Fleetwood Mac – Self-Titled

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Reviews and Commentaries for Fleetwood Mac’s Self-Titled Album from 1975

  • With superb Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this vintage Reprise pressing of the 1975 self-titled album boasts outstanding sound
  • A Rock and Pop Top 100 Title – their best recording bar none – the sound is Tubey Magical like no other Mac LP
  • Unlike the MoFi, the best early pressings have huge amounts of deep bass, and if you’ve got the speakers to play an album with a bottom this big, you are in for a thrill
  • 5 stars: “Fleetwood Mac is a blockbuster album that isn’t dominated by its hit singles, and its album tracks demonstrate a depth of both songwriting and musicality that would blossom fully on Rumours.”

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can  be sure we have a nice cover for you. 

Until we started doing these shootouts, I had no idea this album was recorded so well. There are layers and layers of subtle instrumental textures and recording effects throughout this album that I never even knew were there.

We wish more copies in our shootout had that “jump out of the speakers” sound we knew was possible from our previous shootouts of the album. When finally one did, boy did it ever. 

Many of the notes you see below are the same as the ones we made for the last two shootouts we did. If you have a big speaker system and have taken advantage of the audio revolutions we discuss throughout the site, this is the kind of record that can help you chart your progress. When a record like this blows everything you’ve ever heard out of the water, you are definitely on the right track!

What the Best Sides of Fleetwood Mac 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 1975
  • 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 studio space

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.

What to Listen For – Really Big Bass

One of the special qualities this album has is AMAZINGLY well-defined, punchy, deep BASS — the kind you just never hear on most records (or most pressings of this album for that matter).

The bass is typically bloated on most copies of this album, something that is especially true for the MoFi. When you get a copy with note-like, properly balanced bass, the whole album works. Bass is the foundation of the music. When the bass is blubbery and ill-defined, the music itself sounds blurred. It loses its focus.

It’s also very dynamic and punchy. The kick drum sounds exactly right — there’s a room around it, just exactly as you would hear it if you were in the studio with the band!

Just listen to Rhiannon — it’s silky sweet, airy, open and spacious, yet still present and immediate. It’s not bright; the tonal balance is Right On The Money. Here all the nuances really come to life. You’ll quickly realize that this is more than a great pop album; it’s nothing short of a landmark in pop music production. With so much going on, you really need a copy that offers the kind of transparency that only the best LPs have in order to fully appreciate everything that’s going into these songs.

What We’re Listening For on Fleetwood Mac’s Self-Titled Album

  • 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 Commentary

The Tracklist tab above will take you to a select song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice. Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Monday Morning

This copy is so transparent that it revealed a quality of the recording that we were never aware of before. The songs that Lindsey sings, which tend to be the rockers, have a certain gritty quality to the vocals which is not on any of the other songs, those sung by Stevie Nicks or Christine McVie. It’s not a pressing problem. It HAS to be the way they wanted his vocals to sound. There’s a certain rawness and bite that he seems to be going for, so don’t expect the smoothness and sweetness of the other tracks when playing his.

Warm Ways

Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this. This song is PURE POP PERFECTION. This is our favorite test track for side one. Christine’s voice needs to be present and immediate, while at the same time completely free from grain or artificial EQ. On the best copies she is breathy and sweet. In case you haven’t noticed, these are not qualities you hear often in the songs Christine sings lead on. Most of her vocals are veiled and farther back in the mix. Stevie Nicks tends to get better sound for some reason, don’t ask me why. Just listen to the sound of the vocals on Landslide; McVie never gets that kind of presence and immediacy.

Beyond the sound of the vocals, there are tons of subtle production effects throughout the song which can only be heard on the most transparent copies. We played this song dozens and dozens of times over the course of our shootout and kept hearing more and more nuances in the production. Buckingham is a pop genius; his work on this album and Rumours cannot be faulted. The better the pressing the more you can appreciate all the elements he has built into these wonderful recordings.

Blue Letter
Rhiannon
Over My Head
Crystal

Side Two

Say You Love Me

As rich and sweet and tubey magical as any Fleetwood Mac song ever recorded. This side starts out with a bang and only gets better. The first two tracks on this side really show this band firing on all cylinders.

Landslide

There is unbelievable transparency to be found on the best copies, and this track is a great test for that quality. You can practically feel the cool air in the studio. Listen especially at the end of the song for the subtle guitar effects. This song is a masterpiece, a real high point for side two. Notice how the first two tracks on side two mirror those on the first side. This band likes to come out swingin’ as soon as you drop the needle.

World Turning
Sugar Daddy
I’m So Afraid

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

1975’s Fleetwood Mac represents not just the rebirth of the band, but in effect a second debut for the group — the introduction of a band that would dominate the sound of American and British mainstream pop for the next seven years.

In fact, in retrospect, it’s rather stunning how thoroughly Buckingham and Nicks, who had previously recorded as a duo and were romantically entangled in the past, overtook the British blues band. As soon as the Californian duo came onboard, Fleetwood Mac turned into a West Coast pop/rock band, transforming the very identity of the band and pushing the band’s other songwriter, keyboardist Christine McVie, to a kindred soft rock sound.

It could have all been too mellow if it weren’t for the nervy, restless spirit of Buckingham, whose insistent opener, “Monday Morning,” sets the tone for the rest of the album, as well the next few years of the group’s career. Surging with a pushily melodic chorus and a breezy Californian feel, the song has little to do with anything the Mac had done before this, and it is a positively brilliant slice of pop songwriting, simultaneously urgent and timeless.

After that barnstorming opener, Buckingham lies back a bit, contributing only two other songs — a cover of Richard Curtis’ “Blue Letter,” the second-best up-tempo song here, and the closer, “I’m So Afraid” — while the rest of the album is given over to the wily spirits of Nicks and McVie, whose singles “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me,” and “Over My Head” deservedly made this into a blockbuster.

But a bandmember’s contribution can never be reduced to his own tracks, and Buckingham not only gives the production depth, he motivates the rest of the band, particularly Nicks and McVie, to do great work, not just on the hit singles but the album tracks that give this record depth. It was diverse without being forced, percolating with innovative ideas, all filtered through an accessible yet sophisticated sensibility.

While Rumours had more hits and Tusk was an inspired work of mad genius, Fleetwood Mac wrote the blueprint for Californian soft rock of the late ’70s and was the standard the rest were judged by.

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