Fleetwood Mac - Mystery To Me

Fleetwood Mac – Mystery To Me

90 / 100

A big part of why this Fleetwood Mac album is successful is Bob Welch, whose smooth vocals and top notch songwriting abilities brought in an added dimension.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac
ALBUM: Mystery To Me
LABEL: Reprise
YEAR: 1973
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Mick Fleetwood – drums, percussion * John McVie – bass * Bob Welch – guitars, vocals * Bob Weston – lead guitar * Christine McVie – keyboards, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Emerald Eyes * 02 Believe Me * 03 Just Crazy Love * 04 Hypnotized * 05 Forever * 06 Keep On Going * 07 The City * 08 Miles Away * 09 Somebody * 10 The Way I Feel * 11 For Your Love * 12 Why



Fleetwood Mac started their long and colourful road to the top of the chats as part of Britain’s late 60’s blues explosion that included John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream and Jethro Tull.

With legendary guitarist and former Bluesbreaker Peter Green at the helm, Fleetwood Mac was doing big buisiness and could do no wrong with the British press, releasing a string of highly praised albums and hit singles with ‘Oh Well’ and ‘Albatross’, although in reality all was not well the Mac.

Green experimenting with LSD had seriously gone over the edge wearing unusual clothing and other assorted weirdness leaving Fleetwood Mac in 1970 and in the eyes of the press, took much of the band’s credibility with him.

From here on Fleetwood Mac’s focus was on American audiences and with a revolving door of guitarists including Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer, the group moved away from the blues to Southern California styled pop.

A number of good albums were produced during this period including the excellent ‘Future Games’ and critically acclaimed ‘Bare Trees’. With the addition of Bob Welch and later Bob Weston on the ‘Penguin’ and ‘Mystery To Me’ albums, the group seemed poised for a bigger piece of the pie.

The Songs

As far as I’m concerned this period between 1971 and 1975 was Fleetwood Mac’s most creative with ‘Mystery To Me’ their crowning achievement. While some might disagree considering the massive success of ‘Rumours’ and follow up albums well into the 1980’s, Fleetwood Mac on ‘Mystery To Me’ hit all the right buttons mixing rock and pop with prog, country and a little blues for an intoxicating cocktail that still holds up today.

A big part of why this album is so successful is Bob Welch whose smooth vocals and top notch songwriting abilities brought an added dimension to the Fleetwood Mac sound. In fact, he wrote and co-wrote most of the album and for those like myself who enjoyed the Paris and Welch’s solo albums, there’s plenty here to sink your teeth into.

Especially on the opening ‘Emerald Eyes’ and the classic rock staple ‘Hypnotized’, the latter with it’s creepy ‘Close Encounters’ tale and Welch’s smooth almost jazzy guitar embellishments sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded.

Not to be outdone, Christine McVie who has to be one of the most under rated female vocalists of all time contributes three nice pieces influenced by the Laurel Canyon sound with the ballad ‘Why’ topping the trio. Beautifully done with string arrangements and McVie’s deep and mellow as wine vocals, it’s one of her best and an early indication of what a great song writer she would become in the years to follow.

If the album has a downside, it’s the inclusion of ‘For Your Love’, a token cover originally done by The Yardbirds. Supposedly its inclusion was a last minute decision replacing another Welch tune ‘Good Things’ which would later be re-recorded for his ‘Three Hearts’ album as ‘Don’t Wait Too Long’.

‘For Your Love’ was released as a single in the States with ‘Hypnotized’ on the flip. Fortunately most programmers and disc jockey’s had the good sense which side to play!

In Summary

As with any Fleetwood Mac line-up, this version was not without its share of drama, in this case guitarist Bob Weston having an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife and naturally finding himself without a job and off the U.S tour. That tour included opening shows for Deep Purple and Jefferson Starship as well as headlining their own concerts in small halls and theaters.

Welch would last for just one more album ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’ which by the way featured one of the most bizarre album covers in history, to be replaced by Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.This unknown singer songwriter duo who released their debut album also in 1973, would go on to shape the Fleetwood Mac sound into a mountain of platinum records.

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