Editors note: This was first published in 2017 – with the sad news today of the passing of founder Peter Green it is now offered as a tribute to one of the brilliant talents on the British Blues scene of the 1960s
Fleetwood Mac – a band you are no doubt familiar with. But are you familiar with this particular incarnation when they were known as Peter Green‘s Fleetwood Mac? Maybe not – it’s been almost 50 years since they were considered one of the premier British Blues bands of the 60s, along with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and a pre-1966 Rolling Stones. Fleetwood Mac were serious practitioners of Rural American blues, played with a goodly degree of virtuosity. And they were well known all over Europe as well as the U.S., providing several memorable nights between The Shrine Expo Hall in L.A. and The Fillmore up in the Bay area. They were practically an institution.
Which was why their transformation in the later 70s came as such a shock to fans. Or course, there were a number of personnel changes before then. Peter Green left in 1970 and several other guitarists were recruited. Christine Perfect, originally from the band Chickenshack, joined and soon became Christine McVie, marrying co-founder John McVie.
But it really wasn’t until 1975 that Fleetwood Mac completely transformed and became the mega-hit makers that were to follow. And this incarnation of the band would be a distant memory over time.
Clearly, there are fans who had never heard Peter Green’s version. There are fans who, like myself, still have very fond memories of live concerts and some milestone albums from the late 60s who still get a little misty when they hear Albatross. But, as is often the case, nothing ever stays the same and music, like life, is in a constant state of evolution.
So as a reminder of that earlier Fleetwood Mac, before Stevie Nicks and Rumours and becoming Pop music staples in our musical diets, here is that original unvarnished version, recorded at Radio Aberdeen in Scotland from June 23, 1968.
I am not sure this is all from the same session – or that even the session is actually from June 23, 1968. That’s the date scribbled on the box and it could be one of several sessions around that time, since the quality of these recordings varies. But I am pretty sure it’s not from 1969 (they were touring the U.S. a lot during the summer of that year), nor would it be from 1967. It may very well be that June 23rd is the date of broadcast and not the session. In any event, I am sure a Fleetwood Mac historian will come to the rescue and give the correct date.
But in the meantime, have a listen if you aren’t familiar – they were astonishing – as those who are familiar will readily tell you.