Buckingham Nicks – [Record 18]
Buckingham Nicks: is the debut and sole studio album by the American rock duo Buckingham Nicks. Produced by Keith Olsen, the album was released in September 1973 by Polydor Records. Buckingham Nicks is notable as an early commercial collaboration between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who later joined Fleetwood Mac. The album was a commercial failure on its original release, and despite the duo’s subsequent success, it has yet to be commercially remastered or re-released on any format since 1973.
1, Crying in the Night.
3, Without a Leg to Stand On.
5, Long Distance Winner.
6, Don’t Let Me Down Again.
8, Races Are Run.
9, Lola (My Love).
10, Frozen Love.
Background: Prior to recording the album Buckingham Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks performed together in the band Fritz. The pair met while they were both attending Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, California, south of San Francisco. At the time, Nicks was a senior in high school and Buckingham, one year younger than her, was a junior. According to Nicks, they first met at a casual after-school gathering in 1966. Nicks and Buckingham found themselves harmonizing to what some accounts claim was a Beach Boys song, although Nicks herself claims they sang “California Dreamin’,” a hit single by The Mamas and The Papas, in an interview she gave with The Source in 1981. Nevertheless, Nicks and Buckingham did not collaborate again for another two years. In 1968, Buckingham invited Nicks to sing in Fritz, a band he was playing bass guitar for with some of his high school friends. Nicks talks about joining Fritz in an interview with Us Magazine from 1988:
“I met Lindsey when I was a senior in high school and he was a junior, and we sang a song together at some after-school function. Two years later, in 1968, he called me and asked me if I wanted to be in a rock & roll band. I had been playing guitar and singing pretty much totally folk-oriented stuff. So I joined the band, and within a couple of weeks we were opening for really big shows: Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin. All of a sudden I was in rock & roll.“
Although Nicks and Buckingham never performed their own, original music while in Fritz, the band provided them with the opportunity to gain experience on stage, performing in front of crowds while opening for wildly successful rock and roll acts. Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin of Big Brother Company and the Holding Company and Jimi Hendrix, whom Fritz also opened for, would all prove influential on Nicks and her developing stage persona. The band manager, David Forrester, worked hard to secure a record deal for Fritz, although their sound was not exactly fitting with the harder, psychedelic music of their more popular contemporaries. The pair continued to perform with Fritz for three years until the band finally dissolved in 1971. Having developed a romantic relationship in addition to their working partnership, Nicks and Buckingham decided soon afterwards to move to Los Angeles from San Francisco to pursue their dreams of being signed.
Recording and production: While still performing with Fritz, Nicks had attended San Jose State University, studying Speech Communication. Buckingham joined her at college, also managing to balance school and music. Upon their decision to move to Los Angeles, however, the pair decided to drop out. Nicks worked several jobs as a waitress and as a cleaning lady so as to support herself and Buckingham: they had decided that it would be best for him not to work and to instead focus on honing his guitar technique. Though they scraped by, living in poverty, Nicks and Buckingham managed to write enough original material for a full-length record. It was not long before Nicks and Buckingham met engineer Keith Olsen as well as the casual entrepreneurs Ted Feigan and Lee LaSeffe. The pair played some of their music for them and all were impressed with what they heard. Soon after that, LaSeffe was able to secure a distribution deal with Polydor. Nicks discusses this series of events in an interview with The Island Ear in 1994:
“We had some great demos. We shopped around. Over a period of time we got a deal with Polydor and made our first album, Buckingham Nicks. We had a taste of the big time. We had great musicians in a big, grand studio. We were happening. Things were going our way. But up until that point I had been thinking of quitting it all and going back to school because I was sick of being miserable and I hate being poor.”
Waddy Wachtel was one of the musicians hired to assist in recording the album. He discusses his relationship with producer Keith Olsen as well his relationship with Nicks and Buckingham on his website:
“So Keith [Olsen] and I started working together. This was in like ‘68, ‘69 probably. And that’s – from then on that’s when things started happening. That’s where Keith one day came and said, ‘I’m bringing this couple down from North California, named Stevie and Lindsey. And I want you to play on their record.’ I played on the Buckingham Nicks record. The three of us became very tight, tight friends. We were always together.”
In spite of their efforts, Buckingham Nicks was virtually ignored by the promotional staff at Polydor Records. Though there was a relatively small and concentrated fan base in Alabama, the album did not prove commercially successful and was soon deleted from the label’s catalog. Disheartened, Nicks and Buckingham would spend much of the rest of 1973 continuing to work outside of the music industry to pay rent. As history has proven, however, it would not be long before their music fell upon the right ears: Mick Fleetwood would invite the duo to join his band, Fleetwood Mac, in late 1974.
Tour: Nicks and Buckingham went on tour that year to promote Buckingham Nicks in the American south. Bootlegged recordings from two concerts in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama have surfaced on the Internet. These tours featured early performances of “Rhiannon”, “Sorcerer”, and “Monday Morning”.
The touring band consisted of bassist Tom Moncrieff, who later played bass on Nicks’ first solo album Bella Donna, and drummer Gary “Hoppy” Hodges, who played drums on the album.
Moncrieff and Hodges later formed the band Sinai 48 with a new singer-songwriter duo in 2006, marking the first reunion of any Buckingham Nicks members aside from the continued collaboration of Buckingham and Nicks.
Prospects of re-release: In spite of the international success that Nicks and Buckingham later achieved, Buckingham Nicks has never been officially released on CD. There have been various bootleg CDs of this album which can be bought from certain websites as well as a free download copy of this album via various online file-hosting sites (most of these have been transferred from vinyl). One bootleg copy titled Buckingham Nicks: Deluxe Edition is available to buy on CD on certain websites (including eBay) as well as via a free download on various online file-hosting sites. This version adds 12 extra tracks which were all recorded by Buckingham Nicks at around the same period as the Buckingham Nicks album, but were not included on the album, possibly due to time restrictions on vinyl. A copy of this album sourced from the master tapes (as opposed to a copy taken from vinyl) is also available on various online file-hosting sites. How a copy from the master tapes got in to the public domain is not known.
Two of the album’s ten songs have been issued on CD. “Long Distance Winner” was released as part of Nicks’ Enchanted box set, and “Stephanie” turned up on a promotional only CD release by Buckingham entitled Words and Music (A Retrospective), although this was from a vinyl transfer as well. Another song from the album, “Crystal”, was recorded by the revamped Fleetwood Mac for the group’s 1975 breakthrough LP, Fleetwood Mac, and was also recorded by Stevie herself for the soundtrack to the 1998 film Practical Magic. “Don’t Let Me Down Again” was recorded by Fleetwood Mac for their 1980 live album, as it was performed several times on tour to support the Fleetwood Mac album, along with “Frozen Love”. Additionally, Buckingham performed “Stephanie” on his One Man Show tour in 2012. “Stephanie” is also featured on the accompanying live album, One Man Show.
In an interview on WRLT 100.1 Nashville from September 11, 2006, Buckingham expressed interest in seeing the album released on CD. He also suggested the possibility of a future joint Lindsey Buckingham-Stevie Nicks tour in the next few years to support the prospective re-release. Backing musicians Moncrieff and Hodges have also expressed interest in reuniting with Buckingham and Nicks for a future tour.
In an interview with NME in August 2011, Lindsey Buckingham reiterated his interest in giving the album an official CD release. Regarding the long wait, he stated: “It’s been a victim of inertia. We have every intention of putting that album back out and possibly even doing something along with it.” In December 2012, Nicks was hopeful that a 40th anniversary edition of Buckingham Nicks would be released in 2013, claiming that at least one unreleased song from the sessions could be included on the release.
In a Dec. 2012 interview with CBS Local, Buckingham talks about the possibility of an official CD release in 2013:
“Stevie and I have been hanging out a little bit lately, and we’ve been talking about that. I think that’s something that would happen this year as well. Oddly enough, I hate to even say it, I think the 40th anniversary of that is next year. Jeez! Is that possible? So we’ve been talking about it. Of course, we’ve been talking about it off and on for a long time, but Stevie seems really into the idea. So yes, I would say yes.”