Monday, October 29, 2007

The Essential Fleetwood Mac

The Essential Fleetwood Mac


Genre: Others

(Sony BMG)


LONG before Fleetwood Mac put together the blockbuster album Rumours (1977) and the superb comeback Tango in the Night (1987), the group was formed as a spin-off of seminal British blues outfit John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. While drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie rode a host of changes to lead a revamped version of the group to the promised land of multi-platinum sales, the original incarnation of Mac was a different beast altogether.

Powered by the sheer genius of singer/guitarist Peter Green, the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac made excellent plaintive blues music. Inspired by masters like Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King (whose style definitely influenced Green) and Elmore James, Fleetwood Mac was master of the art.

Mixing tasteful covers like those of Wolf’s No Place to Go and Little Willie John’s Need Your Love So Bad with scintillating originals like Black Magic Woman (yes, it was a Peter Green composition) and the spine-chilling Love That Burns (Green’s solo made me scream like a giddy schoolgirl), this incarnation of the Mac is magic. Check out the change of pace on the instrumental chart-topper Albatross.

Unfortunately even though they only lasted through three full albums of original material, I’ve yet to find a compilation that didn’t leave one essential track or another off its selection. In this case, Mac’s first two albums are very strongly represented, but there are glaring omissions in the form of highlights from the final Green album Then Play On (Oh Well, Closing My Eyes and Rattlesnake Shake) as well as a pair of hit singles, Man of the World and The Green Manalishi (and the Two-Pronged Clown).

It remains a tragedy that Green suffered a breakdown (followed eerily by his two proteges, guitarists Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan) and that the Mac lost its innocence. Still, despite the aforementioned absences, the music here is outstanding, and at less than RM30, this double CD collection is the best value-for-money purchase available in our record stores today.

Buy it now.

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