Songbird is not the Christine McVie collection she deserves

The solo side of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie celebrated with a solid but flawed collection

Christine McVie: Songbird cover art
(Image: © Rhino)

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If anyone deserves a glittering retrospective, it’s Christine McVie. Rooted in the British blues scene, the pianist/singer/ songwriter first gained chart success in Chicken Shack with her sweetly husky delivery of I’d Rather Go Blind

Having been voted Best Female Vocalist Of 1969 in Melody Maker, her confidence blossomed in the ‘71-74 pre-Buckingham/Nicks Fleetwood Mac. She went on to write a host of poignant classics in Mac’s Rumours era, including Songbird, here given the full orchestral treatment. It’s baffling and frustrating, then, that this collection doesn’t cover the wingspan of McVie’s illustrious career.

Instead the 10 tracks are mostly remixes from two of her solo albums: 1984’s Christine McVie and 2004’s In The Meantime. The previously unreleased Slow Down is a highlight, as is Ask Anybody. The songs are enjoyable and brimming with her steadfast warmth and optimism, but the story is incomplete, with only All You Gotta Do hinting at her bluesier past. 

Her creative partnership with Lindsey Buckingham (who appears on The Challenge, as does Eric Clapton) always brought an exciting edge to her sound. As beautiful as these songs are, this release feels like a missed opportunity to fully represent her lifetime’s artistry. That would have been both legendary and perfect.

Claudia Elliott is a music writer and sub-editor. She has freelanced for BBC Radio 2's Sounds of the 60s, Uncut, History of Rock, Classic Rock and The Blues magazine. She is a 1960s music specialist.