by Robert Wilkinson
Today we send a huge shout out happy birthday to one of the greatest guitar heroes ever to pick a note, the legendary Peter Green. For those who don't know who he is, he founded Fleetwood Mac in 1967 and wrote some of the most haunting songs ever recorded, including "The Supernatural," "Black Magic Woman," "Oh Well," and the amazing "Green Manalishi." Today we have some great videos to celebrate the birthday of this master of the electric blues.
A brief history: He replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and recorded the early Mayall masterwork "A Hard Road." He then went on to found Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac with other alumni of Mayall's English blues incubator. This was a different Fleetwood Mac than most know, since they were the height of hard core British electric blues, and not the pop rock and roll group of the mid-70s.
With 3 guitars including Danny Kirwin and the amazing slide work of Jeremy Spenser they forged an entirely different sound altogether. The band was (and are) considered one of the greatest electric blues band ever to come out of the UK. In 1969 Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac sold more records in Great Britain than the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Yes, they were THAT good!
I had the incredible experience of seeing Peter play in Austin in December 1969 when Fleetwood Mac opened for Jethro Tull on the latter's "Stand Up" tour, complete with wildman Ian Anderson leaping on stage high kicking in his chequered coat complete with long tails.
It was truly one of the most amazing concerts I've ever seen. That night, Peter was a very long hairy creature in a long white robe, looking like some kind of ancient biblican figure playing a screaming version of electric blues-rock that was stunning in its impact. While I didn't find much from that American tour, I did find a lot of performance material from that era, so enjoy!
And now, on with the festivities featuring some great video performances!
A great live performance of Rattlesnake Shake by Peter and Fleetwood Mac at the Playboy Club probably late 1969. (Hef's sounding erudite!)
A truly great live performance of the legendary Oh Well from the BBC "Monster Music Mash" in 1969.
Update: Unfortunately, since I originally posted this article, every clip of the French performance video has been blocked by someone who thinks they have the right to do such things. Obviously greed got in the way of culture. Sorry.
Here's a trio of musical treats from a 1968 live performance in France! First, an awesome delivery of the Otis Rush classic Homework.
A good live performance of Need Your Love So Bad probably from 1968.
We finish out the performance videos with a few more Fleetwood Mac live performances from the late 1960s,
Here's a great music video of Peter and the band performing Man of the World.
Another music video of a live performance of Shake Your Moneymaker.
Here's a treat! A great 10 minute video of the history of early Fleetwood Mac, with interviews with Mick Fleetwood and John McVey and a lot of footage of the band when they were known as "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac." Great video performance clips.
After many years in the proverbial desert, Peter came back to create the Peter Green Splinter Group. Though much different than Fleetwood Mac, they're definitely worth checking out!
Here's the Peter Green Splinter Group performing an incredibly beautiful live audio version of his first classic, The Supernatural.
Here's a great video of the Peter Green Splinter Group performing his last masterwork, "The Green Manalishi." Several more fantastic versions of this harrowing self-confessional are at the end of the article.
These are audios from the 60s, some live!
Here's the original album version of the first song of his I heard, The Supernatural featuring Peter playing with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Whether the version above or this one, it's still an extraordinarily haunting blues piece!
Here are a few more early Fleetwood Mac songs showcasing Peter's guitar mastery:
The original audio version of Black Magic Woman.
A great live audio version from 1970 of Black Magic Woman.
Here's another live audio version of Black Magic Woman.
From "Then Play On," the original album tracks:
The entire 9 minute version of Oh Well - If you've never heard the whole thing, prepare for a truly classic two part song, the second as beautiful as the first part is frenetic.
From the 1968 album "English Rose," Jigsaw Blues by Danny Kirwin.
And now for "The Green Manalishi (with the two pronged crown)," which was its original title.
I found a truly amazing 7 and a half minute music video which includes segments of an extended live performance of The Green Manalishi. - A great version of the song, and a good video to boot! Another version here.
Here's the studio version of The Green Manalishi.
Here's an interesting live performance of The Green Manalishi by Fleetwood Mac long after Peter had left.
Thanks for the tunes across the decades, Peter. You're still one of the best!
Copyright © 2008 Robert Wilkinson