Fleetwood Mac - Green Shadows (1967-1970)

Compilation
Fleetwood Mac started out as a blues band, one of the British groups to start playing American R&B in the 60s. They managed to find success under the leadership of guitarist Peter Green, before his departure and a flurry of line-up changes, after which they transformed into an entirely different band in the 70s.

From 1967 to 1970 Fleetwood Mac saw a great deal of success, from their beginnings as a pure blues outfit to their evolution into a distinctively artistic blues-rock group, all under the leadership of Peter Green. In those four years they released six Top-40 singles, including a #1, and three LPs. However as often was the case for British bands in the 60s, most of their singles were not put on to the albums. Their discography is made even more confusing by two compilation albums (one in the UK and one in the US), which weren't exactly greatest hits but mixed existing album tracks with singles and b-sides. What I have put together here is a fifteen-song compilation which includes all their non-album singles, b-sides and other loose ends not to be found on their three original LPs (Fleetwood Mac, Mr Wonderful and the critically-acclaimed Then Play On). Thus it should act as a fourth album to accompany those three, and together they should bring together the entirity of the Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac's music.
This compilation features many of the band's best-known songs, most of them being non-album singles. These are "Black Magic Woman" (Green's brilliant original blues song which set the foundations for much of what was to come) and "Need Your Love So Bad" (a stunning cover of a song originally by Little Willie John), both from 1968, 1969's hit singles "Albatross" and "Man Of The World" (the former got to #1, the latter #2), and Peter Green's final entry into the UK Top 10, 1970's "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Prong Crown)". This song is one of Green's most haunting and psychedelic numbers, apparently inspired by a dream he had, and coming at the end of his tenure with the group. Shortly after its release it is claimed that he asked the band if they could give all their money away to charity. His mental health was deteriorating, reportedly due to too much LSD, and by the end of the month he had left the band.
Alongside these singles are featured assorted b-sides and songs that originally turned up on the compilation albums (English Rose and The Pious Bird Of Good Omen). These are mostly from the latter Green / Kirwan -led era of the band, though there a few from their early days, with Jeremy Spencer doing his best Elmore James. One particularly interesting song is "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight", the b-side to "Man Of The World", a raucous rock & Roll number with Spencer sounding like Elvis Presley, in stark contrast to the single's tranquil a-side. It has since been covered by numerous punk bands.

After Green's departure, the band went on with the lineup of Danny Kirwan, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, releasing the modest but surprisingly solid Kiln House in 1970. After that, Spencer was the next to leave, and what followed was a flurry of lineup of changes through the early 70s as they struggled to find a new identity. Eventually they re-emerged in the mid 70s as an almost unrecogniseable new band, with only McVie and Fleetwood still there to keep hold of the original name. They went on to be massively successful in both the UK and the US, leaving the original Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac in the shadows. However the original group are still remembered as one of the best bands to emerge from the British blues scene, and Peter Green's place as a musical legend is assured.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

pretty damn good!

sealy said...

Hear Hear...thanks for all your hard work here

reservatory said...

Thanks for this. I'm putting together something for a friend who has recently acquired the Peter Green bug and was having trouble finding a few things I have on an old cassette. But, the World In Harmony here is much simpler than the UK 45 version. I tried downloading Vaudeville Years and Jumping At Shadows, but they seem to be the same as yours. I just recorded my single and can upload if you like. It's a pretty big difference. A few seconds longer, too. At any rate, thanks for this and all the other stuff I've grabbed since I discovered your very thorough archive.