Rumours: 35th Anniversary Edition
The album remains a revelation to me – and it’s not even my favourite Fleetwood Mac record; I prefer Tusk and many of the pre-Buckingham/Nicks albums/line-ups. But I do love Rumours. And I have the feeling that even people who don’t (want to) like Rumours possibly own it, or at least acknowledge its classic status.
You won’t ever dissuade a fan from shelling out again for the extended version when it comes reissue/anniversary time but this three disc version is probably only worthwhile if you’ve not bought the existing reissue (from when this, tusk and the self-titled album were re-released, Tusk and Rumours as double-discs with a plethora of outtakes).
So here you get many of the same outtakes (again) and a full disc called Live 1977 – Rumours World Tour; it’s interesting in its messiness and in hearing the band tackle so much of Rumours live; Dreams is played fast, Fleetwood machine-gunning those fills that sound so lovely, soft and warm on the record, where once they caressed now they thrust; Nicks is forced to rush the vocal, and her key strength has always been how she inhabits a character across signature songs (Gold Dust Woman, Gypsy, Sara, Rhiannon, Silver Springs and Dreams). Here that’s somewhat lost.
The Chain is fresh – rather than the classic concert highlight it would become, but it’s riveting to hear this version, even if Buckingham is out of tune and screaming (both guitar and voice); the crowd still accentuates the thrilling build to the guitar solo behind McVie and Fleetwood.
I’m a sucker for such live documents, the first track, simply titled Intro has Buckingham riffing on what would become the song Tusk, a good 18 months before it made its way towards a final shape. In some ways that alone was worth the price of admission. And if they rush Dreams then Oh Daddy and Gold Dust Woman are highlights; Rhiannon too, obviously it was – at that time – what the likes of Go Your Own Way and The Chain would become in the context of a Fleetwood Mac set. A punchy Monday Morning is great too.
The demos and outtakes are interesting – if you have not heard any of them before. But maybe they’re a one-listen only. The songs Keep Me There and The Chain morphed, eventually, into the settled version of The Chain and both are fascinating to hear and relive in demo form; possibly Christine McVie was short-changed on the deal.
Mostly I enjoyed the chance to reconnect with a favourite album; an old favourite – and to peek behind the scenes in a manner of speaking. The album – and the story behind the album – fascinates me. Yes, this 35th Anniversary Edition (like every anniversary edition) is a cash grab, but if you’re a fan you won’t heed warnings, you’ll part with your cash. And you’ll get something for it.