Category: Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird of Good Omen / English Rose

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac                            220px-pious_bird

TITLE:  The Pious Bird of Good Omen (English Rose in the US)

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #18 UK; English Rose – #184 US

SINGLES: Black Magic Woman (#37 UK), Need Your Love So Bad (#31 UK), Albatross (#104 US, #1 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Blues freaks may know a couple

LINEUP: Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Danny Kirwan

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A collection of singles and cuts not on either US or UK albums issued when they switched record companies.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I decided to go back and grab this compilation for a review – since it’s streaming and really fits in right before Then Play On. fleetwood_mac_-_english_rose

As usual, Fleetwood Mac’s complicated discography comes into play. Both the US and UK models are streaming, but the UK CD reissues are somewhat expurgated versions from their vinyl. There is overlap of a few songs on both versions, and some of the US version was on the previous UK studio record Mr. Wonderful. AND…the US album has some refugees from the original UK version of Then Play On.

Got that?

Anyway, this is bluesy Fleetwood Mac, and most of it is good, bluesy Mac. Peter Green’s the star, but the two songs by Kirwan are decent as well. For me, the less Jeremy Spencer, the better. If you’re into the blues version of the band, give this a few spins.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Yes, the original “Black Magic Woman” is on these comps. As is the out-of-nowhere hit instrumental “Albatross”

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The original UK vinyl had some songs that they did along with bluesman Eddie Boyd that actually live on a Boyd album

GRADE: B-:  It’s good, but it’s really hard to keep up with these permutations. English Rose is probably the better deal, but just pick what you like.

Fleetwood Mac – Kiln House

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac              220px-Kilnhouse

TITLE:  Kiln House

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #69 US, #39 UK

SINGLES: Tell Me All the Things You Do, Jewel-Eyed Judy

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Mission Bell, Hi Ho Silver (which is Honey Hush, really)

LINEUP: Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie (she was undcredited, though)

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Transitional album, post Peter Green, pre Bob Welch, and the band makes a great accounting of itself thanks to Kirwan and the rhythm section.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: With Peter Green having flown the coop, this album shows a band in the middle of a transition. Spencer is on hand, and so there’s some blues elements to the program (though like most of Spencer’s blues excursions, they’re a matter of taste and style), but Kirwan adds straight rock-and-roll to the mix. His wah-wah guitar is impressive throughout.

“Tell Me All the Things You Do”, “Station Man” and “Jewel-Eyed Judy” are great examples of the rock this version of Mac was able to blast. Kirwan also had a tender side, covering a movie tribute to his idol in “Buddy’s Song” and Spencer adds a cover of “Mission Bell”, an old Donnie Brooks croon-job, as well.

While blues fans were disappointed that Green left, this record was better than many expected and sold reasonably well despite the departure of the former leader.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Buddy’s Song” was credited to Buddy Holly’s mother.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: Kirwan’s performance and songs move this to an A-, as he takes control and leaves Spencer behind a bit.

 

Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac 220px-Then_Play_On
TITLE: Then Play On
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #109 US, #6 UK
SINGLES: Oh Well (#55 US, #2 UK), Rattlesnake Shake
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not, sadly.
LINEUP: Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood. Christine Perfect adds piano. Jeremy Spencer, part of the band, only plays piano on one track.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Fleetwood Mac moves past pure blues into a hybrid band thanks to the addition of Danny Kirwan. It made for a fabulous record that ensured Green’s legacy in Fleetwood Mac.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Yes, there’s some blues here – or blues based rock. The addition of Danny Kirwan made the group move towards a rock and pop motif. Combined with the blues background and the playing of Green, it made an excellent mix of styles and songs.

Starting out with “Coming Your Way”, the album moves between harder blues rock, nearly straight blues (acoustic at times) and quieter, more reflective numbers. Green and Kirwan make an excellent guitar tandem. Fleetwood’s percussion is impressive as he moves from traditional drum kit, to congas, to timpani, and to other percussion.

Then there’s “Oh, Well”, bolted onto the US version of the album after it became a surprise hit. The first part is the one everyone knows and has heard as even current Fleetwood Mac trot it out. The second part is a very reflective guitar solo with recorders, violincello (played by Green) and piano that is equally as impressive.

It’s almost a complete package. Sadly, it was the last album Green made with the band. After a couple more singles he left to join a cult, leaving the band in tatters and a transitional period that lasted for about five years.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The release version is kind of a cluster. The original UK release had a couple of tracks that were on the US compilation English Rose, so those were sliced off the US version. THEN, about two months later when “Oh, Well” became a hit, that was added to the album, two other tracks dropped and the whole thing resequenced. The UK version stayed the same on vinyl.

When it was released on CD in both the US and UK, the two missing US tracks were added back in, and they used that running order for both countries. Then in 2013 Rhino released the original album in the original UK order with bonus tracks. STILL, this thing isn’t streaming nor available digitally for some damn reason. Neither is any other FM album released from now until 1975. Bollocks!

Oh, and when “Oh Well” was added to the record in 1969, they butchered the splice and looped the coda of the part 1 single (the fade out) to actual part two (which had the entire coda of Part 1) so it adds an additional minute and three seconds. That mistake carries over to the CD version.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: See above.

GRADE: A: Of any record to grab outside of their big two, this is the one to get even though it’s almost a completely different band and a different motif. It’s fantastic.

 

Fleetwood Mac – Mr. Wonderful

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood_Mac_-_Mr._Wonderful
TITLE: Mr. Wonderful
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #10 UK
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover Dust My Broom and Coming Home by Elmore James.
LINEUP: Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood plus Christine Perfect and a horn section.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The blues – original blues as performed by one of the best UK blues bands going at the time. Somehow, though, it doesn’t quite work.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Fleetwood Mac was kind of a big deal in the blues-hungry UK album buying crowd at this time, and Peter Green and company put this album out to greet success.

Still, though it’s not so good. Many of the songs are similar in nature and tone, the production is rough, and it just sounds rushed. Over here in the states, they released a compilation called English Rose which had some of the best tracks here and other odds and sods.

The worst tracks here just seem listless, with poor vocal mixes, a sound like they were playing in a club and not a studio and maybe some indifferent playing – as the band knew they had to knock out a product.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This is the last release streaming (except for a couple of compilations) before the big breakthrough. So to review I’ll go to what I have saved and / or You Tube. UPDATE – Most everything is streaming now.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with some bonus tracks that aren’t needed.

GRADE: C: Fleetwood Mac completitsts (which is hard since most of their early and mid career stuff isn’t streaming) only. EXILED.

Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac (1968)

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac 220px-Fleetwood_Mac_-_Fleetwood_Mac_(1968)
TITLE: Fleetwood Mac (Later known as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac)
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #198 US, #4 UK
SINGLES: Shake Your Moneymaker
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They do a couple of standard blues songs, but mostly these are originals that got no airplay.
LINEUP: Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The original incarnation and vision of Fleetwood Mac makes an electric blues album full of originals that sound like lost classics and filled with Peter Green’s great blues guitar.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The blues. Fleetwood Mac had the blues in their earliest incarnation and the British blues scene went totally bonkers for them. Mainly, they went bonkers for Peter Green and his guitar. He already made his bones in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (as so many have done) so forming his own band was a low risk proposition.

The band gigged around a bit, then recorded this album. Most all of the songs are originals from either Green or Spencer and are played with the same grit and ferocity that the old bluesmen played their standards. Green’s tone and control of his guitar is what makes him stand out; all of the great UK guitar players were awed by him, and this album shows why.

However, there are downgrades here. Many songs have extraneous studio chatter and false starts. It seems that the deluxe version they use for streaming didn’t have the true master takes as they appeared on record, but they decided to use the entire take with the extraneous stuff. Also, the piano version of “Hellhound on My Trail” doesn’t really work.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Originally, John McVie didn’t want to leave Mayall’s band, so Green named the band after him and his buddy Mick Fleetwood, and it didn’t work until they already did a few well-regarded gigs.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with even more false starts and incomplete takes

GRADE: B+: If you can find a straight version of this without the extra chatter on a few songs, it’d be an A-. Alas.