Fleetwood Mac


Tracks: 9, total time: 36:42, year: 1973, genre: Classic Rock

© 1990 Warner Bros. Records Inc.

Originally ReleasedMarch 1973
CD Edition Released March 22, 1990

AMG EXPERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac's first album made after the departure of Danny Kirwan features the additions of guitarist Bob Weston and singer Dave Walker. By now Bob Welch and Christine McVie were the dominant forces in the band, and all traces of blues-rock were gone,replaced by Welch's hypnotic melodies and McVie's romantic sentiments married to up-tempo pop tunes. This album gave Fleetwood Macits best U.S. chart showing yet, but the wonder is that this phase in the band's career wasn't even more popular. -- William Ruhlmann

Half.com Details
Producer: Fleetwood Mac, Martin Birch

Album Notes
Fleetwood Mac: Bob Weston (vocals, slide guitar, banjo, harmonica); Bob Welch (vocals, guitar); Dave Walker (vocals, harmonica); Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards); John McVie (bass); Mick Fleetwood (drums, percussion).

Additional personnel: Steve Nye (organ, steel drums); Ralph Richardson, Russel Valdez, Fred Totesaut.

Recorded at the Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Hampshire, England in January 1973.

1973 was a busy year for Fleetwood Mac, who continued to ply a mix of California countryrock and blues at a time when glam ruled the roost in England. PENGUIN was one of two albums recorded that year and the band's first since parting ways with Danny Kirwan. Replacing him were English guitarist Bob Weston and singer Dave Walker, who the Mac stole from Savoy Brown after an American tour with that band. Due toa fair amount of drunk and disorderly behavior in the studio, Walker's contributions were minimal. He penned a country-flavored number called "The Derelict" and sings lead and plays harmonica onJr. Walker's "(I'm A) Road Runner."

Despite this slight turmoil, the rest of PENGUIN is a wonderful mixed bag of material. Highlights include the upbeat, steel drum-tinged "Did You Ever Love Me," the ethereal "Night Watch" (featuring an uncredited Peter Green on guitar) and the slide guitar-drenched "Remember Me" (punctuated by Christine McVie's honey-sweet vocals). McVie's singing also shines on "Dissatisfied" and is a distinctive contrast to BobWelch's spoken-word style of singing on more hypnotic fare such as "Revelation" and "Bright Fire."

-- RELATED INFO ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
from RobertChristgau.com

Consumer GuideReviews:
Penguin [Reprise, 1973]

Those who complain about the remake of "(I'm a) Road Runner," with Mick Fleetwood smashing past the cymbals while Dave Walker shouts, probably think these studio craftspeople were slumming when they jammed with Otis Spann.I love it. I also like all of Christine McVie's husky laments. But could rilly do without Bob Welch's ever-mellower musings. B

Certainly a lesser affair, but nota total bomb, March 12, 2003
By 30-year old wallflower "Eric NAndrews" (West Lafayette, IN)

Even during their extended middle period as they made the transition from blues-rockers to melodic popsters, you couldn't fault Fleetwood Mac for not being prolific. 1971's FUTURE GAMES could safely be called the first pop-oriented Mac album because it was their first one without guitaristJeremy Spencer, thereby cutting off the last tie to their blues roots. 1972's BARE TREES was as spare as its title states, peelingaway the layers of the previous album & letting the music speakfor itself. After both of those albums sold dismally (but I believe they've at least gone gold by now), the Mac went back to the studio to record 1973's PENGUIN.

The remarks about PENGUIN being the rare sour grape in the Mac's large catalog are a tad exaggerated, for while it is by no means a masterpiece, it's unfair tocall it a stinker. While Christine McVie & Bob Welch may have been the main creative guides during this period, PENGUIN was probably an attempt at a true group effort (which at this point was a sextet), for the songwriting & singing isn't strictly the work ofMcVie & Welch (though they do collaborate on one song); guitaristBob Weston & vocalist/harmonica player Dave Walker (both added after the departure of guitarist Danny Kirwan) get a chance to shine here, too. Such democracy would hint at 1979's double album TUSK & like that epic, it's mostly hit & miss.

Walker's tune "The Derelict" is a country-based affair, complete with the banjo &harmonica (both done by Weston). As can be expected, the song iscertainly no masterpiece, but it's a pleasant tune that closed out side one of the vinyl album. While Welch apparently did the singing on that song, Walker gets a chance to vocalize on a cover ofJr. Walker & The All-Stars' Motown classic "[I'm A] Road Runner". While such a gravel-voiced soul rave-up would seem like an oddchoice with the proto-pop sound the Mac was exploring around thistime, it comes off surprisingly well, sure to bring up any dullparty. "Caught In The Rain" closes out the album & is an acousticinstrumental performed by Bob Weston with piano & an angelic chorus. Nice, but maybe an actual song with lyrics would have workedout better.

As for the Mac's main songsmiths, Bob Welch comesout the winner with 3 solo compositions & a collaboration with McVie, hinting at the promise that would be manifested when he went solo. "Bright Fire" is a slightly ethereal number with lyrics that are a bit hard to decipher, but the slightly Pink Floyd vibethe song gives off is very soothing. "Revelation" is a Santana-inspired rocker with guitar work worthy of Senor Carlos himself. The epic of the album (which is only 36 minutes long) is "Night Watch" & contains the soft-spoken voice you'd know from Welch's solohit of "Sentimental Lady" (the Mac's version appeared on BARE TREES). The backing harmonies are an excellent lift from the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young rule book.

While Christine McVie wouldbecome quite a dependable songwriter in later years, I guess shewas still easing her way in at this point, for she only contributes 2 of her own songs, both of which were probably not even her best ones at the time. The opening "Remember Me" is a light, feel-good number that breezes by in its 2 1/2 minutes without leavingmuch of an impression. "Dissatisfied" is better with a little Motown flavor of its own, especially with the overdubbed backing vocals by Christine. Mick Fleetwood's drums alone make you wonder ifthe band had brushed up on their Motown before recording this. The calypso-flavored "Did You Ever Love Me" (love the steel drums)is the McVie/Welch team-up & is apparently more Christine's workthan Bob's for she sings lead with Bob Weston on this bittersweet "end of the affair" love song.

The Mac's choice of producerin Martin Birch (who worked as an engineer on previous Mac albums) was an odd one, for he had cut his teeth on albums by bands ashard-edged as Deep Purple & would eventually work with similar groups like Iron Maiden, Blue Oyster Cult & Whitesnake. But this was his first album as a producer I believe, so he hadn't yet foundhis specialty & I guess with PENGUIN, he wanted to be as less intrusive as possible. Like BARE TREES, Birch lets the music stay as it is with little sweetening & I guess the Mac was happy enoughwith his work to use him again on their second album of 1973, MYSTERY TO ME.

PENGUIN is certainly no creative wonder by any stretch of the imagination, but interestingly it became their firstalbum to chart in the U.S. (peaking at a respectable #49), so something about it won over music buyers. For an album that was only recorded in a month (in January 1973, with it hitting stores 2months later), PENGUIN has the sound & feel of it, making for analbum that is pleasant while it plays, but only small parts of itare memorable. Musical band members would start again (with DaveWalker being the one to leave), but Fleetwood Mac seemed to takeit all in stride, moving towards the recording of their equallytransitional (yet superior) MYSTERY TO ME in a matter of months.In hindsight, PENGUIN is a good time-marker in the Mac's long career, but definitely not the bomb it has long been made out to be.

A Solid and Tuneful Album, June 18, 2000
By J. Collins "Paradise Bar & Grill"

Guitar Godsbe damned, Fleetwood Mac had/has more to offer than blues licksand rock riffing. As their personnel roster fluctuated and the band searched for a cohesive musical identity, the songwriters in Fleetwood Mac never failed to offer (at least) a half-dozen unrefined, tuneful gems. "Penguin" is perhaps their least impressive album from the post-Green, pre-Buckingham/Nicks era, but it is still a very likeable and memorable collection.

Christine McVie'sbluesy but uptempo "Remember Me" is an obvious standout, along with the shuffle-Pop of "Disattisfied." Her vocal lead on Bob Welch's Caribbean-flavored "Did You Ever Love Me" is one of her most affecting performances. Welch does himself proud on the shimmering"Bright Fire," and the frenetic musical drama of "Revelation." Guitarist Bob Weston's elegiac "Caught In The Rain" also has it'scharms.

Dave Walker's contributions to this album are negligible...a hoarse vocal on the Holland/Dozier/Holland chestnut, "(I'mA) Roadrunner," and the inebriated blues original, "The Derelict." It's to the band's credit that they recognized him for the weak, regressive presence he brought into the group, and jettisonedhim before the next album.

Aside from a few overlong musical excursions and lapses in sincerity, "Penguin" does not disappoint.And if this kind of tuneful Pop-Rock isn't enough to satisfy fans of the Green God, they need to clean their ears. Peter Green has an uncredited solo on the original B-side of this album.

Some of the best and worst songs the band has done, November 18, 1999
By A Customer

This is admittedly a strange record, in that it lacks an overriding direction.But Penguin has gone sadly underrated for far too long. ChristineMcVie offers three gems--all of which stand up to her later songs. "Remember Me" in particular shows how much her effortless altocan anchor a mid-tempo, hook-filled pop song. Welch doesn't do too bad, either. "Night Watch" displays his penchant for the mystical in an extended, moody instrumental bridge. Otherwise, the album is pretty forgettable: the one-time recruit David Walker offers two embarassing songs, one of which is an incongruous Motown cover. Kirwan's replacement, Bob Weston, plays well, but has none of Kirwan's subtleties or song writing skills. But the good outweighs the bad. About half of these songs still stand the test of time, and I always return to McVie's numbers here preferring them to her "Heroes" or "Mystery" songs.

Fleetwood Mac's Most Schizophrenic Incarnation, March 8, 2004
By Kevin Kartchner (Albuquerque, NM United States)

"Penguin" is perhaps the most hot-and-cold album in the Fleetwood Mac catalog: when it's good, it's great, and when it isn't, it stinks!It has a couple of Chris McVie's best tunes ever--"Remember Me" and "Dissatisfied"--both of which, in my opinion, outshine anything she did in the Buckingham/Nicks era. It also has what I regardas Bob Welch's best song ever, "Bright Fire," which holds specialmemories for me personally. Moreover, "Revelation," although written by Welch, sounds very much like several of Peter Green's better Mac compositions (which is a good thing). However, the rest of the album is mediocre at best and can be a little hard to listen to--the band didn't really know in which direction to head after Danny Kirwan's departure, which is made obvious by the short-lived participation of Dave Walker. (Bob Weston, the guitarist added to fill Kirwan's slot, wasn't long for the band, either, afterhe started carrying on with Mick Fleetwood's wife Jenny.)

Addit up, and you have a glaringly schizophrenic lineup, which wasalmost--but not quite--matched by the Dave Mason/Bekka Bramlett/Billy Burnette lineup of the mid-1990s. (I saw the latter incarnation in concert around 1996, when the Mac had been reduced to performing at COMDEX in Las Vegas for some now-defunct software company. Bizarre!)

Penguin Doesn't Fly, April 19, 2001
By Thomas Magnum (NJ, USA)

Penguin is acomedown for the band after their two previous efforts, the superb Bare Trees & Mystery To Me. It's not an awful album, just merely average. Christine McVie does some her best work to date, including the bouncy "Remember Me" and the reggae tinged "Did You EverLove Me". Bob Welch is his usual top notch self on songs like the superb "Revelation", "Bright Fire" and "Night Watch". GuitaristBob Weston supplies the okay "Caught In The Rain". New member Dave Walker is dead weight on the album with his croaking version of "(I'm A) Road Runner" and the terrible "The Derelict".

It's not that bad, September 27, 2003
By E. Bukowski (New Castle, PA United States)

There's not much more I can say about it that hasn't been said in other reviews.I do have to agree that it doesn't deserve the reputation it hasfor being the dud of their catalog.

It seems that of all theWelch era stuff I reach for this one and Heroes Are Hard To Findthe most. It's not even that I love the entire album, but there's several tracks on it that are some of my favorites by the band.

"Dissatisfied" is one of Christines best songs ever, and when it comes to Chris's mid-tempo boogies I'll take this one over "Don't Stop" any day. "Did You Ever Love Me" is a great collaboration between her and Welch, and although some of the vocals sounda little clumsy, the breezy, calypso feel of the track is totallyirresistable. "Remember Me" is a pleasant enough tune, althoughsomewhat forgettable. She was a much better writer during their mid-period than what she's given credit for.

As far as Mr. Welch he'll put you to sleep on this one. He wrote great songs for every Fleetwood Mac album he was on except for this one. "Bright Fire" and "Revelation" will breeze by you without making much of an impression. At least he knocked himself out with one of his tracks, the eerie mini-epic "Night Watch," which has some of the best production and instrumentation of any Fleetwood Mac track, complete with mellotrons, plucked piano strings, and appropriate sound effects on the fadeout. This is all without mentioning the fantastic vocal harmonies.

As far as Dave Walker, including him in the band was pointless. They already had two strong songwritersin the band, why they felt the need to get a separate lead singer who only contributed a cover and a half-assed original is beyond me. The cover he does contribute is a highlight of the album though, which is a rockin' cover of Junior Walker And THe All-Stars"I'm A Roadrunner." His other song "The Derelict" is OK, but sounds sketchy and unfinished. Want to know why? It is. The band just threw it on the album at the last minute because they didn't feel like working on it. If you wonder why it sounds so thin it's because there's no bass track on it.

Bob Weston, who really didn't write much for the band, contributes the gorgeous acoustic instrumental "Caught In The Rain" to close out the album. The overdubbed choral of Bob Welch's vocals on this one is especially nice.

At 11 bucks it will be hard to regret purchasing this one.It doesn't soar to the musical heights that Mystery To Me and Heroes Are Hard To Find did, nor does it rock like Bare Trees. It'sa wierd album, showing a band struggling to find its feet. Overall though the result is decent, and even though theres a few clunkers there's enough great songs to keep even the casual Mac fan (like me) happy.

Three and a half stars for Mac as the band leaves The Blues behind for good, California here we come, July 9, 2010
By Philip Bradshaw (torontocanada)

Penguin represents the genesis of the band's enormously successful run that commenced with Fleetwood Mac (1975) just two LPs and two years down the line. For instance, Christie McVie's Dissatisfied could slide without a beat onto either Fleetwood Mac or Rumours. I think that this record has always received an unwarranted bad rap. I suspect that many of the negative reviews emanate from those who regretted the passing of the blues orientedMac, people for whom this music is simply not their cup of tea. Iloved the band from the very beginning and have their first three LPs on vinyl and play them still. However, as Green, Spencer and Kirwan all left and were replaced I stayed with the band. I like Bob Welch's compositions and his voice and I disagree with those who find Bob Weston a deficient guitarist. He's no Peter Green,but then who is? Other than Road Runner I enjoy every song on this album. Penguin reached number 49 in the US album charts - theband's highest entry to that point in its career. Stardom, fame and fortune are just around the corner for Mick, John and Christie.

"PENGUIN": It Doesn't Fly, ButIt Waddles Nicely, August 3, 2009
By M. McKay (Downey, CA United States)

"Penguin" was the first pre-Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac album I had ever seen or heard at the ageof four. I was already in love with the "Rumours" line up of theband so my mother thought she's enlighten me to the fact the band had existed BEFORE Lindsay or Stevie joined. In her record collection was her original copy of "Penguin" which she purchased atthe time of it's release. I remember staring at the inside gatefold picture, being intrigued by the unfamiliar faces I saw. Therewere approximately three of them; Dave Walker, Bob Weston, and Bob Welch. "Penguin" would be Walker's sole album with Mac while Weston would last two albums before being kicked out for having anaffair with Mick Fleetwood's wife Jenny. Not a good decision that. Bob Welch had been with the band since 1971 and would last until 1974. "Penguin" was hastily recorded and released at time of great upheaval in Mac's career....AGAIN! With an uneven track sequence and the bizarre addition of Dave Walker, "Penguin" has oftenbeen dismissed as the dud of Fleetwood Mac's catalog. That's overstating the case a bit though.

One thing that should always be noted about Fleetwood Mac is that the band has ALWAYS boasted excellent musicians and they have never sucked! Regardless of howtheir individual albums were received, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie always knew good musicians when they heard them and were always guided by their keen instinct when making these decisions forthe good of the band. Dave Walker was added to the band in late 1972 from out of British blues rockers Savoy Brown. Though a curious choice, he wasn't completely a mistake. Walker was talented with chops, had a variety of vocal styles, and could play a mean blues harp. But he was ultimately out of place in Mac. He had beenhired on because management had been pushing the group to get a front man, one who could rile up a crowd. Mac was rapidly developing their laid back California pop rock sound, something to whichWalker was a bit of a stranger. He was let go before the band proceeded any further, but like all Mac musicians, left his mark during his brief tenure. Bob Weston came from Long John Baldry's group and fit nicely into Mac's lead guitarist lineage (following Peter Green with Danny Kirwan and before Lindsay Buckingham).

Despite all the turmoil, "Penguin" is a fairly good album. Definitely not a record that comes together as a whole but has moments of greatness scattered throughout. Like 1970's "Kiln House," "Penguin" probably could have used a good re-sequencing of it's tracksin order to bring it together. However, the songs stand on theirown merit. The Mac member who shines the brightest on "Penguin"is definitely Christine McVie, whose songwriting seemed to be reaching an early peak with this album. She contributed three songsto "Penguin": "Remember Me," "Dissatisfied," and "Did You Ever Love Me." Both "Remember Me" and "Did You Ever Love Me" were selected as singles in order to promote the album. However Bob Welch, Mac's other main songwriter during this period, would see better days, especially on the group's late '73 follow up album "MysteryTo Me." I saw a review for this album that stated Bob Welch would"put you to sleep" on this one. It's true his songs here are slight, but they're not bad. "Bright Fire" features the same transcendental vibe as 1971's "Future Games," but with less dynamics. "Night Watch" is creepy, haunting, and majestic all at the same time. "Revelation" sounds like Welch trying to conjure up the spiritof Peter Green and only half succeeding. It has a Latin tinged groove that says Bob was under the influence of Santana for this one. Dave Walker's two contributions are what most fans site as the problem with "Penguin." Referring to the original vinyl, side one closed with Walker's killer rendition of "(I'm A) Road Runner"that features some of his blistering harp work. However, for thestart of side two Walker does a complete about face with his folk warble "The Derelict" on which you'll notice, when listening carefully, is MISSING A BASS TRACK! How that happened is anyone's guess. My theory is that John McVie hated the song and flat out refused to work on it, but that's only theory. It's a hummable tunebut Walker's lyrics make little sense ("No more get out of here's from a man who hates lady?"). And his singing sounds like an imitation of a folk singer instead of what he was really capable of, which was displayed on "Road Runner" in all it's gruff glory! Putting Walker's two contrasting moments in the spotlight back toback is probably the biggest error "Penguin" makes.

ChristieMcVie did no wrong at all on "Penguin." "Did You Ever Love Me" isprobably the album's biggest highlight with lyrics offering up heartbroken sentiments of a failed relationship (a theme she'd revisit quite often), it's infectious Caribbean rhythm and melody featuring steel drums that play a fantastic solo during the song'sextended coda. As far as great Christine McVie songs go, this oneis right up there with her best and should have been a Top Ten hit. "Remember Me" opens the album and "Dissatisfied" is the thirdsong on side one, both insanely catchy! The record closes out with Bob Weston's "Caught In The Rain" which would be the band's last instrumental. Very similar to Danny Kirwan's instrumentals onprevious Mac albums, it is a beautiful piece with hushed blowingscat harmonies by Bob Welch and Christine McVie.

"Penguin" doesn't deserve the bad rap it gets but it's not one of Mac's best.This album gets a recommendation on the strength of Christine'ssongs alone. With all the personnel changes Mac had survived thusfar, it's surprising "Penguin" got made in the first place.

Only a real fan would love it, July6, 1999
By A Customer

At this stage of the game, FleetwoodMac didn't know who they were or what they were doing. Peter Green has since said that he didn't believe the band could survive without guitarist Danny Kirwan, who left following the album before. They almost didn't. This album has two worthwhile songs. Bob Welch, for the first time focusing his atmospheric thrust, created"Revelation," and helped the ever-lovely Christine McVie to writethe steel-drum "Did You Ever Love Me?" Bob Weston, lead guitarist, actually sang it with her; it shows why he didn't sing on their next album. "Night Watch" is supposed to have a Peter Green guitar solo in there, but you'll have to look for it. Otherwise, thealbum has some nice songs by Christine and the attempt of the record label to foist a 'lead-singer' named Dave Walker on the band. The move wasn't necessary; this album was only necessary in that it led to "Mystery to Me." Really, a devout fan would like it;that's about it. <--- Chrys Jordan (skinned knee)

Flightless..., March 14, 2005
By Greg Brady"columbusboy" (Capital City)

This CD is another one that finds the Mac transitioning, this time after Danny Kirwan left the lineup, being replaced by both Bob Weston and Dave Walker.

Thedisc's highest point comes with "Did you Ever Love Me?", a Christine McVie penned pop tune that's buoyed up with peppy steel drums. She duets with Bob Welch on this one to great effect. It's easily the most "hooky" song here. Welch's quasi-apocalyptic "Revelation" also acquits itself fairly well. It has some tasty guitar soloing but doesn't overstay its welcome. McVie contributes two other songs that are somewhat hummable although far from her best work. ("Remember Me" and "Dissatisfied")

Nadirs on the disc come with country warbler "The Derelict" sung by new member Walker (he makes up for it a bit with his cover of Jr. Walker and the All-Stars' "Road Runner"..it's not great but it's passable..) and the wordless harmonizing of "Caught in the Rain". It's somewhat pretty but really only needed to be a (short) intro to some other song, (perhaps "Bright Fire"?) instead of its own track.

The feeling of disarray here (an R&B raver, a country tune, a couple brisk pop tunes, several midtempo moody AOR songs) also makes thisnot a very satisfying listen when heard front to back.

BottomLine: Skip this one. The best track is available on SELECTIONS FROM THE CHAIN (ASIN B000060P4U) [Don't worry, it's not that expensive used if you don't want to fork over the import price]. If you have to have "Did you Ever Love Me?" you're better off gettingit there.

1 1/2 stars

Not aFleetwood Mac gem, October 6, 2000
A Kid's Review

Penguin is a mediocore album. Why? Look no further than the acquisitions of Dave Walker and Bob Weston. Walker proved absolutely useless, and Bob Weston is not Danny Kirwan. The album seemed satisfactoryuntil listening to their contributions. Where did they come to firing Kirwan. The unit lived together in the Lindsay/Stevie, and Danny and Lindsay are two classic guitar players, and with Stevieand Christine he would've added some punch to an overrated albumin Rumours. Don't buy Penguin if you haven't listened to Mac before. Only true Mac lovers can appreciate this album.

Should have been called TURKEY, June 8, 2002
By Michael Webb (planet earth)

I love the Peter Green-Danny Kirwan era of Fleetwood Mac but I also think highly of Bob Welch but this album is in my opinion a mess. The band just doesn't have it together on this one. Danny Kirwan's absence is heard veryloudly on this CD and painfully so at times. Christine Mcvie's material is once again over rated and I'm not even going to tell you what I think of Dave Walker. Dave Weston is at best competant.Bob Welch's songs are once again just good not great. After Kirwan and Before Buckingham, he was the most interesting of the members but his songs can be murky at times. This is an album made bya band that is searching for a direction.

1.2:46    Remember Me
2.4:34    Bright Fire
3.3:44    Dissatisfied
4.4:56    (I'm A) Road Runner
5.2:50    The Derelict
6.5:01    Revelation
7.3:45    Did You Ever Love Me
8.6:18    Night Watch
9.2:46    Caught In The Rain

Category: rock - Discid: 65089809

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