Heroes Are Hard to Find

Fleetwood Mac

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Heroes Are Hard to Find Review

by Hal Horowitz

Although this was Bob Welch's last album with the band he had worked with since 1971, it sounds like he's at his peak. Pared down to a foursome for the first and (as of 2002) only time since the addition of Danny Kirwan, both Welch and Christine McVie contribute some of their finest songs. Bolstered by sympathetic self-production and imaginative, often aggressive arrangements that include brassy horns on the title track (a blatant but failed attempt at a hit single), the album is one of their most cohesive yet diverse. Welch continues his fascination with UFOs in a sort of follow-up to Mystery to Me's "Hypnotized" called "Bermuda Triangle" and even heads into a spacy Hendrix "Third Stone From the Sun" groove on "Coming Home." Christine McVie is in wonderful voice on her own ballads like "Prove Your Love" but outdoes herself on the magnificent "Come a Little Bit Closer," a stunning track whose grandeur is heightened by strings and McVie's majestic piano. It's a hidden classic and pedal steel by the Flying Burrito Brothers' Sneaky Pete Kleinow is an unexpected and perfect addition to the album's most fully realized tune. Welch's folk-pop "She's Changing Me" is one of his most upbeat, memorable melodies, offset by the rocker "Silver Heels" and his closing "Safe Harbor," a knowing nod back to Peter Green's atmospheric work on "Albatross" and his contributions to Then Play On. McVie's haunting rocker "Bad Loser" is reinforced by the propulsive rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, both adding tense bite to even the most tender of ballads. Welch left soon after the album's release, and the group went on to bigger and better things, but Heroes is a minor gem that retains its effortless pop charms and contains some buried jewels in the extensive Fleetwood Mac catalog.

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