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Release Info: Peter Green & Fleetwood Mac - Jumping At Shadows The Blues Years
This British two-disc collection offers a rather unique look at the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac rather than just focusing on the band's output from 1967, immediately after leaving John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, to 1970 when Green left. The set is chock-full of fine studio material that documents the evolution of the band from a power trio to its Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan incarnations. And while it's true that other collections have documented the band from this period very well, none of them has dug quite as deep into the live archives or revealed the subsequent Peter Green side projects of the time. Here are 36 tracks that offer stunning live renditions of Green's "Black Magic Woman," "Oh Well," the second part of the "Madge Sessions," and Spencer's "Stranger Blues," as well as an absolutely searing version of Kirwan's "Comin' Your Way." Given the budget price of this completely remastered set, these alone would have been worth the price, but in a sense it's only the beginning. There are numerous tracks of Green with musical running-mate Duster Bennett from the pre-Fleetwood Mac years, including a truly haunted version of the title track. Add to this four tracks of Green's work with Bob Brunning's Sunflower Blues Band, and you have an evocative and intense portrait of a band struggling to come to grips with a reluctant genius as a frontman, and the era. What is most revealing is Green's focus on execution and mood. The music has a way of getting past him, not technically, but emotionally, on the live material -- the title cut, "Rattlesnake Shake," "Lazy Poker Blues" -- as well as on the instrumentals. Check the versions of Kirwan's "World in Harmony," and the extremities in this version of "Green Manalishi," for evidence. Neil Slaven assembled this comp. He also wrote its confounding and labyrinthine liner notes, which are full of information but light on continuity or style. Slaven's method of creating a musical portrait, however, is virtually unassailable. The tracks wind in and out of one another, back and forth across time and partnerships as if telling a secret that can only be fully understood when the last sentence has been whispered. There is no secret in the fact that Green was a reluctant superstar, and that madness overwhelmed him at his playing peak. What isn't known, however, is the great vulnerability and tenderness he put into every performance. That side of Peter Green is well documented here, the terminally shy skinny kid who could rain down fire from the heavens and draw water from the wells of hell on a guitar.
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