“Don’t Ask Me What I Think Of You”. . : Peter Green (1946 – 2020)

I always said that one of the advantages of being a bassist is that you can get to the opportunity to play and learn from some good guitarists (if you’re lucky). A great guitarist who I played with a great deal in the nineties, Frank Capeck (see https://roymusicusa.com/2020/01/27/a-blast-from-my-past-cpy-at-the-lone-star-roadhouse/) turned me on to the greatness that was Peter Green.

Born Peter Allen Greenbaum, Peter Green was never as well known to American audiences as the other great English blues guitarists of his time (the usual suspects: Clapton, Beck, Page,  etc.) but in England and to many musicians, he was right up there at the top of the list. B.B. King proclaimed that Peter Green “has the sweetest tone I ever heard. He was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.”

In the short span of four years (1966 – 1970) Peter Green replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers for A Hard Road, and then formed the original blues band version of Fleetwood Mac. During his time in Fleetwood Mac, Green recorded three albums and a string of singles that including the original version of the Santana hit ,“Black Magic Woman” (written by Green), the Santos & Johnny inspired instrumental “Albatross,” and the awesome “Oh Well Pt. 1 & 2,”.  During his time with Fleetwood Mac, you can see Green’s evolution from hard-core blues to a music capable of both deep introspection (“Man of the World”) and psychedelic experimentalism (“The Green Manalishi”).

In 1970, while going through a time of emotional crisis complicated by LSD use, Green quit the band, who by then were a staple of the British pop charts. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Green (who was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia) unraveled, going through extended periods of mental illness and destitution, Eventually in the nineties, Green recovered sufficiently that he began performing again under such labels as the Peter Green Splinter Group or Peter Green and Friends.

Green was at his best when playing a slow minor blues and it doesn’t better than this performance of “I’ve Got A Mind To Give Up Living” from New Orleans, 1970.

I’ve Got A Mind To Give Up Living/ All Over Again (The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA  01/31/70) –

 

Not many people realize that Santana’s take on Black Magic Woman was a cover of the Fleetwood Mac tune. I hear a lot of Peter Green in Carlos Santana’s playing. As an interesting side note, both Fleetwood Mac and Santana were inaugurated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year with Green being included as a founding member of Fleetwood Mac Rather than perform with Fleetwood Mac, Green played “Black Magic Women” with Santana.

FLEETWOOD MAC – Black Magic Woman

Early Fleetwood Mac sported a formidable triple guitar) lineup. Along with Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer, they kicked some serious butt. As exhibit A, I submit the following: after the short opening instrumental, “World In Harmony”, they tear into “Oh Well”. As the announcer warned in the beginning, those with weak hearts should leave.

Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac – World In Harmony & Oh Well

Given his subsequent mental health issues, Green;s performance of “Jumpin’ At Shadows” is downright eerie.

Jumpin’ At Shadows {live 1970} ~ Fleetwood Mac {Peter Green}

Finally some guitar geek stuff about Green’s Les Paul guitar (now owned by Kirk Hammett of Metallica) as well as a breakdown of Green riffs.

Peter Green Guitar Riffs and Tone | Reverb Learn to Play

R.I.P. Peter Green

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Posted in Blues, Classic Rock, Music Appreciation and Analysis

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