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Fleetwood Mac In Chicago/Blues Jam In Chicago vols 1 & 2 was the result of a recording session in early 1969, at Chess Records in Chicago (home to Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, et al) with Fleetwood Mac, a British (electric) blues band, and some of their Chicago blues mentors.
Fleetwood Mac: Jeremy Spencer (vocals, guitar, slide guitar); Danny Kirwan, Peter Green (vocals, guitar); John McVie (bass guitar); Mick Fleetwood (drums).
Mentors: Otis Spann (vocals, piano); David Honeyboy Edwards, Buddy Guy (guitar); Walter "Shakey" Horton (harmonica); J. T. Brown (tenor saxophone); Willie Dixon (acoustic bass guitar); S.P. Leary (drums).
Recording venue: Chess Ter-Mar Studios, Chicago, Illinois (January, 1969).
When the band went to the United States in January 1969, they recorded many songs at the soon to close Chess Records Studio, with some blues legends of Chicago, including Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, and Otis Spann. These would prove, however, to be Fleetwood Mac's last all-blues recordings. Along with their change of style, the band was also going through some label changes. Up until this point, they had been on Blue Horizon. With Kirwan in the band, however, the musical possibilities were too great for them to stay on a blues-only label. The band signed with the Immediate label and released "Man Of The World", another British and European hit single. Immediate was in bad shape and the band shopped around for a new deal. Even though the Beatles wanted the band on Apple Records (Mick Fleetwood and George Harrison were brothers-in-law), the band's manager Clifford Davis decided to go with Warner Bros. Records, the label they have stayed with ever since. Their first album for Warners, released in September of 1969, was the well-regarded Then Play On. The American release of this album contains the song "Oh Well", featured consistently in live performances until 1997. Then Play On, which was the band's first rock album, featured only the songs of Kirwan and Green. Jeremy Spencer, meanwhile, recorded a solo album (he was backed by the rest of the band) that consisted of many 1950s-style rock and roll songs.
In July 1969 Fleetwood Mac was the headliner of the Schaefer Music Festival in New York City's Central Park, along with The Byrds, Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, The Beach Boys, Frank Zappa and Patti LaBelle. They re-appeared at the festival in 1970.
Disc 1: This set, recorded at Chess Record's Ter-Mar complex in Chicago, pairs Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac with some of the Windy City's blues legends including Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, Buddy Guy, and David "Honeyboy" Edwards. Put together on short notice, and recorded in one day, the sessions have something of a ramshackle feel, but the energy of the performances transcends any shortcomings on this date. Dixon oversaw the proceedings, and can be heard during the between-song banter giving directions and chastising Walter "Shakey" Horton for missing his cues. Since the Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac was so directly influenced by Chicago blues, the session acts as a kind of stylistic homecoming for the band. Bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood contribute driving rhythms while guitarists Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer lend both rhythms and the occasional lead. Green's stunningly fluid guitar work is at the fore, as usual. But the real treat is picking out the Chess players--Otis Spann's piano on "I Got the Blues," J.T. Brown's tenor sax on Elmore James's "I Can't Hold Out," or Guy and Edwards, who go toe-to-toe with Green on "Red Hot Jam," one of the session's indisputable highlights.
Disc 2: Like volume one, Blues Jam in Chicago vol. 2 documents collaborations between some of Chess Records' most prominent bluesmen and the late-1960s version of Fleetwood Mac (the blues-rock power outfit, as opposed to the commercially successful soft-rock incarnation from the '70s). Given that the Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac was already deeply rooted in Chicago blues, the project proved to be a natural for the group, with Green's blues-drenched leads and the chops of Mick Fleetwood (drums), John McVie (bass), Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer (guitars) providing a perfect framework for contributions by Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, and David "Honeyboy" Edwards, among others. Green and company bring an edge to the proceedings, playing with the kind of muscle and unbridled energy associated with rock music. Volume two has greater variety in the lineup than volume one, with Dixon substituting on bass for McVie on a number of tracks, along with much swapping of vocal duties. The latter move gives the second installment the edge over the first, with Edwards singing on his own tunes ("Honey Boy Blues" is a highlight), and the inimitable Spann singing "Someday Soon Baby" and "Hungry Country Girl." This is one of the finer snapshots of British blues-rock meeting its source.
01. "Watch Out" (Composed by Peter Green)
02. "Ooh Baby" (Composed by Howlin' Wolf)
03. "South Indiana" – (take 1) (Composed by Walter Horton)
04. "South Indiana" – (take 2)
05. "Last Night" (Composed by Little Walter Jacobs)
06. "Red Hot Jam" – (take 1) (Composed by Peter Green)
07. "Red Hot Jam" – (take 2) Note: Not on the original LP Polydor BH4803
08. "I'm Worried" (Composed by Elmore James)
09. "I Held My Baby Last Night" (Composed by Elmore James)
10. "Madison Blues" (Composed by Elmore James)
11. "I Can't Hold Out" (Composed by Elmore James)
12. "Bobby's Rock" Note: Not on the original LP Polydor BH4803
13. "I Need Your Love" (Composed by Walter Horton)
14. "Horton's Boogie Woogie" Note: Not on the original LP Polydor BH4803
15. "I Got The Blues" (Composed by Walter Horton)
01. "World's In A Tangle"
02. "Talk With You"
03. "Like It This Way"
04. "Someday Soon Baby"
05. "Hungry Country Girl"
06. "Black Jack Blues" - (Bonus Track)
07. "Everyday I Have The Blues"
08. "Rockin' Boogie"
09. "My Baby's Gone"
10. "Sugar Mama" - (take 1, Bonus Track)
11. "Sugar Mama" - (take 2)
12. "Homework" - (Bonus Track)
13. "Honey Boy Blues"
14. "I Need Your Love" - (take 1, Bonus Track)
15. "Horton's Boogie Woogie" (Take 2)
16. "Have A Good Time"
17. "That's Wrong"
18. "Rock Me Baby"