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LISTENING IN: Lindsay Buckingham, finger-pickin’ good

Last week’s homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan got us pondering rock’s great guitarists – a list that typically includes the likes Hendrix, Clapton, Page, and Richards, amongst others. But usually lacking some of that Big Love is Lindsay Buckingham, the genius behind Fleetwood Mac (even if he has currently been kicked out of the band).

For example, a 2016 Rolling Stone list of the rock’s 100 greatest guitarists saw Buckingham barely squeeze in at No. 100, though perhaps that’s because the music bible bizarrely cited him as an actor and father of three, listing some movie soundtracks to which had contributed, but entirely skipped his tenure in the Mac.

For a little balance, online magazine Off the Track rated Buckingham No. 11 on its best-ever list, declaring in no uncertain terms, “s—t and hell and f—, this guy can play!”

Er, indeed.

But they’re not wrong. Consider the performance in this week’s video, a life-changing acoustic remake that breathes new life into Fleetwood Mac’s late ‘80’s hit “Big Love” (watch that video for a fun fashion flashback – yikes!). Also check out his similar solo effort “To Try for the Sun.”

Demonstrating a unique self-taught and uncommon (in rock music) finger-picking style, using his fingernails in place of a pick, guitarists more learned than myself (which is to say all of them) have observed that it would typically take three players to do what he does alone in this song, orchestrating rhythm, melody, and a thumb-strum “drum” beat simultaneously. Plus adding a divergent line of vocals on top of it all.

Indeed, there are YouTube videos that exist, not to teach how to play it, but rather to explain how it really can’t be done (by a single human). It seems Mick Fleetwood knows that too: when he fired Buckingham in 2018, he hired two guitarists to replace him.

Not considered a virtuoso like Eddie Val Halen, Buckingham’s acumen seemingly suffers from eschewing the glorified stock-in-trade solos for a style that’s more subservient to the song than as a vehicle simply for the overt demonstration of skill. But even by that measure, he’s no less a guitar god – just an understated and sometimes unrecognized one.

This performance is from Fleetwood Mac’s “The Dance,” an album and concert film that helped recharge Mac’s career in 1997, but also left no doubt as to the singular brilliance of Lindsay Buckingham.

Lyrics

Lookin’ out for love, in the night so still
Oh, I’ll build you a kingdom in that house on the hill
Lookin’ out for love
Big, big love

You said that you love me, and that you always will
Oh, you begged me to keep you in that house on the hill
Looking’ out for love
Big, big love

I wake up, alone with it all
I wake up but only to fall
Lookin’ out for love
Big, big love

Just lookin’ out for love
Big, big love

First published at Travel Industry Today

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