blues

A mu­si­cal gi­ant and a trail­blazer in the Bri­tish blues boom, Peter Green’s in­flu­ence still res­onates. Les David­son feels the love so bad!

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Les David­son ex­plores the won­der­ful style of Fleet­wood Mac’s Peter Green.

Fleet­wood Mac founder and for­mer Blues­breaker, Peter Green was a pi­o­neer­ing mu­si­cian and gui­tarist and a key player in the Bri­tish blues boom of the 1960s. His ex­quis­ite touch, taste and pas­sion were revered by his mu­si­cal peers, and thus Peter has left an in­deli­ble im­print on the style of many gui­tarists who've fol­lowed in his wake.

“Peter Green, he has the sweet­est tone I ever heard,” said BB King of Green, who was born Peter Green­baum in 1946 in the East End of Lon­don. Like many fu­ture gui­tar he­roes his first gui­tar was a cheap Span­ish hand-me-down. With cov­ers band Bobby Den­nis And The Domi­noes he de­vel­oped a love for Hank Marvin and The Shad­ows, and melody would play a huge part in his work from that point on. He went on to play in a va­ri­ety of groups, in­clud­ing The Muskrats, The Tri­dents and Peter B’s Loon­ers, where he met drum­mer Mick Fleet­wood.

Green came to promi­nence with John May­all’s Blues­break­ers, on the 1967 al­bum A Hard Road. He was step­ping into the space left by Eric Clap­ton – it was a big ask to fill those shoes, but fill them he did! Peter was a mu­si­cal force to be reck­oned with and it wasn’t long be­fore he left May­all to form Peter Green’s Fleet­wood Mac with Mick Fleet­wood and John McVie.

Mike Ver­non had been May­all’s pro­ducer at Decca records, and when Ver­non launched his own Blue Hori­zon la­bel he was quick to snap up this newly-formed su­per­group. Fleet­wood Mac’s first two al­bums, Fleet­wood Mac and Mr Won­der­ful were huge com­mer­cial suc­cesses, and Peter was rapidly be­com­ing the star of the band. Sadly, psy­chi­atric dif­fi­cul­ties forced his early de­par­ture in 1970 and has largely thwarted his mu­si­cal out­put ever since.

Dur­ing his hey­day Peter Green in­flu­enced world gi­ants in­clud­ing Car­los San­tana, Gary Moore and Joe Bonamassa, so his style is still heard in the gen­er­a­tions of play­ers that came af­ter him – Noel Gal­lagher cites him as the best Bri­tish blues gui­tarist, while Gary Moore said he had the most au­then­tic feel. His im­pact was ac­knowl­edged in 1998 when he was in­ducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Fleet­wood Mac.

Peter plays mainly with a pick and, while his im­pro­vi­sa­tion is steeped in blues, you’ll also hear arpeg­gio lines, which add an ex­cit­ing melodic shape to his so­los. The two ex­am­ples here are in­flu­enced by the phras­ing Peter favoured in early Fleet­wood Mac days.

NEXT MONTH Les ex­am­ines the play­ing of the enig­matic, trou­bled ge­nius Roy Buchanan

The blues – it’s a kind of re­li­gion re­ally Peter Green

Peter Green (left) with John McVie. They left May­all to form Fleet­wood Mac

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