Categories
Rumours (1977) Rumours Deluxe (2019)

Another Rumours deluxe set coming this fall

Rhino/Warner Bros. Records will be reissuing another deluxe edition of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours to coincide with the band’s remaining 2019 North American tour dates. The latest 4CD package, out October 25, compiles tracks from the previously released 2004 and 2013 reissues of the album. The package is a slimmed-down version of the 6-disc set released in 2013, less The Rosebud Film DVD and Rumours LP.

The deluxe edition can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Disc 1 – 2004 Remastered Album
1. Second Hand News
2. Dreams
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Don’t Stop
5. Go Your Own Way 
6. Songbird
7. The Chain
8. You Make Loving Fun
9. I Don’t Want to Know
10. Oh Daddy
11. Gold Dust Woman
12. Silver Springs

Disc 2 – Live (2013 Remaster)
1. Intro (Live 1977)
2. Monday Morning (Live at The Fabulous Forum, Inglewood, CA 08/29/77)
3. Dreams (Live 1977)
4. Don’t Stop (Live 1977)
5. The Chain (Live 1977)
6. Oh Daddy (Live 1977)
7. Rhiannon (Live 1977)
8. Never Going Back Again (Live 1977)
9. Gold Dust Woman (Live 1977)
10. World Turning (Live at The Fabulous Forum, Inglewood, CA 08/29/77)
11. Go Your Own Way (Live 1977)
12. Songbird (Live 1977)

Disc 3 – Early Takes (2013 Remaster)
1. Second Hand News (Early Take)
2. Dreams (Take 2)
3. Never Going Back Again (Acoustic Duet)
4. Go Your Own Way (Early Take)
5. Songbird (Demo)
6. Songbird (Instrumental, Take 10)
7. I Don’t Want to Know (Early Take)
8. Keep Me There (Instrumental) [2013 Remaster]
9. The Chain (Demo)
10. Keep Me There (2013 Remaster)
11. Gold Dust Woman (Early Take) [2013 Remaster]
12. Oh Daddy (Early Take)
13. Silver Springs (Early Take)
14. Planets of the Universe (Demo) [2013 Remaster]
15. Doesn’t Anything Last (Acoustic Duet) [2013 Remaster]
16. Never Going Back Again (Instrumental)

Disc 4 – Sessions, Roughs & Outtakes (2004 Remaster)
1. Second Hand News
2. Dreams
3. Brushes (Never Going Back Again)
4. Don’t Stop
5. Go Your Own Way
6. Songbird
7. Silver Springs
8. You Make Loving Fun
9. Gold Dust Woman #1
10. Oh Daddy
11. Think About It
12. Never Going Back Again (Early Demo)
13. Planets of the Universe (Early Demo)
14. Butter Cookie (Keep Me There)
15. Gold Dust Woman (Early Demo)
16. Doesn’t Anything Last (Early Demo)
17. Mic the Screecher (Jam Sessions)
18. For Duster (The Blues) (Jam Sessions)

Categories
Fleetwood Mac (1975)

Hear an early version of ‘Monday Morning’

Fleetwood Mac has shared another rare track from its upcoming Fleetwood Mac reissue, an early version of the jaunty “Monday Morning.” The early take sounds a bit slower than the final recording and doesn’t have Stevie Nicks’ signature harmonies, but the track highlights Mick Fleetwood’s spirited drumming and includes a few playful ad-libs from Lindsey Buckingham.

Here’s Billboard Magazine’s review of the track:

As the opening track on 1975’s five-times-platinum Fleetwood Mac album, “Monday Morning” was the first thing most fans heard from the new incarnation of the band after Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined. But the song also revealed a new Buckingham. You can listen to an exclusive early take of the song, from the upcoming Fleetwood Mac deluxe edition, below.

The singer-guitarist and his then-girlfriend Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac at the recommendation of co-producer Keith Olsen, after releasing their own Buckingham Nicks album. And Buckingham freely acknowledges that becoming part of a group required him to adjust his approach to music.

“If you go all the way back to before Stevie and I joined Fleetwood Mac, the application of guitar was a lot more prevalent in the whole scheme of the space that was taken and the work that was done by a particular instrument,” Buckingham, who wrote the buoyant, surging “Monday Morning” for a second Buckingham Nicks album, told Billboard previously. “I wasn’t even sure what my role was gonna be at that point; Obviously it was kind of a lesson in adaptation for me, and maybe giving up on certain things and concentrating on other things which were maybe strengths for the good of the band. So part of the exercise of joining Fleetwood Mac was adapting down to not only fit a sound, but I had to get off the guitar I was using and get on to a Les Paul. Their sound was very fat, and the nature of the playing with Christine (McVie) and John (McVie), there was a lot of space taken, so you had to sort of take what was left and fit into it.”

He clearly figured it out. Fleetwood Mac (aka The White Album) was the veteran group’s most successful to that point, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 during the summer of 1976 and spawning three Hot 100 top 20 hits in “Over My Head,” “Rhiannon” and “Say You Love Me.” It also established a new creative partnership between Buckingham and Christine McVie — directly via their co-write of the track “World Turning” but also with Buckingham as a sounding board for McVie’s other songs, a relationship that came to full fruition with last year’s Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie duo album.

“It just came from this chemistry that I can’t really analyze,” explained Buckingham. “I remember being in rehearsals with Christine and the rest of the band before we cut that first album and we were running down song ideas. But it was so clear that right away that Christine and I had this thing. She was just really looking for direction. She was open to me taking liberties with her songs. So early on, that was probably the first thing that hit me about being in Fleetwood Mac was being extremely aware that I had something to contribute to Christine’s songs as a producer and possibly as a co-writer.

“I think we just have this mutual respect as musicians and as artists. We’re both really grounded in our craft, and I think in the same way she’s filled in the middle ground between one pole and another pole that Stevie and I might represent, you know, on the right and the left, I think that when you make it just the two of us it’s that thing. It sort of naturally unites.”

The Fleetwood Mac: Deluxe Edition comes out Jan. 19 in a variety of formats, the expanded editions including more unreleased early takes and live tracks. The band, meanwhile, is expected to be touring during the coming year, though Buckingham also has a solo album that’s due out this year. “I think the earliest anyone expected to be back on the road with Fleetwood Mac might’ve been spring of 2018,” Buckingham said last year. “Stevie, my understanding is that she’s all ready. I’ve got this solo album; I’m the one who’s holding it up. But, you know, that’s typical for us. There’s a lot of moving parts so, you know, you gotta wait for everyone to be ready.”

Gary Graff / Billboard / Thursday, January 11, 2018

Categories
Fleetwood Mac (1975)

Hear Early Version of ‘Landslide’ from upcoming deluxe reissue

Fleetwood Mac has released an early version of “Landslide” from the forthcoming deluxe reissue of Fleetwood Mac (1975). The early version features a different vocal from Stevie Nicks with simple guitar work from Lindsey Buckingham, much like how it’s performed today onstage.

Fleetwood Mac Deluxe will be released on Friday, January 19 and can be pre-ordered now.

Categories
Mirage (1982)

LISTEN: Mirage Deluxe Edition

Here are selected outtakes and live tracks from Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage (Deluxe Edition), released on Friday, September 23.

Where to buy Mirage (Deluxe Edition):

Live at The Forum, Los Angeles

Categories
Album Reviews Article Mirage (1982) Mirage - Deluxe & Expanded Editions (2016)

REVIEW: Mirage (Expanded Reissue)

Fleetwood Mac
Mirage (Expanded Reissue)
(Warner Brothers/Rhino)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Often considered the belated follow-up to 1977’s mega platinum Rumours, 1982’s Mirage was a clear retreat from the somewhat abrasive, occasionally commercial avant-pop of the controversial Tusk. While that album has, over the decades, come to be respected as Lindsey Buckingham’s creative zenith, it appears Warner Brothers was less enthusiastic about their star act’s detour into the artsy abyss. Perhaps Mac were tired of it themselves, because the slick, glossily produced Mirage seems a capitulation to an audience who might have found the dense, inconsistent, but bold Tusk a musical and drug-fueled bridge too far.

While Mirage was no Rumours, its dozen sophisticated pop songs include such near-classics as “Love in Store,” “Gypsy,” and “Hold Me,” the latter two appearing on most subsequent Mac hits packages. But there are other, often unappreciated gems here too. Selections such as Buckingham’s folksy “Can’t Go Back,” Stevie Nicks’ surprisingly effective foray into country “That’s Alright,” the frisky pop/rock and sumptuous harmonies of “The Eyes of the World” and the closing “Wish You Were Here,” one of the always dependable Christine McVie’s more affecting and least appreciated pieces, are well worth reexamining.

It’s not a great album but it’s a good one, especially for Mac’s avid pop fans, and ripe for rediscovery on this newly remastered and expanded edition. A second disc with 20 previously unreleased rarities includes early, stripped down demos, alternate arrangements and outtakes of nearly every tune, plus some that didn’t make the final cut, and is well worth the price of admission. The no-frills versions are a welcome contrast to the finished product’s often over-produced slickness, and such oddities as a four minute in-studio jam on drummer Sandy Nelson’s 1959 instrumental “Teen Beat” with Buckingham at his most frazzled and unhinged is a major find.

But the real excitement is relegated to the pricey “deluxe” package that includes not only a 5.1 surround audio-only DVD of the album and a remastered vinyl reproduction, but a live show from the ‘82 Mirage tour. This 74-minute concert catches the band on a particularly inspired and improvisation filled night in LA as Mirage was ensconced atop the Billboard charts. It kicks off with a propulsive seven-minute “The Chain” that smokes the studio take into oblivion and features extended performances of two Tusk tracks with a nearly 10-minute “Not That Funny” along with another 8 minutes of “Sisters of the Moon,” closing with an unplugged emotional “Songbird” all in front of a clearly engaged audience.

Whether that’s worth dropping nearly $90 is up to you, but this is an invigorating presentation. It captures these five musicians (before they added an unnecessary backline to bolster the live sound) bouncing energy off each other and feeding from the crowd with exhilarating results.

Hal Horowitz / American Songwriter / Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Categories
Mirage (1982)

VIDEO: Take a closer look at Mirage Deluxe

Fleetwood Mac has released a new preview video for Mirage Deluxe. The 40-second clip shows the 4 CDs, vinyl album, liner notes, and photographs included in the expanded set. Mirage will be reissued on Friday, September 23.

[jwplayer mediaid=”374631″]

Categories
Mirage (1982)

Deluxe Mirage out July 29

UPDATE: The Mirage reissue has been bumped to September 23.

Fleetwood Mac
David Montgomery / Getty Images

Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album Mirage gets the deluxe treatment on July 29. Warner Bros. Records has planned an elaborate release for the multiple-platinum album — which includes the DVD-Audio mix, studio outtakes, Fleetwood Mac’s October 1982 Los Angeles Forum show, and the fully remastered Mirage album on CD and vinyl.

Mirage (Deluxe) (3CD/1LP/DVD): http://amzn.to/1shgBCa
Mirage (Expanded) (2CD): http://amzn.to/1R0dt1r
Mirage (Remastered) (CD): http://amzn.to/1T8FDd7

1982-fmFLEETWOOD MAC – Mirage (Deluxe Edition) (3 CD, 1 DVD, 1 LP)

LABEL: Rhino
RELEASE: July 29, 2016

Fleetwood Mac’s streak of five consecutive multi-platinum albums began in the 70’s and continued in 1982 with Mirage. During the summer of 1982, MIRAGE topped the album chart and added to the band s already impressive canon of hits.

Available on July 29, this new deluxe edition expands on the original album with newly remastered sound, a second disc that has 19 tracks dedicated entirely to outtakes and rarities, as well as the stories and pictures behind the album.

Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks screen capAmong the unreleased gems are early versions of several album tracks along with outtakes for songs that didn t make it to the album. There is also an unreleased cover of the Fats Domino classic Blue Monday, as well as the rare, extended mix for Gypsy that was used in the music video.

Exclusive to the deluxe edition of MIRAGE is a third disc that has more than a dozen live performances recorded in Los Angeles during Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 U.S. tour.

The DVD-Audio disc contains both the 5.1 Surround and 24/96 Stereo Audio mixes of the original album. The set also includes a vinyl copy of MIRAGE. Set includes 3 CDs, 1 DVD, 1 LP: Original album remastered, b-sides and rarities; live performances; a 5.1 mix on DVD; and the original album on LP.

1982-gypsy-video-screen-capAbout Mirage

Fleetwood Mac’s 13th studio album Mirage was released on June 29, 1982. On August 7, the album reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 Albums chart, remaining in the top position for five weeks through the week of September 4. The album’s lead single “Hold Me” was the band’s first Top 10 single since “Sara” (No. 7) from Tusk (1979), reaching No. 4 during the summer of 1982. The album’s momentum continued with the release of the next two singles “Gypsy” (No. 12) and “Love in Store” (No. 22). Heavy MTV rotation of the music videos for “Hold Me” and “Gypsy” contributed to the album’s popularity.

In 1983, Fleetwood Mac received two American Music Awards nominations for Best Pop/Rock Group and Best Pop/Rock Album. In 1984, the RIAA certified Mirage double platinum for the shipment of two million units to retailers.

Fleetwood Mac Hold Me single coverCD 1:
1. Love In Store (2016 Remastered)
2. Can’t Go Back (2016 Remastered)
3. That’s Alright (2016 Remastered)
4. Book of Love (2016 Remastered)
5. Gypsy (2016 Remastered)
6. Only Over You (2016 Remastered)
7. Empire State (2016 Remastered)
8. Straight Back (2016 Remastered)
9. Hold Me (2016 Remastered)
10. Oh Diane (2016 Remastered)
11. Eyes of the World (2016 Remastered)
12. Wish You Were Here (2016 Remastered)

1982-gypsy-screen-cap2-0=605x450CD 2:
1. Love In Store (Early Version)
2. Suma’s Walk aka Can’t Go Back (Outtake)
3. That’s Alright (Alternate Take)
4. Book of Love (Early Version)
5. Gypsy (Early Version)
6. Only Over You (Alternate Version)
7. Empire State (Early Version)
8. If You Were My Love (Outtake)
9. Hold Me (Early Version)
10. Oh Diane (Early Version)
11. Smile At You (Outtake)
12. Goodbye Angel (Original Outtake)
13. Eyes of the World (Alternate Early Version)
14. Straight Back (Original Vinyl Version)
15. Wish You Were Here (Alternate Version)
16. Cool Water (2016 Remastered)
17. Gypsy (Video Version) [2016 Remastered]
18. Put a Candle In the Window (Run-Through)
19. Teen Beat (Outtake) [2016 Remastered]
20. Blue Monday (Jam)

1982-sisters-of-the-moonCD 3:
1. The Chain (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
2. Gypsy (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
3. Love In Store (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982
4. Not That Funny (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
5. You Make Loving Fun (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
6. I’m So Afraid (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
7. Blue Letter (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
8. Rhiannon (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
9. Tusk (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
10. Eyes of the World (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
11. Go Your Own Way (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
12. Sisters of the Moon (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)
13. Songbird (Live at The Forum, Los Angeles, CA October 21-22, 1982)

Oh Diane single coverDVD:
5.1 Surround:

  1. Love In Store (2016 Remastered)
  2. Can’t Go Back (2016 Remastered)
  3. That’s Alright (2016 Remastered)
  4. Book of Love (2016 Remastered)
  5. Gypsy (2016 Remastered)
  6. Only Over You (2016 Remastered)
  7. Empire State (2016 Remastered)
  8. Straight Back (2016 Remastered)
  9. Hold Me (2016 Remastered)
  10. Oh Diane (2016 Remastered)
  11. Eyes of the World (2016 Remastered)
  12. Wish You Were Here (2016 Remastered)

Hold Me single cover24/96 Stereo:
13. Love In Store (2016 Remastered)
14. Can’t Go Back (2016 Remastered)
15. That’s Alright (2016 Remastered)
16. Book of Love (2016 Remastered)
17. Gypsy (2016 Remastered)
18. Only Over You (2016 Remastered)
19. Empire State (2016 Remastered)
20. Straight Back (2016 Remastered)

LP:
1. Love In Store (2016 Remastered)
2. Can’t Go Back (2016 Remastered)
3. That’s Alright (2016 Remastered)
4. Book of Love (2016 Remastered)
5. Gypsy (2016 Remastered)
6. Only Over You (2016 Remastered)
7. Empire State (2016 Remastered)
8. Straight Back (2016 Remastered)
9. Hold Me (2016 Remastered)
10. Oh Diane (2016 Remastered)
11. Eyes of the World (2016 Remastered)
12. Wish You Were Here (2016 Remastered)

Categories
Tusk (1979)

Tusk (Deluxe Edition)

Despite popular narratives, Tusk isn’t all druggy, unabashed excess. Instead, this new sets shows the record as a deeply self-conscious document, the sound of a band that didn’t rebel against success so much as it misunderstood the privilege it brings.

Tusk, Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 double album, is full of backstory. If its mega-successful predecessor Rumours had the Behind the Music-made backstories of deceit and division, Tusk (like the album itself) had several conflicting and chaotic backstories. It was the first record to cost over a million dollars. The affairs and divides of Rumours had, by 1979, grown into wider fissures between band members and, in some ways, full-on breakdown. There’s also the notion that this is the cocaine record, a product of excess and disconnection from sense.

Perhaps connecting all these stories together—or fracturing them further—is the idea that Tusk was Lindsay Buckingham’s brainchild. In the liner notes to this new Deluxe Edition of the album, Jim Irvin lays out Buckingham’s mindset post-Rumours. He didn’t want to lean back on success and make the same record again. He was also, so the essay suggests, influenced by the growing punk movement. That Irvin himself seems disingenuous about punk, referring to the movement as a “grubby breeze” and to the moderate chart success of the Ramones or the Damned as “if they were mould spores ready to discolor the musical wallpaper.” And though he sees punk and new wave as music with a “youthfully abrupt” attitude to the past, he does concede that Elvis Costello and the Clash, among others were “speedily evolving.” His attitude, colored by a clear love of the “plush delights” of Rumours, seems to echo Buckingham’s. He borrows the ethos of punk in claiming that Tusk was a “fuck you” to the business of music.

Digging into this new 5CD/DVD/2LP version of Tusk, with all its bonus tracks and liner notes and photos, suggests that Buckingham’s view of the record and its making veers us away from the notion of coke bloat. The album isn’t truly about unabashed excess. Instead, this new edition helps us to re-see the record as a deeply self-conscious document, wherein Buckingham’s turn to the Talking Heads and the Clash (influences largely absent on the actual music of Tusk) seem to suggest an any-port-in-the-storm approach to making new music. The truth, though, is that the success of Rumours was hardly a problem. Tusk suggests that Fleetwood Mac was for a moment—due to inexperience, drugs, personal rifts, whatever—unsure not of how to follow up Rumours, but of how to make any other record. The “idiocy of fame” Irvin suggests as a target for Fleetwood Mac rings as naïve even now. Buckingham’s genre-hopping was little more than diving into of-the-moment trends. Mick Fleetwood, according to liner notes, wanted to make an African record, calling it a “native record with chants and amazing percussion.” These starting points for Tusk suggest not a rejection of success, but rather a fundamental misunderstanding of the privilege it brings.

That misunderstanding bleeds into the confused album itself. But this misunderstanding, and all the other confusions that went into the record, is what makes it so fascinating to listen to. For one, Buckingham’s conceits of ambition distract from some of the album’s purest pop moments. “Sara” shimmers” on clean, crisp pianos and beautiful vocals (Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie are actually the voices that keep this record together, though their influence is undersold in the liner notes in favor of the Buckingham defiant-burdened-male-genius narrative). “Over & Over” is bittersweet, dusty country-rock. “Storms” feels both spare and dreamy, leaning on vocal harmonies and tumbling guitar phrasings. “Angel” is stripped down and lean, letting the rhythm section take over rather than Buckingham’s layering. “What Makes You Think You’re the One” is catchy, straight-on power-pop, even with the high-in-the-mix snares and Buckingham’s unruly, edged vocals (which appear plenty on the record).

There is new territory here that works, namely the shift to a focus on drums in “Tusk.” Some of the skronky and brittle guitar tones feel fresh, though they sometimes land (“I Know I’m Not Wrong”) and sometimes fail (“Ledge”). But Tusk is at its best when it merely twists the band’s sensibility into something a bit more edgy and challenging than Rumours. The out-and-out experiments—like the hazy layers of “That’s All For Everyone” and the oddball chug of “Not That Funny”—feel awkward and pretentious, as if Buckingham didn’t quite understand the trends he was immersed in. Meanwhile, other places like “Honey Hi” just pile on the too-polished layers to saccharin effect.

Hearing Tusk now, all the ambition and hand-wringing around its creation feels largely unnecessary, with Buckingham’s ambitions for the album more relevant as ways to square with success that gave far more than it took away. But absent of all that outside story, it plays like a fascinating, uneven record. It is, like so many double albums, too long, but it also pushes the band places it hadn’t gone before. That those places are still firmly rooted in their pre-existing pop aesthetic, the very thing they claim to be turning away from, adds an interesting wrinkle.

The extras here further drive home the self-conscious nature of Tusk, suggesting even more that its excesses were more tantrum than rebellion. The “Alternate Tusk” included with largely unreleased takes is a compelling listen. It definitely doubles down on the album’s eccentricities. Buckingham’s vocals are as edged and shrill as ever. An extended take of “Sara” feels more spacious and haunted than the album take. “Storms” is spare and acoustic, with layers peeled back to reveal the song’s broken-hearted center. It plays like a long shadow to “Landslide.” “Tusk” gives the synths more space than the horns, but all the notes feel 8-bit next to the drums in the mix. Overall, this version is more disjointed and odd than the album version, and certainly worth a listen. But assembled here for a massive reissue, there’s a constructed feel to it that seems canned and, like so many other things around Tusk, overwrought. Like the original version, it is fascinating both when it struts with confidence and when it trips over its own self-aggrandizing ambitions.

The singles and outtakes drive home the defensive nature of Tusk, as well as the obsessive tinkering that happened as a result. Single versions of several songs skew any discoveries back to the middle. “Think About Me” is mixed to be all vocals and drums. “Sara” gets cut to a truncated, claustrophobic four-ish minutes. Even “Not That Funny”, a bad single candidate, sounds tame when those bleating guitars get sanded down. There are some interesting versions here, especially early takes on “Storms” and “Never Make Me Cry”, but while the evolution inherent in six versions of “I Know I’m Not Wrong” seems compelling on paper, in practice none of the takes stand out.

The two discs of live performances from the Tusk tour are—surprise, surprise—both fulfilling and frustrating. For one, they put songs from Tusk alongside songs from the band’s catalog, and the fit once again suggests the fleeting nature of the ambition of this double record. But the performances themselves are often ragged, sometimes exhausted. Nicks labors through a version of “Landslide” as if she’d prefer never to sing it again. Meanwhile, for a band not interested in repeating early success, they really stretch out a bombastic performance of “Go Your Own Way.” Between exhaustion and wanking, the band does sometimes nail it, though, especially a version of “Sara” here, a solid take on “Tusk”, and a charged, scuffed-up take on “Dreams”.

Tusk is an album that is excellent—and these uneven extras add interest to it—because it seems to come from such a flawed perspective. Buckingham and company spent over a million bucks on an album supposedly influenced by punk. The band was railing against a system that paid for that record. And, in the end, those pretenses of rebellion give way to simple artistic uncertainty. Even now, this set seems unsure of which way to present the album. We get a remastered version, an alternate version, a surround-sound DVD version, and a new pressing of the record on two LPs. This edition is an expansive, if expensive, gift to fans, and worthwhile in that regard, but its presentation also reminds us that Tusk isn’t the product of a burst of creativity or a major shift in artistic vision. Rather, it’s the sound of a band that didn’t know where to go, so it went everywhere at once. If that sounds dismissive, it’s not. Beneath all the conceits and mythologies that surround this record, it’s the basic fact that it’s always reaching that makes it the strange, great record it is.

Matthew Fiander / Pop Matters / Friday, February 12, 2016

Categories
Tusk (1979)

ALBUM REVIEW: Tusk Deluxe

Tusk Deluxe EditionHad Fleetwood Mac played it safe after Rumours, they probably could have made another gajillion-selling album. Instead, they handed the reins to singer and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and allowed him to steer the follow-up to one of the 20th century’s biggest LPs to wherever he wanted (with a few detours along the way).

The result was 1979’s double-LP Tusk, a much-delayed, over-budget and sprawling masterwork that often played out like Fleetwood Mac’s version of the Beatles’ White Album: three distinct singer-songwriters hashing out their solo compositions while the rest of the group played backing band. And it was, if you believed what you read at the time, a total bomb.

But 36 years later, Tusk stands as one of rock’s most underrated and rewarding albums, a complex and layer-revealing work that offers new perspectives and treasures with each listen. A new five-disc Deluxe Edition doesn’t so much give fresh insight to the record as it provides a behind-the-scenes peek at its formation and development, as well as the occasional struggles the band endured during its long and difficult birth.

The original two-LP set is expanded with discs of single remixes, outtakes, session leftovers, live cuts from the 1979-80 tour in support of the album and the entire record made up of mostly previously unreleased versions of the 20 songs. It’s as often fascinating as it is repetitive: Even for an album built on textures and detailed studio assembling, multiple takes on the title track and “I Know I’m Not Wrong” begin to get tedious after the fourth pass.

Still, alternate versions of “Over & Over” (the ambiance-soaked Christine McVie ballad that opens the album), “The Ledge,” “That’s All for Everyone” and “Brown Eyes” (with early member Peter Green prominently sitting in) show just how meticulous the recordings were … and just how much the band was slowly unraveling. Buckingham is clearly in control here, injecting flashes of weirdness and brilliance into the project. Stevie Nicks‘ contributions tend to be the least affected by his mad-scientist tinkering, but even they go deeper than Rumours‘ most intricate tracks.

Tusk: Deluxe Edition doesn’t show us much in the way of how skeletal demos evolved into multi-layered art pieces, though — it’s not that kind of box. If anything, it leads us to believe that most of these songs were fully structured by the time Fleetwood Mac began recording. And radio mixes of “Think About Me” and “Not That Funny” prove that even after the LP’s release, some cuts took on even newer forms.

It’s a lot to get through — more than 80 songs in all — and parts of it seem like padding (the live tracks, mostly from 1975’s self-titled album, Rumours and Tusk, sound diluted without their studio adornments). But the original album is worth diving into again, if only to revisit one of the era’s most undervalued works, a bold record made by a superstar band willing to risk its place at the top for its art.

Michael Gallucci / Ultimate Classic Rock / Thursday, December 3, 2015