Stevie Nicks - '24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 24, 2015    
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This project is a worthwhile exercise.

The last Stevie Nicks solo release was 2011's 'In Your Dreams'. During the creation process of that record, she developed a new working relationship with former Eurythmics main-man Dave Stewart. It seemed that Stewart had reinvigorated the songstress as it was her strongest set of tracks for a long time. The Fleetwood Mac cash cow has taken up the intervening years and consequently it has not been possible to write any fresh material. Of the fifteen songs that make up '24 Karat Gold', thirteen were written between 1969 and 1987, one was written in 1994 and one in 1995. They are brand new recordings, but some were re-worked to become different songs on previous albums whilst others were shelved completely. I'm sure the Nicks anoraks out there could easily shed some light on their origins as no details are given in the accompanying booklet. Many of the musicians who appear are Nicks' regulars, such as Waddy Wachtel, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Lenny Castro, whilst Stewart returns to oversee proceedings from the producer's chair.

It is quite clear listening to the album that many of the songs belong to a different time. They certainly do not follow the path of the material from more recent solo releases and would not have been out of place on 'Bella Donna' thirty-three years ago. Nicks actually sounds in good voice throughout and manages to maintain the quality without resorting to endless ad-libs and passages of a more spoken nature. One or two songs, 'Hard Advice' and 'Carousel' (actually a Vanessa Carlton cover and a favourite of Nicks' mother during her later days) have a distinct Country vibe whilst several others, notably 'Belle Fleur', could originally have been written with FM in mind back in the 1970s.

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'Mabel Normand', 'All The Beautiful Worlds' and 'The Dealer' are the most reminiscent of her 1980s output and, if I'm honest, if they were written during that period, should have replaced a number of songs that did actually make the cut on albums from that time. Closing track 'She Loves Him Still' is a Mark Knopfler co-write. A personal and passionate reflection on a love lost and I just can't get past the idea that Lindsey Buckingham could be the subject matter every time I hear the song.

It may have been prudent to have left some songs in the vault but on the whole, this project is a worthwhile exercise. The diehards and completists out there will already be familiar with much of the material on '24 Karat Gold' and there is a possibility that may diminish its appeal. I class myself as a fan and it is good to know that there is still an outlet for the songs not classed as "Mac" worthy, even for an artist at the age of sixty-six (hard to believe).

Dave Bott

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