Fleetwood Mac

The Original Fleetwood Mac

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As far as odds and ends packages go, Original Fleetwood Mac (1971) is an undeniably strong collection culled primarily from the band's first incarnation, featuring John McVie (bass/guitar), Mick Fleetwood (drums), Peter Green (guitar/vocals), and Jeremy Spencer (guitar/piano/vocals). As evidenced by the material, this quartet are an unmistakably blues-based combo. Early on they distinguished themselves as not only interpreters of traditional fare, but skilled composers, especially Green, who penned the vast majority of these selections. While their entire output during this era can be found on the six-disc Complete Blue Horizon Sessions: 1967-1969 (1999), the best of those secondary sides are contained within this disc. Green's total envelopment of the blues, coupled with equally inspired guitar craft, illuminate the traditional "Drifting" and "First Train Home," as well as an adventurous, hopped-up cover of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'," titled "Rambling Pony No. 2." "Watch Out" reveals Fleetwood Mac's decidedly jazzier visage. While the driving upbeat rhythm is deeply rooted in a Chicago-style delivery, Green's fretwork is undeniably fresh, giving the outing fuel for the combo's fiery contributions. "A Fool No More" is another notable variation and possible harbinger of their later psychedelic ventures. The instrumental "Fleetwood Mac" sounds as if it may have been taken from a jam session already in progress. The adaptation of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "Mean Old Fireman" offers an acoustic pseudo-slide lead from Green, but ultimately it fails to truly ignite. B.B. King's "Worried Dream" is an interesting choice that would show up later in the band's concurrent concert repertoire.

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