The Arizona Republic, 7-23-98

Enchanting Stevie Nicks brings on the works

By Randy Cordova

The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks is an oddly appropriate title for the first boxed set to encapsulate the career of one of music's more mystical souls. In many ways, her career has been enchanted.

Nicks was born in Phoenix 50 years ago. She's a hometown girl in an unusual sense: She never went to school here. She didn't really grow up here. There are no stories about her making the rounds on Mill Avenue.

Yet people in the Valley still seem to have an unusually intense devotion to the woman with the gruff, vulnerable delivery. Then again, maybe it's people everywhere who feel that connection to Nicks.

Her tenure in Fleetwood Mac was marked by 1977's Rumours, one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. Nicks' Gold Dust Woman was one of the album's high points, a song that maintained enough relevance to merit a cover version by Courtney Love and Hole 19 years after the original.

It was not just the poetic, evocative lyrics of Nicks that drew fans. Stevie Nicks wannabes flowered in the late '70s, all sporting gypsy dresses, delicate shawls and flowing scarves in the manner of their cosmic queen.

The colorful booklet in Enchanted captures the look that was so widely imitated, a mix of antique lace and go-go boots that seems sweetly innocent in retrospect. The music is also here, from the solo career that spawned six albums, including a 1991 best-of collection.

For someone who seems so ethereal and mystical, something seems remarkably grounded about Nicks. Perhaps that's why songs like Leather and Lace and the poetic Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You have an earnestness that makes them stand the test of time.

That's probably the best thing Enchanted does for Nicks. Nostalgia tends to break things down, so only the basic essence remains. In memory, Stevie Nicks is often little more than a mad, twirling figure, all flowing tresses and dramatic hand movements.

The boxed set rescues many of her finest moments, re-establishing how unique and poetic her vision often was.

Skip over things like the Sheryl Crow cover Somebody Stand By Me or Whenever I Call You Friend, a sleepy Kenny Loggins/Melissa Manchester composition that Loggins and Nicks recorded.

Instead, focus on the lyric pleasures of After the Glitter Fades or the languid beauty of If Anyone Falls. And a 1995 recording of It's Late finds a playful Nicks singing while the Gin Blossoms' Jesse Valenzuela plucks his guitar. It's simply magical.

Enchanted? Sometimes, she seems to be.

Thanks to CL Moon for sending this article to us.