Fleetwood Mac – Tusk

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  • This outstanding copy of Tusk boasts solid Double Plus (A+) sound or BETTER on all FOUR sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The best sounding tracks are killer here – clear, rich, warm, full-bodied, with all the hallmarks of high-production-value analog throughout
  • This vintage pressing has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 40 year old tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copy of those tapes)
  • 5 stars: “McVie and Nicks don’t deviate from their established soft rock and folk-rock templates, and all their songs are first-rate… Because of its ambitions, Tusk failed to replicate the success of its two predecessors, yet it earned a dedicated cult audience of fans of twisted, melodic pop.”

This Warner Brothers pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

The bass is deep, tight, and full-bodied. The vocals are silky sweet and the electric guitars have tons of meaty texture. The highs are delicate, the bottom end is superb, and the drums are clean and crisp, but not overly so. The sound is open, spacious, and super transparent – you can easily pick out each vocal line.

What the Best Sides of Tusk Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1979
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Talkin’ Tusk

This is one of the more controversial albums in the history of pop music — some people love it, others despise it, and some still don’t know what to make of it. You may not put it up there with Rumours, but when you hear these songs on a copy this good it’s easy to see why the All Music Guide gave Tusk five big stars!

Tusk suffered from high expectations and disappointed those looking for Rumours II. There is much on this album that compares to the best of Rumours but the weak material somewhat drags the album down as a whole. About three-quarters of Tusk is excellent. I made a 60-minute tape of that material and play it with great pleasure. I could tell you about lots of wonderful qualities the best tracks on the album have, but it would take too long. Sorry!

Sonically, the best sounding material ranks right up there with anything the band ever did, but there are more experimental moments such as What Makes You Think You’re The One that are never going to be tracks you demo your system with.

One high point (musically and sonically) is “Beautiful Child,” quite possibly the best song Stevie Nicks ever wrote. If you listen carefully and give yourself over totally to the sentiment of the song, and your eyes don’t well up, try opening up a vein and letting some ice water pour out. Then try it again. Repeat if necessary. If that doesn’t work just give up and go back to the Diana Krall CD you were playing.

What We’re Listening For on Tusk

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Over & Over 
The Ledge 
Think About Me 
Save Me a Place 
Sara

Side Two

What Makes You Think You’re the One 
Storms 
That’s All for Everyone 
Not That Funny 
Sisters of the Moon

Side Three

Angel
That’s Enough for Me
Brown Eyes
Never Make Me Cry
I Know I’m Not Wrong

Side Four

Honey Hi
Beautiful Child
Walk a Thin Line
Tusk
Never Forget

AMG  5 Star Rave Review

Where Rumours achieved greatness through turmoil, its double-album follow-up, Tusk, is the sound of a band imploding. Lindsey Buckingham began to assume control of Fleetwood Mac during the Rumours sessions, but he dominates Tusk, turning the album into a paranoid roller coaster ride where sweet soft rock is offset by feverish cocaine fantasies.

Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks don’t deviate from their established soft rock and folk-rock templates, and all their songs are first-rate, whether it’s McVie’s “Over and Over” or Nicks’ “Sara.” Buckingham gives these mainstream-oriented songs off-kilter arrangements so they can fit neatly with his nervy, insular yet catchy songs.

Alternating bracing pop/rockers like “The Ledge” and “What Makes You Think You’re the One” with melancholic, Beach Boys-style ballads like “Save Me a Place” and “That’s All for Everyone,” Buckingham subverts pop/rock with weird arrangements and unpredictable melodies, which are nevertheless given accessible productions. Even the hit title track is a strange, menacing threat punctuated by a marching band.

This is as strange as mainstream pop gets, even pushing on the borders of the avant-garde. Because of its ambitions, Tusk failed to replicate the success of its two predecessors (it still went double platinum, though), yet it earned a dedicated cult audience of fans of twisted, melodic pop.