Fleetwood Mac


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1967)

- Bob Brunning -- bass

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 
- Peter Green (aka Peter Greenbaum) -- vocals, guitar

- John McVie -- bass

 

  line up 2 (1967-68)

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 
- Peter Green (aka Peter Greenbaum) -- vocals, guitar

- John McVie -- bass

- Jeremy Spencer -- vocals, guitar

 

  line up 3 (1968-70)

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 
- Peter Green (aka Peter Greenbaum) -- vocals, guitar

- Danny Kirwan -- guitar

- John McVie -- bass

- Jeremy Spencer -- vocals, guitar

 

  line up 3 (1970-71)

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 
- Peter Green (aka Peter Greenbaum) -- vocals, guitar

- Danny Kirwan -- guitar

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

- Jeremy Spencer -- vocals, guitar

 

  line up 4 (1971-72)

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 
- Peter Green (aka Peter Greenbaum) -- vocals, guitar

- Danny Kirwan -- guitar

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

- Jeremy Spencer -- vocals, guitar

- Bob Welch -- vocals, guitar

 

  line up 5 (1972-73)

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 
- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

- Bob Welch (RIP 2012) -- vocals, guitar 

NEW - Bob Weston (RIP 2012) -- guitar (replaced Danny Kirwan)

 

   line up 6 (1973)

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

NEW - Dave Walker -- vocals, harmonica

- Bob Welch (RIP 2012) -- vocals, guitar

- Bob Weston (RIP 2012)  -- guitar 

 

  line up 7 (1973-74)

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

- Bob Welch (RIP 2012) -- vocals, guitar

- Bob Weston (RIP 2012) -- guitar 

 

  line up 8 (1975-87)

NEW NEW - Lindsey Buckingham -- vocals, guitar

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

- Stevie Nicks -- vocals 

 

  line up 9 (1987-91)

NEW - Billy Burnette -- vocals, guitar

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

- Stevie Nicks -- vocals 

NEW - Rick Vito -- guitar

 

  line up 10 (1991-93)

- Billy Burnette -- vocals, guitar

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

 

  line up 11 (1993-95)

NEW - Bekka Bramlett -- vocals

- Billy Burnette -- vocals, guitar

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

NEW - Dave Mason -- vocals, guitar

- John McVie -- bass

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

 

  line up 11 (1997-98)

NEW - Lindsey Buckingham -- vocals, guitar

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

- John McVie -- bass

NEW - Stevie Nicks -- vocals

- Christine McVie (aka Christine Perfect) -- vocals, keyboards

 

   line up 12 (1998-present)

- Lindsey Buckingham -- vocals, guitar

- Mick Fleetwood -- drums, percussion 

- John McVie -- bass

- Stevie Nicks -- vocals

 

 

 

 

- Alexis (Dave Walker)
- Ashkan (Bob Weston)

- Ashman Reynolds (Bob Weston)

- Bekka and Billy (Bekka Bramlett and Billy Burnette)

- Black Sabbath (Dave Walker)

- Eddie Boyd

- Brunning Sunflower Blues Band

- Buckingham - Nicks
- Lindsey Buckingham (solo efforts)
- Billy Burnette (solo efforts)
- Chicken Shack (Christine McVie)

- Five's Company
- Mick Fleetwood (solo efforts)
- Peter Green (solo efforts)

- Peter and Mick Greeen

- Head West (Bob Welch)

- Hungry Fighter (Dave Walker)

- The Idle Race (Dave Walker)

- The Kinetic (Bob Weston)
- Danny Kirwan (solo efforts)

- Steve Marriott's All Star Band (Bob Weston)

- Dave Mason (solo efforts)
- John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (Mick Fleetwood and 

  John McVie) 
- Christine McVie (solo efforts)

- Mistress (Dave Walker)
- Stevie Nicks (solo efforts)
- Paris (Bob Welch)

- Christine Perfect

- Peter B's Looners

- Raven (Dave Walker)

- The Redcaps (Dave Walker)
- Savoy Brown (Dave Walker and Bob Weston)
- Select

- Shotgun Express
- Jeremy Spencer (solo efforts)

- Traffic (Dave Mason)

- Tramp (Danny Kirwan)

- Earl Vince and the Valients

- The Dave Walker Band (Dave Walker)
- Bob Welch (solo efforts)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Fleetwood Mac

Company: Epic

Catalog: BN 26402

Year: 1968

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor corner wear

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD  5249

Price: SOLD $20.00

 

Having played with a slew of early-1960s R&B groups (The Bo Street Runners, The Cheynes, Peter B Looners, Shot Gun Express), in 1967 drummer Mick Fleetwood was asked to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. As a member of the band, Fleetwood quickly became tight with guitarist Peter Green and bassist John McVie. The three even found time to cut some demo tapes, but before anything could happen, Mayall canned Fleetwood and Green.

Working sessions for producer/Blue Horizon Records owner Mike Vernon, Fleetwood and Green were introduced to former Levi Set Blues Group guitarist Jeremy Spencer. The chemistry proved right and with the addition of bassist Bob Brunning the quartet began playing London pubs. Sharing a common love of the blues, the band began to attract considerable attention, including dates at London's Marquee Club and a slot at the 1967 Windsor Blues and Jazz Festival. They also underwent the first in a long series of personnel changes; Brunning leaving to form the Sunflower Brunning Blues Band (see separate entry). Recently fired from Mayall's Bluesbreakers (common theme running here), McVie quickly stepped into the vacancy.  Now billed as Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac the line up continued to supplement tour wages by working as Blue Horizon's house band, supporting a slew of American acts recording for the label. They were also given an opportunity to record on their own - their debut being the 1968 single 'Believe My Time Ain't Long' b/w 'Rambling Pony (Blue Horizon catalog number 57-3051).

 

left to right: Jeremy Spencer - John McVie - Danny Kirwan - 

Peter Green - Mick Fleetwood


With English audiences again enamored with the blues, Blue Horizon decided to try to cash in on the fad by financing a Fleetwood Mac album. Produced by Mike Vernon, 1968's cleverly-titled "Fleetwood Mac" offered up a mixture of Green and Spencer penned genre originals and classic blues covers (Elmore James, James Williamson, etc.). While there was no doubting the band's dedication to the blues, by and large the set simply wasn't that exciting. The performances were all professional and competent, but with the possible exception of Spencer's blazing slide guitar on "Shake Your Money Maker", original bassist Brunning's bass pattern on "Long Grey Mare" and Green's greasy harmonica-propelled "Looking for Somebody" there wasn't much to get excited over. Backed by a brief American tour (including an appearance on the Ed Sullivan television show), the album hit # 198. (Nice to see Epic spending so much on the album's cover art ...)

"Fleetwood Mac" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) My Heart Beat Like a Hammer    (Jeremy Spencer) - 2:56
2.) Merry Go Round   (Peter Green) - 4:05
3.) Long Grey Mare   (Peter Green) - 2:13
4.) Hellhound On My Trail   (traditional - Peter Green) - 1:57
5.) Shake Your Money Maker   (Elmore James) - 2:53
6.) Looking for Somebody   (Peter Green) - 2:50

(side 2)

1.) No Place To Go   (C. Burnett) - 3:19
2.) My Baby's Good To Me   (Jeremy Spencer) - 2:44
3.) If I Loved Another Woman   (Peter Green) - 2:58
4.) Cold Black Night   (Jeremy Spencer) - 3:15
5.) The World Keep On Turning   (Peter Green) -2:27
6.) Got To Move   (Homesick James Williamson) - 3:21

 

 



Genre: rock

Rating: **** (3 stars)

Title:  Then Play On

Company: Reprise

Catalog: RS 6368

Year: 1969

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 801

Price: $15.00

 

So 1969's "Then Play On" is probably the place most Buckingham Nicks era fans would want to start their exploration of the earlier Fleetwood Mac catalog.   I'm not saying this album is anything like "Fleetwood Mac', or "Rumours", but it stands as the first studio set where the band stretched out and broke away from their traditional blues-rock roots.   As you can hear on Peter Green-penned tracks like 'Showbiz Blues' and 'Rattlesnake Shake', the break wasn't complete, but the addition of new singer/guitarist Danny Kirwan added a much more diverse and occasionally commercial edge to their sound (check out 'When You Say').  In fact, I'd argue this is in large measure a Kirwan album.  He wrote seven of the 14 tracks on the original UK release and five of the tracks that made it on to the initial US version of the LP.  Mainstream thought portrayed Kirwan disciple, but listening to this album it's hard to see him as anything less than an equal; both in terms of songwriting and as a guitar - doubt that?  Listen to the two playing off one another through the collection including the jams 'Fighting for Madge' and 'Searching for Madge'.  Kirwan's compositions reflected an impressive musical diversity and sense of confidence for a guy still in his early twenties.  Hard to pick a favorite, though if pressed  I'd probably go with the pretty ballad 'Like Crying'.  For his part Green may have contributed fewer tracks, but there were some FM classic here including the blazing 'Rattlesnake Shake' and the bluesy closer 'In the Beginning'.  With Green and Kirwan responsible for the bulk of the album, the man left on the outside was singer/guitarist Jeremy Spence who found himself essentially limited to occasional keyboards.  Recognizing Spencer has been pushed to the sidelines (I remember reading somewhere that he simply refused to play on any of Green's material), the band originally planned for the album to be released with a bonus EP featuring four Spencer-penned tunes and a cover.   Warner marketing quickly killed the idea, through all five tracks eventually appeared on the 1990s compilation :The Vaudeville years".  By the next release both Spencer and Green would both be out of the band.  Summary - one of those album's that surprises me in terms of how much I like it ...


"Then Play On" original track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Coming Your Way   (Danny Kirwan) - 3:47

Fleetwood's tribal percussion gave this one a weird, but likeable Latin-esque feeling; kinda an early Santana feel ...   yeah I know it sounds odd, but so what.    The perfect song for those who didn't think early Fleetwood Mac could do anything more than plodding blues-rock.   rating: **** stars

2.) Closing My Eyes  (Peter Green) - 4;50

Simple and understated (just Green and guiatr), the result was one of Green's prettiest and most effecting songs ...  clearly a guy with some major issues on his shoulders.   rating: **** stars

3.) Fighting for Madge (instrumental)  (Mick Fleetwod) - 2:45

Musically this sounded like a raw jam session capturing some surprisingly tight interplay between Green and Kirwan.  Unless you were a complete guitar geek, this was probably one you could live without.  The song and 'Searching for Madge' were apparently inspired by a female fan.  rating: *** stars.   

4.) When You Say  (Danny Kirwan) - 4:22

Say what you will about Kirwan, but exemplified by this pretty ballad, there was no way to deny the fact he brought a newly commercial feel to the band.  Yeah, about half way through the song sounded like Kirwan had run out creative steam (the la-la-la-la section), but it was still quite pretty.  The song was dropped from latter pressings of the LP in order to make room for the hit 'Oh Well'.  rating: *** stars

5.) Showbiz Blues  (Peter Green) - 3:50

Peter Green does Bukka White ...   if acoustic blues is your thing, then this would be a good place to start.   No matter what you think about the rest of the album, Green could sure play some mean acoustic slide guitar.  rating: *** stars

6.) Under Way (instrumental)   (Peter Green) - 2:51

Another pretty Green instrumental, though this time out 'Under Way' has kind of a cool West Coast psych feel.   The man sure could churn out some beautiful riffs, to say nothing ot Fleetwood and McVie churning away ...  wish this one were longer.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Although the Sun Is Shining   (Danny Kirwan) - 2:31

Side two opened with a pretty Kirwan ballad.  Just Kirwan on multi-tracked vocals, acoustic guitar, and occasional electric backing, the song is amazingly simple and actually has a fascinating '20s feel.   One of the coolest things he ever wrote.    rating: **** stars

2.) Rattlesnake Shake   (Peter Green) - 3:32

And you didn't think FM could get funky !!!    Well Green's blistering 'Rattlesnake Blues' should make believers out of all you skeptics.   Simply impossible to sit still through this one and the lyrics are funny as all too boot - I can only guess at the song's double entendre leanings.  In spite of the risque subject matter, Reprise tapped it as a single.   Youtube has a wonderful late-'60s live performance.  Its in grainy black and white and here are no details, though it was apparently filmed as part of an appearance on Scandinavian television.   Seemingly less than thrilled to be on stage, Spencer is limited to percussion (though he even gets captured by the song's energy).  It's also worth watching to see the normally dire McVie apparently smile !!!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaTd_oItViI     rating: ***** stars

3.) Searching for Madge (instrumental)   (John McVie) - 6:56

One of the few songs in the MF catalog credited to McVie, 'Searching for Madge' sounds like it was cut from the same jam as 'Fighting for Madge'.  The abrupt break around the one minute mark is kind of disconcerting, but then the song rapidly picked up speed.    Nice, with Green and Kirwan showing off some tasty guitar work, but all -in-all nothing special.   rating: *** stars  

4.) My Dream   (Danny Kirwan) - 3:30

The song was dropped from latter pressings of the LP in order to make room for the hit 'Oh Well'.

5.) Like Crying (instrumental)   (Danny Kirwan) - 2:21

'Like Crying' was a beautiful Kirwan penned instrumental ballad that showcased his knack for crafting pretty melodies, as well as his tasteful guitar work.  It would have sounded perfect on "Bare Trees" and would have been even better with a Roy Orbison vocal on it.    Regardless, it may be the album's prettiest performance.   rating: **** stars

6.) Before the Beginning   (Peter Green) - 3:28

Slinky and bluesy, what isn't there to love on the Green closer 'Before the Beginning'?   rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun off a single:

 

- 1969's 'Rattlesnake Shake' b/w 'Coming Your Way' (Reprise catalog number 0860)

 

When 'Rattlesnake Shake' flopped, Reprise released a non-album track as a single:

 

- 1970's 'Oh Well - Pt I' b/w 'Oh Well - Pt II' (Reprise catalog number 0883)

 

 

It's worth pointing out there are a couple of versions of the LP.  The original British release featured different artwork and an extended track listing.   Reprise elected to slap on a different, more attractive cover (a painting by entitled "Domesticated Mural Painting" by English artist Maxwell Armfield, along with making some changes to the song selection and sequencing.  Apparently concerned the album was too long, Kirwan's' 'One Sunny Day' and 'Without You' were dropped from the album.   (They appeared on the compilation set "English Rose".) There were also a couple of versions of the US album.   The first release omitted the single 'Oh Well', but when it became a US hit, subsequent releases deleted two more Kirwan compositions ('When You Say' and 'My Dream') in order to make room for the extended version of 'Oh Well'  Reprise also changed the track lineup for the remaining songs.   Try to find the original release if you can.

 

 

UK pressing Reprise catalog number K44103

 

"Then Play On" revisedl track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Coming Your Way   (Danny Kirwan) - 3:47

Fleetwood's tribal percussion gave this one a weird, but likeable Latin-esque feeling; kinda an early Santana feel ...   yeah I know it sounds odd, but so what.    The perfect song for those who didn't think early Fleetwood Mac could do anything more than plodding blues-rock.   rating: **** stars

2.) Closing My Eyes  (Peter Green) - 4;50

Simple and understated (just Green and guiatr), the result was one of Green's prettiest and most effecting songs ...  clearly a guy with some major issues on his shoulders.   rating: **** stars

3.) Showbiz Blues  (Peter Green) - 3:50

Peter Green does Bukka White ...   if acoustic blues is your thing, then this would be a good place to start.   No matter what you think about the rest of the album, Green could sure play some mean acoustic slide guitar.  rating: *** stars

4.) Under Way (instrumental)   (Peter Green) - 2:51

Another pretty Green instrumental, though this time out 'Under Way' has kind of a cool West Coast psych feel.   The man sure could churn out some beautiful riffs, to say nothing ot Fleetwood and McVie churning away ...  wish this one were longer.   rating: **** stars

5.) Oh Well   (Peter Green)

Easy to see why it was released as a single - a near perfect mix of bluesy moves, rock, and commerciality, 'Oh Well' sports one of those classic rock riffs.   Split in two for the single, the first part was the catchiest, though I've always enjoyed the jammy second part as well.    YouTube has a nice Top of the Pops  performance : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8RhZDGLEXM   and in one of the most interesting FM clips I've ever seen, there's a 1975 performance of the song where Lindsey Buckingham takes on the vocals and both Green and Kirwan's guitar parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lAMQDRpR_g    rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Although the Sun Is Shining   (Danny Kirwan) - 2:31

Side two opened with a pretty Kirwan ballad.  Just Kirwan on multi-tracked vocals, acoustic guitar, and occasional electric backing, the song is amazingly simple and actually has a fascinating '20s feel.   One of the coolest things he ever wrote.    rating: **** stars

2.) Rattlesnake Shake   (Peter Green) - 3:32

And you didn't think FM could get funky !!!    Well Green's blistering 'Rattlesnake Blues' should make believers out of all you skeptics.   Simply impossible to sit still through this one and the lyrics are funny as all too boot - I can only guess at the song's double entendre leanings.  Youtube has a wonderful late-'60s live performance.  Its in grainy black and white and here are no details, though it was apparently filmed as part of an appearance on Scandinavian television.   Seemingly less than thrilled to be on stage, Spencer is limited to percussion (though he even gets captured by the song's energy).  It's also worth watching to see the normally dire McVie apparently smile !!!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaTd_oItViI     rating: ***** stars

3.) Searching for Madge (instrumental)   (John McVie) - 6:56

One of the few songs in the MF catalog credited to McVie, 'Searching for Madge' sounds like it was cut from the same jam as 'Fighting for Madge'.  The abrupt break around the one minute mark is kind of disconcerting, but then the song rapidly picked up speed.    Nice, with Green and Kirwan showing off some tasty guitar work, but all -in-all nothing special.   rating: *** stars  

4.) Fighting for Madge (instrumental)  (Mick Fleetwod) - 2:45

Musically this sounded like a raw jam session capturing some surprisingly tight interplay between Green and Kirwan.  Unless you were a complete guitar geek, this was probably one you could live without.  rating: *** stars.   

5.) Like Crying (instrumental)   (Danny Kirwan) - 2:21

'Like Crying' was a beautiful Kirwan penned instrumental ballad that showcased his knack for crafting pretty melodies, as well as his tasteful guitar work.  It would have sounded perfect on "Bare Trees" and would have been even better with a Roy Orbison vocal on it.    Regardless, it may be the album's prettiest performance.   rating: **** stars

6.) Before the Beginning   (Peter Green) - 3:28

Slinky and bluesy, what isn't there to love on the Green closer 'Before the Beginning'?   rating: **** stars

 

Not a massive hit, but  propelled by the hit single 'Oh Well - Part 1', the collection hit # 109 on the US charts.

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Future Games

Company: Reprise

Catalog: RS-6465

Year: 1971

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; original yellow cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 800

Price: $10.00

 

Ah, the impact of personnel changes ...   With guitarist Jeremy Spencer having jumped ship for life in a Children Of God commune,1keyboardist Christine Perfect (now Christine McVie), given full-member status.  Those personnel changes saw the band actively moving away from their blues-rock roots to a much more open and commercial pop and rock sound (check out Welch's haunting title track).  While it wasn't quite as top-40 as the Buckingham-Nicks era band, song for song the album was easily one of the most accessible things they've ever done.   It may also have been singer/guitarist Danny Kirwan's  finest moment.  'Woman of a Thousand Years', 'Sands of Time', and 'Sometimes' were all first-rate Kirwan performances with strong melodies, nice vocals, and his frequently overlooked guitar chops.   That's not intended to take away credit from newcomer Welch who turned in the album's standout song with the mesmerizing title track.  Less impressive to my ears were the two Perfect contributions, though I'll admit 'Show Mea Smile' was a grower.  At the time it did little commercially, eventually managed to hit # 91 on the US charts (it didn't even hit the UK charts).  Shame it was ignored since it really is worth hearing.

"Future Ganes" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Woman of a Thousand Years   (Danny Kirwan) - 

Penned by Kirwan, 'Woman of a Thousand Years'  was one of the prettiest things the band had released up to that point.   A bluesy-ballad with a acid tinged West Coast flavor, the song also sported some tasteful Kirwan lead guitar and understated Fleetwood percussion.  Kirwav also handled the lead vocal - lots of folks seemingly think it was Christine McVie on lead vocals.  YouTube has a clip showing the band playing the song on a German television program - be forewarned the overall quality is pretty poor:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_ZHnD3boIQ   rating: **** stars

2.) Morning Rain   (Christine Perfect-McVie) - 

Penned by McVie, 'Morning Rain' was one of the more commercial tunes on the album.  While the song had a wonderful bouncy melody and featured some great Kirwan lead guitar, McVie chose to employ her deepest, most ragged voice on the tune - kind of reminded me why I wasn't a big fan of the Christine Perfect solo album ...  rating: *** stars

3.) What a Shame (instrumental)  (Bob Wlech - Mick Fleetwood - Danny Kirwan - John McVie - Christine Perfect-McVie) -

A group penned instrumental added at the last minute to placate label executive who though the original track listing was simply too short, 'What a Shame' quickly found a nifty little groove and never left the riff.  Shame they didn't put a little more effort into the track since it could have been a hit for the band.   rating; *** stars
4.) Future Games   (Bob Welch) - 

I always liked the weird, slightly ominous Southern California vibe Bob Welch brought to the band - kind of a rustic precursor to the Buckingham-Nicks era sound.   Regardless, 'Future Games' was one of the most commercial things Welch ever wrote.  While it took a minute to kick into gear, once it got some traction, the song revealed a beguiling melody, some tasty Kirwan lead guitar, and wonderful harmony vocals between Welch and McVie.    Could have been a hit for the band with a bit of support.   Welch certainly thought so, re-recording the track for his 1979 solo album "The Only One".  rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Sands of Time   (Danny Kirwan) - 

Maybe Danny Kirwan's best performance - certainly one of his prettiest songs with some first rate jangle guitar and one of those trademarked wistful vocals (he just sounded like he had some emotional baggage going on there).   That said, the real star was probably John McVie who turned in a simply devastating bass line throughout the song.  Reprise also tapped the song as a single.  rating: **** stars

2.) Sometimes   (Danny Kirwan) - 

It took me a little while to get acclimated to the country-tinge, but once situated  the planative ballad 'Sometimes' wasn't half bad and it featured some blazing lead guitar breaks.   rating: **** stars   

3.) Lay It All Down   (Bob Welch) - 

I guess you couldn't blame Welch for attempting to inject a bit of AOR commerciality into the repertoire. n The song wasn't bad in an anonymous, blues-funk way.   Give him credit for some nice lead guitar moves.   YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song on a German television show- nice sweater there Bob.  :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhKrA-Z68Cs    rating: *** stars

4.) Show Me a Smile   (Christine Perfect-McVie) - 

Lots of folks point to this as the album's best song and while I like it, I wouldn't go that far.   Certainly a pretty ballad with some sweet and uplifting lyrics, it wouldn't have sounded out of place on "Fleetwood mac", or "Rumours" and maybe that's why I'd give the nod to the title track, or one of the Kirwan-penned  tracks.  rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned, Reprise tapped the album for an instantly obscure single.  I've never seen a stock copy:

 

  

- 1971's 'Sands of Time' b/w 'Lay It All Down' (Reprise catalog number 1057)

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Kiln House

Company: Reprise

Catalog: RS-6408

Year: 1970

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; includes insert; small name on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4448

Price: $10.00

 

 

I always have to laugh when people discover pre-Buckingham-Nicks Fleetwood Mac isn't about Southern California-styled pop.  Chronologically 1970's "Kiln House" was the first album released in the wake of guitarist Peter Green's unexpected departure.  Accordingly musically the album found creative responsibilities dumped on guitarists Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer.  Given the pressure and responsibilities the two responded by turning in some surprisingly impressive songs. The fact they wrote their material separately also explains the set's somewhat schizophrenic feel.  Ironically the standout tunes 'Station Man' and 'Jewel Eyed Judy' were among the few tracks the pair actually collaborated on.  At least to my ears Kirwan's bluesy moves made for the more interesting material - his instrumental 'Earl Gray' was quite impressive, while 'Tell Me All the Things You Do' proved the best overall rocker.  Spencer's longstanding interests in 1950s rock and country were okay, but tracks like 'This is the Rock' and 'Blood on the Floor' didn't do much for me.  Elsewhere, while she wasn't credited with anything other than the artwork, it sounded like Christine McVie provided keyboards and backing vocals throughout.  Given Reprise did little to support the set, it actually sold surprisingly well in the States, peaking at # 69.  There was also a US single in the form of 'Jewel Eyed Judy' b/w 'Station Man' (Reprise catalog number 0984).

 

"Kiln House" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) This is the Rock   (Jeremy Spencer) - 2:45
2.) Station Man   (Danny Kirwan - John McVie - Jeremy Spencer) - 5:49
3.) Blood on the Floor    (Jeremy Spencer)- 2:44
4.) Hi-Ho Silver   (Thomas Fats  Waller - Ed Kirkeby) - 3:05
5.) Jewel Eyed Judy   (Mick Fleetwood - Danny Kirwan - Jeremy Spencer) - 3:17

 

(side 2)

1.) Buddy's Song   (Ella Holly) - 2:08
2.) Earl Gray (instrumental)   (Danny Kirwan) - 4:01
3.) One Together   (Jeremy Spencer) - 3:23
4.) Tell Me All the Things You Do   (Danny Kirwan) - 4:10
5.) Mission Bell   (William Michael - Jesse Hodges) - 2:32

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Bare Trees

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MSK 2278

Year: 1972

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: textured cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 334

Price: $15.00

 

Like a lot of folks, when 1976's "Fleetwood Mac' came out, I was curious about the band's earlier catalog.  I was living in Belgium at the time and thanks to my buddy Mark Funk (kudos Mark), was introduced to this strange cultural institution  - record libraries.  Seriously, think along the lines of your conventional book library, except you paid a small fee to join, brought in your record player stylus so they could ensure you weren't going to kill their albums and could then check out a dozen albums at a time.  

 

One of the first albums I checked out - 1972's "Bare Trees".  Unlike lots of folks who were disappointed to learn the earlier albums didn't sound like "Fleetwood Mac", I took a shine to the band's mid-career catalog.  In fact, I recorded the album on a cassette (anyone remember those) and use to run cross country practice listening to this album (along with Led Zeppelin).  Geez, I wonder how many hours I spent listening to this set ...  With Danny Kirwan, Christine McVie and relative newcomer Bob Welch sharing songwriting chores, the album underscored the band's determined move away from their longstanding devotion to all things blues-rock.   In fact, compared to those earlier releases, this one came off as a straightforward pop set ...    So where to start?  Showcasing material from all three writers, side one was as good as anything the band ever recorded; all four songs reflecting strong melodies and tight band dynamics.  Kirwan's lead-off 'Child of Mine was particular radio-friendly, as was the McVie rocker 'Homeward Bound'.  Maybe due to the fact we equate music to personal experiences, this one's always been evocative of cold, dreary, slightly ominous Fall days ...   John McVie's haunting cover photo only added to the aura.  'Course maybe it has something to do with the fact we ran cross country in the Fall when it was typically cold and dark.

 

"Bare Trees" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Child of Mine   (Danny Kriwan) - 

Danny Kirwan's most commercial and accomplished song ?   Well, maybe not, but it's certainly one of my favorite performances with a killer rockin' melody, great lead guitar, excellent John McVie bass line, and a nice lead vocal from the man.   Very-'70s feel and should have provided the band with a mega FM hit.   rating: **** stars

2.) The Ghost   (Bob Welch) - 

If I had to pick one Bob Welch song for a "favorites" collection, it would be 'The Ghost'.   Welch seemingly had a longstanding interest in the paranormal, but unlike much of his material, this one actually managed to find a sweet spot between highly commercial melody and slightly ominous feel.   Great tune ...   rating: **** stars

3.) Homeward Bound   (Christine McVie) - 

'Homeward Bound' was a true rarity - a Christine McVie rocker.  Seriously.  Seemingly inspired by the struggles associated with constant touring, this one had some great keyboards and showcased Fleetwood's frequently overlooked drumming.   Nice to hear a three lead guitar attack on the fade out ...  rating; **** stars

4.) Sunny Side of Heaven (instrumental)  (Danny Kirwan) - 

Showcasing Kirwan's melodic lead guitar, the instrumental 'Sunny Side of Heaven' has always reminded me of a British version of something out of the Allman Brothers catalog.   The classy melody is simply haunting.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.)  Bare Trees   (Danny Kirwan) - 

Another lost FM classic, the rocking  title track underscored the band's potent Kirwan-Welch lead guitar line-up (what I wouldn't give to be able to play that riff ...). It also served to showcase what an attractive voice Kirwan had.  Far better than Welch.   Shame this was his finally album with the band.   rating: **** stars

2.) Sentimental Lady   (Bob Welch) - 

A big, pretty ballad, Welch's 'Sentimental Lady' was clearly the album's most commercial offering which is probably why I never cared for it.   That said, this version (with Christine McVie on backing vocals), was far better than the retread Welch recorded for his 1977 solo "French Kiss" album.   rating: *** stars

3.) Danny's Chant (instrumental)   (Danny Krwan) - 

Kirwan does Jimi Hendrix ...  Okay it may not have been the album's standout performance, but I certainly enjoyed the opening feedback section.   Unfortunately the wordless chanting section gave the song an unfinished, demo-ish feel.  Makes you wonder why they didn't opt to include Kirwan's song 'Trinity' on the album instead (it was a far better song).   rating: *** stars

4.) Spare Me a Little of Your Love   (Christine McVie) - 

'Spare Me a Little of Your Love' was a more typical McVie ballad.  Typically pretty and showcased her wonderful voice, but lacked the catchiness of some of her other songs and the country bluegrass ending was simply dumb.   YouTube has a live 1974 performance of the tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luypNhJBIFw   rating: *** stars

5.) Dust   (Danny Krwan) - 

Easily the album's prettiest tune, 'Dust' managed to combine thoughtful lyrics (based on a  Rupert Brooke poem) and a staggeringly pretty melody while underscoring how well Kirwan and McVie's voices blended together.  Play this one at a funeral and I'd bet there wouldn't be any dry eyes in the crowd..    rating: **** stars

6.) Thoughts on a Gray Day   (Mrs. Scarrot) - 

The album closed with a brief spoken word [poetry segment credited to Mrs. Scarrot.  I'm not a big poetry fans and hearing an elderly lady reading some pretenious prose didn't do a great deal for me, though it apparently was inspirational to Kirwan who apparently wrote the album title track after hearing this original piece of poetry.  I guess it had something to do with being English ...  beats me.     rating: * star

 

The album spun off a pair of singles.  In the States Reprise released:

 

  

 

- 1972's 'Sentimental Lady' b/w 'Sunny Side of Heaven' (Reprise catalog number REP 1092) 

 

In the UK the 45 was:

- 1972's 'Spare Me A Little of Your Love' b/w 'Sunny Side of Heaven' (Reprise catalog number K 14194)

 

Probably my favorite pre-Buckingham-Nicks LP and Kirwan's moment in the creative spotlight  ...  well worth tracking down and you can still find affordable vinyl copies.

 

Naturally the album was followed by another round of personnel upheavals.  With an apparent alcohol problem, his health beginning to fail, and his behavior becoming ever more erratic, Kirwan was fired from the band after he refused to take the stage during a 1972 performance. Bob Weston was brought in as a replacement.  For his part Kirwan recorded a series of three obscure mid-'70s solo efforts.  By the early 1980s he was divorced and living in the London streets. 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Penguin

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MS 2138

Year: 1973

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 336

Price: $15.00

 

1973's "Penguin" saw another slew of personnel changes - Danny Kirwan replaced by ex-Ashkan guitarist Bob Weston and former Savoy Brown singer Dave Walker.  With Kirwan gone, writing chores fell on Bob Welch and Christine McVie.  The Welch and McVie material was all quite good, continuing the band's move from blues-rock to Southern California-styled pop and FM rock. Today it sounds remarkably similar to what the "Fleetwood Mac/Rumors" era band would be playing in a couple of years.  Guitar power pop-rock tunes thick with nice melodies, some great vocal harmonies, an occasional McVie ballad, and a dollop or two of less commercial material - usually Welch going on about aliens, or some other oddball interest.  Best of the lot were McVie's catchy 'Remember Me', Welch's 'Night Watch' and 'Revelation'.  In addition to a cover of Jr. Walker's '(I'm a) Roadrunner', newcomer Walker contributed a country-tinged number 'The Derelict' which was interesting, but didn't fit with the album's overall sound.  It wasn't ground breaking; it wasn't particularly original, but in hindsight the album's actually much better than reviewers would have you believe.

 

"Penguin" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Remember Me   (Christine McVie) - 2:41

Bolstered by some great Bob Weston bottleneck slide guitar, 'Remember Me' was one of Christine McViie's most commercial rockers.  Instantly catchy melody with some great multi-tracked harmony vocals, the song was released as the leado\off single and should have provided the band with a major hit.  Youtube has a clip of McVie playing the song at a 1981 Bob Welch and Friends concert at L.A.'s Roxy.  If anything, McVie sounded even better live.  Weston and Welch can both be seen on the tune.    rating: **** stars 

2.) Bright Fire   (Bob Welch) - 

One of five Welch songs on the album, 'Bright Fire' was a pleasant, but forgettable mid-tempo pop ballad.  Nice atmospheric background music ...   rating: ** stars

3.) Dissatisfied   (Christine McVie) - 3:41

A breezy blues romp with a commercial edge, 'Dissatisfied' was one of those songs that didn't make much of an initial impact, but kind of crept into your head and wouldn't leave.   Great bass from John McVie; Weston was on fire,  and Christine's multi-tracked harmony vocals were wonderful.  Another track that could have been an FM hit was a bit of work.   rating: **** stars  

4.) (I'm a) Road Runner)   (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) - 4:52

The album's lone cover tune, '(I'm a) Road Runner' served to spotlight new singer Walker.  As one of two solo spots, the song was fine, serving as kind of a nod to Fleetwood Mac's blues-rock roots.  Walker certainly had a nice voice and his harmonica was impressive, but you got the feeling he was the odd man out.  With the rest of the band leaning to a distinctively commercial sound he was a man without a mission.   rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) The Derelict   (Dave Walker) - 2:43

Walker's lone writing contribution, 'The Derelict' was a country number that really didn't fit into the album's overall feel, but still managed to surprise me.  The song wasn't particularly original and sounded a bit on the raw, under produced side (especially compared to the rest of the album),  but Walker turned in a haunting vocal and I really enjoyed his harmonica on this one.   rating: *** stars

2.) Revelation   (Bob Welch) - 4:59

With a lyric that seemed to have religious undertones, you had to wonder if Mick Fleetwood and John McVie ever wondered if Bob Welch was going to follow Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan into the realms of madness.   Backed by some nice Weston guitar, one of John McVie's most impressive bass lines, and the interesting lyric, this one was quite good.   rating: **** stars 

3.) Did You Ever Love Me   (Christine McVie - Bob Welch) - 3:39

One of the few McVie-Welch contributions to make it to vinyl, given Christine eventually divorced John McVie, I've always wondered if 'Did You Ever Love Me' was autobiographical on her part.   Yeah, the steel drums were a disconcerting and distracting, though you eventually got accustomed to them.  Unfortunately the song wasn't very good and not even a pretty McVie vocal could salvage it.  for some reason Reprise elected to release it as the sophomore single  rating: *** stars

4.) Night Watch   (Bob Welch) - 6:09

Musically 'Night Watch' was one of Welch's prettier numbers  (especially when the harmony vocals kicked in), though his lyrics were a different story. Though he's not listed in the liner notes, Peter Green supposedly played on the track (it sure sounded like him ...) and the second part of the song which was largely instrumental was one of the best things on the album.   rating: **** stars

5.) Caught In the Rain (instrumental)   (Bob Weston) - 2:38

'Caught In the Rain' was a pretty, pastoral instrumental that gave McVie and Weston an opportunity to shine.   Nice way to close the album.   rating: *** stars

 

Two singles were released off the album.  

 

 

- 1973's 'Remember Me' b/w ''Dissatisfied' (Reprise catalog number REP 1159

- 'Did You Ever Love Me' b/w 'The Derelict' (Reprise catalog number REP 1172

 

The album sold well in the States, actually providing Fleetwood Mac with their biggest seller to date.  Shortly after the album was released, Walker and the band parted ways.  He subsequently play in a number of bands including Hungry Fighter, Raven, Mistress, and then returned to Savoy Brown before starting The Dave Walker Band.

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Mystery To Me

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MSK 2279

Year: 1973

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; includes lyric sheet

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 335

Price: $15.00

 

 

Another album and another line up change - after one album singer/guitarist Dave Walker was gone, leaving Fleetwood Mac as a five piece - Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Bob Welch, and Bob Weston.  With Welch and McVie handling writing chores, musically 1973's "Mystery To Me" continued the band's migration from blues-rock to commercially focused pop entity.  The funny thing is that most Buckingham-Nicks era fans don't realize that this mid-career line-up released several pop-oriented album; let alone how good some of their material was.  While he may not have been as adventuresome, or creatively gifted as Lindsey Buckingham, Welch was a more-than-capable writer and performer with a knack for crafting commercial melodies.  'Emerald Eyes', 'Hypnotized', and 'Keep On Going' all demonstrated those talents.  Plus you had to love the frizzy hair and plate glass window-sized eyeglasses he initially wore.  That goofy, nerd aura undoubtedly gave hope to tens of thousands of equally nerdy young men who hoped to achieve rock stardom   For her part, McVie was every bit as talented (and sexy) as Nicks while managing to avoid some of the formers irritating excesses..  Like Welch, the album showcased several of her best works including 'Believe Me', 'Just Crazy Love', and 'Why'. With Fleetwood and John McVie holding down the rhythm section and the addition of much overlooked lead guitarist Weston, these guys were a powerhouse band more than capable of handling blues, pop, and conventional rock.  It isn't "Rumors", but song for song it was a pretty impressive collection.  

 

 And if there was ever a band marred by bad luck and poor personal choices, then it had to be Fleetwood Mac.  Having begun a major American tour to support the album, fate intervened once again.  Fleetwood discovered Weston was having an affair with his wife.  Weston was quickly fired, with the tour grinding  to an abrupt halt, effectively undermining whatever commercial energy the band had begun to generate.  The decision to cancel the tour infuriated manager Clifford Davis and many of the arenas and clubs that had booked the band.   In spite of all the drama, the album still managed to hit # 67 on the US pop charts.  

 

"Mystery To Me" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Emerald Eyes  (Bob Welch) - 3:37

Avoiding the supernatural psychobabble that he was so fond of, Welch's 'Emerald Eyes' was one of his best compositions (the album title was pulled from the lyric).  A slinky ballad showcasing how good his voice could be and some dazzling lead guitar, this one should have provided the band with a big radio hit.    rating: **** stars

2.) Believe Me   (Christine McVie) - 4:06

The first couple of seconds of 'I Believe' led you to believe this was going to be a standard Christine McVie heartbreak ballad.  Brilliant misdirection as the song unexpectedly exploded into one of her best rockers (not that are a lot of them).   Welch and Waston turned in some dazzling country-tinged lead guitar.  You have to wait until the 4:24 mark, but YouTube has a live performance of the song taken from a 1974 Midnight Special television appearance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MUxCzEhLQY     rating: **** stars

3.) Just Crazy Love   (Christine McVie) - 3:22

Folks seem to be under the mistaken impression that Fleetwood Mac couldn't write a pop song to save their lives until Buckingham and Nicks showed up.  Well, McVie's glistening 'Just Crazy Love' should show them the error of their ways.  Easily as good as anything the band wrote with the addition of Buckingham and Nicks to the line.  One of McVie's finest songs.   rating: ***** stars

4.) Hypnotized   (Bob Welch) - 4:45

And on the heels of one of McVie's best pop songs came one of Bob Welch's best performances.  Many of Welch's songs reflected his fascination with the occult, aliens, space, and all things spooky and strange.  And truth be told, many of those songs simply weren't very good.  The stellar exception to that statement - his mesmerizing 'Hypnotized'.  Ironically the song was originally written as a blues number for lead singer Dave Walker, but after his departure from the band, Welch rewrote the track to suit his own voice and range.  Welch also admitted the song was inspired by the likes of Carlos Casaneda.   Still one of the best songs in the entire Fleetwood Mac catalog.   Why it was relegated to the 'B' side of 'For Your Love' is an unanswered mystery.  rating: ***** stars

5.) Forever   (Bob Weston - Bob Welch - Christine McVie) - 4:04

Bob Weston's lone contribution (co-written by Welch and McVie), was a goofy, but enjoyable slice of reggae - you wouldn't have expected them to be able to pull it off, but it was far better than anything 10cc ever did particularly when McVie's haunting backing vocals kicked in.  Kudos to John McVie for stepping into the forefront with a wonderful bass line.   rating: **** stars

6.) Keep On Going   (Bob Welch) - 4:04

Perhaps because it was so different, maybe a result of the oddball Latin-tinged orchestration, or maybe a reflection of Christine McVie's incredibly sexy vocals, 'Keep On Going' was one cool song.   Not sure if Welch, or Weston provided the brief acoustic guitar solo, but it provided one of the album's highlights.   Welch handled the original vocal, but ultimately decided the song was more appropriate for McVie's voice.    rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) The City   (Bob Welch) - 3:35

Opening up with Welsh and Weston dueling on lead guitars, the bluesy 'The City' should appeal have had massive appeal for the band's older fan base.   Built on an irristiable guitar riff, this was blues-rock for folks who didn't like the genre.  One of my favorite tracks on the album.   rating: **** stars

2.) Miles Away   (Bob Welch) - 3:47

Musically, 'Miles Away' sounded like it was meant as another nod to the band's blues history.  Decent enough blues jam with some tasty guitar from Welch and Weston, but all told it was one of album's more forgettable performances.   YouTube has a clip of the band playing it on The Midnight Special:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3za5HwkfuVQ  rating: *** stars

3.) Somebody   (Bob Welch) - 5:00

The album's first true mistake, 'Somebody' was a thoroughly forgettable mid-tempo rocker.  rating: ** stars

4.) The Way I Feel   (Christine McVie) - 2:48

Typically lovely Christine McVie ballad with some gorgeous acoustic guitar and those magical backing vocals.  t for me Say what you will. biu McVie was the band's heart.   Always wondered if this one was intended for husband John.   rating: *** stars

5.) For Your Love   (Graham Gouldman ) - 3:44

The album's lone cover, I've always wondered why they bothered with a remake of this old Yardbirds tune.  There wasn't anything grossly wrong with their version; the band replacing some of the original's garage band urgency with a more refined FM gloss, but it didn't really add anything to the original.   Why Reprise tapped it as the single - one of the company's dumber decisions.  Interestingly, another Welch composition 'Good Things (Come To Those Who Wait)' was originally slotted for the album, but failed to make the final cut.  rating: *** stars

6.) Why   (Christine McVie) - 4:56

I always wondered about the songwriting credits on this one - yeah I known Christine McVie's career was grounded in the blues, but the first minutes and a half of this acoustic country blues number was soooo unlike her normal output ...   Weston's bottleneck slide guitar was clearly the star on this part of the song.  After that it shifted into a patented McVie heartbreak ballad with Weston turning in some pretty lead guitar.   Another song that would have sounded right at home on "Fleetwood Mac', or "Rumors".   rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun of a single:

 

- 1974's 'For Your Love' b/w 'Hypnotized' (Reprise catalog number REP 1168)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Heroes Are Hard To Find

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MS 2196

Year: 1974

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 333

Price: $10.00

 

And the rock and roll soap opera continued ...   With Mick Fleetwood Having divorced his wife Jenny after discovering she was having an affair with fellow band member Bob Weston, the resulting upheaval saw the band call off a large American tour after a handful of performances.  Claiming he owned the Fleetwood Mac nameplate, Manager Clifford Davis recruited a faux Fleetwood Mac and sent them out on the road to support the "Mystery To Me" album.  The real line-up filed suite, ultimately winning the case.  Having acquired rights to the Fleetwood Mac name from now-former manager Davis, in 1974 the band relocated to Los Angeles, hoping to forge strong ties with label Reprise, as well as attempting to repair some of the damage done to their name via Davis' earlier shenanigans.

 

Co-produced by the band and Bob Hughes,1974's "Heroes Are Hard To Find" was a surprisingly enjoyable album.  Paired down to a four piece with Bob Welch and Christine McVie handling the writing chores, you couldn't be blamed for having rather low expectations for this set.  Maybe those low expectations coupled with lukewarm reviews  have been the reason this album's always struck me as being a low-keyed charmer.  For their part, the band seemed to be operating under similar low expectations, perhaps feeling this was one of their last shots at making a go at it.  Regardless, the result was an easygoing, commercial set that had more than a couple of radio-friendly tunes that would not have sounded out of place on the forthcoming "Fleetwood Mac", or "Rumors" albums.    Among the highlights were the bouncy title track, Welch's impressive 'Angel' (not to be confused with the forthcoming Stevie Nicks song), and McVie's lovely ballads 'Come a Little Bit Closer' and 'Prove Your Love' (the latter a lost classic as good as anything Buckingham-Nicks came up with).

 

"Heroes Are Hard To Find" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Heroes Are Hard To Find   (Christine McVie) - 3:35

So the horns were surprising and initially a bit off-putting, but when Christine McVie's multi-tracked voice kicked in on the title track, all was forgiven.  A bouncy, upbeat number that served as kind of a precursor to the more commercial sound awaiting them, it should have provided the band with their first massive pop hit.  Unfortunately, when released as a single, it quickly vanished into cutout bins.  rating: **** stars

2.) Coming Home   (Bob Welch) - 3:52

One of two Fleetwood Mac songs sharing the same title, This 'Coming Home' was definitely one of Bob Welch's odder offerings ...  Musically this was actually quite a pretty number, showcasing a mixture of light-jazz moves and a pop melody.   I always wondered what the opening words were (I'm sure someone out there's taken the time to figure it out).    rating: *** stars

3.) Angel   (Bob Welch) - 3:55

Coincidently there are two Fleetwood Mac songs sharing the 'Angel' title (Stevie Nicks song appeared on the "Tusk" album).  In spite of a slightly weak vocal, Welch's song was actually an overlooked treasure sporting a killer, slinky melody and some of his most melodic guitar playing.  Another track that had commercial potential.   YouTube has a live 1974 performance of the song at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChZ4cBM5TlY  rating: **** stars

4.) Bermuda Triangle   (Bob Welch) - 4:08

Always interested in UFOs, aliens, and similar concepts, I'm guessing Welch's inspiration for this one came from the Charles Berlitz book popularizing the concept the Bermuda Triangle as a dangerous area that simply swallowed up ships and airplanes.  I can remember reading the paperback in high school and being less than impressed by it's scientific basis.   As for the song, in spite of some nice acoustic guitar moves, the dumber-than-dumb lyrics made if the album's first disappointment.  About as good as the Berlitz book was.  YouTube has a live performance of the song from a 1974 appearance on the Don Kirschner rock concert series.  Welch's personal testimonial was hysterical.  Be warned the sound and video are slightly out of synch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KDdZRLqfcY   rating: *** stars

5.) Come a Little Bit Closer   (Christine McVia) - 4:45

McVie's second contribution to the album, 'Come a Little Bit Closer' would have easily fit on one of the Buckingham-Nicks era albums.  All hyperbole aside, this may be one of her best songs - certainly one of her prettiest melodies made even better by some great pedal steel guitar from Sneaky Pete Kleinow.  rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) She's Changing Me   (Bob Welch) - 2:58

The first disappointment, 'She's Changing Me' was a bland and plodding slice of country-rock.  Imagine Poco on sedatives (with a horn arrangement) and you'd have a feel for it.  rating: ** stars

2.) Bad Loser   (Christine McVie) - 3:25

As much as I love Stevie Nicks, Christine was always  the band's lifeblood (she had the far better voice) and she seldom sounded as good as on mid-tempo rocker 'Bad Loser'.   Add in some harmony vocals that were every bit as good as Buckingham-Nicks and one of Welch's prettiest solos and this was a great tune.  Always wondered if it was written for then husband John McVie.   rating: **** stars

3.) Silver Heels   (Bob Welch) - 3:25

Another one that didn't do a great deal for, me though it had a classic line "If I could sing like Paul McCartney! and get Funky like Etta James I'd never change ..."  rating: *** stars

4.) Prove Your Love   (Christine McVie) - 3:57

There aren't many songs good enough for me to consider buying a whole album to hear, but McVie's "Prove Your Love' was one of those rarity.  A stunningly pretty ballad, her performance on this one was near perfect.  The fact the song sported one of the prettiest things she'd ever written and one of the most stunning things the band ever recorded speaks highly of her talents.  Every time I hear this one it gets stuck in my head for days.     rating: ***** stars

5.) Born Enchnater   (Bob Welch) - 2:54

Folks tend to forget Welch's contribution to the band and the fact he wrote some of their most commercial tunes - the slinky, almost jazzyy 'Born Enchanter' was a perfect example of how good the guy was.  Check out his wonderful lead guitar on this one.  rating.  **** stars

6.) Safe Harbour   (Bob Welch)  - 2:32

'Safe Harbour' ended the album with a pretty track showcasing Welch's delicate and melodic guitar.   Nice way to close the album.  (For hardcore fans, it's frequently referred to as an instrumental, though there's a brief interlude at the end of the song.)   rating: *** stars 

 

As mentioned, the album spun off one US single:

 

 

 

- 1974's 'Heroes Are Hard To Find' b/w 'Born Enchanter' (Reprise catalog number RPS 1317)

 

Backed by an extended American tour the album hit # 34 on the US pop charts.  Naturally the set was accompanied by another personnel change - guitarist Welch heading off to form the band Paris, followed by a moderately successful solo career.  Sadly he committed suicide in 2012.

 

 



Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Vintage Years

Company: Sire

Catalog: SASH-3706

Year: 1975

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: double LP; minor ring wear; minor sleeve scuffing; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5250

Price: $12.00

 

In hindsight one of the year's most poorly timed releases, early 1975 saw Sire issue "Vintage Years".  Had Sire waited another year in order to rid the wave of Fleetwood Mac mania the album would have almost certainly sold platinum.   A transparent effort to cash in on the band's growing popularity, the double album set pulled together 24 previously released tracks. Focusing on the band's mid-to-late-1960s catalog, the album featured a mixture of original (11 tracks written by Peter Green) and covers. Exemplified by material such as 'Coming Home', 'Dust My Broom' and 'The Sun Is Shining' the collection underscored the group's blues roots. While tracks such as 'Albatross' and 'Black Magic Woman' represented the band's isolated commercial successes, fans expecting to hear the band's more recent pop-rock sound were in for a rude awakening. The disappointment was reflected in the album's poor sales; the set faltering at #138. (Clearly sales would have been much higher had the set been released in the wake of "Fleetwood Mac".)  Elsewhere, Sire's liner notes department deserved special praise for crediting several tracks to 'Danny Kirwen' - aka Danny Kirwan. 

"Vintage Years" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Black Magic Woman (Peter A. Green) - 2:52
2.) Coming Home (Elmore James) - 2:32
3.) Rambling Pony (Peter A. Green) - 2:41
4.) Something Inside of Me (Danny Kirwan) - 3:53
5.) Dust My Broom (Robert Johnson) - 2:58
6.) The Sun Is Shining (Elmore James) - 3:12

(side 2)

1.) Albatross (instrumental) (Peter A. Green) - 3:11
2.) Just the Blues (E. Boyd) - 5:36
3.) Evening Boogie (Jeremy Spencer) - 2:40
4.) The Big Boat (E. Boyd) - 2:37
5.) Jigsaw Puzzle Blues (Danny Kirwin) - 1:34
6.) I've Lost My Baby (Jeremy Spencer) - 4:15

(side 3)

1.) Doctor Brown (Waymon Glasco) - 3:44
2.) Need Your Love So Bad (Little Willie John) - 3:54
3.) Looking for Somebody (Peter A. Green) - 2:50
4.) Need Your Love Tonight (Jeremy Spencer) - 3:27
5.) Shake Your Moneymaker (Elmore James) - 2:54
6.) Man of the World (Peter A. Green) - 2:52

(side 4)

1.) Stop Messin' Around (Peter A. Green - C.G. Adams) - 2:18
2.) Rollin' Man (Peter A. Green - C.G. Adams) - 2:52
3.) Love that Burns (Peter A. Green - C.G. Adams) - 5:02
4.) If You Be My Baby (Peter A. Green - C.G. Adams) - 3:52
5.) Lazy Poker Blues (Peter A. Green - C.G. Adams)- 2:35

 

 


24.) Trying So Hard To Forget (Peter A. Green - C.G. Adams) - 4:47


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Original Fleetwood Mac

Company: CBS

Catalog: 63875

Year: 1977

Country/State: US/UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5248

Price: $25.00

 

 

I suspect a lot of people feel the same way, but to my ears much of Fleetwood Mac's early blues-oriented material was simply dull and plodding - a bunch of English guys trying to cover American R&B with little hope of coming close to the originals.  Other than the fact I'd never seen a copy of this album before, I'm not sure why I picked it up.  Maybe that's why "The Original Fleetwood Mac" came as such a surprise to me.  CBS's attempt to cash in on the band's sudden radio and sales domination, the compilation pulled together twelve tracks early blues-oriented numbers.  Apparently drawn from previous unreleased material (at least that's what the cover said), the album showcased Peter Green in the role of band leader and creative mainstay (7 of the 12 tracks were Green originals). While it was standard English blues-rock, material like 'Drifting', 'Leaving Town Blues' and the pounding 'Rambling Pony No, 2' (check out Mick Fleetwood's double time tom-tom pattern) had something going for.  I'm at a loss to explain what that ingredient was - song for song it didn't sound all that different from The Climax Blues Band, John Mayall, Savoy Blues Band, etc.  Still, it's an album that's given me a considerable amount of pleasure over the years and one of the few I've bothered to put on a CDR.  Lest I fail to give credit where due, Jeremy Spencer was also one helluva guitarist - check out his acoustic slide work on 'Mean Old Fireman' and 'Allow Me One More Show'.  Certainly not something for the 'Rhiannon' era crowd, but a good place for blues-rock fans and anyone curious about the band's roots to start.

 

"The Original Fleetwood Mac" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Drifting   (Peter Green) - 

2.) Leaving Town Blues   (Peter Green) - 

3.) Watch Out   (Peter Green) - 

4.) A Fool No More   (Peter Green) - 

5.) Mean Old Fireman   (traditional - arranged Jeremy Spencer) - 

6.) Can't Afford To Do It   (James Williamson) - 

 

(side 2)

1.) Fleetwood Mac (instrumental)   (Peter Green) - 

2.) Worried Dream   (B.B. King) - 

3.) Love That Woman   (L. Leake) - 

4.) Allow Me One More Show   (Jeremy Spencer) - 

5.) First Train Home   (Peter Green) - 

6.) Rambling Pony No. 2   (Peter Green) - 

 

 

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