Monday, January 25, 2010


Been listening to some late 60's/early 1970's blues of the UK variety (which of course means that John Mayall is somehow involved).  Specifically - Savoy Brown, Humble Pie, and Fleetwood Mac.  It's unbelievable how much great music came from England in that time period.  In no way can I give even a small history of these bands here, but I thought them worth a mention for those who may not have ever listened. 

I never really paid any attention to the less well-known of the 70's classic rock/blues canon.  But after hearing Peter Green's 1979 solo album "In The Skies" (an amazing disc) I figured I'd go back and listen to some early Fleetwood Mac, which was founded by Peter Green, one of the all-time great white blues guitarists.   Early Fleetwood Mac is all just classic bar-band American blues, a la Paul Butterfield, but done by a bunch of Brits.  Their first disc "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac" is one step removed from yes, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (Green replaced Eric Clapton in that band).  Good 12 bar blues.  In time, the band incorporated more psychedelic touches.  In 1969 they released "Then Play On" an excellent disc, which includes the dusty FM classic "Oh Well", which I found a video of and included below.   After that they evolved (or devolved depending on your POV) into a more mainstream band, as Peter Green left and Bob Welch and Christine McVie joined.  They made a few good albums and then Welch left and Buckingham/Nicks joined and the rest is hi$tory. 

Savoy Brown I've only recently listened to, as it was one of those bands that I'd heard of but never actually listened to when growing up.  I've got 2 of their releases "Looking In' and "Raw Sienna". Evidently this was a band ruled by an imperious leader/superb guitarist that kept the band from having a stable line-up.  Hence, depending on which album you're listening to, the lead singer changes, as does most of the band.  But Kim Simmonds, the leader/guitarist is really excellent.  Some of the original band left and formed "Foghat".  Both of these discs are excellent...great guitar jams and just good rock and roll.  Obscure, yes, but that doesn't mean it ain't good.  There were only a certain amount of places for this kind of music to be heard back then, and NYC FM radio back then wasn't one of them.  (If only the internet existed when I was 10).

Humble Pie was formed by Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton.  Marriott had one of the all-time great rock voices.  He was an original, with a high-pitched voice that sounded a bit out of place for a blues singer.  (Of course, Robert Plant showed that that's not a liability).  They released some excellent music and I highly recommend their album "Rock On" as a great example of soulful rock from the early 70's.  Some say they're a Stones rip-off, but if you listen to this disc you'll hear a rootsy blues band with a hard boozy edge and unique sound.  Below is a great video of them doing "Black Coffee"...



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