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Fleetwood Mac Reissues: Time to Upgrade < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Fleetwood Mac Reissues: Time to Upgrade
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From Associated Content:

Fleetwood Mac is one of those groups that you probably first bought on vinyl; then upgraded to cassette tapes. You have probably even made the leap and paid out for at least Rumours and their Greatest Hits on CD. But now, Warner Bros has simultaneously reissued their seminal albums the self-titled Fleetwood Mac, Rumours and Tusk have been reissued on cd with supped up sound and loads of extras. Record companies are increasingly fond of this practice and why not get as much mileage as possible out of a classic catalogue title. Some reissues are well done and are truly worth the re-buy - others are merely a cash ploy. So, what category do the new Fleetwood Mac discs fall into? Read the following guide and decide if you want throw out the old and shell out for the new.

Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac Originally released in 1975, this was the album that moved the band away from their roots as a blues band and turned them into soft-rock superstars. It also introduced the band’s two newest members - Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. This album, also known in fan circles as the white album, contains Mac classics “Rhiannon”, “Landslide”, “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me”. The remastered sound is beyond compare here. Fleetwood Mac, via their studio wizard Lindsey Buckingham, would only become more intricate  in the production of their work as time went on, but you can hear the beginnings on Fleetwood Mac. The shimmering harmonies of Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie are once again restored to crystal clarity instead of the muddy mix you’ll hear on the original releases. The famous opening riff of “Rhiannon” is restored to it’s original glory, but also give a listen to the intricacies of John McVie’s bass line and Mick Fleetwood’s solid shuffling drum beats. The extras on this single disc are a little skimpy compared to the other re-releases. There are the single edits of “Rhiannon”, “Say You Love Me” and “Over Your Head” which don’t vary too terribly from the original album releases. If you were around when these tunes first hit and conquered radio, you still might think these have been a little overplayed. The gems on this disc for fans are two previously unissued tracks - a single version of the lesser known “Blue Letter” and Jam #2, which proves that the band's greatness is not all studio magic - these people really do know how to play. Verdict: Worthwhile upgrade for fans only.

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours Rumours is the crown jewel in the Fleetwood Mac cannon and is still one of the best-selling albums of all time. If you haven’t heard “Dreams”, “Don’t Stop”, “Go Your Own Way” and “You Make Loving Fun” then you live under a rock. That’s how popular these singles were and still are. What is even more incredible then the large number of singles, is that every track on the album really is a masterpiece. This was the album that firmly established the high-production level that would become a staple of all Mac releases. Happily, the Rumours reissue is a fully-loaded two disc set that is truly fitting of the original’s greatness. Disc one is the remastered original edition with one change. The heart-breaking love song “Silver Springs” that would become a hit for the band in 1997 has finally been given a place on Rumours. The song was originally recorded for this album, but was nixed at the last moment due to the space constraints of the original vinyl issue. “Silver Springs” and the other tracks are brilliantly restored to the point where you can almost imagine yourself sitting in the studio with the band. The second disc is an absolute dream for Fleetwood Mac fans. The original liner note and famous album artwork have finally been included with a CD. There are rough versions and outtakes of almost every song. The stripped down cut of “Dreams” features a great vocal from Stevie Nicks. You’ll also hear the band members talking with each other in the studio working on the tracks. Perhaps most amazingly, the super group have also managed to unearth some of the early Rumours demos - including three songs that didn’t make the album. One of the songs, “Planets of the Universe” would end up on a Stevie Nicks solo album decades later, but this version, overflowing with passionate intensity is still the best.Verdict: Upgrade immediately!  A copy of Rumours should be included in every CD collection so why not have the best version. 

Fleetwood Mac - Tusk Tusk is usually considered to be the red-headed step child of the band’s long recording career. This misfit album took notoriously long to record and had the misfortune of following in the footsteps of the multi-million-selling Rumours. Granted the band (or at least Lindsey Buckingham) deliberately set out to record something vastly different than their hit album however, no one was quite prepared for the epic experimental album that was Tusk. Both passionately admired and stonily shunned at the time, this record has intrigued for over two decades. Perhaps the truth about Tusk can be found in the reissue. The esoteric Buckingham tracks seem to finally have a place in our post-punk world. The rawness of the bizarre track “Tusk” with it’s accompanying marching band is left sufficiently intact. The Christine McVie tunes sparkle as usual and Stevie Nicks sounds more grounded and focused here than ever before. It’s undisputable that Tusk is less radio friendly than Rumours, but if you want to hear a top band working at the very peek of their craft then take some time and cruise through the second disc of extras. Take for example the Stevie Nicks-penned tune “Sara”. The original demo included on the second disc is over eight minutes in length and , when compared to the much shorter album version, you can hear how the band took a lot of raw material and pared it down to discover a diamond underneath. Heads up to hardcore fans - this demo version of “Sara” contains Stevie's spoken “cleaning lady” intro. The bonus disc is 21 tracks total and everyone is like an advanced class in musicology and studio engineering. Also worth having here is the original record’s trippy artwork along with tons of photos of the band. Verdict: Upgrade is a must have for serious audiophiles and Mac fans, but if the track “Sara” was the only reason you bought this album in the first place, then keep on spinning your original disc. The Fleetwood Mac catalogue is one that is worthy of remastering and maintaining the highest audio quality for the sake of pop music history if nothing else. The big Mac are also lucky that their fans come in many different ages and levels of devotion so no matter what you’re looking for in terms of audio quality or extras, there’s sure to be a Fleetwood Mac disc that’s perfect for you. With the reissues of the band’s first three albums, Fleetwood Mac have truly offered their fans a treat.


Date: 2005-08-31         Number of views: 2198

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