Peter Green

Whatcha Gonna Do?

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The third album that Peter Green made after he launched a comeback in the late '70s, Whatcha Gonna Do? was a disappointment on several levels. It was a sluggish record, often with something of a going-through-the-motions feel. While Green's blues-rock guitar chops remained intact, they were executed with less fire, force, and imagination than they had been in his best work. Most disturbingly, there often seemed to be a conscious effort to move Green's sound toward mainstream soul-funk, as well as to add some uncomfortably incorporated reggae rhythms. It's an unmemorable album, but for all that, not a terrible one. You can hear Green's natural affinity for R&B in both his fluid guitar and earthy vocals on some of the better songs, like "Trying to Hit My Head Against the Wall," "Like a Hot Tomato," and "Lost My Love" (the last of which, like early Fleetwood Mac's cover of Little Willie John's "Need Your Love So Bad," makes clear Green's overlooked love of sentimental '50s American R&B/proto-soul). These would be quite acceptable from a blues-rock journeyman, but Green was cursed, perhaps, by the shadow of his greater achievements and by listeners' knowledge that he had been capable of delivering more inspirational goods.

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