Various Artists ‘Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac' (Hear Music)
Fleetwood Mac has been through many phases over the years, evolving from a bruising British blues-rock bunch in the late '60s to a slick pop-rock hit-making ensemble of the '70s and early '80s, and “Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac” gathers a lineup of artists as eclectic as the storied band's songbook, all putting their own stylistic stamps on hits and album tracks alike for this excellent all-star cover album.
And when it all shakes out, gypsy seductress Stevie Nicks is the most-favored song scribe of all the composers who've come and gone, covered on 10 of the 17 tracks, with founding guitarist Peter Green running a distant second.
The best of the Nicks numbers is model-turned-singer-songwriter Karen Elson's psych-blues revamping of “Gold Dust Woman,” set against a spacey background of acoustic slide guitar, electronic beats and synthesized white noise supplied by Beck Hansen. Antony's dramatic warble and Rob Moose's folky acoustic guitar bring wistfulness and wonder to Nicks' melancholic “Landslide,” Shudder To Think's Craig Wedren teams with Tulsa's Annie Clark — aka St. Vincent — to turn “Sisters of the Moon” into an exhilarating electronica-fueled rocket ride, and alternative garage-rockers the Kills bring bluesy tremolo- and reverb-enhanced atmospherics to Nicks' “Dreams.”
Meanwhile, the Lee Renaldo Band hooks up with Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis to turn Green's two-chord instrumental “Albatros” into a cinematic sunset theme fit for the soundtrack of a Bruce Brown surfing film.
The low, husky voice of Trixie Whitley (daughter of the late Chris Whitley) lends a noir-blues tension to Green's “Before the Beginning” and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons puts a growling Texas-boogie twist to Green's blistering “Oh Well.”
Christine McVie gets her due when the New Pornographers apply their trademark male-female harmonies and multicolored keyboard accompaniment to a rocking reconstruction of “Think About Me,” and Lindsey Buckingham's “That's All For Everyone” gets a mesmerizing dream-pop treatment from Australian neo-psychedelic trio Tame Impala.
And finally, Bob Welch, the creative sparkplug of Fleetwood Mac's transitional middle period who died tragically in June, is remembered in MGMT's beautifully eerie electronic recasting of “Future Games,” produced by the Flaming Lips' favorite studio wizard, Dave Fridmann.
In all, it's a brilliant nod to a great band, assembled by noted film and TV music supervisor Randall Poster, who brought us 2011's wonderful “Rave On Buddy Holly.”
— Gene Triplett