Sunday, 5 October 2008

"Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac" by FLEETWOOD MAC [1968 Debut LP] (1999 and 2004 Sony/Blue Horizon 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...My Heart Beat Like A Hammer..."

In its famous 'dog and dustbin' sleeve - Fleetwood Mac's first album was released in February 1968 on Blue Horizon Records in the UK in both MONO (7-63200) and STEREO (S 7-63200) and slightly later on Epic Records in the USA in both MONO (LN 24402) and STEREO (BN 26402). In the UK it's referred to by its label title "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac" - in the USA simply as "Fleetwood Mac".

And although it's now recognised as a masterpiece of British Blues Rock - this particular stand-alone June 2004 CD reissue of that explosive debut is "The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions 1967-1969" version - the one taken from the 6CD box set issued in November 1999. And it’s jumbled around enough to require a detailed explanation. So here goes...

The original album track list ran as follows (35:55 minutes):

1. My Heart Beat Like A Hammer (Jeremy Spencer song) [2:59 minutes]
2. Merry Go Round (Peter Green song) [4:20 minutes]
3. Long Grey Mare (Peter Green song) [2:15 minutes]
4. Hellhound On My Trail (Robert Johnson cover) [2:06 minutes]
5. Shake Your Moneymaker (Elmore James cover) [2:57 minutes]
6. Looking For Somebody (Peter Green song) [2:52 minutes] (End of Side 1)
7. No Place To Go (Howlin' Wolf cover) [3:21 minutes]
8. My Baby's Good To Me (Jeremy Spencer song) [2:51 minutes]
9. I Loved Another Woman (Peter Green song) [2:57 minutes]
10. Cold Black Night (Jeremy Spencer song) [3:17 minutes]
11. The World Keep On Turning (Peter Green song) [2:29 minutes]
12. Got To Move (Homesick James Williamson cover) [3:21 minutes] (End of Side 2)

But this "Box Set" version runs to almost twice the length of the ordinary CD reissue (63:39 minutes):

1. My Heart Beat Like A Hammer (Take 2 Master Version with Studio Talk) [3:33 minutes]
2. Merry Go Round (Take 2 Master Version with studio Talk) [4:20 minutes]
3. Long Grey Mare (same as 3 above)
4. Hellhound On My Trail (Take 1 Complete Master Version/Remix) [2:06 minutes]
5. Shake Your Moneymaker (Master Version with Studio Talk) [3:14 minutes]
6. Looking For Somebody (same as 6 above)
7. No Place To Go (same as 7 above)
8. My Baby's Good To Me (same as 8 above)
9. I Loved Another Woman (same as 9 above)
10. Cold Black Night (same as 10 above)
11. The World Keep On Turning (same as 11 above)
12. Got To Move (same as 12 above)
13. My Heart Beat Like A Hammer (Take 1 - Previously Unissued) [3:43 minutes]
14. Merry Go Round (Take 1 - Previously Unissued/Incomplete) [0:57 minutes]
15. I Loved Another Woman (Takes 1, 2, 3 and 4 with False Starts - Previously Unissued - Incomplete) [6:09 minutes]
16. I Loved Another Woman (Takes 5 and 6 - Previously Unissued/Incomplete) [5:10 minutes]
17. Cold Black Night (Takes 1 through to 5 with False Starts - Previously Unreleased - and Take 6 which is the master version) [5:30 minutes]
18. You're So Evil (Take 2 - Previously Unreleased Jeremy Spencer Track) [3:07 minutes]
19. I'm Coming Home To Stay (Jeremy Spencer song, Previously Unreleased Track) [2:29 minutes]

Why so different? In November 1999 Sony issued the stunning 6-disc box set "The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions 1967-1969" by FLEETWOOD MAC to universal acclaim. Mike Vernon, the label's producer, had taken the unusual decision to re-sequence the track line-ups of ALL 5 UK albums (one was a double) to feature outtakes, studio chatter, false starts and so on. This was of course fine and dandy on a comprehensive box set.

But this June 2004 singular CD re-issue of "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac" by FLEETWOOD MAC on Sony/Blue Horizon 516443 2 (Barcode 5099751644323) mimics that release - when it really should have been reverted to the 12 track original LP run and added the outtakes on as bonuses at the end. It sort of does, of course, but the downside is that when you play "My Heart Beat Like A Hammer" for the first time - the studio chatter and buggering about in the studio is quaint - but when you want to actually hear the track and album proper - it becomes a major pain. You can of course edit it with iTunes to play the 12 tracks as 1st released, but that's more work than should be necessary.

On the upside are two stunning previously unreleased Jeremy Spencer tracks at the end - "You're So Evil" and especially the raucous Elmore James clone "I'm Coming Home To Stay" - fantastic stuff and genuine bonus tracks. Completists would have enjoyed this disc having both the MONO and STEREO mix of the album - as initially released - and just the two unreleased on the end - but that's another day's work. And hearing raucous Blues Rock joy like "Shake Your Moneymaker" and "The World Keep On Turning" on the original album is never going to be anything less than thrilling.

As it stands Fleetwood Mac's 1968 first album is still one of the great rocking blues offerings in any configuration and only makes you pine for more. I'd say BUY IT anyway and then go for 2 to 5 listed below as well...they're all magical in their own way. "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac" is the kind of album you will return to again and again…

PS: For those wishing for more, the Blue Horizon label Fleetwood Mac UK albums are (all reviewed):
1. Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac (1968) (original album, known as "Fleetwood Mac" in the USA)
2. Mr. Wonderful (1968) (original album)
3. The Pious Bird Of Good Omen (1969)  (compilation of non-album 7" singles, their B-sides, collaborations and other rarities)
4. Blues Jam At Chess (1969)
(Original 20-track 2LP set often referred to as a Various Artists compilation. Its full credit is to: Fleetwood Mac, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Shakey Horton, J.T. Brown, Guitar Buddy, Honey Boy Edwards, S.P. Leary. Originally a 2LP set on release in the UK, it was broken into 2 volumes in the USA and renamed in May 1970 as “Blues Jam In Chicago Volume 1" and "Blues Jam In Chicago Volume 2". It was also reissued twice thereafter in the USA – 1971 and 1975 as “Fleetwood Mac In Chicago” (both charted). The CD reissues are based on the 1970 releases and names – but are the ‘Expanded Editions’ from the 1999 6-Disc Box set with rejiggered tracks. It is ONLY these singular re-sequenced releases that are available today.)
5. The Original Fleetwood Mac (1971)
(Although released in 1971, this LP has recordings from August 1967 through to October 1968, all of which were previously unreleased at the time)

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