“Even children get older and I’m getting older too …”
Those eloquent words sung in a stunningly beautiful early take of the song “Landslide” are drifting over my head as I write this blog.
As I dive headlong into my fifties “Landslide” from the Fleetwood Mac album “Fleetwood Mac”, the first Fleetwood Mac album that features Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, grows ever more poignant and meaningful to me.
The 1975 “Fleetwood Mac” album has just been released in a wonderful deluxe box set that contains 3 CDs, a DVD (featuring a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album and its singles), a vinyl copy of the album and a lovely booklet.
I finally received my copy of this set this past weekend from Amazon UK (anyone reading this should really investigate Amazon UK as this set cost nearly half the price of buying it from the US) and it’s truly an excellent listen.
All five of Fleetwood Mac’s classic lineup albums including “Rumours”, “Tusk”, “Mirage” and “Tango in the Night” and now “Fleetwood Mac” have been chronicled in Deluxe CD/vinyl editions and this new set may be the best of the bunch.
As a big fan of outtakes and early versions, these Fleetwood Mac sets have set the bar high for getting an inside glimpse into the making of these albums which I consider some of the best albums made in the 1970s and 1980s.
While the earlier sets like “Tusk” and “Mirage” were filled with terrific outtakes that really gave the listener a new appreciation for the breadth and wealth of good material recorded for those albums, the new “Fleetwood Mac” set relies more on alternate/early takes from the 1975 sessions.
And what stunning early takes these are! “Landslide” and “Crystal” are two of the most achingly beautiful versions of these songs I’ve ever heard.
I love the stripped down, intimate feel of the early takes which form an alternate version of the entire album. The early takes while not as produced as the final versions may be the highlight of the Fleetwood Mac canon for me.
While the Fleetwood Mac album was a big seller, it seems to be overshadowed somewhat from the other Fleetwood Mac albums in the wake of the monster-selling “Rumors” but really it’s one of the best set of songs the group ever put to vinyl as every song is a gem.
I always forget how much I love this album and hearing these lovely early takes makes me really appreciate the three great songwriters in the group – Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.
McVie’s languid “Warm Ways” along with Nick’s heartbreaking “Crystal” and Buckingham’s thundering “I’m So Afraid” are true highlights of Fleetwood Mac’s long and varied career.
This new set, like the earlier ones, also includes some live material recorded at the time of the albums release and I have to say that this live disc (Disc 3 in the Deluxe set) is probably my favorite set of live Fleetwood Mac recordings released so far.
Though a new band with Nicks and Buckingham having only joined a few months before, the live material is tough and ballsy, well song, well played and includes a few songs that I wasn’t familiar with (Get Like You Used to Be and Station Man) that are just superb. Did the band ever sound more powerful?
The blistering live version of “Blue Letter” which just smokes the studio take is reason enough to buy this set!
The set also includes a 5.1 surround sound mix which, while I’m not a huge 5.1 guy, sounds terrific though I’ve just skimmed it so far. I look forward to really digging into it in the days ahead.
As usual I’ve included some photos (above) of the set so folks can see what to expect if they decide to buy it.
Anyone out there whose a Fleetwood Mac fan or a fan of truly superb 70’s era rock needs to check this set out.
Until next time, TTFN!