Interesting timing for this release, unplanned I'm sure. But it comes hot on the heels of Buckingham's latest split with Fleetwood Mac, and given their ages, perhaps the last straw in the fractured fairy tale of Buckingham's tenure. He's been ambivalent about the group since the mid-80's anyway, as this wide-ranging, lengthy collection shows. There's three 70-minute CD's worth of music, which shows how much he's wanted to follow his own path.
The stage was set for Buckingham's solo work with the Tusk album. After the inconceivable success of Rumours, money was never going to be an issue, nor fame, so he felt far less pressure to crank out hits. Tusk saw him starting down an idiosyncratic path. When that sprawling double album proved less than popular with many fans, solo albums became his outlet. Still, over the years he's had to hand back tracks to Fleetwood Mac when they felt like releasing new albums, so it's never felt like he really had a complete career in either camp.
If you're looking for Mac-like hits, there aren't many that would have worked on radio. Trouble was his lone solo success, a quirky, bright track with catchy moments, a piece of candy really. Love Runs Deeper, from 2008's Gift Of Screws is a great rock track and deserved to be a hit, but somehow stalled at radio. It's one that sits with his very best tracks, with a huge chorus and lots of Stevie-like backing vocals. That's rare for his solo work though, as Buckingham preferred to go for surprises, confections and delights. For the most part, these were the sounds he'd fine experimenting by himself. As has become obvious, he's a lousy bandmate, and wants to create by himself, for himself.
Talent? Oh my gosh, lots of that. Listening to some of the live tracks spread throughout the collection, there's great guitar mastery. His imagination is boundless, and the songs range from dreamscapes to confrontational, in-your-face boldness. Conventional tracks seemed to just not interest him. Since so much was solo work, there's a little too much drum machine, and lots of that fiddling, fast guitar he does, so he could use more variety, but every track is interesting, which is saying a lot.
For those who prefer more of his popular songs, disc three is devoted to live tracks, featuring several of his Mac hits. That includes Big Love, Tusk, Go Your Own Way and I'm So Afraid. Sometimes it almost feels like he's playing with us, saying he can do that pop stuff any old time. As much as that has infuriated his band, and frustrated fans over the years, there's still lots to appreciate in this challenging career collection.