Ronnie James Dio has created a deep and influential legacy over the past 30 years of hard rock anthems, serving stints as the frontman for Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and for the latter half of his career leading the band Dio. Rhino and Warner Bros. have encapsulated his lengthy career on Dio: Stand Up and Shout, the Anthology. Featuring 29 songs on two CDs, the first disc offers samplings from his work with bands in the '70s, including the blues-rock of Elf and his first scream-dream hits with Rainbow, "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll." His stint with Black Sabbath is covered by "Heaven and Hell," "Turn Up the Night" and "The Mob Rules" among others. The second disc is devoted to his work with Dio, including "Holy Diver," Dream Evil," and his most recognizable Dio hits, "Rainbow in the Dark" and "We Rock."
Say You Will
The best creative moments from Fleetwood Mac have almost always come from the emotional fallout between ex-lovers Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The story of their disintegrating relationship is what fueled the multiplatinum success of their biggest album, 1977's Rumours. But it's been 16 years since the duo's lyrical dialogues have appeared together on a Fleetwood Mac album.
Nicks has been an on-again, off-again presence on the band's albums over the past decade, but Buckingham left in the '80s when the band seemed to be slipping into treacly adult contemporary land. Its biggest hits in that decade came from the pop pen of longtime third frontwoman Christine McVie ("Hold Me," "Little Lies").
Say You Will is the first time in over 30 years that Fleetwood Mac has not featured McVie as a full member (she has retired, but does contribute some background vocals) and the result is an even exchange between Nicks and Buckingham, who each offer nine songs. This would have been a stronger return if the duo could have each nixed three or four of their songs and brought in a couple McVie tracks, but it is a strong offering from the band, nevertheless.
Buckingham leads it off with the upbeat contemplation of "What's the World Coming To," which features those big grandiose trademark Fleetwood Mac harmonies. The band started as a blues act with Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green and John McVie, and Buckingham captures that history in the wailing bluesy guitars and falsetto-verses of "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave," before turning the mic over to Nicks for her 9/11 anthem, "Illume." She continues with the more accessible pop flavor of "Thrown Down," and then Buckingham takes back the reigns for his best track, the blues-rock tribute to "Miranda," a deceptively upbeat song about a girl who "is always alone."
Nicks offers an easy rockin' hit in the sing-song "Say You Will," where she begs a lover to "give me one more chance/at least give me time to change your mind/it always seems to heal the wounds if I can get you to dance." Buckingham follows that with the current single, "Peacekeeper," which sounds a bit like Simon & Garfunkel's "Kodachrome" as he sings that "love is the sweet surprise."
The two readily admit that many of their songs still hearken back to their long-dead romantic history. The album's closing songs give each of them the chance to close the book, as Buckingham sings, "Oh, I let you slip away, there was nothing I could do / That was so long ago, still I often think of you." Nicks on the other hand offers, "Goodbye, baby, I hope your heart's not broken / Don't forget me / Yes, I was outspoken."
There are missteps on Say You Will. Buckingham originally envisioned this as a double album, a la Tusk, which would have likely have been a big mistake. The band could easily have carved this from an uneven 18 to a dozen really strong songs. But with Buckingham back at the helm, the band is taking chances again. And that has yielded some new Fleetwood Mac gems to add to their already voluminous canon.
Fleetwood Mac will play the Allstate Arena in Rosemont on June 26-27.