Would We Believe The Future If We Knew?

Originally posted June 13, 2008

Every once in a while, the Texas Gal looks over at me as she’s quilting on the easy chair and asks me something along the line of: “If someone had told you at the end of 1999 that you’d end up married and living in St. Cloud again, what would you have thought?”

I shake my head and answer quite honestly: If someone had approached me during the desolation and depression that was end of 1999 and told me that, I’d have been certain the messenger was hallucinating or playing a cruel joke. As dismal as my life was during the last months of 1999, I couldn’t in any way imagine living a life as happy, secure and settled as is the life I have now.

Everyone’s life takes odd and unforeseen turns – some tragic, some beneficial and some, I suppose, neutral in their outcomes. Would we better off if we were to know those outcomes ahead of time? I don’t think so. We’d invest our energies in dreading the tragedies ahead and trying to figure out a way to fend them off, or we’d spend much of our time anticipating the bounty to come, ignoring the (maybe smaller) treasures already at hand. So I think it’s just as well that we don’t know.

I’m not sure we’d believe the news anyway, no matter what seer brought it to us.

But the topic came to mind again the other day: A song popped up on the player that made me wonder once more about foreknowledge, not for myself but for the duo that in 1973 called itself Buckingham Nicks.

“Crying in the Night,” the first track from the duo’s self-titled 1973 album played as I was reading, and it interrupted my concentration. By now, the story of how the duo of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac is pretty well known: The three remaining members of the Mac – Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie – were looking for a studio for their next project and happened upon the studio where Buckingham Nicks had been recorded. The trio liked the studio’s sound but was more impressed with what they heard and invited Lindsey Buckingham to join the group. He told the three that he and Stevie were a package deal. And the new Fleetwood Mac was born.

What I wondered after all that flashed through my brain in an instant was: If someone had come up to Buckingham and Nicks in 1973 when they were working on their self-titled album and told them that in just a few years they’d be members of the most popular band in the world, what would they have thought? Maybe they would have accepted that idea matter-of-factly, but I tend to think the duo would have told the messenger: “That’s crazy! Now get out of here – we’re making a record!”

Of course, it wouldn’t have been crazy. But we knew that only after the fact.

Buckingham Nicks, the record that Fleetwood and the McVies heard that day in the studio, is an interesting piece. In it, one can hear the foundation of Fleetwood Mac’s mid-Seventies sound, the California rock that – when anchored by the great rhythm section of Fleetwood and John McVie – dominated the music world for the next few years.

Maybe the most interesting track on Buckingham Nicks is “Crystal,” which Fleetwood Mac recorded for 1975’s self-titled comeback album. Buckingham sang it both times, and the versions aren’t greatly different, but the 1975 version is clearly better produced and performed. Was it maturity? More studio time and resources? There’s really no way to know.

The rest of Buckingham Nicks is pleasant and carries that blueprint for the California rock sound that the duo would bring with them to Fleetwood Mac. There have been rumors for years that the album would be released on CD, but that doesn’t seem to have happened yet. I found this rip of the album available on a fan site long before I had my turntable, so I’ve never had to rip my own vinyl. Thanks to the folks at BuckinghamNicks.net.

Buckingham and Nicks did all the vocals, and as well as singing, Buckingham played guitar, bass and percussion. Other musicians on the record were: Hoppy Hodges, Jim Keltner and Ron Tutt on drums; Waddy Wachtel on guitar; Mark Tulin and Jerry Scheff on bass; Peggy Sandvik on keyboards; Jorge Calderon and Hoppy Hodges on percussion; and Monty Stark on synthesizer.

Tracks:
Crying In The Night
Stephanie
Without A Leg To Stand On
Crystal
Long Distance Winner
Don’t Let Me Down Again
Django
Races Are Run
Lola (My Love)
Frozen Love

Buckingham Nicks [1973]

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