When people talk about Fleetwood Mac, they’ll often talk about the pop magic that both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham brought to the band. As far as UK audiences are concerned, their appointment within the band’s ever-shifting ranks in 1975 brought the band back from a long stretch in the wilderness.
There are very few albums as well known as Fleetwood Mac’s multi-million selling ‘Rumours’, but there was always far more to the band’s “pop years” in the 70s than that omnipresent disc, its self-titled predecessor, and the adventurous ‘Tusk’.
The late 60s and early 70s were a great time for experimentation and free spirited sounds. From within the psychedelic scene came various bands who were less enthralled with rainbows and being “home in time for tea”, preferring instead to stretch blues origins into dark and heavy places, inspiring a generation of guitar heroes. Others took a mod and freakbeat approach and ladled on the distortion thus creating a more inventive take on a garage rock sound, something which arguably helped to spawn punk. By cranking their amps and embracing an artistic freedom, there were a whole spectrum of bands slowly changing the musical landscape. The original ‘I’m A Freak Baby’ box set (released by Grapefruit Records in 2016) gave a solid overview of the era for the curious listener. Although it featured a lot of material that keener rock fans would already own, it still played well as a compilation in its own right. Popular tunes by Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac could be found alongside cult numbers by Pink Fairies and The Groundhogs, as well as a few genuine obscurities from Barnabus, Sweet Slag and Cycle. A second triple disc set released in 2019 offered more gems, but dug even deeper for rarities with unreleased tracks from Natural Gas, Thor, Tarsus, and more besides.