In a short period of time, our world, at least my world, my musical world, has changed substantially. While their recorded music remains some of my favorite artists have “left the arena” causing me difficulties, especially in reference to those whom I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing “live”, the way music should be heard.
I’m still reeling from the death of my all time favorite guitarist, one who we saw “live” only a few weeks before, JEFF BECK, when we hear the news that DAVID CROSBY passed away.To be brutally honest, DAVID CROSBY was a unbelievable singer, one who offered angelic harmonies but I could do without his pre-song rants. Over the years I had the opportunity to see him four times, in1969 &1970 @ FILLMORE EAST with CSN&Y, then in 2022: FREEDOM OF SPEECH REUNION TOUR again with CSNY and most recently December of 2013 @ CITY WINERY,NYC as a solo artist. The boy could sing.
JEFF BECK on the other hand avoided the microphone at all costs, he let his guitar “sing” for him. We were fortunate enough to have seen BECK in nine variations of his band(s).“It’s so difficult because I didn’t sing. Eric [Clapton] said, and it was words of great wisdom, ‘Get used to the fact that you hate your voice, because I did.’ And I went, ‘But you sound good, I sound unbearably bad. I loathe it. I would never enjoy it even if we had another single like [Hi Ho] Silver Lining, I just couldn’t bear it,’” said Beck.
But only just a few weeks ago we had the passings of:
FRED WHITE (drummer EARTH,WIND & FIRE), he a fabulous time keeper.
ANITA POINTER (singer) Way back in 1971, sitting for two shows at FILLMORE EAST the ELVIS BISHOP GROUP rocks the house. He had not one but 4 female singers on the stage with him, The four were 3 POINTER SISTERS (yes, those POINTER SISTERS) and JO BAKER lead singer. They were magical, upbeat, and F-U-N.
DINO DANELLI: One of my all time favorite drummers (1968 THE RASCALS @ SINGER BOWL, then The “Once Upon A Time” tour, December 13 and 15 ,2012 The Capitol Theater- Port Chester and again April 27,2013 @ The Richard Rogers Theater on Broadway).
KIM SIMMONDS: Guitarist/Founder of SAVOY BROWN; numerous time with an ever changing cast of players but my favorite times (twice) with CHRIS YOULDEN on vocals, Roger Earl on the kit, Tone Stevens-bass, and Lonesome Dave- guitar/vocals.
CHRISTINE McVIE: She was the one and only, the true soul of FLEETWOOD MAC. After PETER GREEN left there was a huge void in what was FLEETWOOD MAC. Christine filled that void as best she could AND kept the band moving on.Her songwriting, playing, and singing was extraordinary.August 1970@ Fillmore East.
GARY BROOKER: PROCOL HARUM; an original founding member of the band, keyboardist and vocalist. I saw/heard the band live with MATTHEW FISHER (twice) and ROBIN TROWER (5 times) but only once after their departures.
Also 2022: In alphabetical order:
THOM BELL: The TRUE SOUl of PHILADELPHIA SOUL
LAMONT DOZIER of Motown’s famed songwriting partnership HOLLAND,DOZIER, and HOLLAND.
OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN: Singer, actress
NAOMI JUDD: The Judds
SAM LAY: drummer
JERRY LEE LEWIS: rock innovator
RAMSEY LEWIS: jazz pianist “The In-Crowd”
LORETTA LYNN: Country music icon
IAN MCDONALD:multi-instrumentalist(Mellotron) King Crimson
Many moons ago I saw a “perfect” woman take the stage of FILLMORE EAST, something I was not expecting. At that moment I was a bit disappointed as a major shift of personnel for the band I wished to hear had drastically changed. A few weeks prior to this engagement I had purchased tickets to see (Peter Green’s) FLEETWOOD MAC and up until the days prior to that night I was wholly anticipating seeing one of my favorite guitarists and “his” band once again. Then, well…he disappears. On my turntable at the time was the album “Fleetwood Mac” aka “The Garbage Can Cover”. Back on November 22,1969 I experienced JOE COCKER with THE GREASE BAND, FLEETWOOD MAC (with Peter Green) and an opening act of KING CRIMSON at Fillmore East in New York City. This billing was a memorable one as CRIMSON blew the house down in the opening 35 minutes. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC topped it with its one hour plus set. While COCKER had the head bill he carried a severe liability. After FLEETWOOD MAC left the stage THE GREASE BAND was musically no match for either act. I was in awe of CRIMSON and MAC. I had to see FLEETWOOD MAC again.‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Albatross‘, ‘Man of the World’, ‘Oh Well’ and ‘The Green Manalishi’ all rang in my head in great anticipation. But unbeknownst to me PETER GREEN left the band May 1970.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF: August 29,1970: SAVOY BROWN/ FLEETWOOD MAC/ FAIRPORT CONVENTION@FILLMORE EAST. Back to Fillmore East for what would be one of my favorite shows for the summer of 70. This one featured Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, and Fairport Convention all British acts sharing the bill. Fairport once had Sandy Denny who was not in the band any longer but still had Richard Thompson on guitar/vocals. Fleetwood Mac was missing Peter Green (the main attraction guitar/vocals)which was a huge disappointment to me but this newer FLEETWOOD MAC now had Christine Perfect (John McVie’s wife) on board full time (keyboards and vocals) and they did some KILN HOUSE stuff which rocked. Savoy Brown was Kim Simmonds but Chris Youlden (vocals) was no longer a member. Lonesome Dave did the voice and shades of FOGHAT were born.
This new version of FLEETWOOD MAC, one of many more versions to come, had this new piano player, a singer who offered different styles of songs and rearrangements of older material AND she was a “looker” as was said at the time. As much as I was disappointed in not seeing PETER GREEN there was something about this new beginning to FLEETWOOD MAC that excited me.
CHRISTINE PERFECT McVIE became a permanent member of the band. The BOB WELCH version was up next with “Future Games” and then “Bare Trees” both lps moving THE MAC further from their original blues based origin but closer to what the band would become. Then,“Penguin” the band added BOB WESTON (slide guitar) and (IMO horrendous) vocalist DAVE WALKER (from Savoy Brown #7). The “Mystery To Me” era, WALKER is fired so vocal duties are split between WELCH and CHRISTINE. Its release has the band back on heavy radio rotation. However, the drama known as FLEETWOOD MAC rears its ugly head again as MICK FLEETWOOD finds out that his beautiful wife JENNY BOYD (George Harrison’s sister in law) is having an affair with BOB WESTON, BOB is ultimately fired and the band cuts the tour short moving back to England.There, as a four piece they record “Heroes Are Hard To Find”, a beautiful collection of tunes sung perfectly by WELCH and CHRISTINE.
Unfortunately, meanwhile back in the States…CLIFFORD DAVIS longtime manager of said FLEETWOOD MAC going back to their blues days (1967 in England) was upset with the band for cancelling the tour midway through. He decides to have FLEETWOOD MAC book a new tour of the U.S., a tour without any members of FLEETWOOD MAC participating. Unbeknown to the concert going public, we buy tickets.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF: January 26,1974, Academy of Music- FLEETWOOD MAC/KISS/SILVERHEAD. I’m there for FLEETWOOD MAC. SILVERHEAD, well I had no idea who they were, still don’t. KISS was on a return performance from their debut at the same venue on New Years Eve. That night their set was cut short as Gene Simmons set his hair on fire.This night, KISS set the entire venue of 3000 on fire, not literally. A great show with lights, fire breathing, fully costumed performers and ear drum shattering loudness. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC appears. I notice MICK FLEETWOOD is not on the kit, No John McVie, No Christine…strange looks all around the crowd, “Who are these guys?”, guys playing instrumentals and no noticeable MAC tunes. Boos start, getting louder by the moment. An announcement is made that refund vouchers are available at the box office, to which I took my two. This was a bogus FLEETWOOD MAC, a band put together by the alleged owner (a past manager) of the “brand name” FLEETWOOD MAC. This “band” hit the road while the true members were sorting out problems with alcohol, drugs, relationships, etc. Immediately after this, the true band members grab the reins, moves to The States (were the touring money was), BOB WELCH leaves and FLEETWOOD MAC hire Buckingham and Nicks, the rest is history, or…
The 10th album, recorded by the 10th lineup of the band in 8 years time, 1975’s FLEETWOOD MAC took one full year to finally run up to the top of the charts. February of 1977 “Rumours” is released, a true “pop” album. No shades of the original band of 67 existed any longer. However, CHRISTINE as a vocalists continues to shine. The album explodes, Number 1 for weeks/months at a time.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF: June 30, 1977- FLEETWOOD MAC @ Madison Square Garden. In my collection of memorabilia I saved John Rockwell’s NYTimes review of FLEETWOOD MAC’S “Rumours Tour” stop at Madison Square Garden, for what reason I don’t know. The show was great for its time but I longed for Peter Green’s FLEETWOOD MAC. This band was so much different. Overall I thought the show was pretty good.
(partial from Rockwell) FLEETWOOD MAC’s debut Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden—the first of two performances there—was a confirmation of its newly won status as this country’s most popular and best poprock band—except for, maybe the Eagles. And by and large it was a superior show to the group’s outing earlier this year at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, L.I. With one crucial exception.That exception was Stevie Nicks. Miss Nicks, along with Lindsey Buckingham, gave the three British veterans in the band the spark that lifted Fleetwood Mac into its current status. Miss Nicks composes wonderfully sinuous, mystically compelling songs, she is about as alluring a performer as rock can offer and, at her best, she sings with a huskily seductive individuality.
But she had two problems Wednesday. The first and less important had to do with her onstage manner. Always a languorous wanderer as a performer, she pushed her lackadaisical loopiness too far. She managed to come in on cue and to remember her words, but at her worst she looked like a glamorous female equivalent of Joe Cocker, and in general her slack meanderings were more a cause for concern than for fascination.
Far more serious was the state of her voice. Miss Nicks has nodes on her vocal chords, and her condition has worsened appreciably since the Nassau date only three months ago. The band canceled its sold‐out Syracuse concert Tuesday because of her throat, but it didn’t seem to help much.
It was at this point in time that I gave up all hope that FLEETWOOD MAC would be the MAC I remembered, this was a very different ensemble. My taste did not lean toward a twirling, spinning woman dressed in black. I preferred the blonde playing piano and singing off to the side. RIP, CHRISTINE McVIE.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF:(THE REAL and FAKE) FLEETWOOD MAC-Various Nights in Various Places with Various People
(1968) I’m a sixteen year old, living across the street from a nineteen year old college student, a bohemian kinda guy who enjoyed music as much as I did. When he had time to be seen with a young punk we would (occasionally) engage in a conversation about the bands he saw. He told me about The LOVING SPOONFUL early on in their career, a little later THE AIRPLANE, and once he mentioned seeing FLEETWOOD MAC(December of 1968 @ Steve Paul’s THE SCENE ). This guy raved about the group, especially their singer/ guitarist. I jotted the name of the band in my trusty notebook thinking this is a band to be on the look out for. Then,I heard nothing about them for quite some time and no matter where I searched I could not find any of their recordings. A few months passed (early 69) when I found A Hard Road (February 1967 release date), the third John Mayall album (and the first to feature Peter Green who I still did not know was the singer/guitarist in question). “A Hard Road” was amazing, especially “The Stumble” which I thought would make the perfect “break song” for my band, “Another Kinda Love”, and …”The Supernatural”. Who is this guitarist?Peter Green? Who?
My kid brother was a THREE DOG NIGHT fan and a budding concert goer. Pop always said it was the double breasted suits, Beatle boots, and music which led him astray from the priesthood. So, with a few friends he attended a July 1969 show at THE (NYS) PAVILION in Queens, NY. On the bill was FLEETWOOD MAC.While my brother raved about how fantastic THREE DOG NIGHT’s performance was, he said little about FLEETWOOD MAC except to say I would like them. A few nights later my buddies (sans me) saw Ten Years After @ WOLLMAN RINK in Manhattan and lo and behold FLEETWOOD MAC opened. The guys loved both bands. For me it was another missed opportunity. But alas, a few weeks later I found “Then Play On” in the record store, also “Fleetwood Mac”, the one with the garbage can on the cover. I was mesmerized by the music, and now realized Peter Green from Mayall’s “A Hard Road” was the guitarist/singer in question.
Then, it was my turn,November 22,1969@Fillmore East, JOE COCKER and THE GREASE BAND headlining with FLEETWOOD MAC and KING CRIMSON as support bands; I saw Cocker in August, Crimson was unheard of (another story)…It was a Fleetwood Mac night to remember, at least for me. PETER GREEN was phenomenal as was the rest of the band. So,so good they were.My girlfriend thought they were not even close to Cocker’s Grease Band. What?I need to rethink girlfriends.
Two months later, Friday night, January 23, 1970 FLEETWOOD MAC is headlining locally (Island Park) at The Action House with Frost opening. Knowing I had QUICKSILVER tickets for the next night I only stayed for one, long fabulous set by THE MAC. Again, they did not disappoint and Peter Green was brilliant…”Black Magic Woman”,”The Supernatural”, “Albatross”,“The Green Manalishi”, “Rattlesnake Shake” (which went on for about 15 minutes),”Jumping at Shadows”,and “Shake Your Moneymaker”.Whew.
A few years ago I was discussing the merits of DUANE ALLMAN with a like minded spirit when the guy told me his remembrance of the JANIS JOPLIN/ GRATEFUL DEAD show at FILLMORE EAST February 11, 1970. JOPLIN was debuting her new band@ Fillmore East. At the late show the DEAD were doing their thing when they invited Duane Allman (Allman Bros. opened the show) AND Peter Green up to the stage for a jam.Peter was in town as Fleetwood Mac was opening for SLY and The FAMILY STONE at Madison Square Garden.Recently I listened to a decent recording of this event and, well, mind-blowing is all I can say.
After these performances (late 69 early 1970), I hear no more about FLEETWOOD MAC shows or recordings, which is strange as the summer schedule (Central Park,etc) was released and I expected their name to pop up. It appears the band had a few difficulties, one being the leader, PETER GREEN walked away (May 28,1970) leaving Fleetwood Mac (version #4) as Jeremy, Danny, John, and Mick. A #5 version appears (August 70-Feb 71) by adding CHRISTINE PERFECT (from CHICKEN SHACK) aka Christine McVie.
Late Summer, the FILLMORE EAST lineup is finally announced and there they are August 28-29, 1970 SAVOY BROWN/FLEETWOOD MAC/FAIRPORT CONVENTION. I send in my SASE for tickets
for what later would be one of my favorite shows of that summer despite some personnel changes and relationship problems in the bands and for me. I had two FAIRPORT CONVENTION albums and knew seeing them live would be unique. Unfortunately Sandy Denny (vocalist) had left the band but I became a huge fan of Richard Thompson (guitar/vocals) that night. Next up, Fleetwood Mac was missing Peter Green which was a huge disappointment for me, they/he were/was the reason I was there. But this newer FLEETWOOD MAC (version #5) now had Christine Perfect on keys /vocals and they introduced KILN HOUSE stuff which rocked. Quite a huge departure from the Peter Green stuff. Finally, Savoy Brown had no Chris Youlden on vocals. Lonesome Dave did the voice, and shades of FOGHAT were born. Despite the fact that all three bands were missing a key component, all were oh so good.
It appears (May 1970) Green left the band, suffering the early onset of mental illness thought to be the result of an unsolicited LSD experience in Munich, Germany.
FLEETWOOD MAC (#6) occurs February 15,1971 when Jeremy Spencer disappears the day the band hits Los Angeles, joining a cult known as THE CHILDREN of GOD, thereby denouncing his career, his band, his wife and two children.
“…given the news of Spencer’s action, the group called on Peter Green in London to rejoin them for the duration of the tour. After an hour on the phone, Green agreed – but only to finish out the tour, which ends in Long Island March 27th. Green, whose departure was partly attributable to his own devotion to Christianity, flew in on Friday, the 19th, to join the band in San Bernardino, California. He refused to talk about the Spencer case and emphasized only that the reunion with Fleetwood Mac is temporary.(Rolling Stone:March 18,1971)
Correction: His devotion was not to Christianity as Peter Green is actually Peter Greenbaum, of Jewish decent. Green did not like the music business, actually gave away all his money at one point.
I tired having worked a KinKs concert (March 26)getting to my room about 5AM but knew I had to solder on as PETER GREEN was in town playing with FLEETWOOD MAC/ EDGAR WINTER’s WHITE TRASH/TIN HOUSE March 26/27,1971@ Rockpile aka The Action House. Again, he did not disappoint,taking the band back to their roots of blues, beautifully played blues. And then he was gone, again
FLEETWOOD MAC(version 7) is now young DANNY KIRWAN (another soon to be rock n roll tragedy) and CHRISTINE McVIE’s band. “Future Games” (71) was Danny’s shining moment as lead guitarist with BOB WELCH added to the line up on rhythm. The blues were dropped from their repertoire. “Bare Trees” (72) is considered the lp which erases everything in the past, a true Kirwan masterpiece, to some. During the promotional tour Danny Kirwan was fired from Fleetwood Mac in the (fall of 1972). His alcoholism and increasing mental instability had made him a difficult bandmate and collaborator. Version 8 is Bob and Christine’s show and so on…they were a mess financially,had troubles with internal relationships and external relationships. They added members, dropped folks, changed management ,moved to LA, back to England,etc
January 26,1974, Academy of Music- FLEETWOOD MAC/KISS/SILVERHEAD. I’m there for FLEETWOOD MAC (not knowing who was still in the band). SILVERHEAD, well I had no idea who they were, still don’t. KISS was on a return performance from their debut at the same venue on New Years Eve. Their set was cut short as Gene Simmons set his hair on fire.(I saw Kiss twice at THE DAISY in Amityville the summer before but then KISS was not like this. Tonight, KISS set the entire venue of 3000 on fire. A great show, lights, fire breathing,fully costumed and ear drum shattering loud. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC appears. I notice MICK FLEETWOOD is not on the kit, No John McVie, No Christine…strange looks around the crowd, “who are these guys” playing instrumentals and no noticeable MAC tunes. Boos start, getting louder by the moment. An announcement is made that refund vouchers are available at the box office, to which I took my two. This was a bogus FM, a band put together by the owner (a past manager) of the “brand name” FLEETWOOD MAC, which hit the road while the true members were sorting out problems with alcohol, drugs, relationships, etc.Immediately after this, the true band grab the reins and hire Buckingham and Nicks, the rest is history.
To me,of all the guitar giants to emerge from the British blues boom Peter Green was perhaps the most naturally gifted. B.B.King famously said this about him: “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” That’s really is all you need to know about the man. Duane Allman acknowledged Green’s influence on him and the twin guitar approach of the Allman Brothers Band, And PETER GREEN penned “Black Magic Woman”.