Fleetwood Mac – Live In Boston 1970

Fleetwood Mac were very creative down the years and from 1967 to 1977, as they pretty much released an album a year. Not bad for a band that rarely had the same line up between releases. During this time, they seemed to go through guitar players in the way Spinal Tap went through drummers but without the tendency to pass away in bizarre circumstances. When it comes to unreleased albums or projects, the Mac did not leave that many ideas in the can. It was reported that Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green were going to produce a ‘orchestral-choral’ biography of Jesus Christ. However, it looks as though nothing came of this idea and Spencer would go on to produce a solo records full of tributes/parodies of rock n roll. Considering that the rest of Mac backed Spencer on this record, it could be considered a lost album by the band if if Peter Green only appears on one song. This record could even be considered a dry run for 1970s ‘Kiln House’. Anyway, I digress. 

One record project that was made and then went unreleased at the time was a live album. In February 1970, the band played a series of gigs at the Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA. As Peter Green notes in one of the in-between songs bits of banter, the band are not as loose as they normally are due to the pressure of ensuring that they produce a top notch performance. The Mac knock out a nearly four hour show of blues and rock n roll pastiches. Imagine going to gig that long now. Compare this to The Beatles who would knock out about thirty minutes when they last toured just four years before this. Could the Mac of this period be classed at the British equivalent of The Grateful Dead. 

Anyway, this gig never made it onto the market mostly down to the fact that Peter Green left the band just three months after this recording was made. The tapes would stay in the vault until the mid-80s when they would slowly creep out on numerous releases before a 2013 CD release that pretty much compiled all of the available releases. So, what would have happened if this set had come out back in 1970? Well, this was when the technology to record live gigs effectively and with the amount of martial recorded that night, it would have been a shame to only release this as a single record. So, a double album it is. Live records at the time would also look to fade out the crowd at the end of the songs so none of the on stage banter would have been kept in. 

The band at this point had three front men, guitar playing songwriters so there needs to be a fair representation of all three. The band also would finish up shows with some old rock n’ roll songs so if this is to be representative of a Mac live concert, this would need to be kept as well. So, what do we have. The album starts off with the Boston tea Party MC introduces the band and he also re-introduces the band later on. This was used for Side C as this was a great way of starting the second disc. The MC also comes on to finish the gig as well and so this stayed in as well. The music itself shows the band moving on from their blues roots to something else entirely. Most the blues tracks that do remain in the set are delivered by Jeremy Spencer, who still seems to be stuck as a Elmore James copyist. Spencer does not take part in the songs of the other two guitar players but it is when Peter Green and Danny Kirwan get going, that he hear some fantastic interplay between the two. It is a shame that Green and Kirwan only appeared on one Mac album together and it is a tragedy that the careers were curtained by bad drugs and metal illness.  

Side A

  1. Black Magic Woman
  2. Sandy Mary
  3. Like It This Way
  4. Only You
  5. Oh Well

Side B

  1. Rattlesnake Shake

Side C

  1. World In Harmony
  2. I Can’t Hold Out
  3. Got To Move
  4. Loving Kind
  5. Jumping At Shadows

Side D

  1. Stranger Blues
  2. Teenage Darling
  3. Keep A-Knocking
  4. Jenny Jenny

The artwork used a shot of the band live in this period. It may even have been taken at the Boston Tea Party. It was the only picture I could find with all five members of the band playing live and this is also the first time I have completed the back sleeve as well. I took inspiration from the band 1971 ‘Greatest Hits’ album cover and like that, this would have been a gatefold. 

The gatefold sleeve for ‘Live At The Boston Tea Party’.

All of the songs were available on Spotify but has not been edited down in the way it would have been back in the day. Therefore, banter between the songs has been left in so there are occasions is where someone will introduce a song and then the band doesn’t play it. The end of Jenny Jenny also has Peter Green talking about the band ending up having a jam with a guest guitar player and future Eagle, Joe Walsh. If you can get through this, the record stands up as a great document of a band at it peak. Enjoy!

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