Picks and Pans Review: The Visitor
Besides Bel Air mansions, vacations in Hawaii and exotic chemicals, one of the luxuries rock success brings is artistic freedom. Fleetwood Mac's co-founder and drummer, Mick Fleetwood, used his clout to get backing for a $300,000 project to record this LP in Accra, Ghana. The result, however, is more than a vanity pressing. For two months last winter, he and a few friends worked sessions with Ghanaian musicians, recording 10 songs, four written by West Africans. The enthusiasm of hosts and visitors alike is apparent on every cut. Rattlesnake Shake, the opener, is a Mac number from their '60s incarnation as a British blues band. It was written by Peter Green, one of Mac's founding members who dropped out to indulge in metaphysical meditations. Active once more and now going by his pre-showbiz name, Peter Greenbaum, he sings and plays guitar on this hearty rendition. There is also a lively version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away, though it hardly bests the Rolling Stones send-up of the tune. Most lead vocals are wonderfully handled by George Hawkins, whose tenor has bell-like clarity. The title cut, as well as O'Niamali and Amelle (Come On Show Me Your Heart), features tribal chants in two of Ghana's many languages. Overall, the collection is experimental without being self-conscious. Fortunately, there was no cynical pop maven at the control board to dub over the sometimes ragged charm.
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