by Andrew Helminger

It seems like Fleetwood Mac just won't go away.  Despite countless personnel changes and enough internal drama to land the band a permanent spot on a daytime soap, they've survived.  Although Fleetwood Mac's return has been painful for some, others (like myself) are pleased to see this dinosaur still roaming the rock landscape.

Since Fleetwood Mac resurfaced in 1997 to record The Dance, there's been a resurgence of interest in the band.  A new generation of listeners is discovering the classic incarnation of Fleetwood Mac that was born in 1975 when Mick Fleetwood asked Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to join the band.  Within two years, this lineup had produced Rumours, still considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time.  Undoubtedly, the genius of Buckingham and Nicks was the force that catapulted the band to this new creative level.

Before joining Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks released their own self-titled album in 1973.  Although this record isn't as well known as the music Buckingham and Nicks created with Fleetwood Mac, it's as much of a masterpiece as Rumours.  Much like the Rumours album, Buckingham Nicks takes an intimate look at strained and broken relationships.

Buckingham Nicks has more of an acoustic sound and is more sparsely produced than Rumours, but the songs are just as powerful.  Through brooding lyrics and tense music, tunes like "Long Distance Winner" and "Frozen Love" deliver as much of an emotional punch as "Dreams" and "The Chain" from Rumours.

An earlier version of Fleetwood Mac's "Crystal" appears on Buckingham Nicks, as well as an instrumental entitled "Stephanie," which showcases Lindsey Buckingham's early talents as a guitarist (even today, Lindsey's licks amaze me--check out his finger-work during "Big Love" on The Dance concert video).  Other highlights on Buckingham Nicks include "Crying in the Night," "Without a Leg to Stand On," and "Races Are Run."

"Lola," a country-fried, cheese-covered romp, is the only wart on the Buckingham Nicks album.  I guess every great record has at least one blemish.  Even Rumours is plagued by the sub-par ditty "Oh Daddy."  How many sane and sober people out there pop in the Rumours CD to listen to that track?

If you're a Fleetwood Mac fan, the Buckingham Nicks album is a must-buy.  There's only one problem--you may never get to hear it unless you have a turntable.  The album has never been officially released on CD.  Bootleg CDs of Buckingham Nicks do exist, but they were dubbed off the vinyl release.  So, you'll get to hear all the snaps, crackles, and pops that the record listener enjoys.  The bootlegs are also hard to find.  I've only seen them twice, and I make my home in record stores across the country.

If Buckingham Nicks is such a great album, why hasn't it been released on CD for the pure listening pleasure of the masses?  Well, there have been some rumors (no pun intended) floating around in the past few years concerning the album's official release.  At one point, I heard that Polydor had set a release date for the CD.  One of the Fleetwood Mac web sites even claimed that the album would be released on CD in 1999.  That obviously didn't happen.  Now, this same web site is claiming an official release will occur in 2000.

I've also heard rumors that the album would never be officially released on CD because the master tapes had been lost or destroyed, but "Long Distance Winner" was released on Stevie Nicks's Enchanted boxed set in 1998.  So, some (if not all) of the master tapes do still exist.

Although I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an official CD release, it's possible that Buckingham Nicks will be forever lost in the vinyl groove.  If you've got a turntable, go find a vinyl copy of this album.  I occasionally see it  in the used record bins.  It will cost you anywhere from $10 to $25 to get your own copy, but it's definitely worth the time and the money to get your hands on this lost classic.

Originally posted on http://www.sowbugstew.com/cracks2.html, Thanks to Jon Lansdell for bringing to my attention

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Last Updated - 24 June 2002

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