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Great collection for fans old and new
on October 17, 2002
The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac collection is a nice warm up for the holidays, which should please fans old and new. The retrospective, which features the classic Rumours lineup, includes all the hits (and then some) from the 1975 "white" album through 1997's reunion album The Dance.
It's refreshing to find some new elements incorporated into this release, making it more than just your standard best-of. Some of these highlights include single versions for "Rhiannon," "Over My Head," "Think About Me," and "Sisters of the Moon" -- all previously unavailable on CD. There's also a different mix of "Silver Springs," emphasizing Stevie Nicks' ad lib vocals at the end of the song. (The original 45 mix of "Silver Springs" has never been released on CD.)
Overall, the sound quality is excellent. Remastered by engineering heavyweights Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch (who handle many of the Rhino remasters), the tracks have never sounded this good, particularly the ones from Rumours and Mirage. Everything is clean and crisp, with bass and high-end levels faithfully restored. Finally, the depth to these recordings has returned -- something dreadfully missing from the shoddy CD reissues from the late-80s and early 90s.
The liner booklet is very well done, though the selection of photographs could be better. But there are some nice ones, like the one of Christine McVie playing a large bass. There is also a charming Rumours cover outtake featuring Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood in an alternate pose. The liner notes are written well by David Wild, a contributing writer for Rolling Stone. Informative and concise. Selected discography, chart placements and credits are also included.
The enhanced material (on disc 1) is adequate though it may a challenge to play on your computer. (QuickTime for the studio stuff and Windows Media Player for everything else seemed to work). The behind-the-scenes footage is probably the only real interest here, as much of the other material has been available previously. The behind-the-scenes footage takes you through a beautiful Bel Aire mansion (where the band is recording a new album, 2003's Say You Will), practice sessions, and short interviews about the recording process without Christine McVie, who retired from the music business.
The other material on the CD, like "the vaults" (which has to be accessed through the Internet), is a bit disappointing, particularly the selection of performance clips. Two tracks are culled from the 1982 Mirage concert video ("The Chain," "Go Your Own Way") and one from The Dance ("Don't Stop"). The music video for "Seven Wonders" is also included. The rarest footage included here is the classic Rosebud documentary performance of "Rhiannon." (The entire Rosebud documentary will be available for the first time on DVD, when Warner Bros. issues the super deluxe edition of Rumours on January 29, 2013.)