Bare Trees (1972)


 
1. Child of Mine 2. The Ghost 3. Homeward Bound 4. Sunny Side of Heaven 5. Bare Trees 6. Sentimental Lady 7. Danny's Chant 8. Spare Me a Little of Your Love 9. Dust 10.Thoughts on a Grey Da

 

From 1968, starting with their second album Mr. Wonderful through the 1975 album Fleetwood Mac, this band put together a string of nine albums where they only kept the same back to back lineup from album to album once. Believe it or not. This was the album that featured the same lineup as its predecessor. This could be why this is one of their strongest albums in the band's catalog. Without a doubt it's the best effort featuring Bob Welch.

Of course, you could argue though, that it's really Danny Kirwan that carries the album. In many ways, this is his swan song, although no one knew it at the time - a bit like Peter Green's contributions to his last Fleetwood Mac album Then Play On. The two guitarists, along with keyboardist Christine McVie trade off songs throughout the album and the styles balance very well off each other. For a band as diverse as Fleetwood Mac (even practicing that diversity on individual albums), this is not necessarily a compliment, but in this case it's meant to be. This is probably the most consistent thing they've done in their entire catalog.

It was sad to hear stories that Bob Welch and Danny Kirwan weren't getting along too well in the studio and on the stage, because where Kirwan was putting out his best work, Welch manages to put together a couple of his best Fleetwood Mac pieces that he would contribute. Special nod goes to Sentimental Lady. Although the song itself didn't do much, Welch wisely released it again as a solo artist when he was having a brief successful run in the late seventies, and it was nice to see the song get some radio airplay. It's a beautiful piece, and the differences between the two versions are minimal, yet this one has a much more simple, acoustic feel.

McVie's composition Spare Me a Little of Your Love is a typical (i.e. very good) McVie offering. Her Homeward Bound drags a bit. Ironic that she was already tired of the road back in 1972. This would be a common sentiment of hers. She finally gave up on the road in the late 1990s.

Kirwan actually delivers over half the album, and his pieces are all a bit eclectic, yet, as stated before, incredibly powerful. Even the bizarre Danny's Chant is impossible not to get into. They close the album in a weird way - an elderly lady who was their neighbor at the time reads her poem Thoughts on a Grey Day which is where they get the album title from. The recording is very crude - as if they brought a tape recorder to her house. Why not just invite her into the studio? Perhaps we could have heard the poem better. Anyway, it's a very sweet piece. And the whole album is a very strong release. Definitely their highpoint from their "in between" time.

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