Some no-compromise music fans — especially those with ears tuned to the blues-centric, distortion-fueled sound that comprises the DNA of all quality rock, ever — would say that Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are not only are responsible for making pop music the Superfund cesspool that it is today, but they also poisoned what was one of the greatest blues-rock bands of all time. Other people might have a slightly dissimilar telling of the events we’ll call The Christine McVie-As-Yoko Theory.Still others might say that Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green did it himself, squandering away his genius with drugs and letting his sometimes-fragile mental health go to seed. In this reality, his bandmates, left to their own devices, did what they had to do to stay in business, make a living, and dominate the world’s airwaves.
Whatever your take on the events that shaped Fleetwood Mac’s history — if you want to win a bar bet, ask “I bet you don’t know who wrote and originally recorded “Black Magic Woman”; that, my friend, would be Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac — it’s hard to dispute the contention that Peter Green played some aggressive, wonderfully grungy blues noise. You can bet Jon Spencer heard Green’s records more than a couple times before erecting his Blues Explosion — which sounds a lot like a tribute to “1.0” Fleetwood Mac.
One of Green’s last songwriting contributions before dropping out of the band he created was “Oh Well,” available out there in about 15 different studio and live versions as every label in the world tries to cash in on completist Mac fans minted during the Buckingham-Nicks era. Fact is, pretty much all vintage Mac from this period rages in a fierce blues pocket, and in my experience, the crappier the sound quality, the better the performance. This MP3 came from a little disc called The Vintage Years Live. Here’s a 1969 Beeb performance via YouTube: