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Reviews Submitted by Larry L
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Larry L has contributed 5 reviews to The Penguin: Everything That is Fleetwood Mac:

Bare Trees (5/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.0)
Enjoyable rock
Review written by Larry L from Richmond, VA USA, August 8th, 2011

After the previous year's timid offering Fleetwood Mac suddenly springs to life. Bare Trees is smooth, confident FM-friendly music of the Steely Dan class. From straight ahead rock ("Homeward Bound", Child of Mine") to the title track's bouncy progressive-pop, this Mac album will not bore. In fact, some of the songs you'll immediately want to play again. Now that's good.

Kiln House (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
Nothing more, nothing less
Review written by Larry L from Richmond, VA USA, August 8th, 2011

Apparently the Mac wanted to tread carefully on this, the first album without Peter Green. There’s no ‘Who needs Peter anyway?!” type of jamming — even though the remaining 4 were perfectly capable of doing that — and no resurrection of the blues which made them popular in the U.K. just 2 years prior. Instead they record a platter of simple, easy-to-play songs of varying melodic character.

One exception might be the Grateful Dead sound-alike, “Station Man”, which has gotten its share of airplay on FM album-rock stations over the years, and considered a classic by some Mac fans. But I hesitate to call it the ‘stand out track’, mainly because I never really liked it too much — it just kind of plods along until fade out time. I prefer the catchy edge of “Tell Me All the Things You Do”, a sharp tune where Danny & Mick make a slight nod to hard rock ala Mountain.

Kiln House shows great restraint overall, as though they didn’t want to make too much a statement without Peter, or something. It does give a hint of the American sound they’d adopt on ensuing albums.

Mystery To Me (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
Straight between the eyes
Review written by Larry L from Richmond, VA USA, August 8th, 2011

There’s a refreshing amount of force on this album, guitar & drums right up front and not shy. Yet it doesn’t rob one bit from the smooth melodic sound that's become characteristic of the band by now. Speaking of guitars, Bob Weston isn’t usually mentioned in ‘classic’ Fleetwood Mac discussions, but its his rippin’ & roarin’ which keeps this album a few steps above average. He asserts himself in the music exceedingly well.

The opening song, “Emerald Eyes”, grabs the listener on first play. This short ballad comes across real strong at just the right moments, then it leaves …..Exactly what a good hit single would do. Its odd they instead chose the bombastic, over-vocalized “For Your Love” cover as the album’s single — it should have been “Emerald Eyes”, a song I’ve played over & over again. Other good tracks on this album are simply fun-to-listen-to rockers, “The City”, “Miles Away”, and “Hypnotized”.

Mystery to Me lacks the range and variety of Bare Trees, but in its own way leaves a powerful mark in Fleetwood Mac’s middle period. It’s a power that was really never heard again.

Then Play On (4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0)
Yeah, its a classic
Review written by Larry L from Richmond, VA USA, August 8th, 2011

After a couple initial albums full o’ blues, the opening on this record speaks of something new: 2 crunching guitar chords herald the intro of a Latin-tinged rocker (“Coming Your Way”), which outros as grandly as it arrived. Some powerful progressive pop here….but then the album plummets to aimless wandering, alternating from dull ballads to pointless instrumental snippets, which were apparently cut from a pointless studio jam and thrown onto the platter. Some call this experimentation or creativity, but really it seemed like focus was lost.

Alas, after 30 minutes wandering through half-baked ideas, the album once again saves itself on the last 2 numbers: the cute & catchy blues novelty “Like Crying”, which must’ve gotten considerable airplay in England, and the quasi-psychedelic “Before the Beginning”, reinventing Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” on a smaller scale.

Later releases of Then Play On include the Mac’s creative 1969 single “Oh Well”, recorded around the same time as the album and which became Fleetwood Mac’s first rock standard to be played on both sides of the Atlantic.

There’s a lot of music on Then Play On, just so much in the middle seems poorly inspired. But what’s good on this album is really good, and provides a suitable portfolio of the Peter Green era. It was very popular in England that year and did garner attention here in the states. For these reasons the album achieves classic status.

Future Games (3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0)
The talent doesn't come across
Review written by Larry L from Richmond, VA USA, August 7th, 2011

One of the first ‘American-sounding’ albums by a slightly rearranged Fleetwood Mac. Here they shift to laid-back rock not too dissimilar to what the Steve Miller Band and America were recording during the same period. But let’s be clear about one thing: the music on this Mac album is second rate. Sure, there are a couple powerful moments — the soaring chorus in the album’s title track, for example — but those who exclaim “How was this album not a hit back then?!” are truly kidding themselves.

The music on Future Games is palatable, it isn’t awful, but the Mac put forth far more convincing stuff than this, before and after.