Time (1995)


 
1. Talkin' to My Heart 2. Hollywood (Some Other Kind of Town) 3. Blow By Blow 4. Winds of Change 5. I Do 6. Nothing Without You 7. Dreamin' the Dream 8. Sooner or Later 9. I Wonder Why 10.Nights in Estoril 11.I Got It in For You 12.All Over Again 13.These Strange Times

 

Talk about perseverance. After the lukewarm Behind the Mask that this band completed after the exodus of Lindsey Buckingham, they now found themselves without Stevie Nicks as well. Rick Vito had also departed, but no one really cared since he was only featured on one album anyway. So Christine McVie was the only singer/songwriter still in the band. In the place of the departed ex-members were guitarist Dave Mason and Bekka Bramlett to fill the void.

The only reason I can think of Bramlett joining was because they needed another "strong female" to vacate the place left behind by Nicks. She's actually quite an awesome singer, and it's her songs that resonate the strongest on the album. Sadly, it would be impossible for her, or anyone else, to step into Stevie Nicks' shoes since they would ultimately find themselves under the microscope. She didn't sound or look like Nicks, so in most people's mind, they gave her a "fail" without even listening to what she had to offer. Her singing on Dreaming the Dream and Winds of Change are both quite beautiful, and once one stops the "comparison" aspect of the situation, they may find they enjoy her songs quite well.

The other choice, Dave Mason is a bit of disappointment. His style is too generic and forceful to be welcome here. By the time we hear his first song, the third track Blow By Blow, we're already scratching our head as to what he's actually doing here. His other track, I Wonder Why really isn't any better. And one wonders about the irony of the song title. Not since Dave Walker's "cameo" in 1973's Penguin has a member of Mac seemed so out of place. It's not surprising that most people never missed him after this album, or didn't know about his existence at all.

Which leaves us to Christine McVie, the only familiar voice in this whole cacophony. She could always be counted on to give us a handful of very good songs, and the same is true here. The problem is we were now used to hearing her being accompanied by Stevie and Lindsey, so no matter how good her songs are, we feel we're sadly being ripped off somehow, and the songs, though good, sound as though they could have been much better had they been on one of those great, earlier albums.

I guess we shouldn't forget Billy Burnette. Yes, the "other half" of the Burnette/Vito "combo" is still here, although most people were probably oblivious to this particular fact. He sings two songs, the album opener Talkin' to My Heart and I Got it in For You. There both so-so, and sadly, like everything else here, sound too mediocre and too much unlike what we're used to from the "name" Fleetwood Mac, that we're left feeling as though no discernible impact has been had on us.

Ironically, or maybe "predictably", the most "Fleetwood Mac" sounding song here is written by none other than Mick Fleetwood himself. Strange because he was not a songwriter. He even sings, rather "speaks" through the tribal sounding These Strange Times. These were indeed strange times, and it's a bit refreshing to hear this "prayer", as it were, that Fleetwood chants to find some inner peace in the midst of everything he'd been experiencing both professionally and personally throughout his career.

This album was predictably a failure. Simply no one had any interest in hearing a "reformed" band with its two key members gone. They (at least this incarnation) went on a small tour as a support act, but called it quits shortly afterwards and we never really heard of Billy Burnette, Dave Mason or Bekka Bramlett again.

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