Jo V. (Jo) from BOISE, ID Reviewed on 8/19/2006...
Great Fleetwood Mac from their years between being a blues band and the advent of Stevie and Lindsey.
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Kirwan carries the day
S. R. | 10/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fleetwood Mac recorded Bare Trees in 1972 when Danny Kirwan was only 22. He was filing the large shoes of legend Peter Green which at the time was the consensus guitar god of the era. Folk would write "Clapton is God" on the subway walls in London, only to have others write underneath "Green is better than God". The Mac also had lost guitarist Jeremey Spencer and his rock and roll revival stage antics, thus pushing the shy guitarist Kirwan out into the spotlight. A place he would rather not be. Kirwan steps up, however, and delivers 5 top-notch songs for the Mac which all hold up to the high standards already in place in the band with Christine McVie. Newcomer Bob Welch adds a couple fine songs here most notably "Sentimental Lady". Kirwan's guitar is all over the tracks blending several styles, too boot. It's a nice look into the shy guitarists songbag at a very early age. Especially nice that his talents in songwriting seem to be beyond his young years. Everyone knows about Kirwan's later life problems and everyone knows about the things to come for the Mac, but the real story here is Kirwan's talents on a rather obscure Mac effort."
Nothing Bare Here
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 04/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bare Trees finds Bob Welch and Christine McVie taking an even greater role in the band. They contribute their strongest work to date and Danny Kirwan's work is impressive as well. Ms. McVie's "Homeward Bound" is a superb song that showed her gifts as a songwriter and singer were immense. Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady" is his signature and is slightly different than the version he had a hit with in 1977. This version has a more pronounced backing vocal from Christine McVie, but in any version it is a gorgeous song. Mr. Kirwan provides the scorching "Danny's Chant" and the somber "Dust". Bare Trees would prove to be his swan song with the band, but he left on a high note. Bare Trees is the finest pre Buckingham-Nicks Mac album and ranks among the finest the band has ever done in any form."
Mike | Philadelphia, PA, USA | 02/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just like "Future Games", why didn't this album break Fleetwood Mac into the mainstream? The music is absolutely breathtaking. True, it may sound more commercial than the early blues material that made the band in the first place, but the fact that this album never got so big definitely helps the music's credibility.
Danny Kirwan asserts himself more than ever by contributing, a staggering 5 (count 'em) 5 songs! out of the 9 on this album. He balances his songwriting between amicable pop (the title track), bluesy rock ("Child Of Mine", "Danny's Chant"), and folk-ish balladry and instrumentation ("Sunny Side Of Heaven", "Dust").
Christine McVie and Bob Welch with two songs each, equal in depth to Kirwan's 5. McVie's "Homeward Bound", while not anything like the more famous Simon & Garfunkel tune, definitely invokes similar imagery, albeit more desperate in the author's want and need to just get home and relax.
Welch's "The Ghost" just rolls along at a whirlwind pace, brought on by John McVie and Bob Welch dueling for dominance in the intro, which gives way to a haunting combination of slide guitar and a Mellotron Flute drenched in reverb courtesy of Christine McVie.
The almost obligatory love songs actually offer a bit of variety on this album. McVie's "Spare Me A Little Of Your Love" holds it own against her stream of late 70's/early 80's hits, while Welch's "Sentimental Lady" (which, I must say, the version on here bests Welch's late 70's reinterpretation megahit by leaps and bounds) shows how important it really to hold on those lost moments with the one you love.
Overall, just a really good and underrated collection of songs (along with the predecessor "Future Games") that should have broken a talented bunch of musicians and songwriters into mainstream success, but instead sort of drifted into semi-obscurity underneath the late 70's and early 80's Buckingham/Nicks-era (which I have nothing against, but I prefer this era of the Mac better)."
A classic in every sense of the word
Peter Hansen | New York City | 10/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to believe that a record could be this good. After 25 years, it's still one of my favorite albums. "Little Child of Mine" is a wonderful rocker, "Bare Trees" evokes powerful images of winter better than any other song I've heard. "Homeward Bound" is so heartfelt that you just want to give Christine McVie a big hug. Laced throughout with Kirwan's wonderful guitar, John McVie's superb bass, Christine McVie's great piano, Fleetwood's solid beat and fine singing by Kirwan, C. McVie and Bob Welch, you have perhaps the best British rock record of the 70's. Combined with "Future Games", this is one of those ten CDs for the proverbial desert island. It's the perfect antidote to an overdose of Stevie Nicks on the FM radio..."
The PERFECT road album!
Peter Hansen | 05/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The story goes, at least in one version, that Danny Kirwan completely went insane following this record. What a tragedy! I mourn when I remember the golden and shimmering beauty of "Sunny Side of Heaven." When I sing along with the before-its-time hard rock "Danny's Chant." Or when I listen to Christine McVie's "Homeward Bound," her best song ever, and see how her keyboards work inspired his guitar solo. They, and drummer Mick Fleetwood, pushed each other to heights for that song. "Dust," though, showed Kirwan's time wasn't long, with it's dark look at death. This record, by the way, features hot guitar licks on all the songs, and the original (and only good) version of the Bob Welch song "Sentimental Lady." If you are driving down an interstate, particularly in the winter, then this album will resonate with you. It will affect your mood profoundly. It will make you wish this had not been the swan song for Danny Kirwan."