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Fleetwood Mac - Penguin (2004) Retail CD
If I may (sort of) paraphrase Oscar Wilde (badly): to lose one guitarist is unfortunate, to lose two might be considered careless. By late 1972, however, Fleetwood Mac had lost three. Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer had bowed out a year or two earlier, and now Danny Kirwan's personal state had declined so steeply that FM had to let him go. Bob Welch had joined in 1971 but FM were in those days a minimum two-guitarist band. It must have felt to the continuing members as if they were, in Bowie's words, always crashing in the same car. But as they had done before, they pulled the car out of themore… ditch, hired a new guitarist (Bob Weston), a new singer (Dave Walker), and entered the studio to record "Penguin".If "Penguin" is not among Fleetwood Mac's strongest albums it says something about their resilience that it even got made, considering the upheavals preceding it. And "Penguin" does contain a few gems which more intrepid FM explorers might like to discover. Bob Welch (guitar/vocals) and Christine McVie (piano/vocals) were consolidating their positions, being relatively new recruits themselves. Their best moments display a growing confidence. Welch's "Night Watch" is brooding and atmospheric, whilst his "Bright Fire" glistens and shimmers. McVie's "Remember Me" is a strong early example of the catchy pop-rock songs that would become a key feature of later FM albums.As for the new boys, Bob Weston contributed an attractive, contemplative composition in the shape of "Caught in the Rain". He also deports himself well on guitar throughout. A few Fleetwood Mac old school die-hards might allege he wasn't as good as Danny Kirwan, and even older school die-hards would dismiss anyone who wasn't Peter Green, but if you listen without prejudice (let me say now I am not a George Michael fan) you hear a very talented musician in his own right. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the other new boy, Dave Walker. Quite why FM thought they needed a "lead singer" when they already possessed the fine voices of Bob Welch and Christine McVie is unclear. In the event Walker's contribution was pretty minimal. His throaty r'n'b assault on "(I'm a) Road Runner" and "Derelict" could well be the sound of that car in which Fleetwood Mac were always crashing. So "Penguin" is not exactly essential but nor is it without charm. The rest of the band would soon realise that Dave Walker was a spare part, if not actually a liability, and he would be shown the door within months. The "Penguin" line-up, minus Walker, would go on to record "Mystery to Me", which is not only a big improvement on "Penguin" but a major (and sadly neglected) achievement in Fleetwood Mac's history as a whole.
|4||I'm A Road Runner|
|7||Did You Ever Love Me|
|9||Caught In The Rain|
- Fleetwood Mac - Penguin (2004) Retail CD
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- 15/04/07 by allcdcovers
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