Mystery To Me (1973)


 
1. Emerald Eyes 2. Believe Me 3. Just Crazy Love 4. Hypnotized 5. Forever 6. Keep on Going 7. The City 8. Miles Away 9. Somebody 10.The Way I Feel 11.For Your Love 12.Why

 

After the failure of the Dave Walker "experiment" on the last album, Penguin, the band wisely continued without him, but keeping the rest of the lineup intact. They managed to release their biggest selling album to date. It's pretty amazing when you think that, at least during this time, these guys were putting out an album every 6-8 months. That in itself is a memorable feat, more so when you think of all the constant lineup shuffles that they were enduring.

Welch continues to be the "leader", or at least the most "visible" member of the group, and this album has him at his creative best. If anything, this album needs to be remembered for Welch's brilliant song Hypnotized that deserves consideration for the best Fleetwood Mac song pre 1975 (yes, that includes all the Peter Green stuff). Of course, many people never heard it. This really wasn't a "singles" band, and their albums really weren't big sellers either. That was o.k. back then. Record companies didn't expect that much, since they knew that these guys were at least a guarantee of maybe 100,000 copies sold for each album. They were more of a "B" list artist than anything else at that point.

Other Welch standouts are the album opener Emerald Eyes and the spacey cover For Your Love. His weirdness gets the best of him in places, such as in the paranoia induced tracks such as Miles Away and The City which sounds remarkably a bit like a Joe Walsh song, but in Welch's case, this was a bit expected since he tended to flirt quite heavily with the mystic sides of things. Christine McVie continues to write very memorable, catchy pop songs. All of her songs seem to be a bit generic in style, yet they never get old and always sound so refreshing. This band definitely needed an artist such as herself in the mix. It's a bit of a shame that when people associate her with this band, they only think of the time period from 1975 to the present. Fans of the classic period should, at the very least, check out her older tunes from this period. Her songs seem to only get better over time. Her strongest contribution is the beautiful, orchestral song Why that closes out the album.

With all of the lineup shuffles that this band encountered, especially in the early days, it becomes a bit of chore trying to compare one release to another that was released in roughly the same period. Safe to say that this one is a "thumbs up" in the early (well, not too early) phase of the career of Fleetwood Mac.

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