Review: Rumours (2013 Remastered Deluxe Edition) - Fleetwood Mac

This three-disc Deluxe Edition defines the classic album with extras.

By , Columnist

With several distinctive eras of Fleetwood Mac on the board, one as revered as another by different listeners, it is hard to deny the greatness of Rumours.  Released in 1977 by the third (and most famous) lineup, which featured mainstays Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie as well as Christine McVie and—the difference in the mix—Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, Rumours was the followup to that lineup's eponymous first release, itself doing well in the charts.

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What separated Rumours from that lineup's "debut" was the emotionally charged string of biographical songs, that and a meshing together of superior talent that gelled quickly, benefiting from the songwriting prowess of nearly every member in the band.  But it was Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks' tested skills as a previously recorded duo that brought the lyrics and music to a different place than Fleetwood Mac had traveled to before.

It can be argued that the  Kirwin/Welch years edged Fleetwood Mac toward a softer, more pop-oriented style than the Green years (which were nasty short).  Certainly the albums that were created during that era were beautiful in their own right, if not as much as anything that came after. But the progression that led to the Buckingham/Nicks era can certainly be felt.

Still, Rumours is the one that everyone remembers, the one album that touched a soft spot in more than 20+ million listeners.  It is not surprising that one of the most important albums of the rock era would, soon enough, be released in a definitive package that would update the sound.  But more importantly, the added bonus music that is part of the entire album experience is also represented.

But first, the remastered album.  It brings the music to a more contemporary standard in sound, providing an excellent audio update that will be pleasing to fans of the classic set.  The main album includes the B-side outtake "Silver Springs," a song that must have been extremely difficult to cut from the original album. (One can only imagine the heated discussions over its inclusion/exclusion.)

This 2013 reissued Deluxe Edition, some 36 years after its initial release, also provides a second disc of 11 song performances from the album's support tour in 1977, pieced together from several US shows. The live collection also brings in songs from the famous lineup's first album like ""Rhiannon" and "World Turning."

But what brings immense value is the third disc found in the Deluxe Edition, with its rich collection of instrumentals, demos, takes, both early and album-directed, and a pair of acoustic duets, all closely attached to Rumours' making. While some may find the addition of this set tedious and unnecessary, obsessed fans of the album will pore over the constructs of the album with delight as each song, used or not, reveals the history of these songs' intents and their eventual formation into the classics that they have grown to love.

The three CDs are housed in a tri-fold "wallet" with the expected booklet.  The booklet, all 20 pages of it, is filled with a David Wild essay, Rumours-era photos, lyrics, complex track-listings, and a page of credits for ANYTHING Rumours, old and new.

If you are on the fence about the album, I'd have to ask why, especially if you were a Fleetwood Mac fan. For some, the band's earlier works, which may never get the same lavish treatment as this album (and they should), were best. But for the larger crowd, Rumours was essential. Personally, I have greater love for earlier Fleetwood Mac, especially Bare Trees and Heroes Are Hard to Find, but I have a strong love for Rumours as well.

This three-disc Deluxe Edition will be an essential acquisition for many fans.

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Matt Rowe began his life with an AM radio, listening to anything that was considered music. Since, he has labored intently to build a collection of music, paring it down, rebuilding, and refining as he sees fit. His decided goal is to keep up with new music by panning for the nuggets among literal mountains…

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