Lindsey Buckingham is such a skilled, dexterous guitarist that when he left Fleetwood Mac in 1987, his old bandmates had to hire two people to cover his parts. His compositional abilities, production prowess and stylistic eccentricity made Buckingham a rarity — a cult act who also happened to be in one of the biggest bands in pop music.
Buckingham, 63, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E Sheridan, and will play songs from all stages of his nearly 40-year recording career, and all periods of the singer-guitarist's creative work are worth studying.
“Buckingham Nicks” (1973). In the late 1970s, vinyl copies of this album could be found in almost every cutout bin, but “Buckingham Nicks,” the album that served as Buckingham and then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks' de facto audition for Fleetwood Mac, is rare these days — never released as a CD, unavailable as a download. Still, the album has high points that are every bit as good as material found on 1970s Mac classics.
Essential Buckingham: “Don't Let Me Down Again” and the original version of Fleetwood Mac's “Crystal,” featuring Buckingham on vocals.
“Fleetwood Mac” (1975). The former blues band had been trending toward pop-rock under guitarist Bob Welch, but Buckingham and Nicks made the transformation complete.
“Monday Morning” acts as a kind of bipolar codependent thesis statement for this new version of Fleetwood Mac, and singles such as “Rhiannon,” “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me” are as notable for Buckingham's guitar parts as they are for Nicks and Christine McVie's leads.
Essential Buckingham: “Monday Morning,” “I'm So Afraid,” “World Turning.”
“Rumours” (1977). One of the biggest-selling albums of all time, “Rumours” is notable for the surface beauty masking the breakup nastiness going on in Fleetwood Mac between Buckingham and Nicks as well as Christine and John McVie. Enormous hits such as “Dreams,” “Go Your Own Way” and “You Make Loving Fun” sold the album, but the darker meditations on romantic loss made it resonate.
Essential Buckingham: “Go Your Own Way” “Never Going Back Again,” “The Chain,” “Second Hand News.”
“Tusk” (1979). Buckingham confederates think of “Tusk” as the album where Lindsey finally gets to be Lindsey. Compared to “Rumours,” “Tusk” is raw, experimental and messy with a few moments of crystalline beauty thrown in, such as Nicks' “Sara.” It sold far less than “Rumours,” but is much more interesting and is now recognized as a misunderstood masterpiece, a Southern California “White Album.”
Essential Buckingham: “The Ledge,” “Not That Funny,” “What Makes You Think You're the One?” “Tusk.”
“Law and Order” (1981). Buckingham's first solo album, “Law and Order” is a bag of exquisite nuts, like “Tusk” but more aggressively strange. The lush and lovely “Trouble” became his biggest solo hit, but soft-rock aficionados who bought “Law and Order” for “Trouble” might have suffered nerve damage from “Bwana” and “That's How We Do It in L.A.”
Essential Buckingham: “Trouble,” That's How We Do It In L.A.,” “Johnny Stew,” “Bwana.”
“Mirage” (1982). Conventional wisdom says that “Mirage” was an attempt to sand off the “Tusk”-era strangeness and win some hits again, and the singles are there — “Hold Me” and “Gypsy” were the band's first MTV-era smashes. But Buckingham gets his licks in, even if he was holding back a few of the eccentricities for his next solo album.
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