Kiln House

Fleetwood Mac

Reprise, 1970

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Kiln House marked the beginning of the great transition for Fleetwood Mac from a blues-oriented rock band to pop icons of the 1970s. First, Peter Green took his blues guitar and withdrew from the group. Next, Fleetwood Mac left the small Blue Horizon label and signed with the Reprise label of the giant Warner Brothers Group. All of a sudden, their albums began receiving publicity and sales began to increase dramatically.

The Kiln House Fleetwood Mac was a foursome. While Christine McVie did play on the album, she did not become a full member until after its release. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood have always been a competent rhythm section but have contributed little to Fleetwood Mac’s musical direction over the years. That left the creativity for my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Kiln House in the hands of Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer.

More than any other Fleetwood Mac album, Kiln House is a Jeremy Spencer outing. Looking back on Spencer’s behavior over the years, this is a scary statement, and his material here is eclectic, to say the least. Spencer, in essence, returns to the roots of rock with tunes like “This Is Rock,” which could have come from the Sun label catalog. “Blood On The Floor” sounds like a poor Elvis impersonation, “Buddy’s Song” features a “Peggy Sue” rhythm and even  “Mission Bell” evokes a late ‘50s feeling.

This is, without doubt, a collection of the oddest songs to ever grace a Fleetwood Mac album. These are songs you either love or hate. I don’t know what Spencer had in mind when recording these songs, but I do know that the Children Of God cult was in his immediate future.

Danny Kirwan lightens up Fleetwood Mac’s sound here, especially when viewed against Then Play On. “Hi Ho Silver” features solid guitar work and is a good rocker of a song. “Jewel Eyed Judy” is an excellent and welcome ballad and shows some country influences. “Tell Me All The Things You Do” finds Kirwan in an excellent, mellow groove. “Station Man” may be a bit long and repetitive, but features some of the first Christine McVie harmonies that would become a Fleetwood Mac staple.

Kiln House is the oddest album in the Fleetwood Mac catalog. There are stronger and certainly more cohesive albums from this period in Fleetwood Mac’s musical history, but every once in a while it is at least an interesting experience to to put on the old earphones and give this album a spin. Hey, consider it an adventure.

Rating: C+

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© 2007 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise, and is used for informational purposes only.