Listen to this track by former blues-rock titans turned folk and pop-oriented concern featuring an evolving line up, Fleetwood Mac. It’s “Dust”, a song written by the band’s 21-year old guitarist and vocalist Danny Kirwan, and featured on the band’s 1972 album Bare Trees. The song features lines from a poem of the same name by Rupert Brooke, an Edwardian poet who died in 1915.
Kirwan joined Fleetwood Mac when fellow guitarists and original members Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer were still both in the band. The Then Play On album would feature Kirwan’s dual lead vocals and his emerging talent on the guitar, which was a tall order when considering Green’s enormous stature as a player in particular. By the time the elder guitarist departed the group in 1970, Kirwan was well-established to take his place, or at least become the focus in Green’s absence.
This song is evident of Kirwan’s influence, which was the slow drift away from the blues, and into a more wistful, pastoral, and more radio-friendly direction during a time when folky singer songwriters were making headway when it came to selling records. This song in particular would reveal something else about Kirwan though, and would unfortunately foreshadow his fate at the same time. Read more
Listen to this track by future Fleetwood Mac stalwarts and Californian folk duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, AKA Buckingham Nicks. It’s “Frozen Love”, the closing track to their 1973 pre-Mac record called, appropriately Buckingham Nicks. It would be their sole (to date!) album together as a duo.
The record was created when the two young musicians were championed by producer and engineer Keith Olson, in turn helped by sessioner Waddy Wachtel who would be a frequent collaborator with Stevie Nicks in her solo career years later. Before they were signed as a duo, Buckingham and Nicks had both been a part of a rock band, Fritz, that had served as an opening act for some of the biggest acts of the late-60s, including Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Jefferson Airplane. Before that, the two had known each other in high school, and had informally collaborated since they were teens.
When Fritz broke up, the two splintered into a duo, and eventually were signed to Polydor, whereupon they’d recorded this debut album that established both musicians as unique and supremely gifted singer-songwriters. But, the record didn’t sell, thanks to the inattention of Polydor at the time.
Showbiz strikes again!
But, this track in particular would help to lead the two out of the pop music briar patch. Read more
Listen to this track by ’60s British blues-rock progenitors Fleetwood Mac. It’s their pre-Rumors, proto-metal 1970 single “The Green Manalishi (with The Two Prong Crown)”, a song about greed, and possibly about a disturbed state of mind, too. This is a composition from one of the group’s founders Peter Green, one of the finest guitarists of the era.
After their start as a blues band that covered Chicago blues and R&B standards, Green had moved Fleetwood Mac away from a blues purist approach. His material drew the group into a space that provided a more defined template for blues-rock and metal into the next decade. He would write the band’s most enduring songs during its first incarnation; “Man of The World”, “Oh Well”, “Black Magic Woman” (covered famously by Santana), and others.
But, on a personal level a great distance would open up between Green and his bandmates. This was due in part to his excessive LSD use and the beginnings of his struggles with schizophrenia, undiagnosed at the time.
Months before he left the ‘Mac to the leadership of co-founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, he wrote this song after waking from a vivid nightmare. But, what lies behind this song, apparently driven as it is by the forces of darkness? Read more