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Expanded - Includes the remastered original album, an alternate version of the complete album made up of session outtakes, most of which have never been released, as well as an additional selection of singles, demos and remixes, including an outtake of the Top 20 hit "Think About Me," an early version of "That's Enough For Me" called "Out On The Road," plus several incarnations of "I Know I'm Not Wrong."
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Top Customer Reviews
Disc One - Tusk (2015 Remaster of Original Album)
Tusk (1979), along with Rumours (1977) and Fleetwood Mac (1975), was already remastered in 2004, but since Rumours received an updated deluxe remaster in 2013, it makes sense Tusk was given another go. Content wise there is nothing new on this disc - it's the same original twenty album tracks that appeared on the 2004 remaster (and just like the 2004 remaster, it includes the 6:31 version of "Sara" instead of the Single Edit that appeared on the original LP). It does sound a bit more cleaned up than the 2004 remaster.
Disc Two - Singles, Outtakes, Sessions
The 2004 remaster also included a second disc that included demos, outtakes, singles, and other bonus material. I have to say, in this case, this bonus disc pales in comparison to the 2004 remaster. There are 22 tracks on this disc - including 6 versions of Lindsey Buckingham's "I Know I'm Not Wrong" and 5 versions of the song "Tusk." I love demos and outtakes as much as the next fan, but do we need 11 takes on just two different songs? The 2004 included the nearly 9 minute demo version of "Sara," often referred to as the "cleaning lady version;" this package includes the "single edit."
Disc Three - The Alternate Tusk
In my opinion this is the best part of this package. The third disc is called The Alternate Tusk, and it is the entire album in the same sequence with completed alternate versions of each song. It's a whole new listening experience. Standouts here include Stevie Nicks' song "Angel," which is vastly different than what went on the original release. Another gem is Christine McVie's "Brown Eyes." Not only is there an entirely different vocal (that was obviously chopped out of the original album cut, Peter Green played guitar on the track as well. Again, these are not demos ... these are completed tracks.
The booklet is 23 pages. In includes an introduction to the album called "The Elephant In The Room: The Background of Tusk," full album lyrics, commentary by Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham, and many pictures throughout the package.
**** You can also purchase the Deluxe Remaster, which includes the three discs described above, two CDs of live music from the Tusk Tour, a DVD audio of the remastered album in 5.1 sound, and two remastered LPs.
On the downside, this is a very pricey collection ($100+). Perhaps there will be a more economical release in the future that just includes the CDs/DVDs.
On the upside:
* The packaging and new booklets are beautiful and the price is justified by the materials. Great collector's item.
* The DVD gets short shrift in the official description, but is of much interest to audiophiles. It has the album played straight in 96/24 stereo but also includes a 5.1 DTS 96/24 surround mix that is glorious. The surround mix will annoy purists. It is, as they say, aggressive. Like the six-channel release of Rumours several years ago, it's not afraid to change things up, but even more so. Way more so. Personally, I mostly love it. There are different vocal and percussion tracks and it's pure ear candy: it fills the room and people casually listening really liked it. Go, Ken Callait!
* The extras disc includes all the tracks from a promo LP from the Tusk era. I lost possession of that LP because I didn't have seniority, and have only had a cassette of it all these years. It includes a killer rocking Sisters of the Moon, and sounds great.
* The live discs are very good, similar to the Live album recorded at about this same time.
I haven't yet listened to the Alternate version of the album or the remastered album. I'm sure they're just fine.
Coming off the success of Rumours, the band was led by Lindsey Buckingham to approach their next project much differently. With the punk movement happening, Buckingham felt they really needed to change their game in order to stay relevant, and was really adamant the next project should not be a Rumours II. That next project became the lavishly packaged, 20 track, double LP Tusk.
I, as many others at the time, was initially regretful of my purchase. This album just did not hit me like Rumours did. It was a little bit of a departure from the music I had heard from this band just two years prior, and it did take a while to grow on me. And, over time, I have become to like Tusk every bit as much as Rumours. It could only be sweetened by a proper re-issue with bonus material.
At the end of 2015, deluxe editions of Tusk were, indeed, released with bonus material: a 5 disc set, which also included a vinyl copy, and a 3 disc set. I just went for the 3 disc edition as I found a good price for it. While there was a 2004 reissue with extra material, this 3 disc set is quite a bit different. The first disc is the original album remastered. The second disc contains some radio edits, roughs, and outtakes. The interesting part of this second disc is two particular songs ("Tusk" and "I Know I'm Not Wrong") that are presented over several takes, revealing the progression up to what the tracks ultimately became. I enjoy hearing early takes, and was quite impressed with the inclusion of this material.
However, the third disc is what really prompted me to write about this set. The third disc contains alternate versions of every song, and in the same running order as the original album. It is titled as the "The Alternate Tusk," and I absolutely love this disc. It's like a whole new experience with this album. There aren't any major changes in the song structures, but the different instrumentation, different vocals, or different feel is so enjoyable. In a few songs, I do like the alternates somewhat better, but I love listening to both the original and alternate Tusk discs.
Three particular standout alternate tracks are: Stevie Nicks' "Storms," Lindsey Buckingham's "Walk A Thin Line," and Christine McVie's "Brown Eyes." Stevie's "Storms" feels so much more emotional, if that's even possible for this melancholic song. Lindsey's guitar accompaniment on the alternate "Walk A Thin Line" totally changes the feel of this song. And Christine's alternate version of "Brown Eyes" is probably the most different from original release, and even includes session guitar from legendary Fleetwood Mac founder, Peter Green.
I've enjoyed hearing outtakes and alternate tracks in the reissues of past albums by other artists over the years, but those 'bonus' discs, or added tracks, usually don't get much play. However, this particular 'bonus' disc presented as a whole alternate album is fantastic, and I have been listening to it quite regularly. It really got me thinking it would be so cool to hear other classic albums in this way. If you like Fleetwood Mac, I encourage you to check out the expanded edition of Tusk.
I certainly do hope to see the Mac before they finally call it quits, especially since they got Christine McVie back from retirement. Still waiting on that next new album...
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