Mac- Mr. Wonderful
& Vocals, Jeremy Spencer/Slide Guitar & Vocals, Christine
Perfect/Piano, John McVie/Bass, Mick Fleetwood/Drums
Stop Messin' Round (Green) - 2:22
2. I've Lost My Baby (Spencer) - 4:18
3. Rollin' Man (Adams/Green) - 2:54
4. Dust My Broom (James/Johnson) - 2:54
5. Love That Burns (Green) - 5:04
6. Doctor Brown (Glasco) - 3:48
7. Need Your Love Tonight (Spencer) - 3:29
8. If You Be My Baby (James) - 3:54
9. Evenin' Boogie (Spencer) - 2:42
10. Lazy Poker Blues (Green) - 2:37
11. Coming Home - 2:41
12. Trying So Hard to Forget (Green) - 4:47
with "Bluesbreakers John
Mayall and Eric Clapton" form simply the cream of
British Blues. Nothing recorded before or after these two
recordings by anyone in England even came close. When Eric
Clapton left John Mayall after one recording, John
Mayall got Peter
Green to fill Eric's shoes. What shoes to fill!
But Peter Green came of with flying colours in "A
Hard Road" London B20-474-2. Audience at John
Mayall shows were reportedly jerring at Peter Green at the
start of the shows, but their mouths dropped after the first
note from Peter. I can believe that.
Peter Green left John Mayall, he took with him Mick
Fleetwood. Then he got Mick's old friend John
McVie to play bass. In these two, Peter Green found
the best Blues rhythm section in England. In fact I think
these two were one of the best Blues rhythm section in the
world. Peter Green's first recording was released in around
1976 (I cannot remember the exact date now), simply called
Mac" Epic ESCA 5420, commonly know as "the
one with the dustbin cover". It was a very interesting recording
featuring the Elmore James
maniac Jeremy Spencer.
But "Mr. Wonderful" was
truly the flagship of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac. For a start,
the rhythm section was scalding hot. You listen to the drums
and bass on Dust My Broom.
Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were doing the simplest shuffle
beat on the bass and drums. Snare drum on the two and four,
no drum rolls, no fill-ins and a rock steady bass. The "monotony"
of the rhythm section just gets under your skin,
it laid the foundation and feel for the song. To get the right
groove, you have to start with the rhythm section. If they
overplay, that's the end of it. They have to be simple, steady
and play with feel. Simple but very, very difficult. The rhythm
section drives me up the wall. When I heard the first few
bars of the first song Stop Messing
Around, I knew I was not just listening to
any ordinary Blues record by an average Blues band. Rock solid
bass from McVie and that tinny dead-in-the-eye snare drum
by Mick Fleetwood, there was nothing like it.
is no dispute that Eric Clapton
Green (maybe Mick Taylor
as well) were the finest of Blues players in England. The
difference between Clapton and Green is style and feel. Clapton's
chops and licks on the John Mayall recording were so good
it almost sounded inhuman. Clapton was simply clinical, not
unlike a professor discoursing on a serious subject, dissecting
the most delicate argument and unfolding the most difficult
Blues licks with a piece of chalk on a blackboard. With Peter,
it was more a matter of feel. There is nothing clinical in
"Mr. Wonderful," Green's
licks were much easier to follow; you will know what I mean
if you are a guitar player. But it is Peter's guitar licks
that are more difficult to perfect. With Eric Clapton's guitar
work, I am sure if you do it eight hours a day for one year
you can play every single note on "Bluesbreakers"
note-perfect. But you cannot do that with Peter Green's stuff.
Peter had the feel, which transcends technicality. There other
thing is, Green's music was all feel and so much deeper. You
cannot copy feel. On top of that, Green's music is fun. You
have to have that in the Blues. It is not all my-women-left-me-and-I-ain't-got-a
dime kind of thing. People danced to the Blues
in juke joints in Mississippi and Blues clubs in Chicago.
In "Mr. Wonderful," you
hear the happy Blues and sad Blues. One major contributing
factor to the brilliance of "Mr. Wonderful"
was the presence of Jeremy Spencer.
This guy just copied everything Elmore
James did, but he was good and his personal touch
came out when he did it. Listening to this recording was like
riding an emotion roller coaster. You hear songs like Doctor
Brown, Rolling Man
where the sexual insinuation was skin-deep and you cannot
help but laugh. Then you get Love
That Burns that makes your skin crawl.
In the 60's Fleetwood Mac commanded higher fees than the Rolling
Stones. But Peter Green splitted after he did "Then
Play On" Reprise
927 448-2. "Then Play On"
was extraordinary. I have never heard a recording that has
a darker mood, not even Pink Floyd's
"Dark Side Of The Moon."
I could feel the pain, sorrow and sadness that afflicted Peter
Green, knowing that something was very wrong with the guy.
No one can do something so sad and dark unless he was going
through something really bad. "Then
Play On" was the last Fleetwood Mac recording with
Peter Green. In "Then Play On"
you hear the talented teenage guitar wizard Danny
Kirwan. In 1970, Peter dropped out of music completely
for over 10 years. Jeremy Spencer became a disciple in religious
cult and vanished. Danny Kirwan is now a homeless person sleeping
on the streets of London. Every time
I pick up a Fleetwood Mac CD, I feel the personal tragedies,
reminding me how frail life is and how fragile happiness is.
Peter Green re-launched his music career in 1982. In 1983,
I saw in the gig guide in Melody Maker that
Peter would be playing in a pub in London on a Friday night
and show would start at 9:00 p.m. I was at the pub at 4 in
the afternoon waiting for the doors to open. This band came
on to play shortly after 9: two guitarists, a left-handed
Black guy playing a right hand-handed guitar and a fat bald
guy playing rhythm guitar. They had a bassist and a drummer.
After about half and hour, I asked the guy next to me "When
is Peter coming on?" He told me he was on, the fat guy was
Peter. I was stunned. I took many pictures that night of course.
After I had the film developed, I looked at the pictures once
and threw them away together with the negatives. I almost
cried. What has life done to my hero?
Life is so cruel.