The Best Reissues And Box Sets Of 2020
This box offers remastered versions of the seven studio albums Fleetwood Mac recorded during its formative period. There are some stone-cold classics here – the early blues-leaning, but not entirely blues-derived, Then Play On, featuring founding guitarist Peter Green, and the later ones, too, including Bare Trees and Heroes Are Hard To Find, which showcase guitarist and songwriter Bob Welch. That's not all the required listening however: There's also a curious radio set from December 1974, just before Welch left the band – that fateful change that led to the arrival of Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham and the hitmaking era that followed. In this "before" document, it's possible to hear all the stylistic evolutions of Fleetwood Mac swirling powerfully together: Starting with the incantory blues and whiplashing rhythm-section choreography of "Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)," the set includes a lovely and wistful rendering of Christine McVie's "Spare Me a Little," a wicked "Black Magic Woman" and Welch's "Hypnotized," which dissolves the concert in a dreamlike aura. It's a glimpse of an inventive, well-oiled band at an amazing moment, made just a bit more amazing when you discover it was one of only two FM performances in all of 1974.
- Tom Moon NPR