Thursday, October 30, 2008

Man Of The World

I discovered the late '60s version of Fleetwood Mac from the better known late '70s version of Fleetwood Mac. One of my favorite albums as a kid (well, I guess 10th grade or so) was Fleetwood Mac's Live, which, a gajillion years later, still stands up as a pretty good classic rock live album. I have a soft spot for the Lindsey Buckingham-Stevie Nicks era Fleetwood Mac that is not rational at all, and best left explained in another posting, but the point is that on Live, they did a riproaring song called "Oh Well" which I later discovered was actually originally done by the late '60s version of the band, the one with Peter Green, variously described as insane and a genius and both. Anyway, all of this led me back over the years to rediscover the blues-based music of Peter Green's old Fleetwood Mac, particularly their stellar album Then Play On, a title apparently a paraphrase from Shakespeare's "if music be the food of love, play on." The thing that really stands about this album (and the others from that period) is the utter sophistication of the guitar playing. These guys had a triple guitar playing field (Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan) but boy, they knew when to pull back and when to hit the notes. Basically, these guys were ten times better than that other absurdly overrated and mediocre guitarist Eric Clapton (who also played recycled but amped up blues). Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, all three of them actually went insane. Then in 1975 or so, the rhythm section took on Buckingham and Nicks, and the rest, is history.

Anyway, all this for a coupla songs which I wanted to post. Neither of these songs were originally featured in any original Fleetwood Mac and seem to be notoriously hard to track down as they were released on CD on only a few places. Both are soft mellow songs, and actually not at all blues-based like most of the band's other stuff from the period. Both, written by Peter Green, are deceptively simple but incredibly beautiful pieces of music. The first is Fleetwood Mac's first single, released in 1967, "Albatross."

The second is even better, "Man of the World," a single released in 1969. The lyrics are so ridiculously simple but these sentiments could not have been better put in another way. I totally 100% understand what he's talking about. And check out the totally understated triple guitar play during the bridge. Lovely.

And just to show that they could indeed rock out. Here's the original version of "Oh Well."

I'm posting mp3s of both songs for a short while. They are supposedly remastered versions from the rare (and expensive) The Chain 4-CD set put out by Fleetwood Mac in 1992.

Fleetwood Mac -- Albatross [mp3]
Fleetwood Mac -- Man Of The World [mp3]

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