In all of my prior Trolling the Underground posts, I've picked some of the finest sounding samples from my collection, with many more to go. The quality of the sound is not always the most important factor, however. I've been known to make compromises on sound quality for a number of reasons. It could be a special show where a guest artist played or a rare song was performed. It could be the only available recording of a show that I attended. Or it could be something thats very existence is a surprise.
Normally, a band needs to gain some popularity before anyone really feels like recording them. I mean, who wants to spend time and tape on a bunch of nobodies? That circumstance can be mitigated, however, if the band in question is debuting at a music festival like the 7th National Jazz & Blues Festival (Aug 11 - 13, 1967) where a lot of bands that people DO want to record will be playing. It also helps if the members of this band have been making the rounds as members of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.
Mayall had recently fired his drummer, Mick Fleetwood, for drunkenness. Mayall's guitarist, Peter Green, had an affinity for Fleetwood and wanted to be a frontman, so they decided to form their own band. They got Jeremy Spencer to help on guitar, and began wooing Mayall bass player John McVie to join as well, going to the length of including him in the new band's name, Fleetwood Mac. McVie hesitated, though, since he liked the pay he was getting with Mayall. The band recruited another bassist named Bob Brunning, with the understanding that Brunning would go if McVie decided to join up, which of course he eventually did. It was Brunning, however, that played the debut Fleetwood Mac show with Green, Fleetwood, and Spencer on Aug. 13, 1967. Below is a photo of Green and Fleetwood on that very night.
Listening to this show, you'd think the only thing missing from this lineup is Elmore James himself. The bands sound was extremely James-ish, almost a direct copy of his style. The first song I'll feature this time around, titled I Need You, Come on Home to Me, is in fact Elmore's classic It Hurts Me Too with completely different lyrics. The short set that they played had other examples of this, and in fact ended with a rendition of Shake Your Moneymaker that is very true to Elmore's.
The second song, however, is very different. It's an instrumental written by Green called Fleetwood Mac and has much more of a surf sound to it, believe it or not, In fact, I may even play it for a guy I know who's in a local surf band, since it sounds like something that's right up their alley. The links below have the songs.
I Need You, Come On Home to Me
While I was researching this post and finding pictures, I noticed who else was playing this festival. Pink Floyd, who'd had to cancel because of Syd Barrett's decline (which foreshadowed Green's descent into schizophrenia and departure from Fleetwood Mac in 1970 ), was replaced by The Nice. Cream, The Small Faces, Donovan, Ten Years After, and many others were in attendence, as well as one of my favorite 60s bands, the Jeff Beck Group. As I surfed, I found a site that mentioned that Beck's appearance was on a bootleg recording called Beck to the Future. It was in my hands about 10 seconds later, as I had downloaded that one long ago. It seems I have two sets from the same night of that festival that I had never connected before! Of course, those of you who know me know that I can't slight El Becko, so we'll explore this as well.
This was the original JBG, with Beck on guitar, Rod Stewart singing (such as it is), Ron Wood on bass, and Mick Waller on drums. His spirit must have been in the air, because they also covered Elmore James that night, doing Talk to Me Baby and doing much more than the new kids up above to make it their own. I also felt that the next song should be shared, a sweet blues piece called I Think I'll be Leaving This Morning, because I really like the guitar work on it. When you listen to this song, I think you can understand why one Rolling Stone reviewer called Led Zeppelin's first album "Rehashed Jeff Beck Group." Links below.
Talk To Me Baby
I Think I'll Be Leaving This Morning
If this strikes your fancy, you may want to read this previous post about Jeff Beck with a couple more modern songs. There's pics of the JBG there as well, so for this post I'll leave you with a photo of Peter Green. He's past his mental problems and working again with the Peter Green Splinter Group - something that the modern blues fan may want to check out!
Enjoy the tunes, and let me know what you think!!