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"The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks," is the first commercially released boxed set of songs released by Stevie Nicks in 1998 featuring the majority of her solo works including and up to her 1994 album, "Street Angel," and the song "Sweet Girl," of which the original demo version has been recorded here. Intended really for her hardcore fans, there is music here which has been difficult to get hold of; namely by other artists which recorded Stevie as far back as 1979. You need to understand that this import boxed set for a lot of Stevie Nicks fans has become a bible of sorts. This is a long review but due to the three discs content and packaging.
The 3 CD boxed set was initially a limited run before it hit the high street in its masses. It does not include her solo output of work with Fleetwood Mac although she does include her own version of "Rhiannon," as a signature mark, the last song on the last CD included with this set. Certainly her solo work has always played second fiddle to her music with Fleetwood Mac. This is probably due to the fact that here in the UK certainly, there are very few people out there who enjoy both her work with Fleetwood Mac and her own solo music - which is very different in style and inspiration at times. It has to be said that this is NOT a greatest hits package though. It was created purely for fans and for people who love her music.
The three CDs all have different colours to distinguish each one. All CDs for example have imprinted shots of Stevie in various poses dressed in one of her trademark white lace wrapped dresses ready to climb never ending stairs - a shot taken from the video to 1985's hit "I Can't Wait". In any case Disc 1 is purple in colour, Disc 2 is green and Disc 3 is blue. Such attention to detail has transmitted itself to the pages in this book - there are 63 pages in total, each page has been finely crafted with attention paid to excellent printing on glossy material applied. The last couple of pages have the same colour as the CDs and these all feature the song words plus linear notes such as the chart positions of the song original release if it was a single, where the song was from and the musicians involved. Not all the songs though have the musician's names involved due to the type of song. These lyric pages have been printed on Paisley patterned like paper and Italics have been added where Stevie has chosen to write about her reasons for including a particular song. In short for the price of the original £40 to £60 you get a classy book with album, promotional and personal photos and feel good factors to justify the luxury.
1. "Enchanted" - Same version on "The Wild Heart," album 1983; one of Stevie's original and fast rocking songs, sparse, quick and definitely a foot tapping moment; this song is an excellent starter to open the album.
2. "Outside The Rain," - Same version on "Bella Donna," album 1981, Stevie's first solo album effort and one that tells quite a story.
3. "After The Glitter Fades," - Same version as on "Bella Donna," album 1981.
4. Wild Heart - Same version on "The Wild Heart," album 1983.
5. Leather & Lace ("Bella Donna," 1981) - just an extended version.
6. Garbo (1983 B-side to "Stand Back," 1983 "The Wild Heart" album.)
This could only be described as a rich waltzey country number, and a slow waltz loaded with Hammond organ, piano tinkling here and there with Waddy Wachtel on guitars and Bobbye Hall on percussion. It would be a good song if only it wasn't so slow and so depressing and quite a come down from the rhythmic urgency on the A-side of the single. Stevie sings about how she loves to dance with a "man in a dark linen suit, from a party with someone I knew." You know instinctively already that she's either about to sing about this man or fall into her fantasy world of kept memories from her past. She uses the chorus to conjure what kind of person she could turn into for the man in her life with the use of many pseudonyms;
"You could be Garbo, or even Marlene...
You could be Marilyn...
Or you could forget..."
Ultimately the song is woeful and Stevie makes no pretension to have it any other way.
7. "Stand Back" - Same version as on "The Wild Heart" album 1983.
8. "Nightbird" - Same version as on "The Wild Heart" album 1983.
9. "Stop Dragging My Heart Around," - Same version as on "Bella Donna" album 1981.
10."Beauty and The Beast" - Same version as on "The Wild Heart" album 1983.
11. "Kind Of Woman," - Same version as on "Bella Donna" album 1981.
12. "If Anyone Falls," - Same version as on "The Wild Heart" album 1983.
13. "One Big Time Rock And Roll Star," (B-side to "Talk To Me," from "Rock A Little" album 1985)
A slow, sad song - not really that different to "Garbo," and its marked by its slow keyboard intended somewhat to sound like a guitar perhaps. Stevie chooses to sing close to her microphone with a voice that is silent and similar to "When I See You Again," on the "Tango In The Night," album of 1987 by Fleetwood Mac.
14. "Blue Denim" (from album "Street Angel," 1994)
When Stevie also released "Maybe Love," to promote the album in Europe and the UK, she made two edited remixes. You would be hard pushed to tell the differences - one had the full blown backing vocals from the original song, whist the "remix" had backing vocals taken out in various places where the original version would have vocals put in - so perhaps when it came to including this version on the boxed set, the same feeling was applied here. It doesn't make much of a difference to the song though, only of personal opinion.
15. "Bella Donna" (Same version as on "Bella Donna" album 1981.)
1. Edge of Seventeen (LIVE version from Bella Donna Tour 1981.)
2. "Street Angel," (1994 "Street Angel" album)
This is a slightly reworked version of the title track. Bass drums and middle hi hat drums are heavier with more reverb added alongside muted Hammond organ. By the time Stevie gets to the second verse the song starts to come alive with sprinkling acoustic guitars. Stevie's voice in between the words has an electric effect added this time which you can hear quite clearly whilst Dave Crosby's backing vocals have also been amped up a bit more. The original version didn't have much of his input.
3. "Rock A Little," - Same version as on 1985 "Rock A Little" album.
4. "I Sing For The Things," - Same version as on 1985 "Rock A Little" album.
5. "Rooms On Fire," - Same version as on 1989 "The Other Side of The Mirror" album.
6. "I Can't Wait," - Extended Rock Mix - or same as the 12" Vinyl version U.K fans were offered.
7. "Two Kinds of Love," - same version as on 1989 "The Other Side of The Mirror."
8. "The Highwayman," - same version as on "Bella Donna" album 1981.
9. "Rose Garden," - (from "Street Angel" album 1994.)
Tambourine has been added to this song which gives this slightly different version more depth. Especially as the song begins to take off, additional guitars can be heard stereo imaging off each other. Stevie has again mucked about with the harmonies, pulling them out, putting some here and there, and allowing her voice only to sing single lines whereas on the album the song version is totally soaking with backing vocals. The guitar solo however sounds more together whilst deeper reverb has again been added. I prefer this version because the recording sounds more involved and together.
10. "Talk To Me," - Same version as appears on "Rock A Little," album 1985.
11. "Destiny," - (from "Street Angel," album 1994.)
I'm not sure if I like this version because the side rim of the main drum has been replaced with a dry snare drum, very similar to a stick drum and it totally sits uneasy with the poetic feel of this song, which is sad and woeful. Backing vocals again have been chopped and changed around; hardly any backing vocals are put in until the chorus comes in and towards the end Stevie takes the song off with her own voice without the strong tightness of the original backing vocal team. Also, Stevie has omitted the beautiful soprano saxophone solo by Dave Koz whilst reverb from the original song has also been dulled down.
12. "Ooh My Love," - Same version as on "The Other Side of The Mirror," album 1989.
13. "Desert Angel," - Same version as appears on 1991 "Timespace - The Best of Stevie Nicks" album.)
14. "Whole Lotta Trouble," - Same version as appears on "The Other Side of The Mirror," album 1989.
15. "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You," - Same version as appears on "Rock A Little," album 1985.
*Disc3* (This is the disc that has the soundtracks, outtakes and songs by other artists as well as demos of solo songs.)
1. "Twisted" (1997) (Soundtrack to "Twister" album 1997)
This version is a demo version before Stevie submitted the song to the "Twister" soundtrack. Lindsey Buckingham would sing a duet with Stevie come the time to record it professionally and it would take on a totally different style than the simple acoustic mandolin guitar that has been recorded here. With little else than a drum machine which at times gets drowned out by Stevie's voice and her own pre-recorded backing vocals this is how basic a demo can get. But this is a good sound recording despite the fact that it's a demo, which is probably why she had recorded it again with the additional mandolin guitar giving it a crisp and clearer sound.
2. "Long Distance Winner." (From album "Buckingham Nicks," 1979)
One of very few rare tracks from the solo album of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks; listening to this song makes me realise what Mick Fleetwood may have heard the day he was told about Lindsey and Stevie before they joined the band.
3. "Thousand Days." ("Street Angel," recording period 1994)
This is a song that appeared as a b-side to the UK 2 part single pack release of "Maybe Love," from Stevie's 1994 album, "Street Angel." This is one of her best B-side songs in a long time - musically - but structurally it tends to go on without much of a plan - which is probably why it was never put on any album.
4. "Battle of The Dragon" (Soundtrack song for "American Anthem," 1986)
I like this song a lot because there's a lot of reverb that has been added - you can hear the studio that this song was recorded in despite the technology added to remove this. Analogue sounding synthesizers have been added to add to the music whilst there is a stereo imaging effect on a lower synth used possibly to conjure up some danger. Highlights? Over lapping backing vocals quite similar to the song, "Nightbird," but not as live sounding since it has all been pre-recorded. Lyrically, nothing mystical but slightly strange - has Stevie Nicks ever met anyone who has faced a Dragon before? What was she on??
5. "Gold" (John Stewart) (From album, "Bombs Away, Dream Babies" 1979)
I don't know who John Stewart is, but he got Lindsey Buckingham to provide musical support via guitars on this song and it looks as if Stevie came for the influence too; which in turn provided suitable duet-like solo backing vocals - although there is another female BV singer supplied, all you hear is Stevie. What comes across then as the greatest aspect of the song is that you begin to realise what a good backing vocalist and harmoniser Stevie
Nicks really is.
6. "Free Fallin'" (soundtrack song for "Party of Five," 1989)
Quite a great cover even though its very similar to Tom Petty's version.
7. "It's Late," (Dorsey Burnette)
Recorded in 1995, Stevie chooses this song from a set of five other songs that she made recordings of. This is one of her Grandfather's favourite songs and one song which she has been singing since she was in "4th Grade." Quite a bluesy number, there is only an acoustic natural guitar strumming away for accompaniment and Nicks with her backing vocalist, Lori Nicks. What does come across is just how good Stevie is at tackling a blues line, particularly when the music is dictating it through the lyrics. If she ever came to recording jazz like songs, this one would definitely be a cut above the rest.
8. "Violet and Blue," (soundtrack song on "Against All Odds," 1984)
Granted that it is produced by Jimmy Iovine, the production is clear to see; this song would allow Nicks to regain the ever changing style in her voice. Namely this song was meant to be sung roughly and you can hear it throughout. Among the electric guitars and basic guitar, it's the piano which has been given much of the usual task of accompaniment. The only downside to this song is a very poor ending. It winds up leaving Stevie and her backing vocalists to end the song, repeating lyrics slowly until everything comes to rest.
9. "Whenever I Call You Friend," (duet with Kenny Loggins, "Nightwatch" album 1979)
I think "Disco" is about the only popular old age genre of music, a pop star like Stevie Nicks has yet to approach. This song could well be the closest and thank heavens it was never written by her. Still, Nicks remains undaunted and whilst she tries in earnest to drag out the lyrics of the song, it somehow doesn't seem to work. I guess it's because of her young country like voice in this upbeat tempo soul like dance track.
10. "Sweet Girl," (Demo version)
This is a demo version of a song which would eventually make it to the "The Dance"
LIVE album by Fleetwood Mac a year after (1997). Comprising of just a guitar and a drum machine its surprisingly good.
11. "Blue Lamp," (soundtrack song on "Heavy Metal," soundtrack 1981)
Of all the songs in this boxed set, this is the one song that I have never really liked. Lyrically all that Stevie is singing about is a "Guardian Angel," although her "Blue Lamp," is really a metaphor to something that allows the stars to laugh, cry and shine. Sound familiar to you? Stevie would choose this song to provide lyrics for her song on Fleetwood Mac's 1987 album; "Tango In The Night," on the song known as "Welcome to the room...Sara," a song written fuelling her time in the Betty Ford Clinic.
12. "Gold and Braid," (Live version from "Stevie Nicks LIVE" & Bella Donna Tour 1981)
Now here's a song that is a simple 1,4,5 chordal experience. And what a song it is, because even I have never heard the original studio version - if there is one. "Gold and Braid," basically tells the story of what can happen if stardom takes over. She sings about "hiding behind the hair," a remark that could well describe what she does or feels when she's on stage.
13. "Reconsider Me"
This is an outtake from the "Rock A Little," album sessions and its hard to believe that it goes all the way back to 1987 because it could well have come from her "Street Angel" album of 1994. This is a good song, using 8 beat tambourine and basic rock rhythm along with Hammond organ and the more traditional sound that she has become more akin to, in her solo music. Don Henley sings with Stevie but purely on backing vocals. The song could well be about the pair of them - for Henley did date Stevie for a period during the making of the album - and the lyrics would suit the pair of them, with Stevie pleading to Henley to "Reconsider Me," when it came the time to part.
14. "Somebody Stand By Me"
This is a 6/8 waltz country ballad written by Sheryl Crow. Although I've never heard the original, this song would be included on the soundtrack to the film "Boys On The Side." Unlike most of her songs, Stevie chooses brass and woodwind - namely brass and saxophone to complement her usual array of strong backing vocals, use of Hammond organ and clear percussion. Sung with great conviction.
15. "Sleeping Angel," (soundtrack for "Fast Times At Ridgemont High," 1982)
Quite an old song and one that's so obvious has been produced by Jimmy Iovine with its structure. Old but actually timeless.
16. "Rhiannon," (special private recording)
Stevie Nicks plays piano and not very musically. Still one for those in a dreary kind of a state. Otherwise you'll fall of your perch with boredom and it's not a good song in my opinion to finish this finely packaged set on.
What little Stephanie (hence the name "Stevie") Nicks has done here is to hand over a box of delights to fans who love and cherish her music but she must know that those like me, who have virtually every recording she has ever made - must be disappointed that she has drawn the line somewhere. She has not included "Mirror, Mirror" or "Inspiration," (two songs which were b-sides to two singles from 1994's album, "Street Angel.") and she has not included other songs which were major singles for her, like revised long versions such as "Rooms On Fire" or "Long Way to Go," a single of which was never released in the U.S. It may be a bible for many Nicks fans but if you have most of these songs already, you do begin to feel you have been short changed.
By all means, if you are a big fan and you don't have access to everything, then this is a good product to go for. The photos and the notes are worth having all on their own as photographic publications about the singer are extremely rare to get hold of. Is it an enchanted experience for all? Well for the most hardcore post 1975 Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks fans desperate to get their hands on a set that keeps everything together,
"Enchanted," is considerably worth it and has a lot more substance than "Crystal Visions, The Best of Stevie Nicks." Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007
Please note that some of the songs here can be heard on You Tube.
Enchanted (USA Import) by Stevie Nicks
Catalogue Number: B0000062S2
Released 1998/Atlantic Records
Prices from £21 to £51 (£35 new and upwards)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Outside the Rain
3 After the Glitter Fades
4 Wild Heart
5 Leather and Lace - Don Henley, Stevie Nicks
7 Stand Back
9 Stop Draggin' My Heart Around - Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty
10 Beauty and the Beast
11 Kind of Woman
12 If Anyone Falls
13 One More Big Time Rock & Roll Star
14 Blue Denim
15 Bella Donna
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Edge of Seventeen [Live][#]
2 Street Angel
3 Rock a Little (Go Ahead Lily)
4 I Sing for the Things
5 Rooms on Fire
6 I Can't Wait [Extended Rock Mix]
7 Two Kinds of Love - Bruce Hornsby, Stevie Nicks
9 Rose Garden
10 Talk to Me
12 Ooh My Love
13 Desert Angel
14 Whole Lotta Trouble
15 Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You
Disc #3 Tracklisting
1 Twisted [#][Demo Version]
2 Long Distance Winner
3 Thousand Days
4 Battle of the Dragon
5 Gold - Stevie Nicks, John Stewart
6 Free Fallin'
7 It's Late [#][Demo Version]
8 Violet and Blue
9 Whenever I Call You "Friend" - Kenny Loggins, Stevie Nicks
10 Sweet Girl [#][Demo Version]
11 Blue Lamp
12 Gold and Braid [Live][#]
13 Reconsider Me [Studio Track][#]
14 Somebody Stand By Me
15 Sleeping Angel
16 Rhiannon [Piano Version]