Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits (1971)

“What’s with these new bands? Everyone knows Rock attained perfection in 1974, it’s a scientific fact!”

While, in context, Homer Simpson was meant to be bigging up Grand Funk Railroad (“wild shirtless lyrics…bong-rattling bass…competent drumwork”), a larger, and more broadly damning, cultural point can be gleaned, viz. that after 1974, Rock was reduced to recycling the ideas of Elvis/Chuck Berry, Dylan/Beatles/Stones, VU/Stooges and Led Zep/Black Sabbath.  Name any major Rock band (or minor one, for that matter) subsequent to 1974 and its aesthetics can be traced in direct lineage to one or more of the innovators listed above.  Play a game with yourself to see if you can come up with one that can’t–but do be intellectually honest with yourself.

Back to the record at hand.  Released in the middle of the Rock apex (a friend and I have awkwardly labeled this era [lasting roughly from 1967 to 1973] the “Sixeventies”), the best of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac epitomises the genre’s coming of age (and points the way to its ultimate cul de sac) with excellent musicianmanship and a seriousness of purpose.

I’d been put off for years picking the record up because of its budget label style cover, but recently the same friend urged it on me, so when I saw it last Saddy at Ashford bootfair for a pound in its original gatefold issue (with the record opening on the inner spine) I took it as a sign. I was not disappointed (though the version of “Shake Your Money Maker” is a bit too bar band); however, I gather that this really is the best of and only serious devotees need Mr Wonderful, Then Play On, etc.

The Romantic Moog album and this one came from a stall selling the wares of 90 year-old gentleman’s house clearance.  Everything, positively everything, down to packets with four screws in was labelled and numbered in some sort of anal retentive/OCD frenzy of well-organisaton.  All the records (about 150) were of the easy listening variety apart from the ‘Mac.

Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm  Comments (6)  

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  1. a couple of mac-related ramblings…

    1 – When I was playing in my first ever band (that lasted all of 2 rehearsals), one of the guitarists (a guy who worked at the same place as me who I also knew from school) invited me around his house one evening, where he told me his elder brother used to work for Fleetwood Mac, and was now involved with a band called Stretch (who I later found out were the infamous “bogus” Mac that attempted to tour the US in the absence of the real band that had temporarily broken up – in retrospect the first tribute act ha ha!). Anyway, I wasn’t overly impressed at the time (and even less impressed with his guitar playing) and we went our separate ways. Many years later I discovered it was obviously advantageous to have relatives working in the music biz, as nowadays the guy manages Clannad…

    2 – In my opinion the “Rumours” line-up produced one of the all-time AOR/soft rock classics with “Sara”, but there’s one problem – the drums are TOO BLOODY LOUD!! Although Lindsey Buckingham was the primary arranger and credited producer, one can imagine an intimidating drug-crazed bug-eyed Mick Fleetwood standing over him at mixdown, demanding the drums be whacked up (“It’s MY band you know!”)… I’ve tried rectifying the imbalance with some compression on my sound editor, but that just makes it all seem a bit mushy… What I really need is access to the master tapes – wouldn’t it be great if a nobody like me could do a remix? So come on Mick/Lindsey, are you up for it? (maybe my erstwhile band colleague could have a word with them ha ha)…

  2. That bogus Mac fiasco always amused me–like they were ever going to get away with it!

    Unlike purists who only like one or the other, I too enjoy both the P. Green and Buck/Nicks Fleetwoods though I have to say I don’t actually enjoy any of the Nicks songs on Tusk; only like the pop Buckingham tracks (not the supposedly “new wave” ones) and, despite the paucity of lyrical flourish, the Christine McVie songs.

  3. […] and after the so-called Summer of Love, these Lps represent early definitive examples “sixeventies” rock in exegesis. The label’s pretty cool looking too. Set up as a production […]

  4. I would really really really like to have that album mostly just to have that Green Manalishi song. I could be wrong, but as far as I know there has never been an official digital release of it which is remarkable because it’s an absolutely killer track. Then Play On is actually a pretty good album too and has a really good song on it called Rattlesnake Shake you might like if you haven’t heard it before.

  5. I stand corrected. I just did a little checking and Green Manalish HAS been released on CD. But I don’t think this particular compilation has been reissued with the same lineup of tracks like this. if so, all the more reason you should be glad you found one!

  6. …and I am. 🙂

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