By Rob Brunner
Updated April 18, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

MUST Then Play On (Reprise, 1970) Mac founder Peter Green was one of the 1960s’ great guitarists, an alternately delicate and fearsome blues-rock soloist who ranks with just about anyone you can think of. The last of the band’s Green-era records, Then Play On is also the most musically adventurous of their early efforts. Highlight: Green’s nasty ”Oh Well.” A-

MUST Bare Trees (Reprise, 1972) A transitional album that stands on its own. With the emotionally unstable Green having left, the group cranked out several collections of high-caliber jam rock, including this midperiod highlight. Christine McVie’s ”Spare Me a Little of Your Love” points the way forward. Highlight: guitarist Danny Kirwan’s lovely instrumental ”Sunny Side of Heaven.” B+

MUST Fleetwood Mac (Reprise, 1975) The first Mac effort with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, it contains several of the band’s finest moments. A pair of big Nicks hits (”Rhiannon” and ”Landslide”) are matched by McVie’s more modest but no less thrilling ”Over My Head” and ”Say You Love Me.” Highlight: Even the Dixie Chicks’ clumsy remake can’t dim ”Landslide.” A

MUST Rumours (Reprise, 1977) The band’s most successful LP is as familiar as your doorbell chime. It’d be easy to hate overexposed tunes like ”Dreams,” ”Don’t Stop,” and ”Go Your Own Way” if they weren’t among the most perfect combos of writing, production, and performance concocted in a studio. Highlight: McVie’s ”You Make Loving Fun” is a gem that benefits from relative underexposure. A

MUST Tusk (Reprise, 1979) This double-album follow-up to Rumours earns its rep as a bloated oddity. But it’s a fascinating mess, full of enough good songs (”Over & Over,” ”Think About Me,” ”That’s Enough for Me”) to make up for the lack of cohesion and consistency. Highlight: The Stevie Nicks-penned ”Sara” is a lite-rock classic (yes, such a thing is possible). B+

BUST Time (Reprise, 1995) With Buckingham and Nicks temporarily out of the picture, Bekka Bramlett, Billy Burnett, and Traffic’s Dave Mason came on board. Though hardly awful, Time is unimaginative and middle-of-the-road. Lowlight: Seven-minute album closer ”These Strange Times” finds Mick Fleetwood solemnly pronouncing that ”God is now here, God is now here” over New Agey synth. C+