THE BARGAIN BUY: Fleetwood Mac; 3 Original Album Classics

 |   |  2 min read

Fleetwood Mac: The World Keep on Turning
THE BARGAIN BUY: Fleetwood Mac; 3 Original Album Classics

This struck me as funny: shortly after posting a front page mention of "the most famous line-up" of Fleetwood Mac playing New Zealand dates I got a sharp e-mail from a fellow who said, "Fleetwood Mac were famous before those Americans joined".

Leaving aside the difference between "most famous" and "famous" -- and I maintain the line-up with "the Americans" which sold about 50 million albums in a decade from about '75 is pretty famous indeed -- there was also the issue of "famous" itself.

Yep, Fleetwood Mac in another form did exist before their global conquest, but whether that British blues band was "famous" or just "well-known" is the sticking point.

My correspondent -- whom I take to be British because of that "Americans" comment -- was perhaps a fan of the original band back in the Sixties and so for him, and anyone wanting to find out about the pre-famous well-known British FMac, we draw attention to this three CD collection.

It consists of their first two albums (the self-titled debut and Mr Wonderful of '68) and the '69 collection Pious Bird of Good Omen which included their hit single Albatross.

At this time the band really were an implosion of British blues talent with guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie coming over from John Mayall's Blues Breakers, and genius guitarist Jeremy Spencer also in the ranks.

That debut is pure Brit-blues with their versions of Robert Johnson's Hellhound on my Trail (as a piano blues featuring Spenser on keys), Elmore James' Shake Your Money Maker and Howlin' Wolf's No Place to Go alongside genre originals by Spencer and Green. It was rightly acclaimed at the time although hasn't aged quite as well as you might have wished.

Mr Wonderful didn't enjoy such critical and popular acclaim on its release as it largely reiterated the points made better on that debut and Spenser's slide playing seemed to get a bit of overkill. Interestingly though some piano parts were played by Christine Perfect (of Chicken Shack) who would later become Mrs McVie and join the band. There was also a horn section and Duster Bennett (later to join Mayall's Blues Breakers) played harmonica on some tracks.

Pious Bird was an odd album which seemed to slip out as the group's third album but was in fact a cobbled together colection of UK singles and B-sides, and a couple of songs recorded with Clarksdale-born blues pianist/singer Eddie Boyd.

Among the highpoints of course are the dreamy and timeless Albatross and Black Magic Woman (both penned by Peter Green).

So here is a pre-famous Fleetwood Mac that was well-known . . . but not the "most famous" line-up.

JB_logoThe enticement here -- aside from some terrific blues playing by Green and Spenser (both of whom would become seriously disturbed individuals and leave the band) is that these three albums come in at a very reasnable $13 at JB Hi-Fi stores here.

And that's why the set is this week's Bargain Buy. 

Share It

Your Comments

Graham Dunster - Apr 13, 2015

The Blue Horizon label was the link between Chicken Shack, Duster Bennett and Fleetwood Mac. Personally I rate Green Manalishi as their best track, fame or no fame!

Jeff Rowe - Apr 16, 2015

I used to (may still) own the album they did with Eddie Boyd - 7396 South Rhodes. Had it on vinyl and may even have tracked it down on CD as well. Must check it out - remember it being pretty good!

Jeff Rowe - Apr 22, 2015

Found it. Listened. Pretty good!

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: Talking Heads; Speaking in Tongues

THE BARGAIN BUY: Talking Heads; Speaking in Tongues

Prior to this jerky and funky album in 1983, Talking Heads had been critically acclaimed for more than five years on the back of albums which were considered taut, arty, intellectual and even a bit... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Cheap Trick, The Box Set Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: Cheap Trick, The Box Set Series

Elsewhere is on record as saying one of the most memorable and exciting rock concerts in our opinion was Cheap Trick at the Auckland Town Hall in '79 when they were at the top of their fame.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Reem Kelani: Sprinting Gazelle (2006)

Reem Kelani: Sprinting Gazelle (2006)

Subtitled "Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora", this sometimes astonishing debut album remains breathtaking in its scope -- from a lullaby to a moving song of... > Read more

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas: Don't Forget to Remember

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas: Don't Forget to Remember

A hot Monday morning and I'm sitting outside of what remains of the old Alamo in the centre of San Antonio, Texas. From here the Crockett Hotel looms above the old mission, and street cars and... > Read more