During the early nineties Fleetwood Mac was in disarray. Rick Vito left after only one album with the group. The real loss was Stevie Nicks who withdrew to concentrate on her solo career, which meant no Buckingham or Nicks as a part of the band. It is a testament to Mick Fleetwood and the McVie’s that they had the resolve to keep the group going.
New members Bekka Bramlett and Dave Mason joined the band, which when combined with the other holdover Billy Burnette, brought a very different approach to the group’s sound. Bramlett was the daughter of Delaney & Bonnie of Eric Clapton Fame. Her country leanings melded well with those of Burnette and they would form a duo after leaving the group. Dave Mason was an odd choice in some ways. He is a world class guitarist but his sound and style was shaped by his former group Traffic and probably would have fit the pre-pop Fleetwood Mac better. He was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with his former group at the 2004 induction ceremony.
Time was released October 10, 1985 and was their least successful commercial studio release as it did not even reach the album charts in The United States. The diverse personalities of the members did not mesh together, and their fan base did not respond to the disjointed nature of the album.
Christine McVie tries very hard with five songs, co-written with then husband Eddy Quintela. They may not be the best group of songs she ever produced, but they are solid pop and remain representative of her skill as a composer and singer. “Hollywood (Some Other Kind Of Town)” was an interesting throwback to her Future Games sound, but “Nights In Estoril,” “Sooner Or later,” and “I Do” are all very listenable pop songs.
I tend to think of Burnette and Bramlett as a duo and their contributions travel in a country direction which takes the group away from its strength. Bramlett is a good vocalist in her own right, but it was a stretch for her as the replacement for Stevie Nicks. Their best contribution is their own song, “Dreamin’ The Dream,” which is a gentle song which fit the bands preconceived profile well.
Dave Mason contributed two songs and he is who he is. His vocals and guitar playing are excellent and he is certainly the equal of Lindsey Buckingham, but not in this setting.
The release’s oddest track is Mick Fleetwood’s seven minute album closer, “These Strange Times.”
The album and the band just did not function as a whole in this incarnation. Bramlett, Mason, and Burnette would all be gone after touring to support the release and some old friends would return. Time remains one of the weakest albums in The Fleetwood Mac catalogue and should be explored only by hard core fans of the group.