Episode 1: BUCKINGHAM NICKS

HOSTS’ NOTE: This podcast was born from an idea that predates the 2016 election. We kept pushing the release date back, thinking, “Does anyone really want to listen to a music podcast right now?” The answer to that will probably change daily, but the conclusion we came to is this: art is not going to stop. We will not stop auditioning, playing music, writing, or following any of our other passions. We need the arts — the joy, escapism, and enlightenment they bring — now more than ever. The albums we love will play on, so we will continue to talk about them. We are sure there will be times in the future when it feels trite to do this, but as long as music heals and uplifts, we’ve got a podcast to bring to you.

“Does anyone remember laughter?” — Robert Plant

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BUCKINGHAM NICKS – Buckingham Nicks – Polydor – 1973

Two years before joining Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had no idea what lay ahead of them. They were just two kids who wanted to make great music — and they just happened to be in love.

A cult favorite of Fleetwood Mac fans, this album is curiously still only available on vinyl. While bootlegs of the album can be streamed on YouTube, it has never been (officially) released on cassette, CD, or to streaming services like Spotify. This is perhaps part of the attraction to the album — this is music that doesn’t outright present itself; it must be found.

In this episode, we discuss why we both call this album our favorite of all time, what makes it unique, and why it still takes our breath away hundreds of listens later.

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Episode notes and postscript corrections

  • Lindsey was already in high school band Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band (later shortened to Fritz) when Stevie was asked to join in mid-1967 to replace the lead singer.
    • From 1968 to 1971, Fritz was Stevie Nicks on lead vocals, Lindsey Buckingham on bass and vocals, Brian Kane on lead guitar, Javier Pacheco on keyboards, and Bob Aguirre on drums.
    • Listen to live recordings of Fritz here.
  • Buckingham Nicks was recorded at the now-iconic Sound City studios in the Valley, working closely with producer Keith Olsen and friend and engineer Richard Dashut.
    • Keith Olsen’s production credits include albums with artists like Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead, Rick Springfield, Joe Walsh, and more.
    • Richard Dashut went on to serve as a producer and engineer with Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham from 1977 to 1995.
    • The Buckingham Nicks song “Crying in the Night” was the first song ever to be recorded on Sound City’s Neve analog console, known for its rarity, unique, warm sound, and extensive mixing capabilities. (This console now resides in Dave Grohl’s recording studio.)
  • The album cover imagery was shot by guitarist Waddy Wachtel’s brother, Jimmy, and features Stevie and Lindsey topless (but totally safe for work!). Stevie was hesitant to remove the expensive silk blouse she bought for the photoshoot with some of their last money. She was mortified that the final choice was one of the nude photos.
  • Listen to all three versions of Crystal (discussed 20 minutes in) and tell us which one is your favorite: Buckingham Nicks | Fleetwood Mac | Stevie Nicks 
  • A “simmering in the South” is definitely a way they described their cult following in Alabama — on more than one occasion.
  • About that European influence on “Long Distance Winner”… Stevie says it’s Greek, which, like, okay.
  • Buckingham Nicks went on a brief tour in the winter of 1974 before ending their live run with four shows in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Jacksonville, Alabama in January 1975.
  • Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac on New Year’s Eve, 1974, after Mick Fleetwood extended an offer to Lindsey and he replied, “Well, you gotta take my girlfriend, too.” Initially thinking of the gig as a temporary way to make a little money, Buckingham Nicks continued to hold onto their brand, contributing background vocals and production credits on albums like Warren Zevon’s Warren Zevon, Walter Egan’s Fundamental Roll, and John Stewart’s Bombs Away Dream Babies until the success of Fleetwood Mac and Rumours pretty much decided their well-documented fate.

Favorite track(s): Crying in the Night & Frozen Love (Carly) | Frozen Love & Stephanie (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Lola (Carly) | Django (Carrie)

Album credits:

  • Lindsey Buckingham – vocals, guitars, bass guitar, percussion
  • Stevie Nicks – vocals

Additional personnel:

  • Waddy Wachtel – guitars
  • Jorge Calderón – percussion
  • Jim Keltner – drums
  • Jerry Scheff – bass guitar
  • Peggy Sandvig – keyboards
  • Richard Hallagan – string arrangement
  • Monty Stark – synthesizer
  • Mark Tulin – bass guitar
  • Ronnie Tutt – drums
  • Gary ‘Hoppy’ Hodges – drums, percussion

Production:

  • Producer and engineer: Keith Olsen
  • Executive producer: Lee Lasseff
  • Assistant engineer: Richard Dashut

Further watching:
Sound City documentary trailer
Stevie Nicks’s solo performance of “Crying in the Night” in 2016

Further reading:
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham made a fine pop record pre-Fleetwood Mac | AV Club (Sept. 2015)
How Sound City Rocked Dave Grohl’s World | The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 2013)
Recording Studios May Die, but the False Mythology Around Them May Not [on Sound City] | The Atlantic (Dec. 2012)
Buckingham Nicks reveal future plans in interview | Birmingham After Dark (Feb. 1975)

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