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Fleetwood Mac - Future Games

Live and Learn


As recently as October of 2005 we had Future Games all Wrong. Here is the very listing for what we believed at the time to be the best sounding version: The British Original. Hey, to be fair, it’s not bad, just far from the best.
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Hot Stamper Commentary from October 2005

NM original British first pressing! This is the real thing. This record is as good sounding as any copy I've heard. The mastering is by a famous British engineer, whose name the lucky buyer will recognize immediately.

Thirty year old Minty British original pressings like this one are understandably hard to find these days. This is the quietest copy I have in stock outside of my own personal copy. I don't expect to see another one this nice for a long time.


The Truth, As We See It in October of 2008 ...

... a Scant Three Years Later

Finally, SUPERB SOUNDING STAMPERS have been discovered for this wonderful Fleetwood Mac album, a personal favorite from 1971! We can GUARANTEE you have never heard one that sounds like this, because practically every copy we've ever played sounded like an old cassette. Unless you have a very special copy -- domestic, not Brit, more about that later -- and know how to clean it right, the pressing you own of Future Games will have virtually no top end, no real ambience, and no presence to speak of. The band will sound like it's playing somewhere near the back wall of your listening room, maybe even behind it. In other words dead as a doornail. This is exactly how the album sounded for the first thirty years or so that I was listening to it.

Not long ago I ran across a copy that blew my mind and I've been digging them up in preparation for this shootout ever since. Of course the stereo has gotten quite a bit better of late, which helped the album immensely; check out our Revolutionary Changes in Audio commentary for the latest improvements.

Not Quite a Demo Disc

Now, don't expect Demo Disc Sound along the lines of the self-titled album and Rumours, because those are Top 100 Killer Recordings, (especially the self-titled album which is out of this world). Having said that, the Hot Stamper copies show you a Future Games that the band and its engineer (credited on the label; what's that about?) can be very proud of.

Side one is rich, sweet, open, full-bodied and BIG TIME TUBEY MAGICAL. The best copies are incredibly spacious and that is exactly the sound you hear on this one right from the get-go: the opening track is the lovely Woman of 1,000 Years. The next song, Sands of Time, is a real rocker, and here again this side comes on strong, with plenty of energy and meaty keyboards and bass, Side two has better clarity by a few degrees -- you can hear it on the transients of the percussion -- but this side leaves little to be desired. We gave it an A++, it's hard to do much better.

Side two has got it all -- a rich, meaty bottom end; master tape clarity and transparency; nice whomp to the bottom end; uncommon energy and more. The vocals are Right On The Money; you can clearly pick out each background and harmony voice. The overall sound is airy, open, and spacious, with real depth to the 3-D soundfield. It's an A+++ side from start to finish -- As Good As It Gets!

British Band, British Vinyl, right?

That old canard isn't doing audiophiles any favors. The British copies we played weren't even in a league with our best domestic copies. We hear over and over that you're supposed to seek out pressings that come from the same country that the band does, but then how come the German copies of Please Please Me DESTROY the Brits? How come the British pressings of Mona Bone Jakon are never even close to as good as the best domestics? Once again folks, it's not about the label, it's not about the country of origin, it's not about original vs. reissue -- it's about the sound, and the only way to know what the best sounding pressings are is to find 'em, clean 'em and play 'em. It's a time-consuming process that most audiophiles don't have time for. Lucky for you, we do all the work and report our results right here.

A Round Of Applause For Danny Kirwan

Danny Kirwan is the guy who really takes control on Future Games. Some of the best songs this band ever did are here, many written by Kirwan. The opening track on side one, Woman Of A Thousand Years, and the opening track on side two, Sands Of Time, are both his and set the tone for the whole side, which is folky, ethereal and extended. The best of these pop songs don't seem to follow any of the standard pop conventions of verse verse chorus. They seem to wander on a journey of discovery. They remind me a little bit of 20th century French classical music, or some of the longer tracks from Neil Young's Zuma, in that way.

Any Fleetwood Mac greatest hits collection would be a joke without those tracks. They are of course missing from most of the compilations I am familiar with. Sadly, few people miss them because few people have ever even heard them!

And Let's Not Forget Christine McVie

She officially joins the band here with some of the best songs on the album. Morning Rain is one of her best and a true Fleetwood Mac classic.

Before The Mac Was Huge

This period Fleetwood Mac, from Kiln House through Mystery to Me (both are records I would take to my Desert Island) has always been my favorite of the band. I grew up on this stuff, and I can tell you from personal experience, having played a dozen (or more, I lose track there are so many) copies of Future Games practically all day at some pretty serious levels that it is a positive THRILL to hear it sound this good!

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