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’.
Every so often, a record producer comes along whose mastery of the studio takes on a legendary status. The early years of pop showed off the technical talents of George Martin and Phil Spector; the world of disco gave a platform to Quincy Jones and Geogio Moroder (Quincy’s hand in making Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ a global success cannot be understated – it’s a stunning sounding record) and the rock scene gave Martin Birch plenty to apply a distinctive style.
On the surface, it would seem that the British blues boom has been well served by compilation discs over the years. On closer inspection, that hasn’t really been the case at all: the best anthologies tend to be label specific (Blue Horizon’s ‘The Blue Horizon Story’, Decca’s ‘The Blues Scene’ and Immediate’s ‘Blues Anytime’ series, later repackaged as an excellent four CD set by Charly Records). The bulk of the rest seem too concerned with repackaging bits of ‘Blues Anytime’ with cheap, inferior packaging. There hasn’t ever really been a decent compilation covering a lot of ground from different labels, or one unafraid to dig a little deeper beyond the usual suspects.
At the time of release of their third album ‘Then Play On’ in September 1969, Fleetwood Mac were an absolute musical powerhouse. While the band were not as purist in their blues ethic as before, on that release, bandleader Peter Green’s song writing, vocal style and guitar playing are at their career peak, while Danny Kirwan shows increased confidence in his role as second guitarist and songwriter. As usual, both Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are faultless in their rhythm section duties. Despite the strengths, cracks are also beginning to appear: although Fleetwood’s third vocalist-guitarist Jeremy Spencer is credited as appearing, he made no contributions to the original LP.