Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Peter Green Is GOD

I've written on here once before of Peter Green, the exquisite guitarist who originally founded Fleetwood Mac back in 1967 as a blues band. He is, I think, my favourite blues player (well, mine and B.B. King's!). As well as an utterly gorgeous guitar tone, he's got an engagingly mellow and laidback stage persona, and a very pleasant voice. (There are a lot of online spats about whether he's a better blues player than Clapton. I would say YES, not even close; but if it were in danger of being a tie on their playing, Peter should prevail for his vastly superior voice.) In that previous post, I enrolled his rendition of Need Your Love So Bad into my 'Great Love Songs' series.

To continue my 'Blues Week' here on The Barstool, here are a few more choice cuts from his brief '60s heyday (although, after a long hiatus with mental health issues, he's been playing in public more frequently again over the past couple of decades).

First up, here's Oh Well, musically one of their 'heavier' numbers, but lyrically quite lighthearted - and it's distinguished by a monster riff.

Here's the more brooding and experimental Green Manalishi (which seems to have become better known through a cover by Judas Priest, although I, of course, think that Peter's original is much better).

And how could I omit the classic Black Magic Woman (which seems to have become better known through Santana's cover of it, though I think Peter's original is vastly better)?

And finally, here's one of my very favourite of those early Fleetwood Mac numbers, a cover of the Elmore James song Homework, in which their other guitarist, Jeremy Spencer, a wizard with the slide, takes over lead and vocal duties. I first heard them do this on their strangely obscure (it's not mentioned in the Wikipedia discography!) double album, Fleetwood Mac in Chicago. They were in America in the winter of '68/'69, and took some time out at the start of January to drop in at the celebrated studio of the soon-to-fold Chess Records. The visit became a week-long residency where they jammed with the aristocracy of the local blues scene. Some of the resulting - wonderfully raw sounding - recordings were later put together to create the best blues album I own.
[This is a rather freaky video, from a French TV show. Mick Fleetwood is shirtless throughout, though the cameraman coyly avoids him. The audience of groovy French teenagers all look as if they've come from a model agency. And, oh my god, '60s fashions! And '60s dancing!!!]

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