STREET ANGEL (Modern)
In a year marked by lackluster comeback efforts of ’70s mainstays like Boston, Jackson Browne and Traffic, Stevie Nicks brings polish and spunk to her first release in six years, and scores the solid hit that has eluded her aging compatriots.
Nicks has avoided the trap of depending on her name to sell the music. That’s probably because her name wasn’t worth much, with bad performances, bad press and personal problems tarnishing the most recognizable voice of the quintessential ’70s supergroup, Fleetwood Mac.
That group collapsed when Lindsey Buckingham took his immense talent and even greater contempt for Nicks and went his own way. But Nicks obviously knows the key to success as practiced by Buckingham: taking her time to work for quality. And if Lindsey wasn’t going to be around anymore, well, she’d just find some friends to help out.
She got some of the best. On guitar, she’s supported by two studio legends, Andy Fairweather Low and Waddy Watchel. David Crosby sings harmony on the title track, and for a solid pop cover of Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman,” who better to play guitar and harmonica than Dylan himself?
But Nicks does more than just rely on significant others. Besides co-producing the disc, she wrote or co-wrote nine of the 13 songs, all of which shine — from the Mac-ish pop of “Blue Denim” to the anthemic “Destiny” to the rocking “Love Is Like a River.” She even tosses in the country-sounding “Rose Garden,” which she wrote almost 30 years ago. It’s a terrific collection that shows off her range.
Finally, we cannot ignore the most important instrument of any Nicks effort — that smoky-bar-at-3-in-the-morning voice. It proves itself again a formidable weapon, glorious in its inability to hit all of the notes, and captivating in the feeling it conveys.
Stevie Nicks — one of the most-dissed performers of our time — shows there’s no better way to shut up one’s detractors than through a dynamite effort.
Tracy Collins / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / July 8, 1994