Vinyl

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

After years of delay, Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 blockbuster Rumours finally made its way to the pressing plant—the Pallas plant in Germany, to be exact. True to its past performances, Pallas has done an exquisite job on these four vinyl surfaces. Though the cover printing has picked up a bit of contrast from the original, it’s printed on heavy stock, and there’s evidence of spot varnish having been applied. Very nice touch. Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray have performed the remastering duties, and Hoffman has chosen to include a different inro to “Gold Dust Woman.”  Fittingly, then, the record retains some of its original relationship-related controversy.

Those who have been waiting for this reissue since 2006, the year a few test pressings slipped onto the market, will be rewarded the second they drop the tonearm on the opening track. It sounds scrumptious. Thanks to the almost CD-quiet backgrounds, you hear much more of Mick Fleetwood’s percussion. On “Dreams,” Lindsey Buckingham’s backing vocals have considerably more space than they do on early pressings. A smidge of tape hiss creeps into “Songbird” at the end of the second side, but that’s not a bad thing. It actually reinforces the material’s analog greatness. Moreover, Christine McVie’s voice never sounded better and, thanks to the extra grooves made possible by the 45RPM extension, possesses more delicacy than the original pressings. “Songbird” is the best example of low-level detail; the following track, and beginning of the third side, “The Chain,” offers up the best example of dynamic punch. “I Don’t Want To Know” comes a close second.

The best news? Warner Bros.’ pressing is flawless from beginning to end. This is definitely the super-sized version of Rumours: It goes beyond big sound. You can just feel this record breathe, in and out, while listening to tracks that you thought you knew like the back of your hand. Wait until you experience the new information that’s available. And the soundstage is massive. If the music doesn’t float well past your speakers’ boundaries, it’s time to go shopping for a new stereo.

So, take a trip back to 1977 when Stevie Nicks had small breasts and Buckingham sported big hair. If you’ve got a rare, early first-stamper pressing, you may not need to add this one to your collection unless you are really obsessive compulsive. But if you love Rumours (and almost everyone does) and you don’t have a flawless copy, this edition is worth every penny. A 180g 33-1/3RPM version is also available for around $25. But fairly priced at $45 for four sides, the deluxe audiophile edition is the way to go. —Jeff Dorgay

Warner Bros., 180g  45RPM 2LP, 33RPM 1 LP

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