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I remember first hearing the pop styling of Fleetwood Mac very early in my youth on classic rock radio. They always seemed like one of those classic era bands that were always talked about in some way or another. Later on as I began to really investigate classic rock I did seek out their music and felt satisfied by a lengthy "Best of" collection... well that was until I started playing guitar and discovered Peter Green.
In case there is anyone who may not know, Peter Green was the original founding guitarist of Fleetwood Mac, developing them into a sort of hard edged, slightly progressive blues band during the late 60s. He left before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham came to the band in the 70s. Although I can appreciate the Nicks/Buckingham era of the band as well, I think I'll always prefer the Peter Green era, and especially Green's inspired playing.
I find it rather upsetting that outside of guitar circles this era of the band is often overlooked. I simply cannot remember the last time I heard early Fleetwood Mac on classic rock radio and they always seem to choose Santana's "Black Magic Woman", over the Green version. Both are great in my opinion, but it took years of hearing the song before I even found out that it was not a Santana original...a testament as to how often the original is played.
To help perhaps expose a few new people to the early works of Fleetwood Mac, as well as this amazing guitarist and musician, I thought I would include a few clips of the band playing live from my favorite source of concert footage, Youtube. I picked two. The first is one of my favorite songs from Fleetwood Mac, and the second is also one of my favorites, but better demonstrates Green's more traditional blues guitar prowess.
Here's Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac playing "Oh Well":
And the second is of "World Keep on Turning":
Now, if this is your first look at the early days of this band you might be a bit shocked... I know I was when I first heard these songs. Although the musical evolution didn't exactly happen over night, it's still might sound drastic. I really prefer this earlier version actually, and not just from a guitarist standpoint.
Both of these clips are a great look at the guitar work of Peter Green as well as the early Fleetwood Mac. His style on guitar has sometimes been compared to B.B. King in style, but I always thought he was a little rougher and a little more into the progressive than King and some of the other early electric blues players that were his influences. It's really a matter of opinion and either way, whether its on the twisting blues stomp riff of "Oh Well" or the dark gritty blues of "World Keep Turning" he really pours himself into his guitar work and plays some great licks that fit perfectly with the song.
Peter Green not only helped to create some of the most soulful music and guitar playing of the late 60s era with Fleetwood Mac, but remains one of my favorite guitarists of all time. This is just a small tribute, but if it's sparked your interest, make sure to check out the first few (4 I think) Fleetwood Mac albums. Peter Green also worked with the Bluesbreakers around the time Eric Clapton left, so you can find him tearing it up there as well,
AND the reason I decided to write this little tribute... there is also a DVD that has either been released, or will be soon, called Man of the World: The Peter Green Story, make sure to keep an eye out, sounds like a good one.