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THE BEST OF PETER GREEN'S FLEETWOOD MAC
Released - May 27, 2003 on Columbia Records. Produced by Mike Vernon and Fleetwood Mac, except track 20 produced by Chris Coco
Peter Green - Lead Vocals; Lead Guitars, Slide
Guitar, Guitar Weaving; Harmonica
Chicken Shack performs on track 19 and Chris Coco on track 20
Long before Fleetwood Mac was a mega Rock band; long before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and even before Bob Welch came on board, Fleetwood Mac was this excellent Blues band lead by guitar wizard and lead vocalist, Peter Green. Yes, a totally different band with a totally different feel, mainly thanks to Green.
Other than two rock songs, "The Green Manalishi" and "Rattlesnake Shake", this is no rock n roll album, strictly blues, with wonderful clean bluesy lead guitar licks supplied by Green, and who's singing is just as smooth as the music he plays. Too bad mental illness got in his way in 1970, as this dude was one of the best guitarists playing in the late '60s, who knows what he would had blossomed into?
Of course it wasn't just Green who played a mean guitar and suffered from mental problems in the band. Jeremy Spencer could play slide guitar like no other, and his singing was the opposite of Green's. Spencer played and sang rough, down and dirty songs, what an excellent contrast this made in the band. Sad that Spencer's mental illness perhaps rivaled that of Pink Floyd's founder Syd Barrett, as his time in the limelight was cut short by his own choosing, disappearing from the band while in the middle of a U.S. tour in 1971, to join a Christian sect which seemed to control him for several years to come.
My three favorite songs on this album come from Spencer. The cover of "Shake Your Moneymaker", with Spencer on lead vocals, is performed as well as anybody else has ever played it. Then Spencer's "Need Your Love Tonight" has one rough blues edge to it, sounding very much like the way Hound Dog Taylor used to play heavy metal blues on his guitar. Finally with "My Heart Beat Like a Hammer", we get to hear more of that same heavy blues.
Still, most of this LP is a salute to Green, and he deserves it. His two best numbers on here were two hits singles, the very mellow and smooth instrumental "Albatross", and "Oh Well", which was two songs in one (only part 1 was heard on the single release). Green's most famous song is also on here, "Black Magic Woman", and although it sounds very good, Santana's cover of it with Gregg Rolie's cool lead vocals, made that song their own.
The album closes with two non-Fleetwood Mac songs, and I'm not sure why. "I'd Rather Go Blind", is an excellent blues number sang by Christine McVie, with her former band Chicken Shack. Yes, Christine was around Fleetwood Mac in the earliest days and played some keyboards on their earliest albums as an unofficial member. She didn't become an official member of the Mac until 1970, and she does appear on several songs on this best of LP. Still, why is this non-Fleetwood Mac track include on here?
The last number, a newer version of "Albatross", has the same great sounding Green guitar on it that we hear on the original, but I don't care too much for the spacey stuff that Chris Coco added on to it. When it comes to any classic song, I always felt it is better off left alone by the original artist, instead of them trying to re-create the song again in the studio.
Overall, this is one great best of album. If you dig the blues or want to get to know what Fleetwood Mac was really about in the 1960s, you should check out this LP.
- Keno, 2010
To listen to some soundclips from PETER GREEN'S FLEETWOOD MAC, or to purchase it, click on: The Best of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
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