Christine McVie’s association with Fleetwood Mac began in 1970 when the singer-songwriter born Anne Christine Perfect played and sang on the group’s record Kiln House (and even provided its cover artwork). Though uncredited on Kiln House, McVie joined the band shortly thereafter, penning two songs and contributing to a third on 1971’s Future Games. Her place in the group assured, she went on to write and sing many of the Mac’s most cherished hits including “Don’t Stop,” “Everywhere,” and “Little Lies.” While Christine departed the band in 1998, she returned in 2014 and remains in the lineup today alongside founding members Mick Fleetwood and her ex-husband John McVie as well as Stevie Nicks and recent recruits Neil Finn and Mike Campbell.
Songbird (A Solo Collection) has been remastered by producer Glyn Johns who worked in tandem with McVie on the release. Songbird is mainly drawn from 2004’s In the Meantime with two selections from 1984’s Christine McVie: “The Challenge,” featuring background vocals by Lindsey Buckingham and lead guitar by Eric Clapton; and “Ask Anybody,” co-written by McVie and Steve Winwood, who sings backgrounds and plays piano. (No material has been culled from her 1970 debut Christine Perfect.)
While Christine McVie‘s chart-topping hit “Got a Hold on Me” (No. 1 AC/No. 1 Rock/No. 10 Pop) is curiously absent along with its moderately successful follow-up “Love Will Show Us How” (No. 32 AC/No. 24 Rock/No. 30 Pop), the collection includes the top 40 AC hit “Friend” from In the Meantime. It also premieres two previously unreleased songs. “Slowdown,” originally written for director John Badham’s 1985 film American Flyers. “All You Gotta Do” was recorded for In the Meantime with late bassist George Hawkins. It was unfinished at the time, but Ricky Peterson (Hammond organ) and Ethan Johns (drums and guitar) have fleshed out the track.
McVie describes “Slowdown” in the press release: “I was asked to write a song for a film about a cycling competition. So, I thought we’d give it a go. So that’s why the lyrics are sort of muddled up with a little bit of a love song, a little bit of cycling. And it turned out really well, but they didn’t end up using it. We thought it was a pity to waste it, so it’s on here.”
The set concludes with a new, previously unreleased Orchestral Version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird,” melding McVie’s original vocal for the Rumours track with a new orchestral arrangement by Vince Mendoza (Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell).