Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Blue Horizon, 1968

http://www.fleetwoodmac.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/06/2007

People tend to think that a band first came into existence when it had its first successful album. In the case of Fleetwood Mac, it may surprise casual fans that the band, in fact, did not come into existence in 1975 with its self-titled release. In fact, the group was almost a decade old by that time.

What might further shock them would be to play them a selection or two off Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, the band’s actual first release. Nowhere would be heard the light pop of tracks like “Rhiannon” or “Go Your Own Way.” Instead, listeners would be hit with the blues, pure and simple. Have some fun: watch their facial expressions when you tell them who they’re listening to.

Historically, Fleetwood Mac came in at the tail end of the blues revolution in Great Britain. Bands like the Rolling Stones, who had started with R&B roots, were moving into other areas, like pure rock and psychedelia. John Mayall had already helped spawn others into the blues field with his Bluesbreakers, such as Eric Clapton (who himself was moving into a rock-oriented vein) and a good portion of Fleetwood Mac at this time -- namely, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Peter Green.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Enough history, you say, how is this disc? First, you need to leave all your knowledge of Fleetwood Mac at the door, meaning you ignore their pop-rock history and take this disc at face value. Yes, it’s tough to do at times, but it proves to be worth the effort.

Guitarists Green and Jeremy Spencer both prove to be worthwhile songwriters, as originals such as “My Baby’s Good To Me,” “Cold Black Night” and the acoustic “The World Keep On Turning” all show off musicians who had polished their craft into a very tight unit. I especially like the Robert Johnson feel to “The World Keep On Turning,” with its sparse instrumentation. The cover of “Shake Your Moneymaker” is executed well, though I’m not as fond of their version of Johnson’s “Hellhound On My Trail,” for some reason.

Fleetwood Mac’s sound is akin to that of Chicago blues, with just enough grit to the music to keep the polished performances sounding a little rough. In fact, had a label like Alligator existed at the time, it’s quite possible that Fleetwood Mac could have been the inspiration for “Genuine Houserockin’ Music.” Yet the performances sometimes don’t feel as exciting as one might have expected for music this lively. Granted, I didn’t expect a party to burst out of my speakers, but the music didn’t excite me in the way that other discs in the Chicago blues genre have.

For a first effort, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac leaves no doubt that the group is well-versed in the blues, and knows how to both write and perform the genre. The addition of Danny Kirwan between this album and Mr. Wonderful marked just the first of a number of revolving-door changes that would keep Fleetwood Mac’s lineup -- and popularity -- in flux.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2007 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Blue Horizon, and is used for informational purposes only.