I’ve just recently finished reading guitarist/vocalist Walter Lure’s autobiography, To Hell and Back. Walter has a great story about his days in Johnny Thunders’s Heartbreakers and his own Waldos. Until he died in late August, you could still hear him playing with the Waldos and running periodic tributes to Johnny. But he also took some space to write about his first band, a hard-rock dance band called Bloodbath that pounded the risers in the North Bronx at the dawn of the 1970s. I had the extreme pleasure of being the vocalist and master of revels in this two-guitar maelstrom. We covered Fleetwood Mac songs that fit our concept: “Rattlesnake Shake” and “Tell Me All the Things You Do” worked especially well.
Like a lot of other blues fans, we held Fleetwood Mac, and particularly lead guitarist Peter Green, in high esteem. It’s strange to think that this band we thought so much of would seem so alien to the group the vast majority of Fleetwood Mac fans think of when the band’s brand is evoked. That would be the mid-’70s lineup fronted by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, which made two of the best-selling pop-rock albums in history, Fleetwood Mac and Rumours.
But by the time those albums were released, the band already had a rich history: nine albums and an evolving sequence of band members.
Fleetwood Mac 1969-1974 (8CD Warner Records R2 596006) collects the band’s Reprise catalog leading up to the Buckingham/Nicks era. It begins with the last record made with group founder Peter Green, Then Play On. At a time when guitarists were preoccupied with classical formalism and technical dexterity, Green played with deep soul and a searing tone that was partly due to his guitar, a Gibson Les Paul with one of the pickups reversed, giving it a unique, piercing sound with a hint of distortion in its wobbling high end.
Rhino is also releasing new, midperiod Fleetwood Mac: a four-LP set (Fleetwood Mac 1973-74, 4LP Warner Records R1-596007) that brings the Penguin, Mystery to Me, and Heroes Are Hard To Find LPs back into print on vinyl, with a bonus live concert on the fourth LP. There’s also a 7 single containing “For Your Love” (mono promo edit) on one side and the previously unreleased “Good Things (Come to Those Who Wait)” on the flipside. The LP box is also available in a limited-edition colored-vinyl format (RCV1-625013).
Fleetwood Mac emerged from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Bluesbreakers charter member and bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood joining Green. The original band also included guitarist Jeremy Spencer, whose rough, dirty sound and slide guitar work provided a foil for Green’s sharp, B.B. King-like tone.
Green also brought in the young Danny Kirwan on third guitar. Kirwan’s droning, ethereal sound and great feel for rhythms blended well with Green, and together they produced the first Fleetwood Mac masterpiece, the moody, instrumental “Albatross,” which went to number one on the British charts. Other than that song, and “Black Magic Woman,” which later became a hit for Santana, the first two albums are closer to the sound of John Mayall’s A Hard Road album, on which Green replaced Eric Clapton, than to what most of us recognize today as Fleetwood Mac.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Forget about the sound of the recording.
MY BACK PAGES
Monitor Audio Silver 500 7G
“MUSIC WAS MINE TO EXPERIENCE.”
FOR ALL ITS GHASTLINESS and heartbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has been good to Keb’ Mo’. When the virus hit the US, it forced the cancelation of a string of his concerts. “I was getting a little burned out on touring,” he confesses.
Turntable setup is a diagnostic exercise
Riviera Audio Laboratories Levante
Joe Henderson: Blue Note and Beyond
Fyne Audio F500SP
MIAMI MONSTER IS SERIAL KILLER!
High-living braggart busted for brazen attacks on homeless
It's the Economy, Stupide
France’s president has an ace up his sleeve as he seeks a second term
UNLOCKING THE TRUE POWER OF THE M1 PROCESSOR
HAD BADGE, WILL TRAVEL
An ex-sheriff slings bogus constitutional lessons at cops—with your state’s seal of approval.
2021 Gift Guide
Ideas for the tech lovers in your life
Healthy Aging— Head To Toe
Science-backed supplements to protect all your parts.
Under Pressure, Apple Allows Self-repairs to Iphones, Macs
Apple is letting some iPhone users fix their own phones, a sharp turnaround for a company that has long prohibited anyone but company-approved technicians from fiddling with its proprietary parts and software.
Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang
Usage: System Activity Monitor
Place key system stats at your fingertips.
Amazon Unpacked A-Z
It doesn’t matter that Jeff Bezos has stepped down: No industry is safe from the company’s relentless ambition. A complete guide to Amazon’s staggeringly large and ever-mutating domain, most of which you can’t even see.