Jimi Hendrix – The Mike Jefferies Years

It was only after competing my retrospective look at the Hendrix related discs Alan Douglas put out that I though I really should have produced one of the best tracks from the Mike Jeffereis years. These were the years between Hendrix’s death in 1970 and 1974 even though Jefferies himself died in a plane accident in 1973. What I learned from listening to these albums (and this was also noted in my previous post), is that this could be the best example of the law of diminishing returns. ‘The Cry Of Love’ and ‘Rainbow Bridge’ are very good records. However, the two that followed are not. ‘War Heroes’ has some good material but the majority is pretty substandard. It is even worse on ‘Loose Ends’ which was so bad, that Reprise who represented Hendrix in the USA refused to release it. You can tell how bad it is that when the Hendrix family took over the catalogue in the 1990’s and seem to have release every recording Hendrix made bar him blowing his nose (even though it has felt as though they may as well have done), there is still one song from ‘Loose Ends’ that has so far failed to see a re-release. 

As you can see from this double album, the majority of the cuts come form the first two releases of the Mike Jefferies era and there is some crossover with the Alan Douglas LP, but where as those tracks have session musicians on them, the Jefferies releases did keep the original players on there. Still a good album though but apart from ‘The Cry Of Love’, the Hendrix family have seen to it that these records were deleted from the Hendrix catalogue and I will surprised if they ever see the light of day again. It is not as though they are rare through as most were in production for over twenty years.  

Side 1

  1. Freedom* (The Cry Of Love)
  2. Night Bird Flying* (The Cry Of Love)
  3. Come Down Hard On Me Baby (Loose Ends)
  4. Stepping Stone* (War Heroes)
  5. Astro Man (The Cry Of Love)

Side B

  1. Drifting * (The Cry Of Love)
  2. In From The Storm* (The Cry Of Love)
  3. Dolly Dagger (Rainbow Bridge)
  4. Hey, Baby, New Morning Sun (Rainbow Bridge)

Side C

  1. Ezy Rider (The Cry Of Love)
  2. Room Full Of Mirrors (Rainbow Bridge)
  3. Straight Ahead (The Cry Of Love)
  4. Izabella (War Heroes)
  5. Look Over Yonder (Rainbow Bridge)

Side D

  1. Bleeding Heart (War Heroes)
  2. Drifters Escape (Loose Ends)
  3. Earth Blues (Rainbow Bridge)
  4. Angel* (The Cry Of Love)
  5. Belly Button Window* (The Cry Of Love)

*These songs also appeared on the Alan Douglas Years compilation from earlier in the month. 

The cover image is an adaptation of the one used for ‘The Cry of Love’ album.

Jimi Hendrix – The Alan Douglas Years

The posthumous career of Jimi Hendrix can be split into three periods. The first period was just after he died when his manager Mike Jeffery was keen to milk the Hendrix cash cow for all it was worth. The second is after Jeffery had died (in 1973) and producer Alan Douglas took over the tape catalogue, as well as paying out of his pocket for tapes that Hendrix had recorded at the Record Plant studios. The third period is from the mid 90s up until the present day where the Hendrix family took control of the guitar players recorded legacy and have put out a steady steam of releases ever since. It is the second period that this entry deals with. 

After buying all of the albums released during his lifetime, I turned my attention to the records that were put after his death. These came quite quickly with ‘The Cry Of Love’ being the first of these and was compiled by engineer Eddie Kramer as well as drummer Mitch Mitchell. The cover is a stunning piece of work and was quite successful with the record buying public on both sides of the Atlantic. Even though this cannot be considered to be the fourth Hendrix studio album because the song mixes had not been finalised by the man himself, it contained a couple of classic numbers including the lovely song, Angel.

From what was a positive start with the posthumous releases, this soon turned into a case of diminishing returns. I did not manage to secure a copy of ‘Rainbow Bridge’ but I did pick up ‘War Heroes’ and wondered what Hendrix himself would have thought of this and was it worthy of release. The nadir of the period was ‘Loose Ends’, an album considered to be so bad that the Reprise record label refused to release it in the US. 

The last album from this period of Hendrix album releases that I bought was 1975’s  ‘Crash Landing’. I think I played it once and until recently, I have never listened to it again. It just didn’t do it for me at the time. I think I was just into that psych period of Hendrix too much to want to hear his ‘I’ve moved onto something more heavy and funky’ period. ‘Crash Landing’ was the first of the Douglas releases and he would release another four ‘studio’ albums during his tenure as the keeper of the Hendrix archives. His time in this capacity has been seen by seem as controversial.

The controversy arises form he fact that Douglas replaced the original backing tracks of some of the songs on the releases he put out, utilising sessions players. These weren’t any old sessions players though, but some of the best in the business. In defence of Douglas, if he wanted to make a cash grab album, why spend money on some of the best musicians around. They would not have come cheap. He would also have needed to have updated the sound to appeal to the record buying public of 1975. The crate digging career overview box sets of today were not a thing back in the mid 70’s. As far as I can think of, only Buddy Holly & Jim Reeves had had their career prolonged in this way by releasing archive material up to that point. Using session musicians did not endure Douglas to fans of Hendrix, and it might not have helped his cause that he claimed writing credits on some of the ‘Crash Landing’ songs. 

A few months later, a second Douglas produced Hendrix album was released. ‘Midnight Lightning’ followed the same template as ‘Crash Landing’ including using the same set of session musicians. This was followed up with ‘Nine To The Universe’ which was made up of edited jam sessions, but unlike the previous efforts, Douglas used most of the original backing tracks. Apart from the repacking of already released songs and live albums, Douglas waited until 1994 to release some new Hendrix studio product. ’Blues’ contained some songs that had already been released but the majority had not been. Some of them were composites of multiple takes that were edited together to form a new song. This record also included the original backing tracks. One last Douglas album was 1995’s ‘Voodoo Soup’ which was Douglas’ attempt at creating the album Hendrix was working on when he died. The album did receive some positive reviews but there was still the criticism that outside musicians were brought in to re-record parts Douglas felt were substandard. Not long after this, the Hendrix family gained the rights to the archives and Douglas’s association came to an end.   

All of the albums released after Hendrix’s death until the release of the first Hendrix family approved albums in 1997 have been deleted from the back catalogue. However, these releases were around long time and enough copies were sold so it was not difficult to pick up the records missing from the collection, and I feel that in the past I fell into the trap many other have of dismissing Douglas’ contribution to the Hendrix legacy. The albums have good players playing on, the covers don’t look cheap (even though the Voodoo Soup one is a bit weird) and if Douglas was only after the money, why did he release so few Hendrix studio session albums. The Hendrix family have released considerably more in their time as custodians of the archive, some of it of very dubious quality. The ‘Blues’ album is also still part of the official catalogue, so if Douglas did such a bad job, why not delete everything he did? If the backing tracks that were recorded with Hendrix in the studio were so good, then why has the Hendrix family not released a studio cut of ‘Machine Gun’? Douglas did.  

I put this playlist together using the following albums; ‘Crash Landing’, ‘Midnight Lightning’ and ‘Voodoo Soup’. I did not use ‘Nine To The Universe’ as none of the tunes fitted in with this playlist,  and ‘Blues’ is still available. I wanted to see if the recording held up and there was enough for a double album. It could be presented as the best of the Douglas years and it is unlikely that the Hendrix family will never do this themselves. 

I was inspired to put this compilation together by reading an excellent blog, http://deadhendrix.blogspot.com. It goes into a lot more detail. looking at each of the albums made up of studio cuts that were put out between 1970 and 1996. It with thanks to that blogger that I listened and re-evaluated the Douglas era. It is bloggers like this that the internet needs. Putting out fresh perspectives and challenging old ideas. I salute you, whoever you are.  

Side 1

  1. Message To Love (Voodoo Soup)
  2. Come Down Hard On Me (Crash Landing)
  3. Midnight Lightning (Midnight Lightning)
  4. Gypsy Boy (Midnight Lightning)

Side 2

  1. Room Full Of Mirrors (Voodoo Soup)
  2. Night Bird Flying (Voodoo Soup)
  3. With The Power (Crash Landing)
  4. Drifting (Voodoo Soup)

Side 3

  1. The New Rising Sun (Voodoo Soup)
  2. Belly Button Window (Voodoo Soup)
  3. Freedom (Voodoo Soup)
  4. Stepping Stone (Voodoo Soup)
  5. In From The Storm (Voodoo Soup)

Side 4

  1. Once I Had A Woman (Midnight Lightning)
  2. Machine Gun (Midnight Lightning)
  3. Angel (Voodoo Soup)

The cover for this compilation as adapted from an unused Henri Martinez painting that had been commissioned by Hendrix for his next album but ultimately not used. I added a Hendrix related logo. 

Jimi Hendrix – The Collection Vol.2

After Hendrix finished recording ‘Electric Ladyland’, Hendrix would only release one more album before his untimely death. That album was to fulfil a contract he signed before he made it big and was called ‘Band of Gypsys’. It was a live album of live songs Hendrix had not released before and was seen by Hendrix himself as not up to the standard he had set for himself. ‘Band of Gypsys’ is not a bad album, with ‘Machine Gun’ being seen as an artistic triumph but it does pale in comparison with what came before. With his outstanding contract problems seemingly out of the way, Hendrix went back to finishing off the album he had been working on since he finished ‘Electric Ladyland’.

Hendrix spent much of time between the end of the ‘Electric Ladyland’ session until his death in and out of the studio. With the amount of studio material that has seen the light of day over the years, it is surprising the Hendrix had any time to play live, eat or it would seem breath. He was even putting together his own stood called Electric Lady because he had run up massive bills from the amount of time he had spent block booking other studios to record as much as he possible could. This second compilation focuses on the period of time Hendrix was recording his fourth album but there is still room for some tunes from the years when the Experience was a going concern. This just goes to show that Hendrix had amassed an amazing amount of material and it is a tragedy that he never got to finish it. Enjoy! 

Disc 1

  1. And The Gods Made Love – Electric Ladyland
  2. Who Knows – Band Of Gypsys
  3. Mannish Boy – Blues
  4. Little Miss Lover – Axis: Bold Of Love
  5. Highway Chile – Single B-Side
  6. Message To Love (Alt Version) – West Coast Seattle Boy
  7. Somewhere – People, Hell & Angels
  8. Dolly Dagger – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  9. Stepping Stone – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  10. Look Over Yonder – South Saturn Delta
  11. Hey Baby/In From The Storm (Live) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)
  12. Shame, Shame, Shame – West Coast Seattle Boy
  13. Everlasting First – West Coast Seattle Boy
  14. Suddenly November Morning – West Coast Seattle Boy
  15. Machine Gun – Band Of Gypsys
  16. (Have You Ever Been To) Electric Ladyland – Electric Ladyland

Disc 2

  1. Valleys Of Neptune – Valleys Of Neptune
  2. Astro Man – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  3. Izabella – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  4. Gypsy Eyes – Electric Ladyland
  5. Freedom – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  6. Room Full Of Mirrors – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  7. Rock Me Baby (Live) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)
  8. Let Me Love You – People, Hell & Angels
  9. Here He Comes (Lover Man) – South Saturn Delta
  10. Night Bird Flying – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  11. Drifter’s Escape (Alt Take) – South Saturn Delta
  12. Power Of Soul (Alt Take) – South Saturn Delta
  13. Bleeding Heart – Blues
  14. It’s Too Bad – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)
  15. Drifting – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  16. Love Or Confusion – Are You Experienced
  17. Belly Button Window – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun

Like Volume 1, the front cover was an image I came across back in the dim distant past so I’m afraid I will not be able to credit the person who made it.

Jimi Hendrix – The Collection Vol.1

My first experience (no pun intended) of Hendrix was on a K-Tel compilation album called ‘British Gold’. The track listing for that album included ‘Hey Joe’, and a look in the Squire archive in the late 80s when I was expanding my musical pallet contained some of the Track Records sampler albums that went by the name of ‘Backtrack’ as well as the ‘Smash Hits’ compilation. Not much to go on but this was about to change. 

My interest in Hendrix was really awakened when someone brought in a cassette into school of the ‘Radio One’ album. What an album this was seeing as it was a compilation of songs Hendrix had recorded for the BBC. With an eye catching cover of the great man himself wielding a Fender Stratocaster guitar, the music contained within was different, electrifying and nothing like anything in the charts at the time it came out in 1988. This seemed to be the album everyone bought and I duel bought mine. A bargain as well at only £5 for a double LP. This album received a lot of plays on the turntable and was great it that this only included what could be argued to be the best version of songs that he seemed to only play at the BBC like Drivin’ South. Compare this to the ‘BBC Sessions’ album released ten years later and you’ll see what I mean. The later album might be more comprehensive, but in my opinion ‘Radio One’ is the definitive album of the two. 

After ‘Radio One’ has wetted the appetite, I bought all of the records not already in the archive that Hendrix with or without the Experience released in his lifetime. Every album had mind blowing  songs on them, but the icing on the cake was playing through ‘Electric Ladyland’ for the first time. Was this a rock album, or an R&B one? But then again, was it psychedelic or blues, or a melting pot taking all of Hendrix’s influences and blasting them out of the speakers to attack your senses. Who cares, it is a classic album and contains one of the greatest cover version of all time in Hendrix’s interpretation of Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’.

Most of the recordings contained on this compilation are taken from the releases of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with only a couple taken from later sessions because the majority of the post ‘Electric Ladyland’ material does not fit in with these earlier recordings sonically for me. Enjoy!

Disc 1

  1. Foxy Lady – Are You Experienced
  2. Manic Depression – Are You Experienced
  3. Fire – Are You Experienced
  4. Killing Floor – BBC Sessions
  5. Red House – Are You Experienced
  6. Can You See Me – Are You Experienced
  7. Hey Joe – Single A-Side
  8. Purple Haze – Single A-Side
  9. 51st Anniversary – Single B-Side
  10. (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man – BBC Sessions
  11. Wait Until Tomorrow – Axis: Bold As Love
  12. Ain’t No Telling – Axis: Bold As Love
  13. Castles Made Of Sand – Axis: Bold As Love
  14. Hear My Train Comin’ (Acoustic) – Blues
  15. Catfish Blues – BBC Sessions
  16. Driving South (4:49 min version) – BBC Sessions
  17. You Got Me Floatin’ – Axis: Bold As Love
  18. Stone Free – Single B-Side
  19. Crosstown Traffic – Electric Ladyland
  20. Voodoo Chile – Electric Ladyland

Disc 2

  1. Rainy Day, Dream Away – Electric Ladyland
  2. 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be) – Electric Ladyland
  3. Moon, Turn The Tides…Gently Gently Away – Electric Ladyland
  4. The Wind Cries Mary – Single A-Side
  5. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp – Electric Ladyland
  6. Still Raining, Still Dreaming – Electric Ladyland
  7. House Burning Down – Electric Ladyland
  8. All Along The Watchtower – Electric Ladyland
  9. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) Electric Ladyland
  10. Ezy Ryder – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  11. Spanish Castle Magic – Axis: Bold As Love
  12. Come On (Let The Good Times Roll) – Electric Ladyland
  13. Long Hot Summer Night – Electric Ladyland
  14. Angel – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  15. One Rainy Wish – Axis: Bold Of Love
  16. Little Wing – Axis: Bold As Love
  17. Hear My Train A Comin’ – BBC Sessions
  18. Bold As Love – Axis: Bold As Love

The front cover was an image I came across back in the dim distant past so I’m afraid I will not be able to credit the person who made it. 

Normally when it comes to music produced from 1966-68, I tend to go for the mono mix as this is what the majority of artists thought of as the playback system that was dominant at the time. However, to my ears, Hendrix sounds weird in mono (if you are lucky enough to hear in that way) so I have gone with stereo mixes for the majority of the songs on this playlist. I think that the only mono records here are from the single mixes. 

The Lost Pubs of Richmond Upon Thames (Part 1)

Throughout the centuries, Richmond Upon Thames has contained many pubs within its boundaires. Here I am joined by Richard Holmes, author of Pubs, Inns and Taverns of Richmond to look at some of those that are no longer with us.

If you are interested in buying any of Richard’s books, he can be contacted here holmes1@blueyonder.co.uk.

Various Artists – Under The Influence Vol.4

Here on the forth volume of my Under The Influence Series, the theme is Northern Soul. Time to relive the glory nights of the Twisted Wheel, Golden Torch, Blackpool Mecca and Wigan Casino. 

Disc 1

  1. Hold On To My Baby – The Cavaliers
  2. Barefootin’ – Robert Parker 
  3. In Orbit – Joy Lovejoy
  4. I’m Satisfied  With You – The Furys
  5. Baby Reconsider – Leon Haywood
  6. Cracking Up Over You – Roy Hamilton
  7. Right Track – Billy Butler
  8. Back Street – Edwin Starr
  9. I Spy (For The F.B.I.) – Jamo Thomas & His Party Brothers Orchestra
  10. The Blowing Up My Mind – The Exciters
  11. I Need Your Love – The Dynamics
  12. I’ll Always Love You – The Spinners
  13. Better Use Your Head – Little Anthony & The Imperials
  14. I Really Love You – The Tomangoes
  15. Slippin’ Around With You – Art Freeman
  16. The Same Old Song – The Olympics
  17. Quick Change Artist – The Soul Twins
  18. If It’s All The Same To You Babe – Luther Ingram
  19. I Gotta Find Me Somebody – Luther Ingram
  20. Lay This Burden Down – Mary Love
  21. Dance Dance Dance – The Casualeers
  22. Thumb A Ride – Earl Right Orchestra
  23. What Would I Do – The Tymes
  24. You get Your Kicks – Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
  25. You Just Don’t Know – Chubby Checker
  26. Dr. Love – Bobby Sheen
  27. Somebody, Somewhere, Needs You – Darryl Banks
  28. Ain’t No More Room – The Kittens
  29. Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid – Ketty Lester
  30. Face Up To The Truth – Doris Troy
  31. Gonna Gove You All The Love I’ve Got – Kimmy Ruffin

A playlist for this complication could not be produced due to one or more songs not being available on Spotify.

Disc 2

  1. My Mama Told Me – Barbara Carr
  2. Loving You – The Starlets
  3. Talkin’ Dreamin’ Boastin’ – Sugar Pue DeSanto
  4. Love Reputation – Denise LaSalle
  5. Such A Pretty Thing – Gene Chandler
  6. Sweeter Than The Day Before – The Valentinos
  7. Too Late – Larry Williams & Johnny Watson
  8. This Love Starved Heart Of Mine (It’s Killing Me) – Marvin Gaye
  9. What Good Am I Without You – Darrow Fletcher
  10. Sure Is A Lot Woman – The Isley Brothers
  11. Let’s Wade In The Water – Marlena Shaw
  12. A Mighty Good Lover – The Vashionettes
  13. If You Ever Get Your Hands – Gladys Knight & The Pips
  14. Ain’t No Sun (Since You Gone) – The Dynamics
  15. Crying In The Night – The Monitors
  16. Baby Come Home To Me – Shorty Long
  17. Show Me The Way – J. J. Barnes
  18. The Girl’s Got It – Billy Preston
  19. Come Go With Me – Gloria Jones
  20. I’m Gone – Eddie Parker
  21. Well Keep On Rolling – Brenda Holloway
  22. Keep On Climbing – The Magnificent Men
  23. Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes) – Major Lance
  24. True Love – Alex Patto
  25. Hold On – The Radiants
  26. I’m Grateful – The Four Tops
  27. All I Do Is Think About You – Tammi Terrell
  28. What more Could A Boy Ask For – The Spinners
  29. Don’;t Stop – The Originals
  30. I’ll Never Stop Loving You – Carla Thomas

A playlist for this complication could not be produced due to one or more songs not being available on Spotify.

Fleetwood Mac – The Collection Vol.3

What can I say about this era of Fleetwood Mac that has not been said before. Absolutely nothing so I will be brief. There is a reason why this era of the band is so well known. They sold an absolute ton of records and put out Rumours, the only classic album to have been produced whilst the band members were partaking in liberal amounts of cocaine. The classic era dates from 1975 when Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined. This line up was also the most stable in the bands history, which is surprising considering the collapse of two of the relationships that band members were in, and then two having an affair and the aforementioned drugs. How they produced anything at all, let along five albums of at worse, pretty good to at best, absolutely classic music is beyond me. 

Like the first compilation of Mac material, this era had so much quality music that I put together a CD set. I didn’t finish in 1987 when Lindsey Buckingham left, but with the album that signalled the end of the band as regular recording act in ‘Behind The Mask’. This is not classic Mac, but still competent enough for inclusion here. I gave the next album after this a listen, but the ‘Time’ record is just awful. It doesn’t help that drummer Mick Fleetwood felt it was time to include a seven minute spoken word piece to see it off. Buckingham would return, and go again (or fired depending on your point of view). Nicks and Christine McVie would go and come back, but behind the ever rotating members up front are the bedrock of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. The rhythm section has pretty much been the same since day one (apart from stop gap bass player Bob Brunning from the very early days). Fleetwood Mac is now just a touring band with attempts to record a new record coming to nothing since 2003s ‘Say You Will’. I’d moved on by this point but I will always have a soft spot for the Mac as they were the first band I really got into as it were. I love the music and how they managed to survive after Peter Green left, and then come back even stronger is a testament to great song writing and great playing. For that, I say thank you. Enjoy.  

Disc 1

  1. Second Hand News
  2. Say You Love Me
  3. Go Your Won Way
  4. Dreams
  5. Sugar Daddy
  6. Landslide
  7. Crystal
  8. Songbird
  9. Rhiannon
  10. Sara
  11. I’m So Afraid
  12. Silver Springs
  13. The Chain
  14. Never Going Back Again
  15. Don’t Stop
  16. You Make Loving Fun
  17. I Don’t Want To Know
  18. Oh Daddy
  19. Gold Dust Woman
  20. Doesn’t Anything Last

Disc 2

  1. Love In Store
  2. Gypsy
  3. Can’t Go Back
  4. What Makes You Think You’re The One
  5. Think About Me
  6. Save Me A Place
  7. Only Over You
  8. Hold Me
  9. Oh Diane
  10. Tusk
  11. Storms
  12. Over & Over
  13. That’s All For Everyone
  14. Brown Eyes
  15. Angel
  16. Honey Hi
  17. Never Make Me Cry
  18. Sisters Of The Moon
  19. Book Of Love
  20. Beautiful Child
  21. Never Forget

Disc 3

  1. Big Love
  2. Seven Wonders
  3. Everywhere
  4. Caroline
  5. Tango In The Night
  6. Mystified
  7. Little Lies
  8. Family Man
  9. Welcome To The Room…Sara
  10. Isn’t It Midnight
  11. When I See You Again
  12. As Long As You Follow
  13. No Questions Asked
  14. When It Comes To Love
  15. When The Sun Goes Down
  16. Love Is Dangerous
  17. Skies The Limit
  18. Behind The Mask
  19. Do You Know
  20. The Second Time

Fleetwood Mac – Enchanted

When Fleetwood Mac started in 1967, they were a British Blues band that ended the decade outselling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. After numerous line up changes and relocating to the USA, the band released ‘Rumours’, one of the greatest and biggest selling albums of all time. With an album, how do you follow it up. Lindsey Buckingham, the man who pretty much kept the sessions for Rumours going even with a mountain of cocaine and the collapse of the inter band relationships trying to get in the way, through that ‘Tusk’ should be competing with the New Wave acts dominating the charts at the time. ‘Tusk’ sold well, but nowhere near a much as ‘Rumours’. 

Then there was ‘Mirage’, the forgotten album from the classic Buckingham/Nicks era of the band. This album did something ‘Tusk’ and ‘Tango In the Night’ did not, which was to make Number 1 in the USA but in terms of singles, none really cut it in either the US or UK charts. Well, ‘Hold Me’ made the top 5 in the US but that was about it. Listening to the  ‘Mirage’ album though, it could be argued that the band members who wrote the songs were not producing their best work for the band at this time. Stevie Nicks has realised ‘Bella Donna’, her first solo, which had reached Number 1 on the US Billboard chart and was very successful in other territories as well. 

Lindsey Buckingham had also release this first solo album in the shape of ‘Law & Order’ which was not in any way shape or form as successful as Stevie Nicks. Mirage came out a year later and then there was five year gap before the next Mac album, ‘Tango In The Night’. In-between ‘Mirage’ in 1982 and ‘Tango In The Night’ in 1987, each of the band songs writer released a solo album. In fact, ‘Tango In the Night’ started life as a Lindsay Buckingham solo album until he was convinced otherwise, but what would have happened if the band had decided to have release another record in 1985 instead of the solo albums. Well, here is an attempt at answering that question.   

Side A

  1. Go Insane – Go Insane
  2. Who’s Dreaming The Dream – Christine McVie
  3. Gate & Garden – The Wild Heart
  4. I’m the One – Christine McVie
  5. Stand Back – Stevie Nicks
  6. Slow Dancing – Go Insane

Side B

  1. Loving Cup – Go Insane
  2. Nothing Ever Changes – The Wild Heart
  3. The Smile I Live For – Christine McVie
  4. Bang The Drum – Go Insane
  5. Beauty & The Beast – The Wild Heart

B-Sides

  1. Enchanted – The Wild Heart
  2. Nightbird – The Wild Heart
  3. Ask Anybody – Christine McVie
  4. D.W. Suite – Go Insane

I thought that being democratic with each of the three song writers receiving four songs each, taking the total songs on the record to 12. However, unless we did what Dire Straits did at the time which was was to do some editing here and there so that the album would have a different run time on vinyl and CD, then this was not going to happen. The songs are quite long apart from Stevie Nicks, who only seems that have one way of writing songs. Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham produced records that did not sound as though they would fit on the Mac album. Anyway, I digress. McVie would only have three songs on this record with Buckingham and Nicks having four each. 

I may have been critical of Stevie Nicks, but when putting this album together, her songs were the most commercial and are arguably the best ones on this record. Her album, ‘The Wild Heart’ is pretty good and she had so much material knocking about that she was able to release another album in 1985, which was called ‘Rock A Little’. As albums go, I feel that this would have been a stronger collection than ‘Mirage’, but still not up there with the best albums this line up produced. 

This record was geared to a the length of a vinyl LP, so there were a number of good songs left over. I felt that it would have been a shame to lose them so in this time line, these would have been used a B-Sides. The Stevie Nicks songs, like those used on the main album are the strongest here. If this had been, I am sure that Nicks would have been rather annoyed that she had produced so many quality songs that were not allowed to be on the parent album. I can hear her arguing with Buckingham about the inclusion of Nightbird, which is a good song. However, I can hear Buckingham saying ‘We cannot have Nightbird on the album as it sounds too much Gypsy form the last album’, which would no doubt get Nick’s back up.

By this point in music history, Mac were releasing 12” singles so there was room for some of the longer more experimental songs on the B-Sides. Whatever the A-Sides would have been, there are four B-Sides for you to enjoy. In reality, there is no way on God’s Earth that this album would have been released. It is amazing that they actually managed to get their act together to release ‘Tango In The Night’. That album came out in 1987 and in thirty four years since then, they had produced three albums of new major. To put that into context, before that, they had released fourteen albums. The band essentially finished in 1982 and ‘Tango’ aside, they have become like the Beach Boys. Releasing the odd album here and there but essentially going out on the road to perform old hit for ever increasing ticket prices. Fleetwood Mac are one of the greatest bands of all time but they have never been the same since. 

The front cover is adapted from the promo CD release of the Stevie Nicks box set compilation, Enchanted. They band name is at the base of the quill to have the effect that the person has just written it. There are no band pictures from 1984 so I went with this image instead. Fits quite nicely I think. 

Fleetwood Mac – The Collection Vol.2

It has been pretty much a year since I had a look at the early years of Fleetwood Mac, so it was about time that I had a look at their career after founder member and legendary guitar, Peter Green, left the band.

In my post from August 2020, I lamented that the blues era of the band had been poorly served by compilers of the groups archive. If I thought that the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac has been poorly served by the endless reissuing of only the most successful tracks from time or poorly research archive compilations, well, the next era is a virtual desert. When Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac, the band continued to make records and tour but without the blues guitar hero up front, the sound began to change from blues, to rock, to soft rock. Between 1970 and 1974, Fleetwood Mac released an album a year but from the 2018 50 Years Anniversary Compilation, you would hardly now it. 

On the 1 disc set which I suspect was designed to appeal to the casual buyer did not contain a single song from this era. In fact, only three songs from the twenty on the disc came form the Peter Green Era. On the three disc set, only disc one covered the first seven and most productive (in terms of releases) period of the band. With seventeen songs to cover this period, nine songs are from this forgotten second era which is not bad and the majority were single edits that I had never heard before. Nice touch but it really shows where the band through the money is as the rest of the set is from 1975 onwards. For the average Mac fan, this is most probably all they know. All of the Reprise label releases from 1969-1974 were released in a box set in 2020, but the lack of unreleased songs, be it in the studio or live was noticeable. This is a shame as this second era from contained its fair share of top notch songs. 

Mac kicked things off in the 70s by releasing the ‘Kiln House’ album and this is the weakest of this era’s records. It is a band trying to find their feet after their leading light and driving force left. It is not a great album, but it does have some good playing and a couple of good songs. As if losing one founder member wasn’t enough, by the time the next album came out, Jeremy Spencer had also left. This is where they drafted in the guitar playing who would play on all of the remaining albums throughout this era and who’s departure in 1974 would lead to Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joining the band.  

This man was Bob Welch and ‘Future Games’ was the first album he appeared on. This album is one, possibly two songs away from being a lost classic. It is also as far from the blues as you can get and it is not a surprise that the band lost a lot of their key UK audience around this period. Who wants to listen to soft rock with a sunshine Californian jazzy feel that came courtesy of American Welsh? Not the bands British fan base at any rate. The same line up continued on to the next album, ‘Bare Trees’ which also contained Welsh’s signature song, ‘Sentimental Lady’ which became a top ten US hit when he recorded a solo version in 1977. For Danny Kirwan though, this would be the end of the road. He had struggled since Peter Green left and his drinking had become a problem. After one too many incidents of erratic behaviour, Kirwan was out and the band regrouped with ex Savoy Brown singer Dave Walker and guitar player for hire Bob Weston coming in. 

The band’s next album, ‘Penguin’ is not a great album with a pretty pedestrian cover of I’m A Road Runner making up the numbers.  Penguin is notable for having a brief appearance by Peter Green on the song Nightwatch. At the time, this was the first Mac record to make any headway in the US, even though is did nothing in the UK. Walker did not last long as the band were not ready for a front person who didn’t play a guitar or keyboards and he was gone by the time the sessions for their next album which was called ‘Mystery To Me’. This was an improvement on the previous record and continued with the trend of their early 70s albums to do reasonably well in the US, but not in the UK. However, band harmony didn’t last long as it was found that Bob Weston was having an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife. The tour fell apart and Clifford Davis, the band’s manager sent a fake Mac on the road claiming he owned the band name. This fake Mac would end up changing their name to Stretch and release a number of records of their own. 

After a suggestion from Welch, the band relocated to the US and have pretty much stayed there ever since. The recorded their first US based album and it was called ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’. Even though the album was the first Mac album to break into the US top 40, Welch felt it was time to move on. He felt that he had given all he could to the band and with his marriage failing, he moved on to pastures new. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find all of these songs on Spotify, especially as their were quite a number of songs from the Peter Green era that meant I could not create a play list on the platform. These compilations CD show a band in transition, but there is enough good songs in here to show that these albums are unduly being ignored with a lack of deluxe reissues. Bizarrely, all of the albums Danny Kirwan was on were given a Vinyl Box Set reissue in 2013 but apart from the addition of the single Oh Well (Parts 1 & 2) was the only bonus track. There have been a rare occasion when this era does get a compilation, this normally throws in a couple of rare or unreleased studio cuts with a load of live tracks. Why not put out some deluxe editions record label? Come on Warner Brothers Records, you can do better than this. The label was not swallowed up by Universal so the bands archives did not catch fire in 2008 so surely there is more in the archive? 

This era might be the bridge between the blues era and the multi million dollar selling soft rock behemoth but it does show how the band went from one to the other. So for now here is, to my mind anyway, the best of the years 1970-74. Enjoy.   

Disc 1

  1. Homeward Bound
  2. Child of Mine
  3. Sentimental Lady
  4. The Ghost
  5. Earl Grey
  6. Future Games
  7. Woman Of 1000 Years
  8. Sands Of Time
  9. Sometimes
  10. Spare Me A Little Of Your Love
  11. Sunny Side Of Heaven
  12. Morning Rain
  13. Hi Ho Silver
  14. Tell Me All The Things You Do
  15. One Together
  16. Dust
  17. Show Me A Smile

Disc 2

  1. Remember Me
  2. (I’m A) Roadrunner
  3. Angel
  4. Coming Home
  5. Keep On Going
  6. The Derelict
  7. Heroes Are Hard To Find
  8. Bad Loser
  9. Emerald Eyes
  10. Believe Me
  11. Night Watch
  12. Dissatisfied
  13. Revelation
  14. The City
  15. Prove Your Love
  16. The Way I Feel
  17. Bright Fire
  18. Come A Little Closer
  19. Caught In The Rain
  20. Why