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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; The: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours

As I review albums I sometimes wonder exactly who they are aimed at, with classical re-imaginings of rock albums being a prime example. I'd guess that if you are a huge Fleetwood Mac nut then you'll already have snatched up the all singing, all dancing, three disc reissue of Rumours. Whereas if classical music is your bag, then there are a plethora of pieces you'd snaffle before deciding that orchestral versions of "Dreams", "The Chain" or "Go Your Own Way" are vital listening. Don't get me wrong, this album, which neatly coincides with the aforementioned reissue, is superbly arranged, performed and produced and the musical skill and talent behind The Royal Philharmonic is obviously beyond question. Then add that it was all recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios and you know that the sound will be absolutely stunning. However there's still no getting away from the feeling that "Never Going Back Again" sounds like a rearrangement of the Western theme "Big Country", or that "I Don't Want To Know" reminds of the BBC's Horse Of The Year Show theme music. In the end, you are left waiting for the hits to come round so you can add your own vocals atop the expertly played, if slightly twee pieces. "Dreams" almost becomes an oddly jazzy, spritely sway, while "Don't Stop" stays more faithful; trombones, violins and trumpets, happily blaring out the vocal melody over a pushy galloping beat. "Go Your Own Way" works better in this environment, straddling neatly between spirited jaunt and pensive whisper, while "The Chain" becomes a strangely muted fanfare that simply takes too long to get going and even when it does, dancing strings and percussion remove much of the dark threat the original bass line still has the power to convey. Peter Frampton shows up to add a little guitar oomph to "Gold Dust Woman" and he does a very fine job indeed on a song that has in places a daringly dark arrangement, the echo drenched guitar work merely adding to the atmosphere and creating possibly the strongest moment on the whole album in a surprisingly Mark Knopfler kind of way.

There's absolutely nothing to dislike about what The Royal Philharmonic have created here and if I'd witnessed this as a live recital, then possibly I would be raving about it now. As it is, the first thing I did when I finished listening to this CD was to slide the beautifully re-mastered version of the original in the player and remind myself how it should sound. Making this good fun, but little more.

Track Listing
1. Second Hand News
2. Dreams
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Don't Stop
5. Go Your Own Way
6. Songbird
7. The Chain
8. You Make Loving Fun
9. I Don't Want To Know
10. Oh Daddy
11. Gold Dust Woman

Added: September 1st 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Cleopatra Records
Hits: 1708
Language: english

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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; The: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-09-01 18:46:01
My Score:

This was another wonderful surprise to receive for review. I have always been a fan of Fleetwood Mac all the way back to the debut. I have seen them a number of times and can say that if you were going to choose one album to use Abbey Road Studios and a symphony to re-produce the power of this band, it was going to have to be Rumours.

Before you dig into the music, Google the album title and read about all the drama that went into the original production of this classic. That is enough to want to hear it made into a symphonic masterpiece. This is an album for the generations. Usually makes it onto Rolling Stone or Billboard Magazine's best albums ever recorded list.

So you combine that historic atmosphere with all the magic of Abbey Road Studios and you know you are in for a treat. Add Peter Frampton, a contemporary of the band, to the guest list and you have peaked the interests of many a fan of the decade's music.

You have to remember that this is a symphonic coverage of the album, so you might miss the heavy guitar and power of the bass and drums you're used to hearing with the regular band…let alone the beautiful voices of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. "Never Going Back Again" is hollow without the power of Lindsey Buckingham's emotional delivery.

But this is the symphonic version, and in its own way it is fantastic music for the morning or evening. You cannot rate this in the same way you would a band – delivered experience. Just like Symphonic Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin it is left for orchestrated direction, interpretation and for the fans of these bands that have aged and now would like to hear different versions of their favorites.

From that vantage point this is another great addition to the symphonic collection of classic 70s albums, which for the generation that grew up with them, are revered like the classics of history.

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