Law And Order

Lindsey Buckingham

Warner Bros., 1981

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Try as he may, Lindsey Buckingham just couldn’t get out from under the shadow that was his band, Fleetwood Mac. To further complicate matters, his debut solo album Law And Order would be released the same year as his bandmate and former lover Stevie Nicks’ debut, the far superior Bella Donna. Not only that, but to this day, I have to explain to those who are still unfamiliar with Fleetwood Mac (and there are quite a few, believe it or not) that Stevie is a female and Lindsey is a male. And Blondie is a GROUP…so wake up, people!

With so many elephants stomping around his living room, it’s a miracle that any of Lindsey’s solo albums ever saw the light of day. But they did, and his fans are forever grateful. As his first outing, Law And Order is a middling affair that doesn’t quite demonstrate what Buckingham the guitar virtuoso can really do. The countrified slow songs are too plodding (“Shadow Of The West” & “A Satisfied Mind”) to make any kind of impression, while the upbeat material (“Bwana” & That’s How We Do It In L.A.”) is so out there that it all borders on the ridiculous. At least the cover photo of him is enticing. With his matinee idol good looks, who could blame him for craving the spotlight for himself?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Buckingham has always had a mad scientist vibe and a reputation for being an eccentric perfectionist in the studio. As this debut album proves, no song of his is going to be left on the cutting room floor. He’ll rework a song to death, if need be. Is it any wonder that any album with his name attached always seemed to take YEARS to complete, until he was fully satisfied with the result? I can’t help but imagine putting Lindsey Buckingham in the studio with Prince and David A. Stewart – talk about a battle of egos – nothing would ever get accomplished then!

The best way to approach Law And Order, aside from using extreme caution, is to view it as a stop-gap between Fleetwood Mac albums: the excessive Tusk of ’79 and the wonderful Mirage from ’82. Sorry, Lindsey, I know you’d like me to judge this solo effort on its own merits, but you didn’t give me enough to work with here. Yes, his biggest hit single “Trouble” is here, though it does sound like a virtual carbon copy of FM’s “Gypsy.” If I were to choose three tracks that stand out the most, they would have to be the in-the-pocket “Mary Lee Jones,” the fully-loaded guitar assault “Johnny Stew,” and the blissfully substantial ballad “I’ll Tell You Now.”

The biggest embarrassment awards have to go to the low rent “It Was I” and the unnecessary half-baked remake “September Song.” C’mon, Lindsey, you know you can do better than that.

Fleetwood Mac was where Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks would all return to shine brighter than they ever could in their solo careers. Something truly magical and indefinable happens when they all join forces with founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. Good news is that in 2014, they have all come back into the fold for a new studio album, their first since 1987’s brilliant Tango In The Night. Bet you didn’t think that would ever happen, did you? As the song goes, you can never break the chain…

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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