Early Fleetwood Mac tonight. Years before their transformation into a hit-making machine, Fleetwood Mac was a serious blues-based band. Heavily rooted in the Chicago sound and the rural classics of American blues, the British Quartet (later Quintet) had established themselves as one of the go-to bands in the mid-1960s, and enjoyed a large and loyal following on both sides of the Atlantic. Those of us who saw them during this early period found a band overflowing with energy and conviction, who fit right in with the Blues revival going on in the States at the time, and who were one of the best live bands making the concert circuit. That their huge hit, Black Magic Woman would later be a signature tune for Santana, gave further evidence of just how influential a band Fleetwood Mac were at the time.
When they went through the transformation, it was a huge disappointment for many (me included) – but Fleetwood Mac were always something of a stopping off/evolution place for a lot of musicians. In that respect, they were very similar to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (a band which featured future Fleetwood Mac founders). But with each lineup revision came a shift in direction. So by the time the Buckingham-Nicks era arrived, the gritty blues they were so heavily associated with in the beginning was largely gone.
But this is the early stuff – as originally recorded for the Saturday Club program on April 9th, 1968, and later re-broadcast as part of the Top Of The Pops series for the BBC Transcription Service. This is the Blues/early Rock n’ Roll incarnation of Fleetwood Mac as many of us remembered and were diehard fans of.
If you aren’t familiar with this early phase of the band, it may sound strange to you. But this was who they were in the beginning – and you were either high on the floor of the Shrine Expo Hall listening to them, or you were dancing your ass off. They worked either way.
Crank it up and enjoy.
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