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Music Review: Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

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The Fleetwood Mac of the late sixties was a far different animal than the pop juggernaut of the last three plus decades. There was no Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, or Christine McVie. There were also no pop masterpieces to be found on their albums. Rather they were a gritty and raw blues/rock fusion band.

John Mayall’s Bluebreakers was the training and meeting ground for Fleetwood Mac. Peter Green was finishing his second stint as a Bluesbreaker when he left to form his own band. He would take band mates, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie who replaced Bob Brunning after recording only one track, with him to form Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac which would quickly become just Fleetwood Mac. Slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer would complete the line-up.

Their debut album titled Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac in The U.K. and just Fleetwood Mac in The United States, was released during February of 1968. The early incarnation of Fleetwood Mac would always be more popular in their home country than The United States as their first album would reach number four on the U.K. charts but only 198 in The USA.

The album features compositions by Green and Spencer, who share the vocal duties, plus several traditional blues songs. The music is energetic and the guitar playing of Green and Spencer fit together well.

The Peter Green tracks tend to be the most accessible. He is the better vocalist and “I Loved Another Woman,” “The World Kept On Turning,” and “Looking For Somebody” are all nice examples of the British rock/blues fusion style.

Jeremy Spencer’s voice takes a little getting used to but there is no denying his guitar skills. His slide guitar playing was patterned after his hero Elmore James. “My Heart Beat Like A Hammer,” My Baby’s Good To Me,” and “Cold Black Night” are all fine examples of his skills.

It is the traditional blues covers that form the core of the release and were the foundation of their live shows at the time. Two Elmore James tunes, “Got To Move” and the classic “Shake Your Moneymaker” bear Spencer’s musical stamp. Robert Johnson’s “Hellhound On My Trail and the Howlin’ Wolf composition “No Place To Go” are competent if not great.

Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac is a fine example of late sixties blues. It is a far different sound than Fleetwood Mac would produce in the future so it is difficult to compare the two periods. However both Green and Spencer would be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame under the Fleetwood Mac name. As this album shows, it is one time The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame got it right.

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