Sunday, November 25, 2018


Another tour means a new best-of collection is in order for the Mac, although this one also marks 50 years for the group. And in true band form, it also is being marked with yet another controversy. With Lindsey Buckingham fired and suing the other members, it proves once and for all that there just won't be a happily-ever-after ending for rock's ultimate soap opera.

I'm always amused by the idea of a casual Mac fan getting one of these collections, listening to the first song, and being completely confused by the old blues tune they hear. "This isn't Rhiannon," you can imagine them saying, confronted by the rowdy Shake Your Moneymaker. This three-disc set starts off with a hefty helping of the blues band originally called Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, at that point major players in the British blues boom. Their first leader was one of the true guitar heroes, plus the author of several fantastic tracks, including Black Magic Woman, Oh Well and The Green Manalishi. The whole first disc is devoted to the pre-Buckingham/Nicks era, and quite rightly. Even with various guitar player departures and revolving lineups, they still managed to put out high-quality albums, with excellent tracks such as Sentimental Lady and Spare Me A Little Of Your Love highlighting players such as Bob Welch and then-newcomer Christine McVie.

Disc two is the glory years of smash hits from the Buckingham-Nicks-McVie trio of writers, from the megasellers Fleetwood Mac, Rumours and Tusk. These are no-brainer choices, as such highly predictable, with no room for anything other than hit after hit: Monday Morning, Over My Head, Rhiannon, Say You Love Me, The Chain, Sara and more. There's no point trying to find a different way to tell that part of the story, and as familiar as these tunes are, they still remain strong and vibrant.

Disc three is a more complicated story, as the band fought to survive through constant lineup shuffles, as the three singers kept leaving and returning. While Rumours always gets treated as the ultimate Mac album, people forget how wonderful 1987's Tango In The Night was, featuring a run of hits to rival any of their others: Big Love, Everywhere, Little Lies and Seven Wonders. That was the last great album though, and after that the collection has to find odd tracks from lesser lights such as 1990's Buckingham-less Behind The Mask (Save Me), the no-Nicks or Buckingham 1995 album Time (I Do), or the Christine-missing Say You Will in 2003 (Peacekeeper). It's a sad fact that the band has been unable to recapture a recording vibrancy in its later years, but who knows? Maybe they'll be inspired to record with new members Neil Finn and Mike Campbell. Stranger things have happened in Fleetwood Mac's career, and no matter what, you can never count them out.

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