Fleetwood Mac

18 Mar


Apologies for absence of posts this month…. I’ve spent the first half of March trying to get those less-than-wonderful folks at AOL  to explain why I have not had broadband connectivity!  After waiting ten days for an engineer (who claimed it was a phone exchange fault), it was only when assured by the exchange that it wasn’t that someone in a call centre somewhere in the Indian subcontinent took the responsibility for sorting the matter out.   To him, my thanks but to the wretched company’s awful systems and even worse engineers, a loud raspberry!

Anyway, its good to be back on line. I did have limited connectivity via my phone and the nasty touchscreen of an i-pad but to be honest, doing anything more than emails or tweets requires a proper full-size keyboard!

So, to celebrate being back on line, I bring you reflections on Fleetwood Mac‘s 1975 album of the same name which was the first of theirs I bought.

Although I knew them from the singles ‘Albatross’ and ‘Green Manalishi’ I had been too young to really appreciate the Peter Green-era  blues band incarnation of the late 1960s and by the time I’d got into music, they were a respected but slightly-faded outfit.

What made me buy this album shortly after it came out was a bargain-bin copy of “Say You Love Me” (one of several singles which didn’t chart in the UK) and the fact that they had two women singers (Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks). Now back in the seventies this was even more unusual than it is today but there was another US band of the time (called Heart) and I’d been unsure about whether I should buy their album, ‘Dreamboat Annie’) and it was really only the fact that Fleetwood Mac were 60% British that tipped the balance.

I’m really glad I did though!

I was possibly the only person in my school to buy this album soon after it appeared, but once it had been taped, it spent quite a lot of time out on loan to friends!  Indeed, it was one of those moments when I was ahead of the curve – certainly when  ‘Rumors’  appeared in 1977, I had made a lot of folk aware of Fleetwood Mac – but, honestly, by then we were also into punk rock. When punk happened, most of us didn’t sit on one or other side of a fence, we just said “yeah, I like this from the Ramones, that from Pink Floyd and the other from Cockney Rebel and adjusted our hairstyles and clothes accordingly rather than  jumping entirely into one or other subculture! (A few years earlier my cohort had been defined by its preference for Slade or T-Rex (or vice versa)).

Whatever.’ Fleetwood Mac’ is a great record – and I prefer it over ‘Rumors’ because the sound is fresher. The dominant songwriter is Christine McVie although the Californian wing of the band (Nicks and Buckingham) make an equal contribution. ‘Say You Love Me’ remains one of my ‘shoulda been a hit’ contenders from McVie but Nicks’ ‘Rhiannon’ must keep the wolf from her door in terms of composers’ royalties as does Buckingham’s ‘Monday Morning’.

This is one of my favourite pop-rock collections and was something of a paradigm-shifter. For, me the grafting of a Californian soft-rock duo onto an English blues band was a really interesting experiment and unexpected. I liked the follow-up (‘Rumors’) too but never maintained my interest in the band – other stuff alaways seemed to be  more interesting. But for a while , Fleetwood Mac were great!


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