, and obviously the best place to start with the band - and, as much as I'm concerned, you don't really need anything else apart from Then Play On , of course, and maybe The Original Fleetwood Mac if you actually want to expand your horizons, not narrow them.
This here package boasts a treat shared by few other BBC discs - namely, out of the 36 tracks, no two double each other. The recordings are interspersed, which might be a hassle for chronology lovers, but it also spares you all the generic blues placed at the beginning: The earliest selections come from late ; the latest ones come from late , but if we are to believe the track notes, there is only one track here that doesn't feature Green - 'Preachin' The Blues', a blues standard recorded in January and featuring heavy slidework from Spencer. It's kinda amazing, though, and almost ironic: Jeremy singing a tongue in cheek hymn to church preaching 'I'm gonna get me religion, I'm gonna join the Baptist church, I wanna be a Baptist preacher so that I won't have to work' - and it was months, maybe weeks before Spencer would quit the group and join a sect indeed.
I'm pretty sure Mick meant this as a sarcastic blow to Jeremy while approving this particular selection Sure, there's plenty of filler in this package, with all the Elmore James cliches firmly in place, but when the track number is so huge, you hardly notice. And the highlights, ooh, the highlights are many. Let's just take the first disc and browse through it rapidly. Folksy perfection. Spencer is in the Kiln House vibe see below , contributing a magnificent Presley-style doo-wopper. Spencer in super-sappy mood, almost overdoing his trademark Buddy Holly impersonation, but it still works nevertheless.
That's eleven highlights, and that's only disc 1. Granted, Disc 2 is a bit more heavy on blues standards, but you still can't picture your existence without 'Long Grey Mare', can you? Or without an inspired rendition of Tim Hardin's 'Hang On To A Dream' a song that everybody used to cover at the time starting with Rod Stewart and ending with the Nice, but hey, that's no reason to dismiss another good cover?
Or a solid live 'Albatross'? Or the wall of sound on 'Tallahasee Lassie' - a performance which makes you really appreciate the presence of three guitarists in the line-up? Or yet another sappy hiccupy Buddy Holly sendup 'Linda'?
It's hard to name all the songs. Heck, let's be brave: I mean, other BBC albums either lower our ideas of a certain artist Beatles or slightly improve it Led Zeppelin or just give us a good opportunity to enjoy a good live performance Hendrix , but Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac BBC collection does the impossible, for me, at least - which is, change the perception of a band from dismissive to very much appreciative.
So try to scoop it up if you were ever interested in this incarnation of the band in the first place. And if you weren't, scoop it up if only for the paranoid look in Mick Fleetwood's eyes as he stares at you from the inlay photo. Peter Green had gone completely berserk and quit the band by this point without even a single warning - rumour has it that he just disappeared on the street and they found him having joined some sect , which left Kirwan and Spencer as the only contributing members of the band - Fleetwood and McVie, even if the band was named after them, were rarely more than just a solid rhythm section, and Christine Perfect by now, already Christine McVie was just a recent newcomer I'm not sure whether she was an official member of the band by the time of release of Kiln House who played some keyboards but never sang or composed anything - as of yet.
Thus, the album is almost equally divided between Kirwan's and Spencer's 'masterpieces', and sounds completely different from Then Play On. That album was long-winded, serious and relatively gloomy; Kiln House is short, playful just as much as the album sleeve shows it to be, and very lightweight, with lots of tongue in cheek performances and humorous pastiches. Kirwan was already on the path of relinquishing his folk rock ambitions, switching to louder rockers, so overall this is a hell of a loud and 'open' record.
However, the main accent is on the series of extremely bizarre parodies on fifties' rock acts, mostly impersonated by Spencer. In short, if Then Play On was the band's Peter Green album - the man and his world clearly dominated on the record - then Kiln House is obviously the Spencer album, which just goes to show how different the two guys actually were. However, if it's genuineness we're speaking of, the highest praises go to 'This Is The Rock': There are also a couple bouncy pleasant ballads in the catchy 'One Together' and the not too catchy 'Mission Bell', but as you might understand, 50's ballads aren't as interesting to imitate as 50's rockers, even if it might be a harder process technically.
I don't know what was the desired effect; to me it all sounds like absolutely unessential, but good-time harmless fun. Obviously, they were suffering from the lack of a talented songwriter, and this was their 'compensation' for the fact.
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You gotta give the guys their due, however: This is classic fifties rock'n'roll that's made fun of, but not in a sneering - rather in a charming and completely inoffensive way. Meanwhile, Kirwan is incorporating certain 'variety bits' into the mix, staying away from parodies or covers and trying as hard as possible to make some of his newly composed stuff rock out. He's not particularly successful, but at least this time around he manages not to make most of his songs sound like a sleeping-pill machine. Actually, his lovely ballad 'Jewel Eyed Judy' is my favourite number on the record - if I were him, I would rewrite the chorus or at least leave out the ineffective screaming, but it still makes a nice contrast with the soothing, warm verses highlighted by a delightful little countryish riff that brings in a, well, a certain Dylan atmosphere into the song.
He also contributes the album's only instrumental 'Earl Gray' which is not the greatest vocalless track ever written, but at least a serious improvement over some of the faceless note combinations on Play On. Kinda monotonous, but with Kirwan, you gotta get used to it. The only real misfire is the lengthy, boring as hell blues number 'Station Man' which has the nerve to drag forever with no particular purpose. I mean, it ain't fast, it doesn't contain any interesting musical ideas, and it's too dang repetitive. So sue me, I really dislike it.
Apart from that, you just have your average good-time, danceable, listenable, fun pop-rock, boogie-woogie record. And I do agree that it would be considered as a below par record for bands with higher status what the hell - it ain't much better than Self-Portrait , and yet Dylan is so anthemized for that record it's a shame , but for Fleetwood Mac that was just it - an album chock-full of pleasant catchy ditties which haven't yet completely lost that generic blues touch of their earliest days. It's really something of a transitional state between and , and the only record on which Spencer had a chance to rule supreme, so it's in fact a highly important link in the band's history.
And it's good. And I like all that fun. At least they didn't have to have Kirwan ruining all the songs with his primitive skills. Outtakes that show the band did have a unique blues identity after all - even if that's not saying much. Well, this is a bit more than just a bunch of outtakes - actually, it's an important missing link between the early unimaginative hardcore blues days of Mr Wonderful and the grim Then Play On stuff. If you ever wondered where those dark, depressing overtones came from, check out this album.
Essentially, it's just more generic blues numbers and simplistic boogie tunes that the boys were recording in for their third album but never released for reasons I'm not particularly aware of. The album was consequently released in 'archive' form already in May , and thus must be distinguished from the miriads of later cash-ins on the band's rich past there are about 10, Peter Green Fleetwood Mac albums that nobody really has a reason to pick today.
And actually, as a concise hardcore blues album, Original FM sure beats out the boys' two first offerings. The songs are mostly self-composed, with only a couple straightforward covers, and while that might not mean much in terms of true innovation after all, there's hardly a simple original melody on here , it certainly has a great impact on the overall mood. This material is mostly dark and ominous; even the faster boogies sound a wee bit creepy, and when Green lets rip with a couple openly depressive blues stompers, it's like, wow, these guys really feel it.
And so the album is enjoyable throughout - refusing the "true-to-the-original" purist approach, the boys really put their imprint on this material, a good, if not thoroughly spectacular, approach. It also means that the production is seriously improved: This record is perfectly listenable in that respect, with all the instruments going through loud and clear, and at least I don't get the impression of the boys locking themselves up in the basement this time. So what about the actual material?
Still quite a lot of filler, but many songs as well that establish their own 'personalities' and have their own glorious hooks. I must confess that I hold a soft spot in my 'eart for the faster boogies, most notably 'Watch Out', which totally seduces me with its magnificent guitar work. The instrumental break is as far out as early Fleetwood Mac ever got, with a brethtaking echoey finger-flashing duel between Green and Spencer.
Were they too shy or too narrow-minded to include something like this on the earlier records? Ah well, rhetoric question. This ain't the Monkees for Chrissake. Another highlight is the instrumental 'Fleetwood Mac', a half-creepy blues shuffle done with a very high level of intensity and certainly with an aptly chosen title, as it showcases the rhythm section's talents - Green's and Spencer's guitar and harmonica solos mainly serve as the cream roses on the tart body of McVie's immaculate bass runs and Fleetwood's steady, unwavering badabooms.
No, they weren't virtuosos, these guys, but dammit, were they ever steady. Green's slow, broken-hearted material is also a step up from the more routine covers on the earliest records. He brings McVie high into the mix, emphasizing the bass parts over the rhythm guitar lines, and plays in a depressingly minor key, bringing in a level of depression unheard of in British blues before. Oh sure, John Mayall did this, of course after all, Green finished Mayall's school, didn't he? Particularly in relation to 'A Fool No More' - now there's a great blues number, and dig that echo, too.
Spencer also contributes a couple bizarro folkish shuffles, all graced with his, ahem, 'extravagant' vocal talents - I still can't decide if he were really drunk while recording 'Mean Old Fireman' or just faking it. Ah well, you can never tell with Spencer.
Need Your Love So Bad sheet music for guitar (chords)
In any case, solo acoustic numbers probably aren't his forte, as he sounds grossly unassured of himself on both this one and 'Allow Me One More Show', but there is a certain "jumbled charm", as some might say, to this shakey, trembling vocal tone as well. That said, about a third of this record still does nothing for me, and while it's a big improvement, it's hardly epochal or anything, and they sure didn't need to include yet another take on 'Rambling Pony' on here.
I'll just reiterate that this stuff works out fine as an important link: In that way, it's an essential buy for any fan of the early Fleetwood Mac period, although, of course, casual fans need not bother. Oh, and as far as I know, there is a CD re-issue different from mine, which adds four bonus tracks I know absolutely nothing about, so you might want to make a better choice. Boring soft rock by guys who obviously just don't know what writing songs really means. You may have noticed that my Mac ratings are somewhat 'tripping', with high numbers alternating with really low ones and vice versa.
This is no surprise. People came to know the band as the 'revolving door' band, but it wasn't a 'revolving door' in the common sense - that is, concentrating around a central figure and alternating sidemen, like Jethro Tull or King Crimson well, Robert Fripp wasn't exactly the main songwriter, but he was always certainly the musical heart of the band. With Fleetwood Mac, it was really vice versa: Instead, the general sound was always provided by people who'd come and go - first Green, then Spencer, then Kirwan, then Welch, then Buckingham-Nicks-Christine McVie, and recently by even more 'newcomers'.
Therefore, each new album usually brought an entirely new type of music, and these changes weren't always for good. Unfortunately, this is the case with Future Games. Spencer, having provided us with lots of pure fun on Kiln House , had suddenly joined a religious sect and quit geez, and I though the guy had a sense of humour - but the Green legacy lived on. This brings Kirwan to the front, as well as new band member Bob Welch, a highly undistinguishable American gentleman at the time; his songwriting grew on afterwards, but like with every early member, he dropped out of the band right at his peak.
Which, however, was but two years later; on Future Games , Welch is mostly just stating his presence.
As you might have already guessed, the album's almost unlistenable. In contrast with the humor of Kiln House , this time they decided to have a little something more serious, going in for ultra-long songs, bombastic lyrics, lengthy spacey instrumental passages and 'complicated' arrangements. Progressive rock? Well, with progressive influences, let's say; this stuff is still way too rootsy and way too grounded in American folk and soft-rock, particularly stuff like CSN, to be considered truly "progressive".
However, progressive or not, they blew it on all of the above-mentioned counts.
NEED YOUR LOVE SO BAD Chords - Fleetwood Mac | E-Chords
The lengthiness of the songs only makes them more rotten - the bland, melodyless 'Woman Of Years' is a typical example. The liner notes draw on some critic's remarks about how this song "floated on a languid sea of echo-laden acoustic and electric guitars", but so what? If you go in for mood, you gotta make it special and unique; if it's not, gimme some melodic hooks instead.
They give none; it's just five and a half minutes of passable background music. The lyrics are supposed to be clever, but end up being inept, lame and utterly derivative 'Morning Rain' ; the instrumental passages only serve to demonstrate Kirwan's and Welch's un-professionalism which would never allow them to rank on the same level as prog rock bands 'Sands Of Time' - basically 'Woman Of Years' volume two, only longer and even less bearable , and the arrangements are really trite and do nothing to hold the listener's attention.
The sound is indeed all smothered in slick, uninteresting acoustic and slide guitars "languid sea of echo-laden There's some good news in the title track written by Bob Welch which, although overlong, distinguishes itself by having some wonderful harmonies, and I do believe it to be their only more or less successive stab at a 'serious', anthemic song. This is a good example of a song that at least knows where it is going to, with a deeply emotional delivery - at least, Welch actually sings different notes and raises and lowers his voice, which is highly unusual for the album.
The true wonder of the song is the middle-eight chorus? Still, my humble opinion is that it should have been shorter by at least four minutes; I could easily do without the boring guitar solo, for instance. Also, the record features Christine McVie's first contribution: Anyway, the material is hardly offensive. It's just boring. It's just a bunch of guys ringing their guitars absentmindedly and hoping that something interesting will come out of it.
Well, they did have the title track, after all - pure chance, no doubt. But don't bother about getting this album unless you find it for a laughable price in the "lullabies" section. Prog-rockers they're not, but this time the pop songs are truly better and shorter. They slowly start to rise I wouldn't really go as far as to say that the true 'classic' Mac begins here, like some critics do.
The melodies are still way too unassuming and ordinary, and in no way could this record shatter the minds of the band's contemporaries as Rumours. But to my ears the album's still a serious improvement and succeeds where Future Games failed miserably. They're still treading water with prog rock elements, but this time they're mostly limited to the lyrics sphere like on the spooky 'The Ghost' where Bob Welch goes for almost Genesis-like 'allusions'. On the other side, the songs are considerably shorter, they rock out a little more, and they do have more melodies than pure bombast or anything like that.
Not to mention the slowly crescent talents of Christine McVie who already gets two of her numbers on here. And what does it mean? Well, it actually means that this is their most consistent and entertaining album so far Kiln House was better, of course, on a song for song level, but that's just because of the kitsch and the fun factor. While this turned out to be Kirwan's last album with the band, it's also his peak, as he finally completes his transformation into a 'rock' singer, and the opening track, 'Child Of Mine', showcases his new personality 'heavy country blues keep-a rockin' , being an utterly enjoyable rocker with certain heavy overtones and suitably grim lead lines.
In fact, the song could have easily fit onto Then Play On - it's uncanny how it recreates the 'un-menacing gloominess' of the latter, eventually predicting Kirwan following the steps of Peter Green. On 'Danny's Chant' Kirwan gets even raunchier, blasting off into the song with a chaotic feedback intro, almost heavy metal in style; unfortunately, the hooks are not that strong to proclaim Fleetwood Mac particularly successful in that genre, and maybe it would be a better idea to add up some lyrics instead of the pompous gothic la-la chanting.
He, however, redeems himself with yet another moody instrumental, the pretty 'Sunny Side Of Heaven' - my only complaint is that it seems to have been written for the weather channel, but at least that'd be a mighty tasteful weather channel - and 'Dust', a melancholic introspective ballad with a gentle, memorable chorus. As for the album's 'magnum opus' - the bombastic title track, with multiple guitar overdubs and a seriously prolongated ending, well, I have mixed feelings towards it.
The rest is not. Meanwhile, Bob Welch is on the sentimental trail again - actually, his 'Sentimental Lady' is usually considered to be the highlight on here. Essentially, it's just a slight and seemingly forgettable ballad; but somehow it manages to grow on you a little, until you notice that it's really constructed in a way similar to that of 'Future Games'. It's certainly similar - a little worse, but also a little shorter, and therefore a little better.
But notice how Welch loves these 'emphatic' vocal melodies all based on the repetition of one note sequence: Rather a subconsciously stuck scheme. And on the already mentioned 'Ghost' Bob gets all mystical and deeply self-conscious again, but the song is little more than atmosphere. As for Christine McVie, her two songs on here are certainly the best of the lot: Not that they're as flawless as her classic work in the Buckingham-led Fleetwood Mac, but everybody has to learn, you know.
In fact, the only real misfire on record is an odd monologue recited by an old English lady and entitled 'Thoughts On A Grey Day'. Maybe that was Danny's idea of how a prog-imitating record should sound like. Sounds like shit, actually. God only knows how they would develop in the following years had Kirwan not been fired soon afterwards for drinking and breaking guitars. Why he did that I have no idea. At this point he was virtually the leader of the band - main singer, songwriter and guitar player. Bob Welch certainly did not contribute a whole lot, and Christine was only starting her career.
I have no general opinion of Kirwan - after all, it's not that I studied his biography or anything - and I really don't know anything about his future career, but I do think that with a little patience and self-discipline he could have grown into a really good songwriter. During his four years in the band he'd really gone a long way, from an unexperienced, idea-less folkie to a self-confident rocker, whose only flaw was not knowing how to spice up his work with a few carefully placed hooks, and who knows?
Then again, maybe not - after all, the world is infested with mediocre songwriters spending their time on endless recycling of existent melodies and writing shallow, uninspired material for the sake of either making money or, even worse, trying to convince themselves or the world that they are geniuses when they're not even close. Okay, away with Danny: After which the Mac fell into total chaos which lasted for almost three bleedin' years.
The beginning of yet another Fleetwood Mac, but this one is much more close to the future Buckingham-Nicks lineup than everybody thinks it was. Danny Kirwan got fired, and together with him gone were the last remains of blues rock the band had yet left at this point. No 'Child Of Mine' on this album: Oh, I forgot, they got themselves two new members: Bob Weston on guitar and Dave Walker on vocals, but these guys didn't really contribute much to the band apart from their personal problems Walker tended to cling to the bottle more than to the microphone, and Weston even had an affair with Fleetwood's wife.
So the songwriting is neatly shared between Welch and Christine McVie. The former's tunes aren't surprising; they're all written in the same style we've come to know on the previous two albums and which could be amply described as 'that dreamy guitar, morphaeic voice and lethargic lyrics kinda schtick'. Indeed, of all Fleetwood Mac members, past, present and future, good ol' Bob was the only one trying to get very serious in his songs - apparently, he spent more time listening to Yes than anybody else. Unfortunately, he's no good at writing 'prog' lyrics, in fact, he turns out to be an absolute loser in this area of experience: Plus, he's got a good voice, and this, coupled with a few more sound effects like Fleetwood's trademark tambourine assault on 'Revelation' or nice vocal harmonies on 'Bright Fire', really makes the tunes somewhat pleasant and well, consolating to listen to.
Welch would get better eventually, with more fire and more hooks coming out of his system, but on Penguin he is definitely cruising on autopilot. Unfortunately, I couldn't say as many good things about vocalist Dave Walker. Why they decided to get him in the band is beyond me. Sure, he's got a good voice, but so what? With both Welch and Christine McVie accomplished singers, why did they need a third guy who didn't even play guitar?
Beats me. Maybe Welch couldn't pull off a rocker? Now of course Walker can pull off a rocker, but what rocker? The stupid cover of Holland-Dozier-Holland's 'Roadrunner' that they decided, for no obvious reason, to slag on the album? Yeah, it's the one that ends in a stupid harmonica jam that goes on for eternity, with the rest of the band trying to support a sweaty arena-rock atmosphere with their backing vocals.
To no effect, of course. This ain't a rockin' album - for Chrissake!
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It's half pop half prog. Rather like Abacab. No, no, forget that, it's just a stupid joke. There's no synths or drum machines for miles around on Penguin. Anyway, I was speaking of Dave Walker; his only self-penned composition on here is a strange, banjo-driven but totally non-country mystical love song called 'The Derelict' for probably the same reason Mark Prindle decided to dub people writing reviews for him 'the A-OK Gang', in other words, because sometimes one just doesn't have anything else to do. Needless to say, the song is a piece of prime garbage.
At least the band did a good job by firing Walker right after the album's release. All of this leaves Christine McVie, and she comes up with four compositions, probably her best up to this point and quite comparable to anything she wrote during the 'Golden Age' of These are short, keyboard-and-drums-driven pop love ditties, memorable, catchy and intriguing. Not to mention her voice that is truly unique: My favourite tune is 'Dissatisfied', with its bouncy rhythm certainly paving the way to that Clinton jingle, but both 'Remember Me' and 'Night Watch' all qualify.
They rule! They sure sound just like any average upbeat Christine McVie song should sound, which is rather formulaic, but fortunately, that average sound is in fact above average.
Chris must have been extremely happy, as she was the only band member to have truly benefited from the lineup perturbations: Hand over the royalties! Yup, the only low point besides the Walker crap seems to be the closing instrumental 'Caught In The Rain', said to feature Peter Green on guitar acoustic rhythm, actually. I don't know whether it was an outtake or whether Peter really joined them for the sessions, but I really don't care: Sounds close to Green's guitarwork on 'Oh Well', but that one was moody and dark, and this one is just boring and complaintive.
At least it's short and it doesn't spoil a truly enjoyable album. If you're able to cope with Welch's dreamland, of course. Unlike most of the others that took a really long time to digest, I've acquired it only recently, but it managed to impress me on first listen. It's even more surprising considering the background against which the record was released and toured to: This is Weston's second and last album, and he's not very prominent on it, apart from some fiery solos on the heavy numbers.
Instead, this is Welch on parade, and there's also Christine McVie's debut as a solid, full-fledged member of the band: But it's certainly not a rehashing of the old Bare Trees leg. The obvious aim was to make a diverse record, so the experimentative atmosphere makes most of this really fresh and exciting, if not always successful. Oddly enough, it is not Christine who is responsible for the experimentation.
Having already developed a steadily working pop formula, she just writes one solid, commercial love ballad after another, some rather lightweight 'Just Crazy Love' - and hey, I'm not using 'lightweight' as a negative, but isn't that one kind of song that denotes 'lightweight'? All of these songs are utterly enjoyable, if not terribly original. And, funny enough, if you listen real attentively, you'll notice that Christine's musical growth did not pass without contact with the other band members - 'Keep On Going' sounds exactly like it could have been written by Welch the melody, in fact, is almost the one used on 'Revelation'; the lyrics, of course, are one hundred percent McVie.
You gotta respect that attitude. But the album really belongs to Welch in person. In fact, it's extremely intriguing to see the guy go through several stages of maturation, from the naive, bizarre and boring prog rock imitations on Future Games to the really clever lyrics and curious melodies of Mystery. The album opener, 'Emerald Eyes', could easily trick you into thinking that Bob has finally settled on banal love songs with uninspired melodies.
He hasn't. Except for this passable tune which still ends up growing on you due to its romantic, relaxed and dreamy mood - did I just sum up Welch's life credo? Besides reggae, funk and prog, you'll also find your basic hard rock in the Led Zeppish 'Miles Away', with Weston doing a Page-style echoey guitar solo - a very convincing one, at that, sounds like something Page would have eagerly inserted in the middle of a forty minute long 'Dazed And Confused' jam. There's also some really rockin' heavy blues in 'The City', with an odd guitar-synth line distinguishing it sounds not unlike Townshend's solo on 'Going Mobile' ; and, most strange of all, the cover of 'For Your Love' - yup, the same 'For Your Love' that was the best tune ever done by the Yardbirds.
Here it is taken at a slightly slower pace, so it can't surpass their version; but it is nevertheless quite a worthy effort, with superb harmonies and a really tight performance.
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The only thing I don't understand is why the hell did they need a cover on this album. Then again, even the Stones kept putting a cover on their albums now and then. You never can tell with rock'n'roll stars. In any case, 'Hypnotized' and 'The City' are a couple of outstanding numbers, and not just outstanding, "awaystanding" as well - both illustrate two absolutely different sides of Welch, the thoughtful one and the hard-rocking one. In fact, Bob had never been as pissed off previously as he seems to be when he's singing 'The City', a blazing bluesy condemnation of the evils of Big Apple, and the song still stands out in my memory as the angriest that Fleetwood Mac ever got in their career.
The fact that keeps me puzzled all of the time is how Welch managed to finally make a transition out of his 'lethargic' period and create such a bunch of entertaining melodies that don't bore you to sleep. Then again, same thing happened to Kirwan several years ago. Maybe there was some kind of hidden influence exerted upon the guitarists by the trusty bluesy rhythm section? You know - come on boys, stop picking your guitar as if it were a lyre, get a little blood flowing, and so on? Unfortunately, both Kirwan and Welch also shared a nasty thing about them: This was Welch's next-to-last album with the band.
Grab it while it's still hot! It has their coolest album cover ever! An easy 9 for it! The usual argument against Bob Welch goes like this: Considering the fact that the only other creative member in the band for the last two albums and for this one was Christine McVie and the other formerly creative member, Danny Kirwan, had a style extremely close to that of Welch , the argument sounds a wee bit incorrect.
So the formula has to be re-worked as 'he never did manage to gel with Christine McVie'. But you also have to remember that during the first half of the Seventies Fleetwood Mac were a band whose main definition was 'not knowing where to go', being equally torn between Welch's prog ambitions and Christine's 'sweet' sound. So it's really hard to tell who exactly didn't gel with whom. Considering that Welch was always the dominant songwriter, I'd say we'd have to rework the formula again: Now we get it straight.
Why am I digressing so much? Well, see, never is the contrast between 'serious' and 'sweet' so strong as it is here. The album's title, Heroes Are Hard To Find , derives from Christine's title track, a pleasant little ditty about how it's hard to find a good lover.
However, taken together with the album's cover, the phrase quickly changes its meaning: I don't know whether the idea of the cover belonged to Welch, and I'm also not sure whether I get it right, but the effect is certainly quite natural. You get the album and think it must be their response to Dark Side Of The Moon , and then you hear the title track and Might well be. Great album? Certainly not. Welch's lyrics have matured, sure enough even though he manages to still embarrass himself on the Jon Anderson-style 'Coming Home' ; unfortunately, the atmosphere is nowhere near as experimental as on Mystery To Me.
Maybe it had something to do with Weston's departure - this is the only album they recorded with just one guitarist, and this deprives us of energetic solos. Maybe with something else - the band's problems they'd just liberated themselves from a band of impostors sent on the road by their manager in view of the general chaotic situation within the group as a whole or their personal ones drinking, for instance: McVie is even pictured with a bottle on the back cover!
I wouldn't want to guess. But the fact is that Welch had gone back to his formula - lethargic noodlings set to one and the same 'dreamy' melody with melancholic singing. All of this stuff we'd already had on Future Games and Penguin , and who wants more of the same? Give me 'Hypnotized' or 'Somebody' over this recycled waste any time o' day!
It's so unusual that it draws your attention. Some face is saved on two other Welch tracks: Had they appeared on Mystery To Me , they'd have significantly added to the diverse atmosphere; here, they rather remind me of 'excusatory' tunes, included only so as to remind us that Welch did know how to write catchy songs. Only he didn't like doing it, that was his problem. The worst blow comes from Christine, though. Now I know it's very hard to draw an exact line between banality and genius when we're speaking of pop music, but her numbers on here rather speak of banal than of anything else.
Yup, she was really a heck of a talented songwriter, but it's apparent that the patchiness of these songs wasn't to go away until the coming of her concurrents in the 'classic' Mac lineup. Being invigorated by Stevie Nicks, she wrote some of the band's best songs; being invigorated by Bob Welch, she wrote songs that ranked from passable okay Mystery To Me to hardly listenable crap, as on here. A weak, passable album which you certainly don't need if you're not a diehard fan and already grabbed yourself a copy of Mystery To Me.
Funny enough, they expected it to rise high on the charts. It didn't. What a surprise. Eventually, this led to Welch quitting the band. Which finally brings us to the moment you've all been eagerly waiting for. A somewhat unsecure, but still fascinating debut album displaying flashes of genius; maybe it was just recorded a bit too quickly. Christine McVie's contributions to the album are mostly in the same style as on the previous ones, but this is the only true link. No more dreamy Bob Welch 'serious' tunes: The few 'serious' fans that the band still had left have probably evaporated into thin air, but the band didn't care: Of course, in order to do that, both John McVie and Mick Fleetwood had to betray their blues roots, and I still can't understand the developments of the trusty rhythm section.
Were they so desperate in their search of commercial success, or were they so fed up with blues and 'prog' tunes? You tell me, I won't even begin to guess. Whatever be, the band was certainly aware of the fact that they were beginning an entirely new life. This is probably why the record is self-titled.
Special note to all future and present artists: NEVER make two records that share the same name. You don't really imagine to what extent this muddles up the discographies. The Hollies did the same thing with their and records, and it's disgusting, because you never know what album you or somebody else are speaking about. Apart from that, Fleetwood Mac is a very good, somewhat innovative and obviously well-written, noteworthy album, but not without its flaws and a certain percent of filler. Personally, I feel it was recorded a bit too quickly after Heroes all the future Mac albums would take at least two years to be completed , and the band still hadn't had time to gel.
The songwriting is more or less evenly split between Christine McVie, Buckingham and Nicks, and all of them are starting to near their peaks but not quite reaching them, except maybe for Nicks. This "pre-perfect" status, however, isn't explainable by any general faults or flaws - on the contrary, the general styles are well-established and flawless.
It's within the individual compositions where the rub lies: I realize I'm being a little subjective here, since we're always on less trusty territory when dealing with individual songs, but hey, most of them are fab anyway, so why quibble when you can just agree with my quibbles? Who's the reviewer on here, goddammit. Okay, enough ambitions - let me take them writer by writer and see all the pros and cons.
First of all, our old friend Christine McVie is still in her Heroes vibe, which means that most of her numbers are bland to the extreme, and I don't see any particular reason why they should be preferred to anything she put out earlier. Okay, one reason - she is acquiring more and more skills as a melody-writer, and the arrival of Buckingham marks an obvious improvement of the production, which means that even if the melody doesn't work for you, the little arranging tricks will.
What about that marvelous 'tee-da-dee-da-dee-da-dee-da-TING' crystal acoustic line that follows the opening lines of each verse in 'Over My Head'?
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Not to mention the song's unbelievable catchiness itself. Somewhat worse are Chris' two other contributions - 'Sugar Daddy' seems like a weaker imitation of 'Say You Love Me', maybe it has a wee bit more full-fledged arrangement, but the chorus seems to be forced and heading for a dead end instead of brilliantly resolving itself into something like " As for 'Warm Ways', that one's way too mellow for me, hell, whatever, Chris is almost predicting the basics of Nineties' adult contemporary.
That 'forever, forever now' almost seems to be coming out of a romantic moment in Santa Barbara. Nicks distinguishes herself even more than Chris. Come to think of it, it was her only chance - she was only accepted as a band member under the threat of Lindsey not joining at all. So she contributes the most memorable number - the mysterious ballad 'Rhiannon' which already displays all of Nicks' trademarks: I bow down for her if yes. It's certainly good, though not as good as the similar 'Dreams' on Rumours.
Her other ballad, 'Landslide', is a beautiful piece of acoustic bliss - once I was so blind as not to notice the hooks, but hey, time heals all the wounds and all the silliness. But unfortunately or fortunately - whatever, aren't we supposed to be talking objective here? I still can't understand why this is so often supposed to be a highlight. It has, like, one or two chords - just an ultra-slow, monotonous folkish acoustic shuffle with moody organ in the background.
Fleetwood Mac were never an atmospheric band: No memorable guitar lines or quirky catchy beats here - so 'scuse me. Gotta admit it, though, the ending is pretty tasteful - I like the way Lindsey's acoustic swirls contrast with that organ. Even so, already at this point Lindsey is definitely the most self-assured and creative writer of the three. He manages to churn out a couple of punchy, danceable and truly enjoyable rockers, such as the opening 'Monday Morning' which sets a good tone for the entire record, and an obscure cover of an obscure outfit, the Curtis Brothers, called 'Blue Letter' that's become a stage favourite since then.
The honour of closing the album goes to him as well, and he sure doesn't let the band down: In concert, the song would become a real showstopper and an incredible showcase for Lindsey's guitar playing abilities, but hear me rave on that one later on. And on 'World Turning' co-written and co-sung with Christine , Lindsey even gives a hint at his rock'n'roll abilities, engaging in a lengthy but not overlong rock jam with the rhythm section. In any case, Fleetwood Mac , despite all my complaints, is still a first-rate pop album - not glossy perfection like Rumours , of course, but then again, some prefer it that way.
And the new version of Fleetwood Mac was really eager to prove the world that it was yet early to lament the death of poppy melodicity. An ideal pop record with next to no flaws - it's so immaculate that it's almost terrifying. I'm perfectly aware that everybody is sick to death of this album due to its best-selling status and state of overplayedness on the radio.
But me, I wouldn't know, and furthermore, the argument 'this song is crappy because it's overplayed' is totally invalid. Real works of art don't lose any of their objective value because of overexposure. Neither do Rumours , certainly the peak of Fleetwood Mac's career, both commercially and artistically. Just like the Beatles a decade and a half before them, they suddenly discovered a way of writing really exciting pieces of music evoking the word 'genius', on one hand, and making them easily adaptable, on the other.
In this respect, Fleetwood Mac created a real revolution, and together with the Sex Pistols, they might be called the most groundbreaking groups of Of course, both of them weren't true revolutionaries at all, merely re-creating some earlier breakthroughs on a new spiral level - if Fleetwood Mac were the Beatles of , then the Sex Pistols were its Who. The revolution was also shortlived, because most of the 'power pop' bands inspired by Mac turned out to be cheap imitators, and even Mac themselves couldn't hold the same level for very long - unlike the Beatles, they couldn't do any better than Rumours.
Nevertheless, the album deservedly remains a milestone in classic rock and might be one of the last minor masterpieces ever Where do I really begin with this album? As usual, the songwriting is split between the three main 'graphomaniacs' no, no, just a little humour here , so let's discuss the ladies first. Whatever complaints I may hold against Christine McVie, there is no doubt that her contributions to Rumours are among her most miraculous creations ever. I voted for Yeltsin! And her three love ballads sound nothing like the boggy, all-too-identic kind of sentimental slush that marred so many of her earlier compositions.
It also has a steady, disco-ish beat a very rare thing for Christine and features a nice rock solo from Lindsey. Finally, 'Oh Daddy' is a genuine love complaint with one of the most beautifully sung refrains ever. Apparently, Christine had gained quite a lot of skills from Lindsey and Stevie, and her divorce with John added a faint streak of sincerity to her work, just as the same thing happened to Stevie and Lindsey themselves they broke up almost as soon as they joined the band. Verily and truly, Fleetwood Mac must have been a bane for all lovers! She mainly secures her 'Rhiannon' style: Hope that's not the case with you.
Anyway, good songs. Maybe as good or even better than Buckingham's 'Second Hand News', which sounds very close to 'Monday Morning' but which is actually better because it has some tremendous acoustic playing and a lot of silly happy noises. Tremendous acoustic playing? Not as tremendous as on 'Never Going Back Again', a little bluegrass excursion with a little tricky riff that amply demonstrates Lindsey's talents as a guitarist.
If you ever thought Fleetwood Mac were nothing but a well-oiled commercial machine churning out lifeless, faceless bubblegum, take a listen to this one and you'll be cured instantly. I bet it's the only song from the album that's never broadcast on the radio although I admit I'm really taking a wild guess here. In fact, the entire album's so strong that it's very hard to pick out one favourite tune.
I guess I'm going to take the band anthem 'The Chain', for several reasons, I guess. First of all, it's one of the most unhappy songs on here, and who needs a happy song as a favourite? Second, it's angry and menacing, and this brings it closer to 'rock'. Third and most important , it's simply beautifully constructed, and the harmonies on the refrain 'you would never break the chain But that's just me talking.
I might change my mind tomorrow. Enough of that. I hate talking about great albums. An album is only worth reviewing when it has some bad sides and some good ones. A great album is like a smooth rock - there's just nothing to put your foot into. In compensation, I might only say that, great or not, I don't listen to Rumours that much - after all, it's nothing but a power pop album. It might have 'a little bit of real emotion', but there's too few real substance in it for me to induce it into my Top 20 or something.
In other words: It sure is worth a listen, dammit! Have you listened to Rumours a hundred times already? What are you waiting for? Go and get your money's worth! A tasteful record indeed, and very close to Rumours, but there are just too many songs Best song: The worst thing about this record is the length. It's a well-known fact that short songs usually make for a better single album than long ones. However, stuffing a double album with twenty short songs can prove to be a real pain.
Of course, the Beatles pulled it off not counting 'Revolution 9' , but both the Stones and the Who failed at the attempt Exile On Main Street is patchy, while Tommy is marred by the 'Underture'. And if even for the giants of rock and roll the task proved to be a truly difficult one, then what can be said about Fleetwood Mac - a band with quite a lot of verve but far less substantial? These twenty songs are mostly good, and some of the material ain't any worse than on Rumours , but the length drags it down, and rare were those moments when I was able to sit through the entire piece in one sitting Showing of 9 reviews.
Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. Great music. Very pleased with purchase. Just had to buy this track after hearing it at a friends! I love to listen to it on my playlist! Love it. This track is brilliant. Moody, full of soul and will take you back to a moment in your life for sure. Possibly my favourite track of all time I can die happy!!
I've loved this song since I first heard it over 40 years ago and its influence on me has inspired me to try and become a blues player for as long as I can remember. See all 9 reviews. Customers who bought this item also bought. Man Of The World. Unlimited One-Day Delivery and more. There's a problem loading this menu at the moment. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Back to top. Get to Know Us.
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