Christine McVie – Songbird: A Solo Collection (Warner)

Christine McVie has assembled something different here, not a career retrospective, not a greatest hits package, but a selection of solo tracks remixed and re-produced by Glyn Johns.

With the sounds of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours still ringing in my ears after seeing the Come Together/Rumours concert this past weekend, look what happens to cross the 13th Floor desk!

Christine McVieThis solo collection of Christine McVie’s features mostly songs taken from her 2004 album, In The Meantime and her 1984 self-titled album. There are a couple of previously unreleased tunes here along with a re-working of McVie’s Songbird, one of many highlights from Rumours.

What has happened is veteran producer Glyn Johns (Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Who) has taken existing tracks added a few more instruments, mostly guitars and percussion played by son Ethan Johns, and compiled a lovely little sample of some of Christine’s best (if overlooked) work.

Despite the tracks spanning 20 years the sound and vibe is consistent with McVie’s voice and Johns’ production holding it all together.

My ears perked up during The Challenge, a 1984 track unfamiliar to me. The guitar sound was familiar…it was old slowhand, Eric Clapton, sounding better than I mostly prefer to remember him. Lindsey Buckingham provides backing vocals. Other guests include Steve Winwood and Billy Burnette (another former Fleetwood Mac alumni).

The 10-track album works up to the re-worked version of Songbird. Johns has stripped away the Rumours instrumentation (mostly McVie’s piano), kept her 1977 vocal and added a new orchestral arrangement. It is, of course, lovely. Long-time fans may prefer the original, but it’s nice that this exists.

Which can be said for this album as a whole.

I’m sure, one day, a full Christine McVie retrospective will appear, going back to her days with Chicken Shack and as The Legendary Christine Perfect, but for now, this new Songbird should keep you warm on those cold winter nights.

Marty Duda