by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of one of the greatest guitar heroes ever to pick a note, the legendary Peter Green. This guitar genius 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." Enjoy these great videos celebrating the birthday of this master of electric blues.
This is the blues player about whom the legendary BB King said, "He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats." No small praise from one of the greatest blues guitarists in history! Another from the great BB: "Peter Green has more talent in his little finger than I have in my whole body." Some backstory from past posts:
Peter Green 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.
Last year I had some links that are no longer good, but after persevering, I found one performance that is beyond great! Here is an awesome delivery of the Otis Rush classic "Homework" from 1968 in France. From the same show, "My Baby Sweet" ("My Baby's Good to Me") and "Please Find My Baby" (written by Elmore James, it's a reworked version of his legendary "Dust My Broom." The slide work is magnificent!)
Here are even more great live performances from one of the greatest blues bands in history. Enjoy!
An historic live show of "Rattlesnake Shake" by Peter and Fleetwood Mac at the Playboy Club probably late 1969. (Hef's sounding erudite!)
Another great live performance of "Rattlesnake Shake" in Helsinki, 14 Sept. 1969.
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,
From "Top of the Pops," 1970, "Albatross"
A great live video of Fleetwood Mac doing Danny Kirwin's "Like Crying" in 1969.
4 minutes of live Fleetwood Mac.
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.
For your enjoyment, here's Peter Green and friends doing "Black Magic Woman."
Here's Peter and friends doing the awesome "Oh Well." at the Bluesgarage in 2009. Here's Peter and friends doing Oh Well and Albatross at the Cornbury Festival 2009. From the same festival, here's more. Here's even more.
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!
A single from 1967 when they were still a 4 piece band, the great Elmore James' "I Believe My Time Ain't Long"
The legendary Robert Johnson number, "Sweet Home Chicago."
Though not written by Peter, this song is still a great piece of work. Here's "Coming Your Way" (Live for the BBC in 1970). Another great version that's totally instrumental, here's Fleetwood Mac doing "Coming Your Way"Live in Boston at the Tea Party. From the same Boston concert, "Jumping At Shadows.
I found a whole concert of live audio. From the Roundhouse Chalk Farm in April 1970, here's Peter's hauntingly beautiful composition "Before the Beginning." From the same show, "Underway," "Coming Your Way" and "Rattlesnake Shake."
Here are audios of a concert in Stockholm on my birthday, 1970! These are some great versions!! For your listening pleasure, "Coming Your Way," and "Loving Kind," and "Albatross." (The rest just took too long to load!)
Another live audio from the Fillmore East in NYC in 1969 "Before the Beginning."
Here are a few more early Fleetwood Mac songs showcasing Peter's guitar mastery:
The original studio version of "Albatross."
Here's a live audio from Jan 1970 in New Orleans of "Albatross."
The original studio version of Black Magic Woman. (The version that inspired Carlos Santana!)
A great live audio version from 1970 of Black Magic Woman.
A fantastic live audio from Boston of "Black Magic Woman."
Here's an interesting Kolors performance of Peter doing Black Magic Woman.
From "Then Play On," "Before the Beginning"
From the 1968 album "English Rose," Jigsaw Blues by Danny Kirwin.
An early demo of Danny and Peter doing "Wet Weather Blues,"
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.
A brief piece from a documentary on Fleetwood Mac: Crazy Fleetwood Mac
Peter, thanks for showing us all how magical a guitar can be in the right hands! May you have many more years of playing the blues, turning new generations on to the electric magic of a guitar played by a master. Infinite gratitude from your countless fans! You're still an amazing musician. Glad you're with us, and Happy Birthday!
Copyright © 2010 Robert Wilkinson