Lindsey Buckingham released his first solo album October 3, 1981. While it would be a commercial success reaching number 32 on The United States album charts and spawning one top ten single, he would never achieve anywhere near the success of Fleetwood Mac or of his bandmate Stevie Nicks.
Part of Buckingham’s problem is he will always be associated with the pure and sophisticated pop sound of Fleetwood Mac. Ironically he was the experimental outer edge of the group’s sound. While he did produce some pop gems, it was his edginess and guitar excursions that formed the counterpoint to the music of Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, which gave the group part of their massive appeal.
Law and Order was typical of Buckingham’s approach but outside the Fleetwood Mac confines the music had to stand on its own.
He played just about every instrument on the album’s eleven tracks. George Hawkings and Mick Fleetwood play bass and drums respectively on “Trouble,” and Carol Ann Harris and Christine McVie each provide background harmonies on one track, but that’s it. Buckingham takes care of everything else. He plays his usual suburb guitar but also adds bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, and the vocals. He even co-produced the affair. Sometimes I think he would have been better served not to take on so much and get some outside impute.
While only three of the tracks were cover songs, they were an eclectic group. “It Was I” was a hit for Skip & Flip in 1959, “Satisfied Mind” was a country hit for Porter Wagoner, and “September Song” was a traditional pop song. He took the songs in different directions and while interesting, I would have preferred more of his own compositions.
“Trouble” was a top ten single in The United States and the combination of his acoustic guitar playing and Mick Fleetwood’s drumming made it the album’s most accessible track.
There were a number of other attractive creations. “Mary Lee Jones” is an energetic rocker. “Bwana” was a unique take on Mick Fleetwood’s trip to Africa. “Shadow Of The West,” “Johnny Stew,” and “Love From Here, Love From There” are Buckingham at his hit and miss best.
Law and Order is a representative Lindsey Buckingham album with all its plusses and misses. The best thing about any of his albums was he would always take a chance or two and never let the Fleetwood Mac sound prevent him from exploring new directions.