Bare Trees built upon the sound and style established by Future Games as it continued to steer the group away from their blues roots toward a rock/pop sound.
The Fleetwood Mac line-up would remain guitarist Danny Kirwan, keyboardist Christine McVie, guitarist Bob Welch, bassist John McVie, and drummer Mick Fleetwood. This would be Kirwan’s last album with the band as he would be fired halfway through their tour to support the release, for missing shows.
Kirwan would go out in style as he wrote five of the eleven tracks, and they remain his most consistent group of songs. His ability to create moods with his impeccable guitar virtuosity was some of the best in rock history. “Sunny Side Of Heaven” has a sublime beauty to it. It is an instrumental that allows the listener to form his or her own lyrical images in their minds.
The title track arrived with images intact and matches well with the sparse album cover. “Dust” is a somewhat somber tune that straddles the line between folk and rock. “Danny’s Chant” proves why Kirwan was recognized as one of the leading guitarists of the day. “Child Of Mine,” at just over five minutes, gives him room to improvise.
Future Games would be Kirwan’s true swan song. He would release four solo albums between 1975-1979 but his worsening mental health would finally force him out of the music industry. He has not released any new material in 30 years.
Bob Welch would contribute two songs. “The Ghost” features nice interaction between himself and bassist John McVie. “Sentimental Lady” would be resurrected as a Top Ten solo hit in 1977 with background vocals by Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham. I have always liked this early less pop version better.
Christine McVie also contributes two tracks. “Homeward Bound” features her fine keyboard work as she rocks out a little. The songs points ahead to Fleetwood Mac’s and her pop future. “Spare Me A Little Of Your Love” is a gentle song about the last minutes of love.
Bare Trees remains an underrated album by Fleetwood Mac. As the old poem says, two roads were diverging in the woods and their decision to take the road less traveled, at least for them, would make a difference in the lives of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie that they could not have begun to imagine during 1972.