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Zharth's Music Log

Week 34: Green's Blues

Preface: With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, and Easter coming up right after that, we'll spend this week celebrating the color that symbolizes the coming spring - green! Or, to be more accurate, we'll celebrate one of my favorite guitarists, whose name just happens to be "Green". And to narrow it down even further, we'll explore his slow blues, since my favorite shade of green has a little bit of blue mixed in. In short, we'll take a look at some of Peter Green's best blues tracks from his legendary days as the founder of the original Fleetwood Mac.

Monday (3/10/08): John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - Out Of Reach [originally released as a single, 1967]
Comments: We'll start out with a track from just before Peter Green formed Fleetwood Mac, while he was still playing with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Though Green yields the lead guitar and vocals, as well as songwriting, for this track, and not only that, but John McVie is playing bass (Fleetwood and "Mac" were both members of the Bluesbreakers with Green at some time - although Aynsley Dunsbar plays drums on this particular track), so it's practically Fleetwood Mac already!

Tuesday (3/11/08): Fleetwood Mac - First Train Home [The Original Fleetwood Mac, released 1971 (this track recorded in 1967)]
Comments: The trio of Green, Fleetwood, and McVie left the Bluesbreakers to form Fleetwood Mac (with the addition of Jeremy Spencer), which was first used as the title of an instrumental they recorded together, because it sounded like the name of a fast train.

Wednesday (3/12/08): Fleetwood Mac - Drifting [The Original Fleetwood Mac, released 1971 (this track recorded in 1967)]
Comments: One of the fascinating things about the original Fleetwood Mac is the fact that some of their greatest songs were initially unreleased on their first string of albums and singles. Luckily, for us fans, there's quite a bit of that kind of material now available in a variety of sources, including box sets and the awesome BBC Sessions collection.

Thursday (3/13/08): Fleetwood Mac - Worried Dream [The Original Fleetwood Mac, released 1971 (this track recorded in 1968)]
Comments: If you have the boxset with all the outtakes and whatnot, you can hear the amusing change of mood that leads into this song. Peter Green is making jokes at the producer, and then all of a sudden, the band kicks into the song, and Green instantly switches into total blues mode, as you can hear for yourself on this heart-wrenching track.

Friday (3/14/08): Fleetwood Mac - Love That Burns [Mr. Wonderful, 1968]
Comments: This slow blues made it onto one of the Mac's intermediary albums which they released between the two landmarks of their debut album, and the masterpiece Then Play On, which preceeded Green's departure from the band. I find myself asking whether this "burning" feeling is purely emotional...

Saturday (3/15/08): Fleetwood Mac - Jumping At Shadows [Live At The BBC, this track first broadcast 1969]
Comments: This song is one of my personal favorites, a truly haunting, haunted type of blues. It was actually written by British bluesman Duster Bennett, a friend of Peter Green's, but I have yet to hear his original version. In the meantime, Green's cover is perfect, with a subdued rhythm, pained vocals, and a searching lead.

Sunday (3/16/08): Fleetwood Mac - A Fool No More [Live At The BBC, this track first broadcast (unknown)]
Comments: Check out the lead guitar jabs in this track. Stabbing. And even without them, the song accomplishes a very weighty melancholy, a real sense of betrayal, and depression. Honestly, I think this is one of Peter Green's best compositions, and if you enjoy it, check out the version he recorded a decade later, after wandering out of the limelight and into the unforgiving darkness of obscurity.