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Bare Trees
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103 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Fleetwood Mac recorded Bare Trees in 1972 when Danny Kirwan was only 22. He was filing the large shoes of legend Peter Green which at the time was the consensus guitar god of the era. Folk would write "Clapton is God" on the subway walls in London, only to have others write underneath "Green is better than God". The Mac also had lost guitarist Jeremey Spencer and his rock and roll revival stage antics, thus pushing the shy guitarist Kirwan out into the spotlight. A place he would rather not be. Kirwan steps up, however, and delivers 5 top-notch songs for the Mac which all hold up to the high standards already in place in the band with Christine McVie. Newcomer Bob Welch adds a couple fine songs here most notably "Sentimental Lady". Kirwan's guitar is all over the tracks blending several styles, too boot. It's a nice look into the shy guitarists songbag at a very early age. Especially nice that his talents in songwriting seem to be beyond his young years. Everyone knows about Kirwan's later life problems and everyone knows about the things to come for the Mac, but the real story here is Kirwan's talents on a rather obscure Mac effort.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Just like "Future Games", why didn't this album break Fleetwood Mac into the mainstream? The music is absolutely breathtaking. True, it may sound more commercial than the early blues material that made the band in the first place, but the fact that this album never got so big definitely helps the music's credibility.

Danny Kirwan asserts himself more than ever by contributing, a staggering 5 (count 'em) 5 songs! out of the 9 on this album. He balances his songwriting between amicable pop (the title track), bluesy rock ("Child Of Mine", "Danny's Chant"), and folk-ish balladry and instrumentation ("Sunny Side Of Heaven", "Dust").

Christine McVie and Bob Welch with two songs each, equal in depth to Kirwan's 5. McVie's "Homeward Bound", while not anything like the more famous Simon & Garfunkel tune, definitely invokes similar imagery, albeit more desperate in the author's want and need to just get home and relax.

Welch's "The Ghost" just rolls along at a whirlwind pace, brought on by John McVie and Bob Welch dueling for dominance in the intro, which gives way to a haunting combination of slide guitar and a Mellotron Flute drenched in reverb courtesy of Christine McVie.

The almost obligatory love songs actually offer a bit of variety on this album. McVie's "Spare Me A Little Of Your Love" holds it own against her stream of late 70's/early 80's hits, while Welch's "Sentimental Lady" (which, I must say, the version on here bests Welch's late 70's reinterpretation megahit by leaps and bounds) shows how important it really to hold on those lost moments with the one you love.

Overall, just a really good and underrated collection of songs (along with the predecessor "Future Games") that should have broken a talented bunch of musicians and songwriters into mainstream success, but instead sort of drifted into semi-obscurity underneath the late 70's and early 80's Buckingham/Nicks-era (which I have nothing against, but I prefer this era of the Mac better).
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Bare Trees finds Bob Welch and Christine McVie taking an even greater role in the band. They contribute their strongest work to date and Danny Kirwan's work is impressive as well. Ms. McVie's "Homeward Bound" is a superb song that showed her gifts as a songwriter and singer were immense. Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady" is his signature and is slightly different than the version he had a hit with in 1977. This version has a more pronounced backing vocal from Christine McVie, but in any version it is a gorgeous song. Mr. Kirwan provides the scorching "Danny's Chant" and the somber "Dust". Bare Trees would prove to be his swan song with the band, but he left on a high note. Bare Trees is the finest pre Buckingham-Nicks Mac album and ranks among the finest the band has ever done in any form.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Why isn't this music (along with Future Games) REMASTERED? These two albums I have loved since the 70s capture a breathtaking part of the legacy that IS Fleetwood Mac, and from my point of view, blows away almost every album created by the later hit-driven incarnation with Lyndsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The Fleetwood Mac on Bare Trees and Future Games (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine Perfect (McVie), Danny Kirwan, who wrote half the songs on Bare Trees, and Bob Welch).....still felt the echo of the band's past glory, and the echoes of the sixties ending, and used it to look forward and create atmospheric, intriguing, complex, and meaningful music. And...this album ROCKS with great guitar work by Kirwan and Welch that leave later Mac albums in shame. From Bob Welch's haunting 'The Ghost' and the original version of his later hit 'Sentimental Lady' (better on this album), to Danny Kirwan's rock anthems 'Child of Mine' and title track 'Bare Trees' to the introspective 'Dust', this album leaves the listener wanting more. I am at a loss why Mick Fleetwood and John McVie would remaster the later Mac catalogue, yet leave these REAL gems Bare Trees and Future Games not re-issued to save these great moments of the band's history. The music suffers from the direct to disc transfer, yet the magic in it shines through. I am also disappointed that the songs from these two albums never appear on Mac compilations. For a lot of us THIS group was the Fleetwood Mac that had a message, and, sorry to say, later versions of the band were mere hit factories.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I, like most people in the US, was first introduced to Fleetwood Mac thanks to their huge commercial successes of the late 70s early 80s. I do adore the music they produced (and continue to produce), but I am also open to the idea that there was a Fleetwood Mac before Nicks & Buckingham (and ironically on my list, there was a Buckingham Nicks before there was a Fleetwood Mac, but that's another review...)
It was probably the mid 80's when I found my first dusty copy of Bare Trees in a used LP bin. I had previously purchased a couple of their other early albums, and although I liked them alright, nothing stuck - until Bare Trees. I remember thinking - this is incredible! I still do!
Not to belittle the other bandmembers' contributions, but this is Danny Kirwan's triumph. Although his personal issues led to his departure from the band, there is no denying his musical genius.
Danny's guitar playing is impeccable and his songwriting the strongest of his carrer. Bob Welch blended beautifully into the Kirwan direction and served as a better foil than Kirwan himself did earlier for Peter Green. Christine's piano was very "mod" and complimented the dual guitars. Fleetwood and McVie are as strong here as anywhere else.
The music - Stunning. "Sunny Side of Heaven" is the best pop instrumental ever laid to vinyl. "Spare Me A Little Of Your Love" the best song Christine McVie has written (if you're a McVie fan - you know the bar is very high). The better version of Bob Welch's biggest hit, "Sentimental Lady" is also here. Danny, however, is the star - "Bare Trees", "Child of Mine", and "Dust" - all I can say is thank you, Mr. Kirwan, and thank you Fleetwood Mac.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe that a record could be this good. After 25 years, it's still one of my favorite albums. "Little Child of Mine" is a wonderful rocker, "Bare Trees" evokes powerful images of winter better than any other song I've heard. "Homeward Bound" is so heartfelt that you just want to give Christine McVie a big hug. Laced throughout with Kirwan's wonderful guitar, John McVie's superb bass, Christine McVie's great piano, Fleetwood's solid beat and fine singing by Kirwan, C. McVie and Bob Welch, you have perhaps the best British rock record of the 70's. Combined with "Future Games", this is one of those ten CDs for the proverbial desert island. It's the perfect antidote to an overdose of Stevie Nicks on the FM radio...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The story goes, at least in one version, that Danny Kirwan completely went insane following this record. What a tragedy! I mourn when I remember the golden and shimmering beauty of "Sunny Side of Heaven." When I sing along with the before-its-time hard rock "Danny's Chant." Or when I listen to Christine McVie's "Homeward Bound," her best song ever, and see how her keyboards work inspired his guitar solo. They, and drummer Mick Fleetwood, pushed each other to heights for that song. "Dust," though, showed Kirwan's time wasn't long, with it's dark look at death. This record, by the way, features hot guitar licks on all the songs, and the original (and only good) version of the Bob Welch song "Sentimental Lady." If you are driving down an interstate, particularly in the winter, then this album will resonate with you. It will affect your mood profoundly. It will make you wish this had not been the swan song for Danny Kirwan.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This is an interesting album of twisted moods and alterego songwriting as Peter Green protege Danny Kirwan drifts farther away from reality and Christine McVie and Bob Welch find the middle of the road. The wah wah madness of 'Danny's chant' after Bob Welch's 'Sentimental Lady' is one of the great song combinations of the 70's. Danny's song 'Dust' is as pretty and sad as dirges get.
I actually heard 'Sunny side of Heaven' in Walmart once. It wasn't the Muzak version either.I started humming along and noticed everyone seemed to be in a great mood. This cd hasn't been far from the stereo since this great moment in shopping.
If your in England and see Danny tell him he rules. Its too bad Bob Welch pushed him over the edge and he smashed his Les Paul in the bathroom before walking out on the band.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album on a whim when I was fifteen, having fallen in love with the Mac in the eighth grade. It was actually Stevie Nicks who captured my teenage manic devotion. So buying this album was taking a chance on a band that predated the Nicks-Buckingham magic. It paid off. Currently on my iPod, "Child of Mine" ranks in the top 20 most listened to songs way ahead of any of the other Fleetwood Mac tunes ("Warm Ways" is a close second). Danny Kirwan's guitar and songwriting along with his soft melodious vocals make this album a real winner. He first showed his genius on the smash hit instrumental "Albatross" which was written with Peter Green. You can definitely tell that Kirwan's hand created the atmospheric beauty of that song. In fact, you can hear it again on "Sunny Side of Heaven" another beautiful instrumental on Bare Trees.

My favorite songs are all Kirwan's including "Dust", the title track and the aforementioned "Child of Mine". Christine McVie and Bob Welch also shine on their own tracks. I love "Homeward Bound" with Chris pounding away on the keys like she does on "Don't Stop". Her voice is bluesy with a distinct English accent that isn't noticed so much on later albums. "Spare Me a Little of Your Love" reminds me of Dusty Springfield with Christine's lilting vocals-nobody sings (or writes) a ballad like Chris can.

Bob Welch's contribution is worth noting as well. "Sentimental Lady" reveals the making of a future hit for him as a solo artist and "The Ghost" rolls out with a great beat. Overall, one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac albums despite the absence of Stevie and Lindsey.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This was the first record I bought as a child because "Rumours" was big. Unfortunately, I didn't know that the group wasn't the same on all the records. I loved "Bare Trees" anyway, and played it to the chagrin of my teenybopper friends. I never got a CD version though when I dumped my stereo.
Well it's 23 years later, and I just needed to hear these songs again. I bought the CD and it's been like wrapping myself up in a comfortable old blanket! I can't believe how much I still love every song on this CD! All the playing is top notch. The bluesy rock of "Child of Mine", "Homeward Bound", and "Bare Trees" is still propulsive and soulful. "Sentimental Lady" is one of Mac's first flirtations with pop - and they create a classic. "Sunny Side of Heaven" is the most beautiful guitar instrumental ever recorded. "Dust" is poetic and thoughtful. And I still love that Mrs. Scarrot!
Just an aside, does anyone else hear echoes of that schlock song "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" in the refrain of "The Ghost"?
In any case, this music is almost thirty years old and there's no sign of sag anywhere on the disk. This is blues-rock-pop that has stood the test of time. If you like the genre, buy this. If you like Mac, this is essential. Quite frankly, I don't think any other Mac record has held up anywhere near as well.
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