Fleetwood Mac – Rumours Flashback 40

Here is the first album look back in my Flashback 40 series. Kicking off is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album. The 11th studio album of their career, it was one that was to be, despite everything that was going on outside the recording studios. To be honest it was an album that was even lucky to be written and completed given the situation of a number of the band members, it in a way though it probably existed purely down to the external factors and quite possibly with its title.

It was released on 4th February 1977 and was a huge success as they achieve number ones in five different countries throught out the coming months. In the US, it had spent 31 weeks non consecutively at the top of the Billboard 200. Come March 1978 ,Rumours alone had sold 8 million copies in the US and ten million around the world. In the UK it entered in at number at number 7 before hitting the top early in 1978  giving the band their first UK number one album.

To this day the album is still selling and as recent as 2009 it had shipped 30 million album sales. That is pretty darn good for one album. There are bands who wish they could sell 30 million albums in a career let alone for one album. As at July 2016 it was the 11th best selling album in UK history.

Rumours gives us some of the bands most notable releases such as Dreams, Don’t Stop, Go Your Own Way and of course The Chain. The Chain is famous for the use of the Bass line for the BBC’s Formula One theme tune up until they lost tv rights. Upon its return to the BBC, the  track entered the charts in 2009 through downloads where it reached 94 in th charts. It did so again in 2011 reaching 89, after a facebook campaign to get it number one for the start of the 2011 season.

The album looks like it reflects the break up of Buckingham and Nicks’ relationship with each of them taking a different perspective of the break up. With Stevie Nicks it seems to be reflective, but with Buckingham there seems to be some anger and bitterness. It would seem strange that the songs written could have some great music but yet be about break ups from two sides. For example Go Your Own Way sees a bitter line, but the music to the song is catchy and seemingly more light as it were.

Whilst there are the songs we all come to know, Rumours has tracks that make this album complete. Songbird written and sung by Christine McVie is a beautiful acoustic track that has a relaxing feel to it and one that is still sounds fresh even though it’s forty years old. A song with an appeal, that it was covered by the late Eva Cassidy and featured in her posthumously released album titled Songbird. It reached number one back in 2001. Willie Nelson also covered it on his album, also titled Songbird. The song itself found its way into the charts back in 2009 when it reached 56. This was down to an X Factor contestant singing it in her audition.

The album takes a brief country feel with the track, it was a track actually written by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham pre Rumours and is a look at a romantic break up although it was way before   their very own break up. It’s hard not to like this track with it’s uplifting beat.

Oh Daddy is one of the few tracks not about break up. There is a seeming split about who it is about. Christine McVie claimed that it was about Mick Fleetwood, who was the only father around the band at the time, although others claimed it was about the bands lighting director, who McVie was dating at the time. Regardless of who it’s about, it’s a good track to listen to.

So there we have it (at last) the first of a number of Flashback 40 album reviews.

Musings from Down Under

Having been away for a couple of weeks, spending time down under I thought I’d share some thoughts and observations from my fantastic little trip with Emma to visit family.

Going during the summer period I was preparing for the roasting temperatures of 40 plus, unfortunately and merely coincidence the summer and temperatures on the west coast were much lower than that.  Having eventually arrived after the communication incompetence of Emirates and surviving the crazy driving of the locals, it was a brief stay in Perth before heading south to Busselton.

Busselton if you havent ever heard of it, is a regional city in the South West region of West Australia. It has one of the longest jetties in the world, albeit rebuilt following damage from a Cyclone. It extends to around 2km and you can take a walk or jump on a ‘train to take you to the end, where there is an underwater observatory. A fair number of fish and if you were to be really lucky, a passing shark. Sad to say that during my time on the West Coast, I didnt see any sharks. We did though see dolphins on several occasions

Admittedly there isnt much to Busselton tourist wise other than the beach, jetty and the Busselton museum in the old Butter factory, but it is still a great place to go. If you are every down that way I recommend you go to Codrocks for the fish and chips. They cook the order fresh, which may mean a little wait but it is certainly worth it. I had snapper and chips. Very yummy indeed.  If you take a walk further round you will find a shopping parade in Kent Street and a bakery aptly named Kent Street Bakery. Here you will find a range of awesome cake and rolls. The Chocolate marble cake was cake to die for.

It’s not all about Busselton, the South West Region of Western. Take a trip south to Metricup, you will find a the Metricup Bird Park where you could get seed to feed the various birds and animals. I had the experience of walking in amongst kangaroos and feeding a joey. It was great to get so close but naturally taking precautions as to not get a punch or have talons wiping me out with a swipe. Checking out permanently or having serious medical attention in a continental holiday was not something I really quite fancied, Im sure no one else did either.

Head southwards and you will find a number of caves, all with their unique parts within the system. We visited Jewel, Mammoth, Lake and Ngilgi Cave.Whether you were guided or went alone there was a lot to enjoy. The one thing though is that it if walking and steps are not your thing then you they are best to avoid. With the Jewel, Mammoth and Lake cave you could buy a multi vist pass that would allow you visits over the two days, should you wish.

Although we didnt stop there, en route to Margaret River is a town called Cowaramup and if you wondered by the name there is a cow theme within. You will see randomly placed lifesize sculptures of cows as a tourist attraction. There are 42 in total. In 2014 the town set a Guiness World Record for the largest number of people dressed as cows…..the number oh that was 1352.

Cowaramup derives it name from the Cowaramup siding that was near to the town on the disused Busselton to Augusta railway. The name is believed to come from the aboriginal word Cowara that means purple crowned lorikeet.

The Margaret River region is a heaven for wine connoiseurs or fans of the grape. You will find yourself surrounded by choice, but of course if you choose to have a glass or few, be sure to find alternative travel as like everywhere drink driving is against the law. There are of course a number of breweries if wine isnt your thing.

Chocolate fans will not be disappointed should they go to Margaret River or indeed anywhere in the West Coast at least. Margaret River boasts a chocolate factory where you can try handfuls of chocolate for free, buy as much chocolate as your budget will allow and feel like you may have found heaven after all. Chocolate in general is a wonderous joy,  Cadburys blocks including various flavours and brands like Black Forest and the Old Gold brand that we dont see in the UK. Im pretty well sure that they would sell like hotcakes or should I say chocolate off the shelves over here.

 Whilst in Margaret River and you feel like grabbing some food, you wont go wrong in visiting the Settlers pub. With various beers, including a selection of craft beers, you will also get good food and a speedy service. You wont have long to wait for your food either. On our next return, we shall be heading there once again no doubt.

So from my visit to Australia, I had a fantastic time and cant wait to return down under. I do hope you enjoyed reading this brief musing, do feel free to comment.