September 18

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday everybody!

For today’s selection we will delve into the Stevie Nicks solo Pantheon with her second album The Wild Heart:

This record has a couple of FM radio hits on it including If Anyone Falls and Stand Back. And also as another duet with Tom Petty called I Will Run To You.

But, what I was more interested in was the filler between these hit songs on the album, is this album anything special to listen to outside these hits?

A little background, this record was released in June of 1983. That placed it just after the Fleetwood Mac Mirage record and also after Nicks’ super breakout solo record Bella Donna:

Now, Bella Donna was a number one record with several notable hit songs. It was also almost completely written or co-written by Nicks herself.

The Wild Heart follows suit with six of the 10 tracks written by Nicks. It’s also notable for its inclusion of many famous guest artists including Tom Petty, Prince, the Heartbreakers and members of Toto and The Eagles.

What I’ll say about this record, apart from the songs that everybody knows, is it sounds like Fleetwood Mac would sound without Lindsey Buckingham’s odd influence. It’s not bad, it’s not great. It’s not Behind The Mask, it’s just… an OK soft rock record.

The non-hit stand out tracks were Sable On Blonde, which included Mick Fleetwood, and the final track Beauty And The Beast which my wife liked it very much.

August 28

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday!

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve FMF’ed all of my proper FM records. I’ve still got to find a few (Tango in the Night and The Dance) of the modern FM records, will probable pass on the live stuff, and need to jump all the way back to the Peter Green FM to fill out The Collection… someday.

So, on to the solo stuff I’ve managed to collect.

I thought, as a counterpoint to yesterday’s blog about Graceland, that I’d check out the 1981 album The Visitor from Mick Fleetwood:

Whereas Graceland used township jive (and tex-mex, and zydeco) as the foundation of a pop album, The Visitor mainly uses pop as the foundation and adds non-western traditional music as an instrument or a sideman in the band.

There’s a Buddy Holly song on here for crissake!

Not that that is a bad thing, the record is well recorded and, being produced in that golden age after digital but before CD, sounds amazing. Two FM songs are covered, Rattlesnake Shake from the Peter Green era and Walk a Thin Line from Tusk. As a matter of fact, Peter Green sings and plays guitar on Rattlesnake Shake (marking my only recorded evidence that Peter Green actually exists) while Lindsay Buckingham and George Harrison are both credited on Walk a Thin Line.

The album’s gems, much like Graceland, are in the more collaborative efforts; particularly the title track and Amelle (Come on Show Me Your Heart).

August 14

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday!

Today’s selection is the eponymous Fleetwood Mac:

…no, no! Not THAT eponymous Fleetwood Mac, the other one:

…1975s release that first featured Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks
with the band.

Although they had no way to know this in 1975, these guys were on the
verge of super-stardom…

The band had relocated to L.A. the year before to better manage their
affairs. After their previous album, Heroes Are Hard to Find, and an
associated tour, guitarist Bob Welch decided to leave the band for
greener pastures. Fleetwood, in search of a replacement, heard the
Buckingham Nicks record and determined to hire Buckingham to replace
Welch. Buckingham wouldn’t come without Nicks, which seems crazy cause
they were both still holding down day jobs to stay afloat. But it
finally came together and the 10th iteration of the band was born.

Fleetwood Mac was not an immediate success, but the band toured hard and
people took notice. After a year-and-a-half, the record reached #1 on
the U.S. charts.

It’s a good record. I think of it as a companion to Rumors, as they
sound similar to my ear. Many of the Buckingham Nicks era tunes landed
here and the gel between that duo and Christine McVie feels right.

August 7

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday! Today’s selection is the uninspired, post-Lindsey Buckingham 1990 release Behind The Mask:

Buckingham’s replacements, Rick Vito (who played with almost everybody in the 70s and 80s) and Billy Burnette (whom I detailed on my May 27 post here) are songwriters too, not just hired guns to fill in for Buckingham on guitar. As such they do contribute to the overall sound and feel of Behind The Mask which is as different from the Rumors era FM as Bare Trees was to the Peter Green Era.

I love this band and don’t want to crap all over this record. I’ll just say that Buckingham’s fingerprints are missed. His solo work of this era was a mixed bag too, so maybe there about being one of the biggest bands of all time that can skew your perspective.

Here’s a horrible video of Christine McVie singing the only single from the album, Save Me:

July 31

Fleetwood Mac Friday! Yeah!

Today we listened to 1979s double album, extravaganza… Fleetwood Mac ‎– Tusk:

Look, I don’t want to crap all over this record… I’m a FM fan, for crisakes! But it’s hard to look at the great Fleetwood Mac record from 1975 and the even greater Rumors from 1977 and see this follow-up as anything but an overindulgent effort from a power-hungry Lindsay Buckingham.

Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the band followed suit! I mean, just look at the over-the-top packaging… a double album, with a sleeve-inside-sleeve-inside a jacket! The most egregious example of self-worship is the record 1 side 1 sleeve showing a photo of the band… Buckingham looks like a made-up/embalmed Pharaoh while Fleetwood looks like the love child of Robert Plant and Tommy James:

Even so, this album produced two top 10 singles, the title track and the Nicks penned Sara:

There are several other decent McVie and Nicks tunes on this LP, and quite a few weird Buckingham tunes as well. The real beauty of this record is the realization that even an uber-expensive, no-holds-barred, aggrandizeation like Tusk couldn’t contain Buckingham or Nicks.

July 17

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday! Today’s mistimed selection was 1972s Bare Trees:

I say mistimed because the feel of this record was more November than
August.

I know, I know… it ain’t August yet, but here in the Inland Northwest
of the U.S., you’d have to forgive the mistake.

June 2015 was the hottest ever June in the region and July has been
above normal as well. Not only hot, but we’ve been dry as well… nearly
all of Washington State is regarded as in “Severe Drought”:

So, maybe it was a good idea to stare at this album cover and think cold thoughts while listening?

I got this record used on Record Store Day, so it’s been hanging around
since then waiting for a spin. I’d heard two songs from this record
previously; Sentimental Lady (but just the Bob Welch version from French
Kiss
) and Christine McVie’s Spare Me a Little of Your Love, which I
thought was a Buckingham/Nicks era FM tune…

Here on Bare Trees, Danny Kirwan holds down the bulk of the content with
McVie and Welch credited with two songs each. On second thought,
two of the four Kirwan songs are (mainly) instrumentals, so
songwriter-wise it pretty well balances out. On third thought the Kirwan tune Dust has lyrics based on an existing poem… who can keep track?!?

Anyway, this was the last we’d hear from Kirwan in FM, he’d go on to
release three solo records.

Bare Trees went platinum 16 years after it was released, and I figured
it was the most popular from this period of the band… I’ve even seen
MoFi versions and half speed master versions of it. It was easy to
listen to, but nothing to really get you up and rocking… enjoyable but
mellow. Cool. Perfect for a too hot August-not-August morning!

June 26

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday again everybody! Today’s FMF nearly took a back seat to some other, undefined, selection due to the monumental news that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided that the right to marry the person you love, even if you are an Adam and he is a Steve, or you are an Eve and she is an Addison, is universal!

Hurrah!

We looked at our FM options and decoded on to select the 1973 release Mystery To Me:

First off, I’ve owned this record for 30+ years and don’t recall ever actually listening to the thing. Second, the reason we chose this album over any other FM record was because it included the song Good Things (Come to Those Who Wait) on side B… seemed like a fitting song title for the event. (More on that later.)

Prepping this record for action the question that most often comes up is: what the fuck is up with that cover art! A crying baboon eating a cake (and a book, apparently) on a beach adorns the front cover… a barefoot sage, sitting on a cement book, one hand on the dictionary, the other giving the Italian hand gesture for “be afraid”… and there’s that penguin again!

The cover art (I just can’t get over it) was credited to “Modula” who the Google machine has little to say about. The cover made several “worst of” lists, but that’s for another blog.

The only song that could be considered a “hit” on this record is the Bob Welch flagship Hypnotized:

But the bulk of this album was really a Christine McVie/Bob Welch collaboration with a bit of Bob Weston thrown in for good measure (specifically the beautiful slide guitar at the opening of the final track, McVie’s Why).

When we got to side B track 5 (listed on the sleeve and on the lyrics sheet as Good Things (Come to Those Who Wait) we were surprised that a Yardbirds cover, For Your Love, came out of the speakers!

Seems the inclusion of For Your Love and the exclusion of Good Things (Come to Those Who Wait) was a late decision and I’m lucky enough to have an early pressing that advertises the latter.

But, in honor of SCOTUS, I’ve pulled this one random line out of the song Believe Me:

In this crazy world we’re in

Is it really such a sin to love you?

I’m talking to you Antonin Scalia (blows a kiss).

June 19

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday! my ongoing weekly exploration of my (expanding) FM collection on vinyl.

I was spurred on to collect the “transitional” FM albums by the writings of Mr. Vinyl Connection and have been slowly assembling the post-Peter Green/pre-Buckingham/Nicks records.

Today’s selection 1970s Kiln House:

I found this unlikely survivor in a dusty and water warped box of vinyl used as storage for a small town antique store. Amazingly, I was able to salvage a dozen or so records from under the layers of debris without contracting a virus from the accumulated mouse poo.

This record cleaned up better than expected to VG+.

This would be the first FM record I’d listen to without a familiar FM voice (Buckingham/Nicks/McVie) on lead vocal (although you can pick out some background McVie vocals on some tracks). I can’t recall ever hearing any of the songs off of Kiln House before… FM AOR rock stations, satellite radio or Pandora.

The record opens with a Jeremy Spencer song This Is the Rock and a Danny Kirwan song Station Man that both sounded vaguely Grateful Dead-ish to me. Then the Spencer tune Blood On The Floor really got me scratching my head!

Blood On The Floor was… unexpected. Being completely unfamiliar with Spencer’s previous work and style, was this for real? The song sounded like a parody of a Jonny Cash killin’ song or a send up of The Byrds – Sweetheart Of The Rodeo.

I still couldn’t quite wrap my head around where this band was coming from until the end of side one when the Danny Kirwan song Jewel-Eyed Judy:

How had I never heard this song before!?! This is my kind of classic rock and I absolutely love this song!

Side two consists of a couple more Spencer tunes (including a Buddy Holly tribute credited to that rock and roll icon’s mother) two more Kirwan tunes (including the instrumental Earl Gray) and the final track called Mission Bell, where I could most clearly hear McVie’s backing vocal.

For me, Jewel-Eyed Judy alone is worth the cost of owning this record. Otherwise, for all its unbalanced flaws, there are an equal number of gems, oddballs and highlights.

June 12

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday!

Today’s discovery was the Penguin Album, the band’s 7th:

I say “discovery” because I’ve started to delve into the post- Peter Green, pre-Buckingham/Nicks era of the band… with which I am only a tad bit familiar. I own a couple of these, and am searching for the others. My interest in the pre-B/N band was, in part, sparked by the fact that my first ever concert experience included a set by Bob Welch who was touring in support of his record French Kiss (more on that later with a blog to follow).

This VG+ copy of Penguin came from the local record store Groove Merchants. It’s the only FM album to feature vocalist Dave Walker, who sang the Holland/Dozier standard Roadrunner and penned and sung the opening track on side two, The Derelict.

It also introduces us to guitarist Bob Weston, who contributed the final instrumental to side two, Caught in the Rain.

But, this is a Christine McVie and Bob Welch album, with six of the nine tracks credited to one or both of them (although Weston’s harmony vocals are key on reggae tinged Welch/McVie tune Did You Ever Love Me). The Fleetwood Mac blues rock is a thing of the past.

This album had no charted singles, but was a top 50 album… their best to date. I have no idea what the penguin is all about, but the temperature here was ~25 degrees above average yesterday and today it’s back near seasonal norms, so I’ll give Penguin credit.

It’s been just over three years since Bob Welch took his own life, June 7, 2012. R.I.P. Bob. Thanks for a great first concert.

January 18

#1 my favorite gal, #2, my favorite place, #3 my favorite scotch and #4 one of my favorite albums. I’ve been asked “what is your favorite band/album?” more times than I can count. It’s a mechanism for music lovers to find common ground. Trouble is, that ground can be quicksand! My favorite band? Easy question, the Beatles, hands down… unless I’m in a Led Zeppelin mood at the moment, or… wait! What about Miles Davis or Michael Hedges or Ani DiFranco???

One album that I constantly return to is Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. FMacRumours The record came out in 1977, and my memory of it is centered on one day in the summer of 1978 in Lewiston, Idaho. My parents had taken over the management of Hell’s Gate Marina on the Snake River. I was tasked with mowing the lawn, emptying garbage cans and, occasionally, minding the convenience store and gas pump at the marina. I was alone in the store when a small runabout came into the marina to get gas, ice and beer. There were four or five people in the boat, but there was one girl, twice my age I’m sure, wearing a “hippy” summer dress that got out of the boat on the dock and danced… twirled, carefree, smiling to this music! There was an 8-Track player in the boat and a couple of Kraco speakers. They never turned the music off and this girl danced! I had never seen such a happy person and I had to know, what the hell was that music?!? kraco I have several versions of this LP. This is my most recent addition… it is a Nautilus “Super Discs” version, which means it was a half speed master on superior and heavy virgin vinyl. The jury is still out on whether or not these “masters” are worth the additional cost, but, when this copy showed up at local record store Recorded Memories, I fell hook, line and sinker… rumors_scotch Yup, that’s $44.50 I paid for a used record. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for an LP in my life. I decided that if I was truly going to live this vinyl lifestyle for a whole year I needed to invest in my foundation in order to keep the whole house of cards from collapsing. I do have a pretty decent collection of Beatles and Bob Dylan vinyl, but am looking to build up the other pillars of my musical fortress… the Police, U2, Dire Straits, the Clash. Led Zeppelin has just re-re-re-released some of their records on vinyl and those are definitely on the want list. I picked this Rumors album up a few weeks ago. It has been sitting in the basement waiting for a time the my wife (also a big fan of the record) and I could devote some time together to listen to the thing. Tonight was that night. First, my wife was down with the idea (#1, check), we could hunker down in the basement… fire roaring, cocktails in hand and relax (#2, check), I had just enough Lagavulin 16 for the ~40 minute play time, (#3 check) and I had a clean copy of Rumors (#4 check). The album is fantastic! Is it because of the Nautilus “Super Discs” version? I don’t know and, really, I don’t care. There were a few pops and crackles (more than my pristine copy of Magical Mystery Tour) but way less than any of the other several copies of Rumors I own. In fact, the sound stage presented on this album was not only wide but deep. I could perceive, on some tracks, notably on Dreams on side one and The Chain on side two, the position of the drums in the front, the bass and guitar in the middle and some of the vocals behind, but mixed to the front dynamically. I’ll need to do a side by side comp of the normal vinyl LPs I have to the Super Disc to make a better assessment. There are a few extenuating circumstances for me to not do so tonight: lagavulin