The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Peter Green / Fleetwood Mac

FLEETWOOD MAC – “Then Play On”
– “End Of The Game”

I stumbled across Fleetwood Mac in 1970, via a Warner Brothers / Reprise “loss leader” double LP sampler – likely, it was “The Big Ball”, and the song was “Oh Well”. When I heard it, I loved it – no, I hadn’t read any of the press that the band had apparently been getting (in England) – I just knew that they had the coolest song on an already pretty good sampler album. Hey, it’s in mono! No, I never found a 45 of it – I presume such a thing exists. The sampler album did it’s job – I headed to the downtown hippie record store, armed with my $2.98 (+ tax) to buy the album on Reprise, “Then Play On”.

I will not say I was disappointed that “Oh Well” was not on my copy of the LP – I had the song on “The Big Ball”! I later read that they took something off of this album, to “make way” for the 9 minute “Oh Well” – gee, can’t imagine losing anything from my original version of that album! Well, it’s a moot point in the CD age, as the regular US Warner / Reprise CD of “Then Play On” has all of the original tracks, and “Oh Well”.

Haven’t heard “Oh Well”? Riff of riffs! Even a cool drum part! This song is so cool (so hot?) that there was even a band called “Oh Well” – a German early 90’s techno band! (Who covered the song!)

Took me a few years to get the back story – that some of them (Even Mr. Fleetwood!) had been with John Mayall. OK, so now I’m 13 years old, I’m a “big Fleetwood Mac” fan – what? The guitar player left the band? What? What’s this? Wow, neat cover!

A snarling lion / tiger / leopard greets us for the debut Peter Green solo album, “End Of The Game”. Dang, sounds powerful – after the ‘precision’ of “Oh Well”, maybe I was expecting more…songs? Well, I guess that he wasn’t that kind of guy – the rest of the 70’s were spent lamenting that Peter Green was a major ‘wasted’ talent – him & Syd Barrett actually used to come up together in conversations – two guys who never lived up to their respective potentials. “End Of The Game” is a very powerful album, however. By 1970, recording techniques were improving (in my humble opinion) and they managed to capture some of the power of his new band’s sound on that LP.

I tried a Peter Green-less Fleetwood Mac one more time – and I am actually rather fond of “Kiln House” – “Jewel Eyed Judy” is great! The cut that the current Warner / Reprise sampler championed was a hot one, too – “Tell Me All The Things You Do”. But that was that. I was surprised as anyone else when a new version of Fleetwood Mac became ‘mega’ around ’75 or so – and then there were girls in the band. This version of the band had little to do with “Then Play On” – so…as long as possible, I ignored them. They eventually got so big that you actually heard Fleetwood Mac records against your will (being played on the radio or in hippie record stores).

…and it has sent me back to “End Of The Game” and “Then Play On” for over 35 years.


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Fleetwood Mac

DAMN, but I hate "Rumours!" That f @#$%'n slab of vinyl was SO PROLIFIC in its time that I used to see kids CARRYING IT AROUND with them in junior high! WHY I don't know! There were only the occasional mono record players for teachers to use. The Walkman had not bee invented yet. Why the kids had to carry this badge of conformity I do not know. But it is slightly better than The Eagles!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

As I am a few years older than you, that "badge of comformity" was "Frampton Comes Alive" when I was in high school. Perhaps that's what drove me on to non-English speaking music?

No time at all for any F. Mac after '72 or so. Somebody else's job!

7:24 AM  

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