Discovering Peter Green
MY OLDER SISTER used to go out with a very clued-up and musical drummer when we lived up in north Northumberland in the mid-60s. David was into every kind of music and would bring all these great albums into the house; not just the usual 60s suspects but things like Graham Bond, Zoot Money, Albert King with Booker T, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and, of course, John Mayall.
Mayall’s Beano album had come out the previous year and one day David came over with a new Mayall album. I was mega excited since I’d been blown away by Clapton’s input into the 1966 release (which David had also introduced us to), and expected to hear more of his incredible wailing. My initial disappointment at there being no Eric quickly turned into a musical love affair with this new guy whose name, I soon discovered, was Peter Green.
We then got every Green-related recording we could, including compilations, that came out. He too then left Mayall, to be replaced by the third in the infamous trio, Mick Taylor.
But within a year Peter was back on the scene, having pirated Mayall’s rhythm section to form his own band, Fleetwood Mac. The first result of this I heard was the single, Need Your Love So Bad (which Mick Taylor reviewed in one of the music papers saying the strings (ie violins, cellos, etc) were ‘a bit slushy’.
Anyway, I was hooked. And while mildly let down by the debut album which seemed more about Elmore James and Elvis parodies than the melodic blues I was expecting, the band’s singles never let me down. Green’s abilities as a songwriter had been hinted at on that Mayall album (A Hard Road) with tracks like The Supernatural and The Same Way, but he hit a new stride in Fleetwood Mac with songs like The Green Manalishi, Oh Well and Man Of The World. I’m sure six-string sparring partner Danny Kirwan spurred Peter on in the playing department, since there was some stunning interplay between them.
It’s this Fleetwood Mac era of Peter’s playing that Phil Capone has focused on this month. Phil’s a big fan too, so you can be sure of a wonderful selection of playing and part arranging to whet your appetite. Have fun!