Archive for the ‘Fleetwood Mac’ Category

Fleetwood Mac

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Listen: The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) / Fleetwood Mac

To my recollection, this 1970 non-LP A side was Peter Green’s final, officially planned single with Fleetwood Mac. Almost feels like they were veering toward the sound de jour: those beginnings of heavy guitar arena rock, as Deep Purple and The Jeff Beck Group seemed to happily forge.

In fact, around the same time ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)’ was released, so too was Deep Purple’s ‘Black Night’. And given Peter Green’s imminent departure, that musical default could very well have been Fleetwood Mac’s path of least resistance.

Luckily, guitarist Jeremy Spencer’s love of late 50′s/early 60′s doo wop/ RnR influenced the direction for their next album, KILN HOUSE, and disaster was averted.

Technically, KILN HOUSE was an extension of ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’, the B side of a previous single, ‘Man Of The World’, their only ’69 release on Immediate Records, issued a year or less, between their periods on Blue Horizon Records and Warner Brothers/Reprise. The band even adopted the comical moniker Earl Vince & The Valiants for that side of the single’s label copy.

If ever you were lucky enough to see the Peter Green lineup pictured above on that beauty of a rarer than rare 7″ sleeve, you know how powerful these five were on a stage. Simply unforgettable.

Peter Green’s closing guitar solo twists and turns once again provided musical fear as only he could.

Curved Air

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Listen: Back Street Luv (US 7″ Edit) / Curved Air CurvedAirBackStreetUSEdit.mp3

Does being attracted to Moog synthesizers count towards becoming an early techno fan? Seems logical. Don’t recall which band incorporating said device caught my ear initially. Most likely Silver Apples or The Nice, with Curved Air on the list not far behind. ‘Back Street Luv’, that was the first song I managed to hear by them. And believe me, with it hitting #4 in the British charts, I was on the hunt for an airing.

Harry Fagenbaum, the Warner Brothers college radio rep on the Syracuse University campus, gave me a copy. It was part of a 45′s handful, the only other two I can recall were Deep Purple ‘Strange Kind Of Woman’ and Fleetwood Mac ‘Oh Well’. And the Ron Nagle BAD RICE album, which I no longer have. I’m kicking myself to this day for dumping that one.

Boy, did that little care package make my week, but it was not to continue. Harry was very stingy and cut me off. Never got another record from him. Which was really rather mean, and unwise considering the piles of promos I could have returned his way for years to come. Whatever….

Can I tell you how my eyes lit up the Sunday I opened a Syracuse Herald Journal to find an ad for the Emerson, Lake & Palmer / Curved Air concert in spring ’72. Countdown to the day began that very moment.

Even in the 70′s, it was still kind of exotic for a couple of English bands to make their way upstate. Curved Air pulled into town, still clothed in lavender and lime silk trousers, tight blouses, complete with shag hairdos, absolutely genius. In hindsight, the archaic Moog blurting away was rather funny, who knew at the time. We were in awe. Their musical trip through clumsily played classical bits, and singer Sonya Kristina basically barking her way up and down lyrics got a little much, but all was forgiven when ‘Back Street Luv’ closed the set. Some records can transcend you right back to a magical memory, and this is one.

The Bo Street Runners

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Listen: Bo Street Runner / The Bo Street Runners BoStreetBoStreet.mp3

If you recall the period (’64 – ’65), literally every week there were more English and US garage, blues based bands releasing singles, and some of us were twitching increasingly by the day. It was impossible to keep up, and the really obscure singles (like The Bo Street Runners), were probably hard enough to find around the UK, forget about in America and definitely in upstate New York. I’d seen a photo of this band in 16 Magazine – the publication always had one page toward the back with about 8 new band photos per issue, accompanied by a sentence or two (most likely press photos that arrived at the office with a record/bio).

The Bo Street Runners’ blurb mentioned winning a READY STEADY GO competition and releasing ‘Bo Street Runner’ via UK Decca as a result. Little did I know that years later RSG producer Vicki Wickham would become a close friend and gift me her entire record collection. True story. Good thing, I’d have been one of the first kids, in his single digits, to keel over from a heart attack.

Up there with some of the better tracks from The Yardbirds, Them, The Downliners Sect or The Pretty Things. ‘Bo Street Runner’, surprisingly an original song, is pure blue eyed RnB, right down to the maracas and obligatory tambourine keeping time with the beat.

Listen: Baby Never Say Goodbye / The Bo Street Runners BoStreetBabyNever.mp3

In hindsight, some signature names passed thought the ranks of their lineup, including a few guys from both Timebox and Patto, as well as Mick Fleetwood. His timeline is right up there with Ron Wood’s, having been with not only The Bo Street Runners, but also The Peter B’s, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the original Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.

Although a rather long standing BSR member, he only ever played on ‘Baby Never Say Goodbye’, the competitive cover of the Unit 4 + 2′s original and charting composition.

Fleetwood Mac

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Station Man / Fleetwood Mac

Listen: Station Man / Fleetwood Mac FleetwoodStationMan.mp3

Much critical praise is deservedly lavished on the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac: the Peter Green years. Many a great single came from that span (’67 – ’70). Then there’s the Buckingham/Nicks lineup from ’76 onwards and their astronomical success. Yet it seems little to no attention is ever paid to the middle bit. It’s here where some of my favorite albums by them reside.

Ok, I loved THEN PLAY ON, after which Peter bailed – certainly leaving on a high. The Peter-less followup (literally the same lineup minus one), KILN HOUSE was pretty great too. First of all, the album cover was a beauty, and the abrupt shift away from blues toward the Jeremy Spencer preferred 50′s RnR was a nice change. ‘Station Man’, the B side to ‘Jewel Eyed Judy’, had such a swaggering groove, it really feels like a one take jam – in a good way.

Hypnotized / Fleetwood Mac

Listen: Hypnotized / Fleetwood Mac FleetwoodHypnotized.mp3

By ’73, Bob Welch was established as a member and important songwriter – his haunting vocals and lyrics matched each other, and this band, pretty perfectly. By ’73, he and Christine McVie were the consistent strong song components on MYSTERY TO ME. Very ying and yang but it worked. Like Bob Welch’s ‘Bermuda Traingle’, ‘Hypnotized’ was nicely eerie and luckily for the 7″ junkie, made it to a B side. I love having it on a single.

Heroes Are Hard To Find (Single Version) / Fleetwood Mac

Listen: Heroes Are Hard To Find (Single Version) / Fleetwood Mac FleetwoodHeroes.mp3

The lead track from ’74′s HEROES ARE HARD TO FIND is hard to top. I still listen to it pretty faithfully some 30 years later. I’ve posted the hard to find, mono single version up top.

The Accent

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

AccentRed, The Accent, Parrot, Decca, Mike Vernon

Listen: Red Sky At Night / The Accent AccentRedSky.mp3

Taking the ‘p’ out of psychedelic – maybe. There has always been some debate about The Accent’s authenticity. Summer ’67 had many happenings, some were intentional imitations. Bands appeared from nowhere with songs that were almost formula, simply by adding fuzz, backwards guitars, phasing, you name it.

Fact: The Accent issued but one single, ‘Red Sky At Night’. Not much of their history survived, they were from Yorkshire and landed a residency at Billy Walker’s Upper Cut Club in 1967, which, as a side note, had a legendary opening week (see below).

The single’s wild start/stop LSD wrenched production rivals some of that day’s best: Pink Floyd, The Smoke, Tomorrow etc.
Produced by the usually blues strict Mike Vernon, he showed his competitive strength to the Norman Smiths and certainly validates the band’s credibility.

The flanged vocal effect on the lyric ‘shaking’ at 2:22 always made me laugh and wonder too, is this one of Blue Horizon’s serious blues worshipping bands, say Fleetwood Mac or Chicken Shack, just taking the piss?

No, instead they and their single are a classic piece of history.

uppercut1, Upper Cut Club London


Monday, February 15th, 2010

Paris2061USA, Paris, Capitol, Bob Welch, Glenn Cornick, Fleetwood Mac

Listen: Big Towne, 2061 (Mono) / Paris Paris2061.mp3

While going through the library for my previous Mica Paris post, I couldn’t resist also listening to her alphabetical predecessor, Paris, the band.

Baffling how this post Fleetwood Mac, pre solo success Bob Welch era hardly gets a mention. Almost as though his band, Paris, never existed.

Firstly, nowhere near enough credit is afforded to the Fleetwood Mac/Bob Welch chunk of albums. Being just prior to their Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham skyrocket, it’s sadly dwarfed. As with the Peter Green era just before it, both include must have singles.

I was a serious Glenn Cornick fan, for ages considering him the best bassist out there. From seeing Jethro Tull’s first US show at The Fillmore East, I was in. THIS WAS and STAND UP, have remained big favorites. That band just plummeted downhill once he was replaced by a very stiff someone or other. All of the band’s soul was robbed.

Therefore, with much interest did I approach Paris. BIG TOWNE, 2061, their second album, oddly didn’t register with FM radio, a strange twist given the Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull history. Not to mention it’s quality. Seemed Capitol didn’t care, never do I recall much press or visibility. Add bad timing to the equation as this preceded punk by less than a year, so in no time, the sound was passe.

Still, a good single. I forced it on everyone around for ages, which clearly didn’t help the big picture at all.

Peter Green

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Heavy Heart / Peter Green

Listen: Heavy Heart / Peter Green PeterGreenHeavyHeart.mp3

Despite having a massive instrumental hit with Fleetwood Mac (‘Albatross’), repeating the process for Reprise as a solo artist wasn’t so automatic. In fact, this was a total non-starter. Released a year after his disappointing post Mac album, THE END OF THE GAME, it seems all his fans lost interest, all of the press and media lost interest and quite frankly, so too did his label.

Now the subtle grower is a damn hard single to find. Having patiently riden out his has-been phase, Peter Green graduated nicely to legend – making this record sound just a little more vital.