Fleetwood Mac may have been a troubled band in 1973, but they managed to produce Penguin and a second album in that year, entitled Mystery To Me. Bob Weston contributed to the album but was not a full-time member, so some of his contributions may have been recorded before his departure. His career in the band came to an abrupt end when he had an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife.
Bob Welch and Christine McVie dominate the album. Welch wrote six of the tracks himself and co-wrote a seventh. McVie stepped forward and wrote four tracks. The album would not be a consistent classic but contained two songs as good as anything Fleetwood Mac would ever produce.
Mystery To Me is really a Bob Welch affair, and it was his determination that kept the group alive during this period of its career. His “Hypnotized” is one of the two terrific tracks and was an album-only radio staple for decades. The guitars combined with McVie’s keyboards to create a mystical, druggy type song. It may not have been representative of the Fleetwood Mac sound but was a perfect early seventies song.
There were several other Bob Welch songs of note. “Emerald Eyes” was a track that built as it progressed and proved he could really write sophisticated music. The lyrics dealt with the issue of infatuation and the song remained in the group’s concert act after his departure.
“The City,” “Miles Away,” and “Somebody” introduce the rocking Bob Welch and were presented back-to-back on the original vinyl release. He even manages a competent vocal on the old Yardbirds hit, “For Your Love.”
Christine McVie was responsible for the other memorable track. “Why” is an emotional ballad which closed the album. She created just the right vehicle for her soulful and bluesy voice, and the song would also remain a part of the group’s concert act for decades. Her vocal on “Just Crazy Love” is almost as good, as it is McVie at her wistful best.
Mystery To Me finds Fleetwood Mac in a holding pattern between their blues era and their classic pop era. Most of Welch’s contributions fit into neither style, but McVie’s would look ahead to the Fleetwood Mac of the mid-to-late seventies. It remains a unique and in some ways interesting release in the group’s catalogue.