Thursday , February 29 2024
Fleetwood Mac: Chapter 5.

Music Review: Fleetwood Mac – Future Games

Change was in the air again for Fleetwood Mac. Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer had been the original guitarists on its first two albums. Then, it was Green and Danny Kirwan, and finally Kirwan and Spencer on its fourth release. During a February 1971 tour of The United States, Spencer disappeared when he went out to buy a newspaper. He would surface two years later as a member of The Children Of God religious sect. The group reformed by adding two new members.

Christine Perfect married bassist John McVie, and after having sat in on a number of Fleetwood Mac projects, became an official member of the band. She had been honored twice by Melody Maker as The Female Vocalist Of The Year for her work with the group Chicken Shack. Her keyboards, vocals, and songwriting ability would become a key ingredient to the group’s massive success as time went on.

The other addition was California guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Bob Welch. His stint with Fleetwood Mac would last four years and five albums. He remains a somewhat forgotten figure in the group’s history but he steered the band during their transition from blues band to pop/rock superstars. If not for him, it is doubtful the band would have even survived. Sometimes, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame gets it wrong, as he should have been included in the Fleetwood Mac lineup that was inducted during 1998.

Future Games moved Fleetwood Mac in a pop direction. Welch was not grounded in the blues, McVie had pop leanings, and Kirwan sort of traveled his own journey.

Kirwan’s contributions are some of the best of his career. “Woman Of 1000 Years” is a conceptual and melodic journey. “Sands Of Time” contains almost a sorrowful guitar performance on this melancholy song, where McVie provides some nice background vocals. “Sometimes” continues the mood with a wistful sound. Kirwan was one of those rare guitarists who could create moods with his instrument, and that ability is demonstrated well on this album.

Christine McVie made an immediate impact on the record. “Morning Rain” is a nice rocker with harmonies that would look to the group’s future. “Show Me A Smile” is a triumphant performance with a delicate melody.

Bob Welch may have been a California rocker but his title song was bluesy and acoustic and one of his better creations. “Lay It All Down” went in another direction and was a competent outing.

Future Games is ultimately an album of beauty that was rich in sound and well crafted. It was only met with modest commercial success but it was the first step on the road to superstardom for the group.

About David Bowling

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