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  #1  
Old 11-25-2007, 07:29 AM
Tango Tango is offline
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Green of blues

MUSIC, MYTHS AND LEGENDS
By MARTIN VENGADESAN


Peter Green led a fantastic Fleetwood Mac before a drug habit ended it all for him.

CONSIDERING that the man founded the multi-platinum act Fleetwood Mac, and wrote two of the greatest rock singles of all time – Black Magic Woman (popularised, of course, by Santana) and Albatross (a massive-selling sublime instrumental) – it’s rather sad that I have to explain who Peter Green is. But his story is worth telling, to be sure!

Born into a Jewish family (his original name is Peter Greenbaum!), Green was present during the mid-1960s British blues boom. This was a time when The Yardbirds and The Rolling Stones took the lead from blues outfits led by Alexis Korner and John Mayall to shake up the scene, often on the back of revved-up covers of Chicago blues masters like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf.

Green was a fan of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and when Eric Clapton left to form Cream, Green nagged Mayall to let him try out. His persistence paid off ... Mayall said he just wanted to shut Green up and had no idea how good he was!

Clapton’s might have been huge shoes to fill, but Green did so with aplomb ... his playing on his debut with the Bluesbreakers, A Hard Road (1967), was top-notch, and his sparse style, influenced by the likes of B.B. King, was a lesson in good taste for guitarists who overdid the chops.

Mayall was a generous boss and A Hard Road featured Green compositions like The Same Way (on which Peter sang) and the smoking instrumental The Supernatural. Furthermore, for Green’s birthday he gave him some free studio time!

This backfired because Green used that time to record with the Bluesbreakers’ new rhythm section of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. So pleased was he with the recordings that the brash young Green decided to form a new group with Fleetwood (McVie was initially reluctant), thus leaving Mayall high and dry.

Along with blues enthusiast singer/guitarist Jeremy Spencer, Green put together a blues group called Fleetwood Mac. Yes, I know it’s a far cry from the famous Mac of Rumours (1977) and Tango in the Night (1987), but bear with me.


Back in 1967, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac was built on a repertoire that centred around tasteful interpretations (Little Willie John’s Need Your Love So Bad was given a glorious string arrangement and showcased Green’s underrated power as an emotional vocalist, while Spencer indulged his Elmore James fascination to the max). But the debut album, which rocketed into the UK Top 5, also contained the Green-penned Long Grey Mare and The World Keep on Turning.

From then on the Mac went into overdrive. Touring success in the United States brought a whole new audience, and a stylistic change for the dreamy instrumental Albatross brought a No.1 single. In fact, in 1969, Green’s band was outselling groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!

However, all was not well behind the scenes, for Spencer’s reluctance to contribute original music and play on Green’s compositions led to the addition of teenage guitarist Danny Kirwan. As the band tried to grow beyond its original blues manifesto, its exposure to hippie culture and drugs that pervaded it was to eventually prove disastrous.

Still, the music got better and better. After a second album, Mr. Wonderful, highlighted by Green’s finest slow blues song Love That Burns, Green’s songwriting became inspired both by the excellent twin guitar lines he played with Kirwan (forget the Allman Brothers and Wishbone Ash, I think it started with Green and Kirwan!) and the frantic times he lived in.

It all came to a head in the late 1960s. By now the jeans-and-jacket working man Green was a bearded hippie in robes, and his songwriting was both visionary and troubling. His final full-length album with the Mac was the masterly Then Play On. It centred on the rocking epic Oh Well (providing a blueprint for adventurous guitarists) while the sheer melancholy of Closing My Eyes was offset by the sexy, grinding riffs of Rattlesnake Shake (ironically a song extolling the virtues of masturbation).

A pair of non-album hit singles, the desolate folk tune Man of the World and the intoxicating The Green Manalishi (and the Two-Pronged Clown), completed Green’s brilliant work during this period.

Unfortunately, in retrospect, the sheer power of The Green Manalishi lies in the fact that it chronicles the sound of Green’s own drug-fuelled breakdown. After over-exposure to LSD, he had a vision that his band should forgo monetary rewards and play to support causes such as children who were displaced by war.

He eventually broke down and was followed eerily by his proteges Spencer (who disappeared on tour to join a cult) and Kirwan (whose alcoholism led to a period of homelessness.) After a patchy solo career (highlighted by the free-form End of the Game), Green eventually rediscovered himself in the mid-1990s with the solid but safe Splinter Group.

By that time, however, McVie and Fleetwood had ridden a host of changes to lead a new group bearing the same name to superstardom. As great as Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks are, they simply cannot match the original master when his star shone at its brightest.

Martin Vengadesan, a music lover and history buff, combines his two passions in his fortnightly column. If you have any interesting stories you want him to research, do drop him a line.

-Sunday November 25, 2007

http://http://www.star-ecentral.com/...2406&sec=music
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2007, 09:49 PM
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Wouter Vuijk Wouter Vuijk is offline
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Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Green of blues

MUSIC, MYTHS AND LEGENDS
By MARTIN VENGADESAN


Peter Green led a fantastic Fleetwood Mac before a drug habit ended it all for him.

Martin Vengadesan, a music lover and history buff, combines his two passions in his fortnightly column. If you have any interesting stories you want him to research, do drop him a line.

-Sunday November 25, 2007

http://http://www.star-ecentral.com/...2406&sec=music
So what's new, dear Martin, to all regulars of The Ledge?
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:06 AM
dino dino is offline
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Originally Posted by Wouter Vuijk View Post
So what's new, dear Martin, to all regulars of The Ledge?
I second that, Wouter
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:02 PM
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Neb-Maat-Re Neb-Maat-Re is offline
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Originally Posted by Wouter Vuijk View Post
So what's new, dear Martin, to all regulars of The Ledge?
Well, at least it's more accurate and factual than most of these profiles.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:58 PM
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sharksfan2000 sharksfan2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Neb-Maat-Re View Post
Well, at least it's more accurate and factual than most of these profiles.
Although it's not accurate on this part:
Quote:
when Eric Clapton left to form Cream, Green nagged Mayall to let him try out. His persistence paid off ... Mayall said he just wanted to shut Green up and had no idea how good he was!
When Clapton left the Bluesbreakers for Cream, Mayall knew very well how good Green was - after all Green had played with him for a week the previous summer when Clapton went AWOL, and he lived in a flat downstairs from Mayall at the time. Most likely the author is thinking of that earlier occasion in '65.....Mayall has said that Green kept pestering him to let him play, as Green kept telling him that he was better than the guitarist Mayall had filling in for Clapton at the time.
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