I’ve seen so many things that made me wonder … (“Walk a Thin Line” from Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk LP)

In October of 1979, Fleetwood Mac unleashed Tusk on the world … and the world did not react favorably. This was, after all, their follow-up to 1977’s Rumours album, which has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide and spawned numerous Top 40 hits. This was also the band whose alcoholism, drug abuse and infidelity led to implosions in their interpersonal relationships during the Rumours recording sessions.

By 1979, each band member had gone their own way. The three vocalists, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, were so wrapped up in their personal songwriting that bassist John McVie was reported to have said Tusk was like listening to “the work of three solo artists.”

Tusk was a double-LP comprised of 20 songs (Oct.17 is often cited as its official release date in the US, but you can find dates ranging from Oct. 6 to Oct. 26). The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard album chart. Two songs from the collection became Top Ten singles, the title track (written by Lindsey Buckingham) and “Sara” (written by Stevie Nicks). Oddly enough, CD releases of Tusk only offer the four-minute single version of “Sara” — the song’s full-length “album version” can be found on the 1988 Greatest Hits CD.

Despite the critics’ complaints about the album’s lack of cohesive sound and feel, I like a lot of the music on Tusk. Buckingham’s “Walk a Thin Line” may be my favorite track. The beauty of its arrangement, its harmonies and instrumentation, allow me to overlook the band’s imperfections. https://youtu.be/f9DKVtqWTKU

About poppaculture

I am a seasoned consumer of modern (and not so modern) culture.
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2 Responses to I’ve seen so many things that made me wonder … (“Walk a Thin Line” from Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk LP)

  1. Mr. Geezer says:

    It seems I can’t help taking things to the fringes, can I? Tusk or Rumours? It all sounded pretty much the same to me. Good stuff. Dreamy, mystical, catchy. Fine, fine, all fine.

    I remember, though, back in this day — 1979 — when people occasionally stumbled upon the “original” Fleetwood Mac. Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. Most everybody I knew that enjoyed the “modern” Fleetwood Mac — the sweet sounding, big, harmonic Fleetwood Mac — well, when they came across Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, they just hated it. They wanted their money back if they accidentally bought an album of it. Genuine, authentic Brits interpreting genuine, authentic, American blues music, the African American kind. Man, it was all so great! And then you gotta take it all back another step, into Peter Green’s involvement — and Mick Fleetwood’s and John McVie’s involvement — with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and and and … who ever would have guessed that the modern Fleetwood Mac was gonna come out of that? Nobody.

    Ever followed the story of Peter Green? Poor guy. He’s still around. Still trying. Obviously, though, he has never fully recovered.

    These days, Mick Fleetwood has another blues band that sounds pretty good to me. I’d say it’s largely a tribute — an expression of love and appreciation — to Peter Green.

    The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band: http://youtu.be/f0yKOJ3uGzU

    Peter Green: http://goo.gl/4E1ej

    I don’t think I’d ever noted “Walk a Thin Line” before. Nice song. Thanks!

    • poppaculture says:

      Thanks again, Mr. Geezer. I tuned into Fleetwood Mac with the Reprise label’s push for their Then Play On album in the US (as Green was exiting the group). But I learned to love many of Green’s songs (and b/c I loved The Beatles’ “Sun King,” I of course loved Green’s “Albatross” … if “He’s So Fine” could go after “My Sweet Lord” …well then … but I digress…)

      I had heard stories about Green over the years. His were usually lumped together with Syd Barrett and bad LSD.

      Thank you for the links. I need to seek out “Oh Well” … and I see that it’s playing on your Folk Jazz Emporium (http://mistergeezer.blogspot.com/2011/10/peter-greens-fleetwood-mac.html … more cowbell indeed.)

      Green supposedly made an uncredited appearance on the Tusk album, playing guitar on Christine McVie’s “Brown Eyes.” True? Fitting? Ironic? as Christine McVie (then Christine Perfect) had played uncredited on many of the early Fleetwood Mac LP’s.

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