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Reviews Submitted by Jon the Moonspinner
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Jon the Moonspinner has contributed 31 reviews to The Penguin: Everything That is Fleetwood Mac:

Christine McVie (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Tasteful, stately, occasionally poppy album with one surefit hit single...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 22nd, 2010

Christine McVie deserved to have a hit song to call her own, and achieved that with "Got a Hold On Me", which sounded reassuring and lovely on AM radio in the mid-1980s. The self-titled album which followed didn't include anything else quite so surefire, though the writing is almost always smooth and the playing is faultless. You won't find a burning intensity churning under these tracks, they're pleasant confections and that's all they need to be. The effort was described by McVie herself as "quite perky, really", so anyone hoping for the smoldering equivalent to "Brown Eyes"...abandon those ideas.

Say You Will (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Half a great album...the other half is either negligible or tolerable
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 18th, 2010

Whenever Christine McVie got her middle-of-the-road musings into actual flight (such as on "Everywhere" from 'Tango' or "Do You Know" from 'Mask'), she generally outshone both Buckingham and Nicks musically. She was mature, more worldly, less callow. Without her on "Say You Will", the problem is not just a missing band member--it's a missing heartbeat. The record is only half-alive, although the one-half that does live-breathe-&-rock is very, very good. There are so many songs here, Stevie Nicks once commented: "It takes two days to listen to this album." Indeed, and several of the tracks might have been judiciously dropped altogether to allow for a more rhythmic flow. The sound quality takes a little getting used to (it isn't glossy by any means), and Nicks' voice occasionally sounds raspier than usual. However, when the elements are all in their precise order, the album can be powerful, moving, tough but tender, and exceptionally human. It's as if the band members are now facing their own mortality. This rather ghostly album hasn't a trace of nostalgia. Stevie provides a bit of sentiment once in awhile, but Lindsey Buckingham charges in where angels fear to tread. It's apparent everyone misses Christine, who does pop up as a guest on just one track, yet--without her--Fleetwood Mac has proved they are still a band, still a family of musicians. They work real hard here to prove it. BEST: What's the World Coming To, Murrow Turning Over In His Grave, Thrown Down, Say You Will, Running Through the Garden, Steal Your Heart Away, Bleed To Love Her (Lindsey's best song in ages), Goodbye Baby.

Trouble In Shangri-La (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Marvelous comeback album...Stevie's solo triumph
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 18th, 2010

"Bella Donna" was too tentative, "The Wild Heart" was too windy and glossy, "Rock a Little" stalled early, "The Other Side of the Mirror" was ego and (possibly) drug-fueled, and "Street Angel" danced familiar steps. Where could Stevie Nicks go from there? Surprisingly, she has chosen to soar, making bright and beguiling new music from a collection of lyrics which are intermittently dreamy and substantial. From the fiery title-themed opener to the cover of her own "Sorcerer" (sung by Marilyn Martin on "Streets of Fire") to the jubilant "That Made Me Stronger", Stevie comes back to life on "Shangri-La", and you can feel her enthusiasm for this music--she loves it as much as her fans do. BEST: Trouble in Shangri-La, Sorcerer, Too far From Texas, That Made Me Stronger, I Miss You.

National Lampoon's Vacation (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Non-Mac triumph for Lindsey Buckingham...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 18th, 2010

With "Holiday Road", Lindsey Buckingham managed to create a movie theme so iconic, it's recognized by all age groups, all over the world (thanks in part to the popular "Vacation" movies, but also because it's such a wonderfully catchy, weirdly-sunny tune). No small feat, this. And it must make Buckingham very proud to hear his music carry over for generations. Unfortunately for "Holiday Road", while it sounded great in the picture (and sounds great on Lp), it didn't move as a single (Warner Bros. did try, but it was hard to find even in 1982). Closing the movie out was a second Buckingham track, "Dancin' Across the USA", and it's even better than "Holiday Road". This may have just been a "Law and Order" outtake, but what a leftover! Blissfully lazy, the song is like a musical homecoming for a lonesome cowboy. It retains much of "Law and Order"'s knockabout charm, but actually equals nearly everything on the record with the possible exception of "Trouble". The rest of the "Vacation" soundtrack (aside from a Ramones song you can find elsewhere) can be politely ignored.

Law and Order (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Very entertaining piece of pop craziness...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 18th, 2010

Lindsey Buckingham's first solo album seems a bit stuck in "Tusk"-ville. His musical quirks and fetishes quickly become apparent here: multi-layered vocals, funny sounds, crazy rhythms, anchored intermittently by smooth, sunny harmonies. Not far from his work on "Tusk" with Fleetwood Mac, this is a very good, very erratic album--if you're in the mood for it. Lindsey now seems to have moved from the Beach Boys/"Pet Sounds"-influenced nuances of the past into a kind of lonesome-cowboy-on-the-prairie style. The New Wave edginess of "Tusk" hasn't gone away, but he's more cautious here. Working on his own (with cameos from Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie), Lindsey knows his audience, knows what they'll accept, but also wants to broaden his musical scope. In some cases, this approach goes too far (such as with the second half of "Johnny Stew", which is a little bit embarrassing). "Bwana", the opener, gets things off to a kooky, sketchy start--one wonders 'where in the world is he going with this?'--but the record improves from there and has many highlights. BEST: Trouble (a perfect first single), Love From Here-Love From There, That's How They Do It In L.A., It Was I, A Satisfied Mind, Shadow of the West, I'll Tell You Now.

Out Of The Cradle (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
Not only Buckingham's best, but arguably the best solo album by a Mac member
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 18th, 2010

Despite one or two missteps, a lovely album from Mr. Buckingham. I wasn't overly fond of the direction Stevie Nicks' solo career took, and Christine McVie seemed to deliberately lay low after her 1983 self-titled Lp came out. But Lindsey Buckingham appeared to cherish making his solo records, even though he often took years to deliver them. "Out of the Cradle" was well worth the wait, even though his core audience pretty much ignored the release (which was their loss, after all). With its beloved musical remnants retrieved from childhood, reminiscence is the key to "Cradle". Lindsey works his songs easily, sweetly, qualities which become positively addictive. After it's over, you want to hear the album again right away, less the magical glow wear off! He can still deliver a good left hook (this time to Mick Fleetwood on "Wrong") , but for the most he's in a wonderful spot, and it shines through his music like never before. BEST: Don't Look Down, Wrong, Countdown, Soul Drifter, You Do or You Don't, Turn It On, Say We'll Meet Again.

Greatest Hits (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
A holding-pattern release, designed to keep their name vital...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 18th, 2010

Only two new songs on this Best Of disc, released after Lindsey Buckingham departed and before the arrival of "Behind the Mask" (with its two new members, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito). It certainly offered devout followers a promising taste of the new line-up, as Christine's "As Long As You Follow" and Stevie's "No Questions Asked" are both terrific, vocally and musically. This release also marked the first time on CD that Stevie's "Sara" was allowed to run its full six minutes (a privilege it was denied on the original CD issue of "Tusk"). Elsewhere, Christine's songs tend to dominate, and that's both pro and con. Christine has a wonderful way of turning a simple lyric or repeated phrase into a memorable musical moment; her melodic sense is uncanny and she knows what's right for her. Still, less of her amounts to more, as the pop-fluff she often masters successfully eventually starts to congeal. That's not to say Stevie Nicks remains fresh all the time, she doesn't. Nor does Lindsey Buckingham. Which is why the proper FM albums are so attractive--they offer a varied package of talents. This disc does include everyone, but is oddly sequenced and intrinsically unsatisfying (you notice more of what they left off than what they kept). Certainly worth-buying for the two new songs and the complete "Sara". Worst attribute: that ugly green cover art.

Mirage (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Despite the presence of "Gypsy", not a great album for Nicks-lovers...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 18th, 2010

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie each shine on "Mirage", with Christine getting the edge. Her lovely and catchy "Hold Me" (a terrific first single), wistful "Wish You Were Here", poppy "Love in Store", and romantic "Only Over You" are the highlights of "Mirage". Buckingham nearly equals her with "Can't Go Back", "Book of Love", "Eyes of the World", and "Empire State"--all wonderful entries. His "Oh Diane" is a little embarrassing (as is the "Gypsy" B-side "Cool Water", apparently meant as a jokey throwaway). So what happened to Nicks? Coming off "The Wild Heart", she didn't have much to offer, although her majestic "Gypsy" provides a sensational centerpiece for the album (the video can be hopefully be ignored). When Nicks calls up the gypsy spirits within, we are putty in her palms! On this track, she's both enchantress and heroine, and the rest of the band just lets her free to do her thing (a wise move). The country girlishness of Nicks' "That's Alright" is pleasant but forgettable, while her meandering "Straight Back" doesn't do anything for her, or the listener. A scant three songs and Nicks is out the door! Thankfully, McVie and Buckingham are on their game, with Mick and John providing the musical muscle. It's a quick, blithe pop-rock outing, far from the adventuresome "Tusk" but enjoyable in it's own right.

The Other Side Of The Mirror (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Take her back to the other side...please!
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

On "Alice", which facetiously calls up Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland", Stevie Nicks firmly asserts: "'All right' said Alice...I'm going back to the other side of the mirror!" And Stevie should have followed closely behind her. Having spent too time in a bewitching world of tales and talismans has hurt Stevie's stories. She still works wonders with a wooden arrangement or balky melody, but it's her poetry here which gets her into trouble. Nothing on the fanciful side of this "Mirror" is really gripping, while the production keeps all the tracks in a swarthy-gothic key. "Rooms On Fire" gets better with repeated listens, but Stevie just isn't living in the present day here. Those 'crystal visions' have taken over, and zapped her of any real fire.

Rock A Little (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Snooze a little...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

Co-producer Stevie Nicks reportedly spent a million dollars of her own money trying to pull this 3rd solo effort through...didn't that tell her something? "Rock a Little" is all effort, effort, effort...straining for pop credibility when only a dozen or so tough-rockers would have been sufficient. I've never understood why Stevie turned to pop song-meisters like Chas Sanford or Rick Nowells when she is perfectly capable of crafting a great album on her own. Clearly she was bereft of strong material. "Has Anyone Ever Written..." is such a glum wind-tunnel of a song that it zaps any smidgen of good will the rest of the record has managed to build up (and it was released as a single! Did anyone actually hear this song played on the radio?). "Rock a Little" (the song) doesn't rage--even when it's calm--nor does "I Can't Wait" (an obvious attempt to recapture "Stand Back" gold). With synths that make the tracks recall Hall & Oates outtakes, this isn't even a noble failure. It's a clueless failure. Stevie councils her friends continuously in the lyrics, but sadly, nobody counciled her. BEST: The Nightmare, I Sing For The Things, Imperial Hotel (despite a wayward arrangement). WORST: Most of Side 2.

Street Angel (2/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.0)
We all love Stevie, we want her to do well, but...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

"Street Angel" sounds like a contract obligation which needed to be filled. Stevie's rooms afire have now turned to gauzy gazebos, designed for puttering about while musing to friends over the past. Stevie could actually use some new friends, instead of the yes-men who surround her with too much love. "Blue Denim" begins the record with a kick in its step, but the title song and "Docklands" are wearisome mid-tempo rock. "Listen to the Rain" brings things back into focus, and "Rose Garden" (a paean to Stevie's youth) has a jaunty melody peppered lightly with old-fashioned country & western. But I have no idea what "Jane" is trying to accomplish, nor "Kick It" or the Dylan cover "Just Like a Woman". The Stevie Nicks of 1977 would never have allowed such a forgettable effort to hit the market. "Street Angel" overdoses on its pink pastels and feathered wings.

Tango In The Night (2/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.0)
Glossy, but not intimate...nor personal
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

Just recently I began collecting the 12-inch remixes of singles released from "Tango in the Night", and they show what a much richer album it might have been with some judicious planning. Stevie Nicks has nearly been left out of the mix (she was touring with Dylan and Petty while most of the album went down), although on the DJ remixes she is certainly present (especially on "Little Lies", where she gets a neat solo). Nicks' spotlight songs are her weakest in ages, starting with the wan "Seven Wonders" (written by Sandy Stewart with lyrics "augmented" by Nicks!). Lindsey's "Big Love" sounded good on the radio, but it hasn't held up (his recent gritty live versions of this tune are actually much better than what we get here). Christine comes through with her usual style and grace, though her closer with Lindsey, "You and Me Part II", is a bummer, as is the feeling that Fleetwood Mac wasn't really a cohesive unit any longer. They were friends united by the need to make money. BEST: Little Lies, Family Man, Everywhere, Isn't It Midnight, Welcome To the Room, Sara.

Bella Donna (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
It quietly simmers for the most part, in a country-fied vein...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

Credit Stevie Nicks with NOT being a rock 'n roll diva: it took many years to get her into the studio solo, away from Fleetwood Mac, to lay down these very personal tracks (most of which were discarded out of hand by her super group). Clearly frustrated by only getting three or so chances to shine on each FM record, she writes on the sleeve of "Bella Donna": 'Thank you for rescuing my music'. However, without the guiding musical hand of Lindsey Buckingham, the direction of "Bella Donna" meanders. It seems to go on for much longer than it needs to, hitting peaks and valleys in slow-pokey succession. The singles ("Stop Draggin' My Heart", "Leather & Lace", "Edge of Seventeen") each sound very good--especially on the radio--yet the surrounding music never quite lifts off into the stratosphere. Stevie is surprisingly grounded, personal, intimate, informal--she wants us to get to know her. But where is that elusive chanteuse of "Rhiannon", the Welsh witch of "Gold Dust Woman"? She's hiding in the shadows on "Bella Donna", taking tentative, baby steps.

Buckingham Nicks (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
The seeds of musical promise are definitely in bloom...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

Credited to Lindsey Buckingham and Stevi Nicks, this somewhat folky, somewhat stodgy, guitar-driven effort from the pre-Fleetwood Mac lovers has acquired a magical mystique in the last 20 years which far exceeds the end results. I purchased this around 1982, when it was released without the gatefold cover, and--despite being HUGE fans of both Buckingham and Nicks--I never quite got into it. Now when I play "Buckingham Nicks", I'm attuned more to the history of the record, the burgeoning brilliance of Nicks' lyrical stylings, and the budding genius of Lindsey's guitar-work. "Don't Let Me Down Again", "Races Are Run", "Crying in the Night", the instrumental "Stephanie", and "Long Distance Winner" are the highlights. "Frozen Love", co-written by the duo, is the song which first attracted Mick Fleetwood to the musicians, although it is the least effective track on the record. The production is soupy, the vocals are not strong. In fact, the feeling one gets here is of musical restlessness. The songs desperately need to soar and celebrate life, but our heroes are instead bummed out. Listening to this today is a curious experience, but not a sentimental one. These two sound like they're fed up with being poor, sick of kicking around L.A. and ready for a change. "Buckingham Nicks" is rather bitter, proving that Mick Fleetwood not only saved Lindsey and Stevie from poverty--he saved them from themselves.

Behind The Mask (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Musical cohesion without the inner excitement...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

A bland sameness coats this Buckingham-less Fleetwood Mac project from the get-go, and although Stevie Nicks is definitely (and, perhaps, surprisingly) up to the challenge, new members Billy Burnette (guitar, vocals) and Rick Vito (lead guitar, vocals) are like kid-guests at the party. Welcomed, at least initially, but not essential to the mix. Christine McVie has finally exhausted her bag of winsome, wistful tricks, which usually pull the band out from the fringe; her "Skies the Limit" starts the album off with mellow grace, but--although it means well--it's such an airy and innocuous confection, it can easily be skipped over in future playbacks. Elsewhere, Christine's "Save Me" (a terrible choice for the first single) and "Behind the Mask" (with help from Lindsey!) are equally drowsy. Her best moment comes with help from co-writer Burnette on "Do You Know", one of the record's distinct highlights. Not that it's a bluesy number with soul, far from it. Christine has lost her blues instinct and now writes middle-of-the-road pap for mellowing fans; however, "Do You Know" has conviction and is prettily sung. Nicks comes through with a few winners ("The Second Time", "Affairs of the Heart"), and Vito & Burnette contribute a nice country-rocker ("When the Sun Goes Down"), a song everybody gets involved in, but the overall results of "Mask" are awfully staid. And what's with that cover shot? We don't need mysterious models or quasi-art portraits to sell us on the music. Just give us better music.

Timespace: The Best Of Stevie Nicks (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Beautiful photography, smartly packaged, but lacking surprises...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

The liner notes written by Stevie Nicks are more entertaining or engaging than the three news songs ("Sometimes It's a Bitch", "Love's a Hard Game To Play", "Desert Angel"), which leaves us with well-trodden hits and misses. Stevie vehemently wanted Mick to lend her "Silver Springs" for this project (which would have been too lofty an inclusion considering what we do have on display), while the lack of anything truly thrilling makes the CD's success a bit puzzling. "Enchanted", the 3-disc box set which came a long several years later, makes this entry in Nicks' catalogue irrelevant. "Sometimes" tries for a tough-woman bite which fails to come off (it sounds like a parody of a Nicks song), while "Desert Angel" fails to find a hook.

Skies The Limit/Lizard People (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Two distinctly different sounds make for a interesting single...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

Christine's "Skies The Limit" washes up on the shore like a tired sprite. The songstress means well when she produces "sweet" music like this, however her drive is long gone, along with her bluesy roots--she's just biding time. "Lizard People", a non-Lp B-side, sounds straight from Mick Fleetwood's Zoo, which gives you a good idea of where Mick wanted to go musically after Lindsey's departure. I'm not sure if the other participants even worked on this song--it sounds like a "Tusk"-styled solo project with a great deal of fussy tinkering involved. On the other hand, it is more musically adventurous and interesting than most anything else on "Behind the Mask". In a perfect world, it would have ended up on the album.

I Can't Wait (2/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.0)
Music videos laying waste the wicked muse...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

La Nicks comes on in her music videos like a pop princess. Where's the Queen of Rock so dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine just a few years prior? She's hiding (scared) behind gauze, camera tricks, and "romantic" lighting designed to make her look fragile, ethereal. David Letterman made nightly fun of the "I Can't Wait" video, with its styrofoam bricks and dry-ice bursting in a cloud of smoke. The "Stand Back" video was partially reshot because of a sudden weight gain on the star's part (pieces of the original still remain), while the production cost ballooned disastrously. It gets unintended laughs when the lights come up and Stevie is suddenly stepping in place on some kind of non-moving treadmill highlighted by neon ropes. "If Anyone Falls" has the germ of a good idea: Stevie watching a ballet-themed movie starring herself in a possible love triangle. It has nicely-judged photography and doesn't go over the top trying to please the masses. The rest cannot be said for this overbaked collection of video mistakes.

Talk To Me/One More Big Time Rock And Roll Star (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
"Undercover, music lover, and art lover like me..."
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

"Talk to Me", written by Chas Sanford, did well--but not great--on the charts. Despite heavy rotation on '80s radio, it wasn't the smash single Stevie was probably hoping for. MTV put the over-produced video into "special" rotation, meaning that it was only shown at specific times during the day (I was never sure if this was a compliment to the artist or not). Meanwhile, the non-Lp B-side "One More Big Time Rock and Roll Star" was just as ungainly as its title suggests. "There were candles, crystals, I was anyone's fantasy--SAY I'M NOT!--'cause the work...just gets...harder...the world gets...OHHH!" Oddly choppy, sketchy, and poorly produced, the self-written song was an uneasy mix of self-examination, rock and balladry. This is symptomatic of the "Rock a Little " album in general: too much fuss and gloss, not enough heart or grit.

Fleetwood Mac Live (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Sound quality variable, live versions not up to snuff...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

Released on the heels of the killer "Tusk" tour which took them around the globe, Fleetwood Mac had every right to be exhausted. Still, they surprise us with a handful of very good new tracks ("The Farmer's Daughter", especially, and "Fireflies") and some fun oldies (the Buckingham-Nicks dust-kicker "Don't Let Me Down Again"). "Never Going Back Again", recorded at the Tucson, AZ show I attended in August 1980, is a personal favorite, but too many songs here are not recorded in a proper setting. Why, for instance, was "Dreams" recorded at a sound check when something much more intimate (like "Sara") should have been given this privilege? "Not That Funny" went too long in concert and, inexplicably, is reproduced here in all its lumbering non-glory. Buckingham tried turning several of the Mac events into showcases for his guitar wizardry. I don't know why the others didn't restrain him. A frizzy-haired Nicks and both McVies are charming, Fleetwood pumps heavily on his drum kit like a man of desperation, but Buckingham is too overbearing here. BEST: Monday Morning, Oh Well, Over & Over, Never Going back Again, Fireflies, Don't let me Down Again, One More Night, The Farmer's Daughter.

Tusk (5/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.0)
All of a piece, not a solo showcase, and better for it...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

The members of Fleetwood Mac work very well together on stage, and this is replicated on the "Tusk" album to the nth degree. Despite Mick's stories of Lindsey going off and doing things on his own (banging boxes together in his bathroom, and so on), the overall feel of "Tusk" is one of unity. This was a Family of musicians. I felt the guiding hand of Buckingham all through this (the other members, of course, thank him in the notes), but that doesn't mean Stevie or Christine were AWOL at any time. I love it when Stevie's vocal comes up on a Christine song (or vice-versa), and the gritty, growling sense of musical discovery (again, due to Lindsey) is apparent throughout the course of the album. I used to hate hearing "Sara" on the radio (where it was practically sawed in half to save time), but now the full version can be heard on CD (in its proper setting) and this is cause for celebration. It is one of Stevie's crowning achievements. But wait, this album also offers "Storms", "Beautiful Child", "Sisters of the Moon", "Angel"--all fabulous! Christine's honey-mellowed voice is wonderful to hear on pop confections like "Think About Me" and "Never Forget", though Buckingham gives her a spooky, troubled ambiance on "Over & Over" and the menacing "Brown Eyes" (a killer tune). Lindsey does terrifically well on the frantic, frenetic rockers "The Ledge", "I Know I'm Not Wrong" and "Tusk" (heard on the box-set with a cute new intro). It's an amazing achievement that never grows old.

Rumours (5/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.0)
18 million listeners can't be wrong...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

With each member of the band embroiled in some kind of romantic controversy--mainly with other band members--"Rumours" sprouted up raw from inner-dissent and disenchantment. Stevie was once quoted: "It was the coolest thing in the world that we got through it--that one of us didn't just get up and walk out the door, never to return." They still play these songs on the radio today (2010), and they neither sound dated from time-passed nor fatigued through overplay. Nearly every song is a highlight: the passionate arena rock of "Go Your Own Way", the celebratory banner-waver "Don't Stop", the intimate "Dreams" (no.#1 on the singles charts), the groovy "You Make Loving Fun", the dissolute "Oh Daddy", the giddy but internally conflicted "I Don't Want To Know", the very pure and bright "Songbird", the randy opener "Second Hand News", the introspective "Never Going Back Again", and the gloriously funky "Gold Dust Woman". That leaves us with "The Chain", which was patched together piece by piece in the studio and never quite lifts off. "Silver Springs" was left off for lack of room and first appeared as the B-side to the first single "Go Your Own Way" (which should have hit #1 but surprisingly did not). A fabulous achievement in rock music, deserving of its praise then as now.

Fleetwood Mac (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
A nice taste of the hit-making machine Fleetwood Mac was to become...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 17th, 2010

Two new American members--Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (progressing from Stephanie and then to 'Stevi' Nicks)--compliment a rocking British blues outfit which hadn't had a chart hit in quite awhile. Fleetwood Mac always managed a devoted following, but none so large as to encounter opposition from fans by adding a new lead guitarist/vocalist and a second female vocalist. Heart was the only other band at the time who had in their ranks two prominent women as well as three men--but this was no dictatorship, and every member of Fleetwood Mac was allowed his or her room to shine (although allowing Stevie one extra song certainly wouldn't have hurt). That being said, musically this is really Christine McVie's album: her "Warm Ways", "Over My Head", "Say You Love Me", and "Sugar Daddy" are sweet, memorable songs that nimbly manage to move your spirit without getting too maudlin. She sounds fantastic on keyboards, and her vocals here are some of her finest. That's not to say newcomer Nicks has been crowded out. Hardly. Her brilliant lyrics are the most poignant and savvy on the entire album, and her performances on "Landslide" and "Rhiannon" are FM radio classics. Nicks also wrote "Crystal" (a lift from the "Buckingham Nicks" album on Polydor), which Lindsey sings in a quiet little voice. It's an amazing song that gains power with repeated plays. Buckingham shines on "Monday Morning", his vocal-strut very charming on "Blue Letter", however his slide into darker territory with "I'm So Afraid" sounds a bit pretentious on a bright pop album like "Fleetwood Mac". Still, it's a fun listen, and the best was yet to come.

Bombs Away Dream Babies (5/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.0)
"Come on down!"
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from Redlands, CA, February 16th, 2010

Swirling, softly churning California rock, epitomizing the sand and surf and freeways of Newport and Laguna. Baked with a hot summer wind called Miranda while calling up bracing memories of sugar kisses and bubblegum. Recalling vans packed full of sunburned teenagers, the sweet aroma of weed and incense in the air. Lindsey and Stevie taking John's carfeul music to unheard-of dizzy-highs, as we pulled into the first driveway and realized it was all a high school dream

Orders From Headquarters (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
A lost gem...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from Redlands, CA, February 16th, 2010

I remember hearing "Smiling Islands" on the radio and being drawn in by the intimate lyric and congenial, sing-song melody--but when Stevie Nicks suddenly appeared halfway through, echoing Robbie's initial part in her bewitching way, I knew I had to have it! Trouble was, though the single could be purchased at Tower and Licorice Pizza, nobody stocked the album. Years later, I found promo after promo in obscure record stores, and learned to love the rest of "Headquarters" (it does take a while). "Smiling islands" will always be the highlight, however.

Midnight Wind/Somewhere Down The Line (5/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.0)
Effervescent, haunting melodies that never grow old...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 16th, 2010

"We will find the golden road/somewhere down the line..." Two beautifully precise, dreamy-eyed cuts from John Stewart's "Bombs Away Dream Babies" album. I can't seem to find anyone on-line or otherwise who can authenticate the backing vocals on "Somewhere" as belonging to Ms. Nicks. If I remember correctly, the album liner notes did not specify which songs she actually contributed to. Still, it certainly sounds like the lovely and wistful Stevie, and the folky guitar nuances are awesome, "Rumours"-era AM-radio rock.

Uncirculated Rumours (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
I was forewarned this wouldn't sound good...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 16th, 2010

...and indeed, the demo tracks on "Uncirculated Rumours" sound as though they were recorded under a thick blanket of ivory-white gauze and tangled nets of antique lace. Still. For the Stevie fan who has everything, this bootleg album on cherry-red colored vinyl has its pleasures, not the least of which is the hidden treasure "Castaway". Ofttimes, when I am listening to Stevie Nicks' solo output, I think I can actually hear echoes of "Castaway" in her other compositions. The melodic line (aided by sad, echoey vocals and a simple keyboard riff) cuts right through the audio sludge and makes a big impact. This is definitely a song Ms. Nicks should revisit. "Is this your world or just my darkness? Play another role in your mystery--changes--in your mystery--changes--in your mystery."

Think About Me/Save Me A Place (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
Curious cover photo would have worked better as a gatefold...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 16th, 2010

Cover: Lindsey, Christine, and Mick mysteriously observing while (on the reverse) Stevie cuddles up to a bemused, maybe slightly uncomfortable John McVie. This photo is oddly chopped up by the thick black borders, and is best seen in the 12" vinyl format as opposed to the 7" single. In fact, it would have been perfect for the "Tusk" album cover as a gatefold. One of the reasons why "Tusk" never reached the dizzying chart highs of "Rumours" may have been the packaging. Think of this as the alternate "Tusk" cover. Songs: I cannot detect much of a difference in the "Think About Me" remix (especially today, as all the tracks on "Tusk" have been mixed and remixed into oblivion). However, "Save Me a Place" has always stood out as one of the more intriguing Buckingham oddities to emerge from the record. So strong was its deceptively-simple hook, that I remember hearing the song being played in movie theaters before the picture started. A fuller sound for the song (a remix?) might have made it worthy of single-status.

Cat Dancer (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Worth it for "I Pretend"...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 16th, 2010

Capturing the same type of schizophrenic soft-and-harsh, angry-and-wistful vibe of Tom Petty's "Insider", Stewart's composition "I Pretend" is immeasurably helped by the quiveringly crisp vocal contribution of Ms. Nicks; however, it's a good enough song to stand on its own, and Stewart herself sounds very assured here. Not so the rest of "Cat Dancer", which lags behind even "The Wild Heart" in lyric content and is mixed rather unevenly. The album has a metallic sound to it which does not partner well with the messy, distinctly-'80s music arrangements.

The Wild Heart (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Reflections on Stevie's "Wild Heart"...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 16th, 2010

Stevie Nicks is so interesting and entertaining to listen to in conversation, I always thought it a shame that her interview-musings about life in the spotlight never made it into any of her album contributions (poetic as they are). There's a 1977 Westwood interview disc floating around somewhere in which Nicks is very funny and upfront about having to perform with a stomach ache on some nights, or needing a quick nap before getting down to the gig. That's the REAL Stevie, and she's hiding for the most part on "The Wild Heart". The lady she conjures up on "Nightbird" is a provocatively conflicted woman of the world...but I didn't buy the "Gate & Garden" enchantress nor the silver screen sparrow of "Beauty and the Beast". Decent songs, yes, but not up to classic standards.

Enchanted (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
Kicking up some gold dust with those platform boots...
Review written by Jon the Moonspinner from redlands, ca, February 16th, 2010

The inclusion of a rocking live track, "Gold and Braid" (a song Stevie never recorded for an album proper), is reason enough to buy "Enchanted", which is otherwise burdened by album tracks we all love, but we all already have. Nice to get the soundtrack selections "Free Fallin'", "Battle of the Dragon", "Blue Lamp", a redo of "Twisted" (from "Twister"), "Sleeping Angel", and "Somebody Stand By Me" all on one pleasurable disc, but the other two discs are a messy collection of this 'n that.