The stories of excess and debauchery are legend and the internecine bitching and fighting that the 11 tracks of the original release represent have all been discussed ad nauseam in the years since but given a chance to listen to the album without baggage and with many years since I last listened to it as a whole it really does hit the mark.
The songs are, these days, MOR classics; the basis of Radio 2 or Melody FM shows and repeated day after day but there is still a freshness to the sound of Rumours when you listen to the album and don’t just have it in the background that grabs your attention anew. It doesn’t hurt that the remastering is superb.
Just listening to Never Going Back Again, your ears pick up on the jaunty little ragtime picking that is so familiar but the counterpoint of the mandolin against the guitar suddenly comes as a little bit of a surprise and the structure of the song sounds more apparent this time around. When that leads into the overblown country rock of Don’t Stop and on to Go Your Own Way with the multi-layered harmonies that are sooo familiar you suddenly start to realize that every track on the album is a classic. Formula 1 fans familiar with the guitar outro from The Chain might get a real kick out of hearing the whole track – it really is better this way!
The playing throughout is top grade, this is Fleetwood Mac after all, but the production and the sheer effortlessness of the music means that you can just concentrate on the music and ignore all the ‘stuff’ that nearly meant that this album was never made.
Disk 2 is a live show from the 1977 World tour and while you get repeats of the best tracks from the Rumours album, you also get a fabulous version of Rhiannon and an extended World Turning that will have you up and dancing whatever your musical persuasion.
Overall, I am more than pleased to hear just how well the album has lasted – it is amazing to think that it was released in the same year as Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, Marley’s Exodus and Television’s Marquee Moon and still stands up without the nostalgia factor.