Record #337: Fleetwood Mac – Mystery To Me (1973)

Record #337: Fleetwood Mac – Mystery To Me (1973)
The strangest thing about Fleetwood Mac is how many incarnations of the band there has been (the Wikipedia page “List of Fleetwood Mac members” features a detailed graph).

Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie (the eponymous Fleetwood and Mac) played behind five different lead singers before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks took the helm. This album (with its strange, strange cover—don’t ask me why the ape is crying) features bandleaders Bob Welch and Christine McVie, who would remain a staple in the later, more famous version. 

This disc is only separated from the other pre-BuckNicks album I own (Bare Trees) by a year and another album (Penguin), but this doesn’t sound like the same band at all.

​While Bare Trees was a mostly forgettable blues rock record, Mystery To Me has got some hooks to it. “Hypnotize” rides along a brooding dance rhythm. “Keep on Going” mixes blues with heavy disco strings. The cover of the Yardbirds’ “For Your Love” plays with unexpected song structures, weaving in and out of tempos in a way the group’s early blues rock would never hint at.

​And while Bob Welch would only helm one more album for Fleetwood Mac before Lindsey and Stevie would rocket them to superstardom, Mystery To Me finds Welch and McVie pointing the ship in the right direction for them.

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