Posts Tagged ‘Peter Green’

Peter Green was unique and we all miss him. Such a great talent… Forty Below Records: In celebration of Peter Green’s Birthday, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers “Live In 1967”, featuring Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Each Volume showcases three John Mayall originals including the opening track, all-time blues classic “Tears In My Eyes”; “Chicago Line”, complete with John McVie bass solo; and “Please Don’t Tell”, a great example of the power blues The Bluesbreakers were revered for. Thanks to dedicated fan Tom Huissen who took his one channel reel-to-reel tape recorder into various London clubs in 1967, these historical performances were captured for all time. Unheard for almost fifty years, John recently obtained these tapes and began restoring them with the technical assistance of Eric Corne of Forty Below Records. Corne adds, “While the source recording was very rough and the final result is certainly not hi-fidelity, it does succeed in allowing us to hear how spectacular these performances are.” It’s truly an exciting glimpse into music history.

On both this and Volume 1 you hear Peter Green play loads of awesome lead guitar and many of these tracks were never recorded in the studio by the Green lineup of the BluesBreakers.
The band were John Mayall vocals, Organ, Harp, Peter Green Guitar, John McVie Bass, Mick Fleetwood Drums.
Sound quality is not 2020 standard but it is very good considering its age and the technology used to make this recordings. I was brought up on Free Live and Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac Live at Boston 1970 so to my ears these Mayall Live recordings are fine sound quality wise. 

Let us be honest this is no hi-fi recording but it absolutely captures what it was like seeing them in a small club; it has all the atmosphere, even the tension, and is certainly good enough to enjoy and hear the performance. 

Fleetwood Mac

Solicitors acting on behalf of his family said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep. “A further statement will be provided in the coming days.”

Blues rock guitarist Green, originally from Bethnal Green in east London, formed Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967. Green left the band after a last performance in 1970, as he struggled with his mental health. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in hospital in the mid-70s.

He was among the eight members of the band – along with Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Christine McVie, Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer – who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. he band was originally called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac featuring Jeremy Spencer.

In February this year, artists including Fleetwood, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and guitarists Jonny Lang and Andy Fairweather Low performed at the London Palladium in a gig celebrating the early years of Fleetwood Mac and its founder, Green. He wrote the huge hit Fleetwood Mac song “Albatross”.

Before forming Fleetwood Mac Green and Fleetwood previously played together in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

He went on to form the Peter Green Splinter Group in the late 1990s.

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Time for another journey through the past with David Conway. In June 1970 I bought the new Fleetwood Mac 45 . Both sides of it! featured some wonderous guitar  We didn’t know it at the time but this would be the last Peter Green recording with the band . It was Top Ten in the UK a total of four weeks.

The song was written during Green’s final months with the band, at a time when he was struggling with LSD and had withdrawn from other members of the band. While there are several theories about the meaning of the title “Green Manalishi”, Green has always maintained that the song is about money, as represented by the devil. Green was reportedly angered by the other band members’ refusal to share their financial gains.

Green has explained that he wrote the song after experiencing a drug-induced dream in which he was visited by a green dog which barked at him. He understood that the dog represented money. “It scared me because I knew the dog had been dead a long time. It was a stray and I was looking after it. But I was dead and had to fight to get back into my body, which I eventually did. When I woke up, the room was really black and I found myself writing the song.”

Producer Martin Birch recalled that Green was initially frustrated that he could not get the sound he wanted, but Danny Kirwan reassured him that they would stay in the studio all night until the band got it right. Peter Green said later that although the session left him exhausted, “Green Manalishi” was still one of his best music memories.. “Lots of drums, bass guitars … Danny Kirwan and me playing those shrieking guitars together …A 13-minute live version of “The Green Manalishi” was recorded in February 1970, prior to the single’s release in May, but it remained unreleased until 1985 when it was unofficially released on a number of records, such as Shanghai Records’ Cerulean and Rattlesnake Shake. In 1998 it was issued with along with the entire set of recordings on the Live in Boston: Remastered three-CD boxed set.

The song was played live by subsequent versions of Fleetwood Mac on tour with Bob Welch and then Lindsey Buckingham singing the vocal and taking on the song’s guitar parts.

The B-side of the single was an instrumental written by Green and Danny Kirwan, titled “World In Harmony”. The two tracks were recorded at the same session in Warner/Reprise Studios, in Hollywood, California. The only track bearing a Kirwan/Green writing credit, the two had plans to collaborate further on a guitar-driven album, but the project never materialised.

There is a different 13 minutes live version of the song part of the Fleetwood Mac: live in Boston album . This song has been versioned by famous bands like Corrosion of Conformity, Arthur Brown, The Melvins and The Need, being the most famous of them the Judas Priest’s version at the point it’s been mistaken as a Judas Priest original song.

Buy Online Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On, Deluxe Book Pack Double Vinyl + Deluxe Mediabook CD Album

“Then Play On” is the third studio album by British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac, released on 19 September 1969. It was the first of their original albums to feature Danny Kirwan and the last with Peter Green. The album, appearing after the group’s sudden success in the pop charts, offered a broader stylistic range than the classic blues of the group’s first two albums. The album went on to reach No6 in the UK, subsequently becoming the band’s fourth Top 20 hit in a row, as well as their third album to reach the Top 10. The title is taken from the opening line of William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night — “If music be the food of love, play on”.

The Peter Green-led edition of the Mac isn’t just an important transition between their initial blues-based incarnation and the mega-pop band they were to become, it’s also their most vital, exciting version. The addition of Danny Kirwan as a second guitarist and songwriter foreshadows not only the soft-rock terrain of “Bare Trees” and “Kiln House” with Christine Perfect-McVie but also predicts the future sound of Rumours. That only pertains to roughly half of the also excellent material here, though; the rest is quintessential Green,

The immortal “Oh Well,” with its hard-edged, thickly layered guitars and chamber-like sections, is perhaps the band’s most enduring progressive composition. “Rattlesnake Shake” is another familiar number, a down-and-dirty, even-paced funk, with clean, wall-of-sound guitars. Choogling drums and Green’s fiery improvisations power “Searching for Madge,” perhaps Mac’s most inspired work save “Green Manalishi,” and leads into an unlikely symphonic interlude and the similar, lighter boogie “Fighting for Madge.” A hot Afro-Cuban rhythm with beautiful guitars from Kirwan and Green on “Coming Your Way” not only defines the Mac’s sound, but the rock aesthetic of the day. Of the songs with Kirwan‘s stamp on them, “Closing My Eyes” is a mysterious waltz love song; haunting guitars approach surf music on the instrumental “My Dream”; while “Although the Sun Is Shining” is the ultimate pre-Rumours number someone should revisit. Blues roots still crop up on the spatial, loose, Hendrix Green’s influence was on Mac’s originality and individual stance beyond his involvement. Still highly recommended and a must-buy.

Expanded edition featuring original UK track list plus four bonus tracks.

New sleeve notes by Anthony Bozza, which include a personal foreword by Mick Fleetwood.

Blues pianist Eddie Boyd’s “7936 South Rhodes” was recorded in London in January 1968 with three members of the early line-up of Fleetwood Mac: Peter Green (guitar), John McVie (bass), and Mick Fleetwood (drums). It’s a tantalizing setting for Boyd’s straight up Chicago piano Blues, going heavier on the slow-to-mid-tempo numbers than the high-spirited ones.

Boyd was born either on Stovall’s Plantation, near Clarksdale, Mississippi, He learned to play the guitar and the piano. His piano playing was influenced by the styles of Roosevelt Sykes and Leroy Carr. An automobile accident in 1957 in which he was injured put his career on hold for a while Boyd toured Europe with Buddy Guy’s band in 1965 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival.

He later toured and recorded with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Tired of the racial discrimination he experienced in the United States, he first moved to Belgium where he recorded with Dutch Blues band Cuby & The Blizzards. Boyd died in 1994 in Helsinki, Finland, just a few months before Eric Clapton released the chart-topping blues album, From The Cradle that included Boyd’s “Five Long Years” and “Third Degree”.

On June 25th, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Eddie Boyd among hundreds of artists whose recorded material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

Recorded in London in January 1968 with three members of the early lineup of Fleetwood Mac (the one that played blues, not pop/rock):Peter Green (Guitar), John McVie (bass), and Mick Fleetwood (drums). It’s an adequate setting for Boyd’s straight Chicago piano blues, going heavier on the slow-to-mid-tempo numbers than the high-spirited ones, though is a far more sympathetic accompanist than the rhythm section.

Eddie Boyd with Fleetwood Mac.

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If you love the blues then owning , this album is a no-brainer. Recorded in just one day in January 1969 with blues pianist Spann backed by Fleetwod Mac (minus Mick Fleetwood on drums – replaced here by Spann’s regular drummer, S.P.Leary), the record has all the immediacy of a ‘live’ recording.Despite the credit Amazon may use, make no mistakes – this is an Otis Spann record – not a Fleetwood Mac release . That said Peter Green was at the height of his powers when the album was cut, the Mac were at the height of their ‘blues-phase’ fame and so Spann was more than happy for his record to feature Green’s awesome lead guitar breaks alongside his own mighty piano playing. As you’d expect the combination makes for a terrific record. The session In January of 1969, with the British power blues quintet Fleetwood Mac at Chess Records studios to jam with the likes of Willie Dixon, S.P. Leary, Honeyboy Edwards, and longtime Muddy Waters‘ pianist Otis Spann.

The sessions were so rich and fruitful that three-fifths of the Mac (specifically bassist John McVie and guitarists Peter Green and Danny Kirwin) impressed Spann enough to cut a record with them at the same sessions. While the classic “Country Girl” and a seven-minute “Someday Soon Baby” (which features a lengthy intro from Green on which Spann can be heard barely off mic telling the rest of the band to “let him play on”) ended up on the Mac’s Blues Jam at Chess double set: remaining cuts included “Dig You” and “Walkin'” and are a near perfect match of Spann’s exciting, emotive singing and the Mac’s youthful muscle. “The Biggest Thing Since Colossus” was released on Mac manager/producer/strongman Mike Vernon’s London-based Blue Horizon label.

if you are looking for some funky Chicago blues played and sung by one of its legendary exponents (who featured on many of Muddy Water’s records and was a member of Waters‘ touring band), with the one and only Peter Green accompanying him, then Otis Spann’s ‘The Biggest Thing Since Colossus’ comes mightily recommended. When Fleetwood Mac toured the USA, their producer set up some recording session with some of their heroes and this set doesn’t disappoint. Otis Spann is great, Peter Green is great and Danny Kirwan is great.

Buy Online Mick Fleetwood & Friends Celebrate The Music Of Peter Green And The Early Years Of Fleetwood Mac - Super Deluxe Edition Box Set

Legendary drummer, Mick Fleetwood enlisted an all-star cast for a one-of-a-kind concert honouring the early years of Fleetwood Mac and its founder, Peter Green which was held on 25th February 2020 at the London, Palladium.

The bill included Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, Jonny Lang, Andy Fairweather Low, John Mayall, Christine McVie, Zak Starkey, Steven Tyler, Bill Wyman, Noel Gallagher, Pete Townshend, Neil Finn, Kirk Hammett and many more. Legendary producer Glyn Johns joined as the executive sound producer and the house band featured Fleetwood himself along with Andy Fairweather Low, Dave Bronze and Ricky Peterson.

Fleetwood, who curated the list of artists performing, said: “The concert is a celebration of those early blues days where we all began, and it’s important to recognize the profound impact Peter and the early Fleetwood Mac had on the world of music.

Peter was my greatest mentor and it gives me such joy to pay tribute to his incredible talent. I am honoured to be sharing the stage with some of the many artists Peter has inspired over the years and who share my great respect for this remarkable musician. ‘Then Play On’…”

Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded 50th anniversary edition of the first solo album by the legendary Peter Green.

Peter’s work with Fleetwood Mac needs no introduction. His acclaimed guitar playing and writing graced several albums and a succession of hit singles before he departed the group in 1970. He embarked on the recording of his first solo album only a month after leaving Fleetwood Mac,

The End of the Game would be an entirely instrumental affair, quite different in feel from Green’s work with Fleetwood Mac. Released to very little fanfare, unjustly so as it was an imaginative work with Green’s instantly recog-nisable guitar playing. “The End Of The Game” and it was as much a departure from “The Green Manalishi” as that same track had been from the rest of Fleetwood Mac’s entire output. Through three tracks per side, Green pursued a far looser strand of improvisational rock comprised of wholly instrumental outings that were entirely un-bluesy, extemporaneous free rock borne on the wings of Green’s guitar with its expansive tone evoking the loosest of feels, often drenched with emotional wah-wah pedal use of hair triggered sensitivity. The rhythm section of Bluesbreaker and ex-Anysley Dunbar Retaliation bassist Alex Dmochowski and Geoffrey Maclean on percussion allow Green all the room to explore through distended lines of fragile but strongly poetic counterpoint as the addition of twin keyboardists Zoot Money (grand piano) and future Hot Tuna keyboardist Nick Buck (organ, electric piano) sporadically appear only to colour in a clutch of fine points which Green has left wide open as he is in a constant state of unhurried transit and always onto the next subtly-turned phrase.

The album rises up to a slow fade and into the raucous nine minute wah-wah led jam of “Bottoms Up.” As the title suggests, it’s carried along by a heavy bass line that sallies forth unswervingly to provide Green with a woody and thriving backdrop to begin the odyssey of successive circular wah-wah guitar configurations. Electric piano lines twinkle and fall like stars once Green lets up to recollect before another sweet and extensive wah-wah outpouring and the band is solidly back to stabilise Green’s ever-migrating wah-wah guitar textures. “Timeless Time” passes by silently like a gentle current under the land bridge that links the two jamming continents of side one together. The elongated “Descending Scale” opens with jumpy off-beats of piano clusters and busy though sensitively played drums like a send up of a jazzbo warm up until Green throws the whole discordant array into a high pitched wah-wah crescendo that reverberates into another unresolved conclusion that soon all but quietly slips away but for the accompanying half-erased instrumentation.

Side two begins with “Burnt Foot” and Dmochowski’s over-recorded, punctuation bass pummeling over the taking care of bizniz jazz drums that cascade all around Green’s riffing quietly traipsing in the background until it breaks down into a drum solo of sizzling cymbals with no drum skin spared from a multitude of lightning quick flourishes. Dmochowski’s bass returns to erratically shift gear into a gritty jam with Green’s churning wah-wah fanning out into a 359 degree arc of groove before its premature breakdown and subsequent fade. “Hidden Depth” opens with strategically played and watery-echoed wah-wah, with the returning piano and organ choppy in the intro and then straightening out with interplaying tones as emotions and riffs that suggest the breaking of a new dawn. Nick Buck’s organ colourations take on the same role of melancholy as Rick Wright’s from “Mudmen” or Tom Constanten’s emerging springtime renewal in “Quadlibet For Tenderfeet” off side one of “Anthem Of The Sun.” And all the while, Green’s restrained guitar of reversed pick-ups rings out truly unheard of tones with a natural delight for spaciousness and innuendo. All is peaceful until broken by a quick cut into the screeching wah-wah opening of the title track, ”The End Of The Game” which closes the album aggressively hectic and free form — loosely strung together not by rhythms but phrasing and a requited, unspoken understanding between the players.

The following year saw the release of a single ‘Heavy Heart’ b/w ‘No Way Out’, which received some airplay and saw Green perform ‘Heavy Heart’ on Top of the Pops. A collaboration with Nigel Watson followed early in 1972 for Green’s final single for Reprise Records, ‘Beasts of Burden’ b/w ‘Uganda Woman’.

This new and expanded Esoteric Recordings edition has been newly remastered from the original Reprise master tapes, features four bonus tracks (drawn from the two non-album singles) which appear on CD for the first time. It also features a booklet with new essay and an exclusive interview with Zoot Money on the making of the album.

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Arguably, no bandleader in modern history has attracted more sterling guitarists to his line up than John Mayall. During the ’60s and ’70s, Mayall hired and shaped some of the most distinguished axemen of all time, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Jon Mark and Harvey Mandel. In a frenzied, fourteen month period, between 1966 and ’67, Mayall released the seminal “Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton” album, followed by “A Hard Road”, which showcased the string-bending talents of Peter Green right before he formed Fleetwood Mac, chased by “Crusade” , which introduced the world to later Rolling Stones’ guitar wiz Mick Taylor.

And it’s not just guitarists who are drawn into Mayall’s orbit. In addition his ever-shifting bands have included such vaunted bass players as John McVie, Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser and Tony Reeves, while, on drums, he nurtured the classic stickmen Mick Fleetwood, Aynsley Dunbar, Keef Hartley and Jon Hiseman. To boot, he provided early showcases for British sax icon Dick Heckstall-Smith and fusion violin pioneer Don “Sugarcane” Harris.

“I guess I’ve got good taste,” said Mayall, with a laugh. He’s also got longevity. At 83, Mayall still tours widely and puts out albums, including a crisp and toned new one, Talk About That

John Mayall Talk About That

The music on the album honors, and reemphasizes, the star’s more than half century devotion to the blues. Two cuts feature contributions by Joe Walsh. “Apparently, it was on [Joe’s] bucket list to play with me,” Mayall said. “I didn’t know his qualifications as a blues guitarist, to be honest. But he fit right in. He was only with us a few hours but it was a magical experience.”

Much the same could be said of Mayall’s many collaborators over the years. Few of them tarried long in his band, but each left an indelible impression. After more than half a century of talent scouting, it’s high time to celebrate everything John Mayall did with, and for, the star musicians he nurtured.

If you ask Mayall what he brought to all these axemen in their formative phases, he’ll answer with one word: freedom. “If I hire somebody to play with me, I’m hiring them because I love their playing,” he said. “I don’t want to usurp that by saying ‘you must play this and you can’t play that.’ I gave them the freedom to help them develop their own style.”

Mayall’s age helped him assume that mentor role convincingly. He was already thirty when he got his first record contract and began his storied hiring spree. His father had also been a guitarist and jazz fan, though John leaned closer to the blues as a teen after hearing artists like Lead Belly and Pinetop Smith. Armed with a guitar and a harmonica, Mayall played in blues bands during his time at the Manchester College of Art. Years later, the visual flair he honed at school would allow him to design some of his early album covers. In 1962, Mayall formed the group Blues Syndicate, mixing that genre with jazz, a balance inspired by Alexis Korner’s band. Korner convinced Mayall to move to London where, in 1963, he formed his first version of the Bluesbreakers, featuring John McVie on bass. Mayall himself sang lead vocals and played rhythm guitar. The group secured gigs at the Marquee Club, which led to a contract with Decca Records. In 1964, Mayall’s band received an amazing opportunity—to back John Lee Hooker on a British tour of clubs and festivals. “We learned a lot from playing with him,” Mayall said. “The first thing we noticed was that, where all the English bands were playing as loudly as they could, there was a different dynamic from the American blues greats. From them, we learned all about dynamics and volume.”

Mayall believes that the British and European musicians had more respect for the roots players than their American brethren did back then. “There were two separate societies in America at the time because of the color bar,” he said. “When the black jazz and blues musicians came over here they were treated like Gods. So it was inevitable that Europeans would eventually come to the blues line of work themselves.”

While some accused the British players of ripping off American blues stars, in fact they brought a different level of velocity, virtuosity and abstraction to the form. Essentially, they applied the expansions of free jazz to the chord structures of the blues. “Everybody found their own style within that structure,” Mayall said.

John Mayall Plays John Mayall

Not that the older generation in the music industry understood what these young bucks were doing. Mayall says his label, Decca, hadn’t a clue what he was up to on his debut work, John Mayall Plays John Mayall a live album released in 1965. On the disc, he sang and played harmonica, organ and 9 string guitar, while Roger Dean served as the band’s first lead guitarist. “Decca washed their hands of me after that first album,” the musician said. “It didn’t sell well enough for their executives. But Mike Vernon, the producer, talked to them and, they thought, ‘if it’s okay with Mike, then.. Still, things might not have been okay for long had Mayall not made a crucial change in his band that year. On the small London music scene, he had heard buzz about a young guitarist in the band The Yardbirds—one Eric Clapton. At first, Mayall wasn’t interested. When The Yardbirds made that first big single, “For Your Love” it didn’t impress me very much,” Mayall said. “But it had a B-side, “Got To Hurry” which was an instrumental. That was the thing that knocked me out.”As it turned out, Clapton felt much the same way. He hated the pop direction of “For Your Love” enough to ditch the band. “I approached him to see if he wanted to join my band,” Mayall said. “All we were doing was playing blues and that’s exactly what Eric wanted.”

Clapton replaced the departed Roger Dean and the refigured band began to cut their teeth in the London clubs. Unfortunately, Clapton proved to be a mercurial soul, prone to moodiness and hard to control. Mere months after cutting some sides with the Bluesbreakers, he announced he was running off to play with a bunch of virtual amateur musicians he had met in a group called The Glands. The unflappable Mayall told Clapton he could always come back if he changed his mind. In the meantime, the band leader subbed in another promising young, blues-obsessed guitarist from the scene: Peter Green. By November of ’65 Clapton came to his senses, pushing Green out. The next year the reconstituted band recorded that first Bluesbreakers release, an instant classic. Mayall said he considered the album just “a nice opportunity to go into the studio and put down what we were doing live. We never realized it would have the success that it did.”

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Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton

‘Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton’ shot to to No. 6 on the U.K. Top Ten. The material on it included some original pieces by Mayall, who played keyboards and sang on the album. But mainly the repertoire emphasized covers of blues songs by artists like Otis Rush, Mose Allison and Little Walter. Clapton’s solos dominated the disc, fully earning the star billing he received on the cover. It was Mayall’s idea to highlight his impeccable contribution right on the album sleeve.

The album struck such a deep chord with the public, it inspired that famous graffiti scrawl in London, “Clapton Is God.” It also set the template for all the rock guitar heroes to come over the next decade. Some fans believe ‘Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton’ contains the most fiercely emotive work of the guitarist’s career. At the time of its release, however, Clapton had already met bassist Jack Bruce who, together with drummer Ginger Baker, had a notion for new kind of band—a power trio. Clapton formed that group Cream without telling Mayall, who found out the way everyone else did—by reading about it the music press.  One can hear the very direct influence of Buddy Guy and a handful of other American bluesmen in the playing. And lest anyone forget the rest of the quartet: future pop/rock superstar John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint provide a rock-hard rhythm section, and Mayall’s organ playing, vocalizing, and second guitar are all of a piece with Clapton’s work. His guitar naturally dominates most of this record, and he can also be heard taking his first lead vocal, but McVie and Flint are just as intense and give the tracks an extra level of steel-strung tension and power, none of which have diminished across several decades.

Remarkably, Mayall considered the surprise defection of his star attraction no big deal. “It was inevitable,” he said. “Eric and Jack wanted to do something different and Ginger Baker was there to talk them into it. From my point of view, this has always been simple. If somebody left the band, I found a replacement. And it seemed there was always somebody out there that I’d like to work with. As a bandleader I had the privilege to hire anybody I wanted.”

Mayall rallied by asking the 20 year old Peter Green to come back to the fold one year after he’d been shown the door. “He was a bit reluctant to trust that this job would be reliable,” the bandleader said. “Peter had the opportunity to work with The Animals and go to America. But because of his love of the blues, he decided he’d rather play in my band.”

John Mayall Bluesbreakers A Hard Road

Again, the chance to stick with pure blues became Mayall’s selling point for his young players. The result paid off with another Top Ten album, the critically hailed ‘A Hard Road,’ out in February of ’67. It featured two songs written by Green, and two sung by him. Green had a more economical style than Clapton, with a tone so sweet, B.B. King later said that it brought him to tears. Original pieces dominated ‘A Hard Road,’ most of them written by Mayall. As with Clapton, Green only remained with Mayall for a year, but when he left, he inspired a major defection, taking with him then drummer Mick Fleetwood—and bassist John McVie not soon after. Together, they formed Fleetwood Mac.

Even with so with another huge a blow to his band, Mayall kept an even-keel. It helped that he soon ferreted out another six-string master—18 year old Mick Taylor. Finding three such amazing players in a row makes Mayall seem like the brains behind Menudo, an act which subbed in new kids every time one got too old. Only in Mayall’s band, age wasn’t a factor and every young guitarist he hired turned out to be a genius.

John Mayall Crusade

The reborn band’s debut, ‘Crusade,” released in September of ’67, followed its predecessors path by shooting straight into the U.K. Top Ten. The music found Taylor in a commanding position. “He has a very elegant sound,” Mayall said. “He was more jazz influenced than Peter or Eric. but no one sounds like Mick, even today.”

The final album of an (unintentional) trilogy, Crusade is most notable for the appearance of a very young, pre-Rolling Stones Mick Taylor on lead guitar. Taylor’s performance is indeed the highlight, just as Eric Clapton and Peter Green’s playing was on the previous albums. The centerpiece of the album is a beautiful instrumental by Taylor titled “Snowy Wood,” which, while wholly original, seems to combine both Green and Clapton’s influence with great style and sensibility.

While it seems amazing that Mayall surfed so smoothly through all these fast changes, brisk switch-up weren’t at all unusual in the ’60s or early ’70s. The culture itself was moving at warp speed. Each year brought a whole new look, sound, and sensibility to the culture. The tender age of Mayall’s proteges also played a part. “They hadn’t much experience in playing,” he said. “They were in the process of finding their own style and finding out what they wanted to do in music. Being with my band helped them to develop rather more quickly than they might have done otherwise.”

“When one looks back you can see that speed,” of the changes, Mayall said. “But when you’re involved in it, you’re just doing a job, playing seven or eight gigs a week. You don’t have time to notice the big picture.”

John Mayall Bare Wires

To momentarily stave off more changes, Mayall pulled a fast one himself. He cut his next album The Blues Alone nearly entirely himself, penning all the songs and playing all the instruments save the one manned by drummer Keef Hartley. The album contains a rare example of Mayall playing lead guitar. It didn’t pay off commercially, but the bandleader rebounded strongly on 1968’s Bare Wires, his first album to crack the U.S. charts (reaching No. 59). “Wires” devoted a full side to a single suite, gave new reign to Taylor’s fluid guitar and provided a showcase for saxist extraordinaire Dick Heckstall-Smith.  The album began with a 23-minute “Bare Wires Suite,” which included more jazz influences than usual and featured introspective lyrics. In retrospect, all of this is a bit indulgent, but at the time it helped Mayallout of what had come to seem a blues straitjacket (although he would eventually return to a strict blues approach). It isn’t surprising that he dropped the “Bluesbreakers” name after this release.

Blues From Laurel Canyon (Remastered)

‘Wires’ marked the final album credited to the band name Bluesbreakers, but that wasn’t the strongest break Mayall made at that time. Late in ’68, he left England to take up full time residence in what was then the newest hotbed of musical creativity—Laurel Canyon. While that locale gave rise to the whole singer-songwriter renaissance, as well as to the CSNY axis of creativity, Mayall says he didn’t participate much in the scene. “The only person I met there was Frank Zappa,” he said. “But I fell in love with the place. It was everything I hoped America would be.”

Turning Point,

Mayall trumpeted that love on Blues From Laurel Canyon, a seamless work which ran all the songs together in rootsy reverie. Soaking up the mellow L.A. atmosphere had an even greater impact on his next album, aided by a key loss. In June of ’69 Taylor bolted to replace the just-deceased Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones. The jolt brought out something revolutionary in Mayall. For his next work—the aptly named The Turning Point.

Mayall ditched high-octane, top volume blues for an acoustic-based band that featured no drummer. “I just got tired of the same instrumentation,” the bandleader said. “With a drummer-less band, there are more dynamics and no one gets drowned out. People who heard about the album were very skeptical. Promoters were horrified that they were booking a band that had no drums. But I went ahead anyway.”

Mayall had key help from folk guitarist Jon Mark. A sensitive player, Mark had previously been part of an overlooked gem of a band, Sweet Thursday, which included piano wiz Nicky Hopkins and future Cat Stevens collaborator Alun Davies. For the new project, Mayall amped up the role of a sax and flute player he’d already collaborated with: Johnny Almond. Mayall’s inspiration for the radical project was the record The Train and The River by Jimmy Guiffry, which featured just guitar and sax. To nail the immediacy of his new approach, Mayall cut ‘The Turning Point’ live at The Fillmore East. One song, Room To Move became an FM staple, prized for its brisk rhythm and wild mouth-organ flourishes.

Empty Rooms

In this incarnation, the group put out one studio album, 1969’s Empty Rooms, Immediately afterwards, Mark and Almond broke off to form their own acoustic-jazz group, inventively named The Mark-Almond Band. Some thought they ran off with Mayall’s idea but the magnanimous bandleader prefers to view MAB simply as “a continuation” of the style. Either way, the defection paved the way for yet another creative leap, this one involving the dexterous guitarist Harvey Mandel (late of Canned Heat) and fusion violinist Don “Sugarcane” Harris. The latter had made key contributions to Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats as well as to great Mothers’ albums like Weasels Ripped My Flesh The new band issued USA Union in 1970, pushing the sound deeper into jazz while retaining the drummer-less motif. “For me, jazz and blues have always been intertwined,” Mayall said. “There’s no dividing line.”

Back to the Roots

As a perfect capper for Mayall’s classic era, he released Back To The Roots. in 1971, a work which briefly reunited him with Clapton, Taylor, Almond, and other great players from his past. Mayall says he has maintained good relationships with all of his starry graduates of his group in all the years since. Taylor, for one, has often returned to play with him. The bandleader harbors no jealousy for the successes his proteges have achieved with other bands, most of them far greater than his own. Mayall’s insistence on sticking with the blues, rather than moving into more pop friendly sounds, accounts for the disparity. He believes he had no choice in that. “Blues is the only thing I know how to play,” he said.

Over the past few decades, Mayall’s blues-rooted bands have given platforms to other significant, if less celebrated, guitarists, including Coco Montoya, Walter Trout and Buddy Whittington. His current band has no lead axeman at all, the better to let the three players shine. At 83, Mayall still tours 100 days of the year and records regularly. The latest album ranks as his 41st. “There’s never a shortage of ideas,” he said. “I just love music, and so I always want to explore it.

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Fleetwood Mac’s legendary three night performance at the Boston Tea Party, all in one vinyl box set.

Madfish Records presents Fleetwood Mac’s legendary Boston concert recordings from an earlier era of the band’s colourful history, featuring the classic blues line-up of Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer.

Originally recorded at the Boston Tea Party venue over three nights in February 1970, for a planned release later the same year, these recordings were left in the can, unissued, following leader Peter Green’s sudden decision to leave the band a few weeks after the dates.  Tracks from the shows were eventually released in various forms in the mid-80s but these releases were blighted by poor sound sources. The discovery of the original 8-track tapes and a number of previously unreleased tracks in the late 90s allowed the material to be re-mixed, re-mastered, and substantially overhauled for release on 3 separate CD volumes.

In 2013 the current incarnation of Fleetwood Mac embarked on a massive world tour. Dates in North America were followed by gigs around Europe, with Australia and New Zealand planned shortly. The dates so far saw the band playing sold-out shows to huge arena crowds and created another surge of interest in this much-loved band. Boston is a 3CD set which collects live recordings from an earlier era of the band’s colourful history. The set features the classic blues line-up of Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer. The discovery of the original 8-track tapes and a number of previously unreleased tracks in the late 90s allowed the material to be re-mixed, re-mastered, and substantially overhauled for release on 3 separate CD volumes. This new set brings together all of these re-mastered recordings a 3CD set to present a complete document of these historic shows. The set is packaged in a clam box with a 24 page book. The booklet contains new sleeve notes and reworked artwork.

This new set brings together all of these re-mastered recordings for the first time as a 4LP box set, and a 3CD box set, presenting a complete document of these historic shows.