Published On: Fri, Apr 30th, 2021

ADRIAN THRILLS: Fleetwood & Co come together to sing the BLUES for GREEN 

Mick Fleetwood & Friends: Celebrate The Music Of Peter Green (BMG)

Rating:

Verdict: Live homage to a blues legend

The Coral: Coral Island (Modern Sky)

Rating:

Verdict: Well worth a stay 

Marianne Faithfull & Warren Ellis: She Walks In Beauty (BMG)

Rating:

Verdict: Haunting Romantic poetry

Just five months later, guitarist Green passed away in his sleep at 73, leaving a legacy now being celebrated afresh on an album taken from that gig

Just five months later, guitarist Green passed away in his sleep at 73, leaving a legacy now being celebrated afresh on an album taken from that gig

When Mick Fleetwood put together an all-star line-up to pay tribute to his former bandmate Peter Green, he was probably anticipating an emotional evening.

What the veteran drummer couldn’t have foreseen was just how poignant that London concert on February 25 last year would turn out to be. Within weeks of the show at the Palladium, the UK had gone into lockdown.

Just five months later, guitarist Green passed away in his sleep at 73, leaving a legacy now being celebrated afresh on an album taken from that gig. 

With members of Pink Floyd, The Who, Oasis and Metallica on board, it’s not short of big names.

Out today in various formats, including a box set (£125), quadruple vinyl LP (£50), double CD (£12) and digitally, the record focuses on Fleetwood Mac’s early incarnation as a British blues band led by Green. 

Fans hoping to hear Don’t Stop or Go Your Own Way from their second coming in California should brace themselves for disappointment.

The original outfit, formed in 1967 by Green, Fleetwood, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer, had plenty to offer, though. 

Green, who didn’t appear at the gig, quit in 1971 after battling mental health issues and a drug problem, but his four years at the helm of Fleetwood Mac left blues legend B.B. King so impressed that he hailed him as ‘the only guitar player to make me sweat’.

As well as being an exceptional musician — his playing was all about emotional punch rather than the number of notes he could squeeze into a solo — Green wrote the rock classics Albatross and Black Magic Woman. Both are resurrected here, although you’ll also need a deep love of old blues standards to appreciate this album in its entirety.

American singer-guitarist Jonny Lang and British veteran John Mayall tackle tunes by Chicago bluesman Otis Rush. Lang also covers Little Willie John’s soulful Need Your Love So Bad.

When Mick Fleetwood put together an all-star line-up to pay tribute to his former bandmate Peter Green, he was probably anticipating an emotional evening. What the veteran drummer couldn¿t have foreseen was just how poignant that London concert on February 25 last year would turn out to be

When Mick Fleetwood put together an all-star line-up to pay tribute to his former bandmate Peter Green, he was probably anticipating an emotional evening. What the veteran drummer couldn’t have foreseen was just how poignant that London concert on February 25 last year would turn out to be

Jeremy Spencer, playing with Mick Fleetwood for the first time in 50 years, contributes two Elmore James numbers.

But Green’s own songs, and other early Mac originals, are the real highlights. Christine McVie, the only woman here, shines on upbeat Stop Messin’ Round and plays mellow electric piano on Looking For Somebody.

Neil Finn wrings lots of tenderness from Man Of The World; and Noel Gallagher does a decent job in his two-song acoustic set.

The finale is a procession of rock legends, with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett playing Green’s Les Paul guitar on The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown), Pete Townshend embellishing Station Man with a nod to The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again, and David Gilmour performing Oh Well (Part 2) as if it were a Pink Floyd instrumental.

‘It’s important to recognise the profound impact Peter had on music,’ says Fleetwood, who compères with cheery aplomb. Some of the songs descend into meandering jams that lack Green’s elegant restraint, but this is a heartfelt homage. Given the ongoing uncertainty over indoor gigs, we’re unlikely to witness another such gathering for some time. 

Britain’s neglected seaside towns provide the raw material for The Coral on an excellent double album on which the Merseyside band are never far away from a penny arcade, whirling Waltzer or jukebox playing a warped 7-inch single. 

Singer James Skelly took inspiration for Coral Island from another double album, Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 classic The River. The Boss said that The River’s faster tunes represented the rock’n’roll bands that played along the Jersey Shore in the summer, with the slower songs portraying the lives of the characters who lived there all year round.

Skelly goes further by dividing Coral Island into two parts. The first celebrates the romance of high summer, while the second chronicles the darkness of a tourist-free winter. In both instances, the tracks are stitched together with spoken monologues by the singer’s grandad Ian Murray, 85, turning the record into an epic worthy of a stage musical or TV mini-series. 

The summer side (Welcome To Coral Island) taps straight into The Coral’s knack for tuneful guitar pop. With sumptuous vocal harmonies, Change Your Mind and Mist On The River could be the work of a band from California rather than the Wirral. Vacancy is illuminated by Nick Power’s fairground organ.

Part two (The Ghost Of Coral Island) is more melancholy but the brightness of the tunes remains. Summertime is a McCartney-like gem and Old Photographs was inspired by nostalgic images of Llandudno and New Brighton — typically vivid fare from one of the UK’s most original bands.

Marianne Faithfull’s first release since she battled Covid-19 last year is as much an audiobook as a pop album.

It’s a format that suits both her husky voice and her collaborator, Warren Ellis, who scores her weighty readings of Romantic poetry with sound collages reminiscent of his soundtrack work.

The mood is contemplative, with many of these poems raspy ruminations on mortality.

Wordsworth’s Surprised By Joy is an evocation of grief written after the death of a child. Byron’s So We’ll Go No More A Roving is a lament for lost youth that the singer likens to a blues number.

Nick Cave adds piano on Keats’s To Autumn, and Tennyson’s Lady Of Shalott contains a line (‘It was the closing of the day’) that Mick Jagger would use in writing Faithfull’s single As Tears Go By.

But this isn’t a gimmicky ‘re-imagining’ of classic literature. ‘She takes you with her,’ says Ellis, whose mix of regular instruments and ‘electronic things’ is a perfect foil.

After The Mac, Noel flies back to his birds

As well as covering two Fleetwood Mac songs on the Peter Green tribute album, Noel Gallagher (left) has been coming up with his own material. New single We’re On Our Way Now, made with his band the High Flying Birds, finds the former hellraiser in unexpectedly mellow mood.

A ballad that builds from an acoustic intro towards an orchestral finale, complete with female vocals, jangling guitars and a subtle hook, it sounds more like a track from The Verve’s Urban Hymns than anything by Oasis. The song is one of two new numbers on a High Flying Birds greatest hits album due out in June.

Dave Grohl is enjoying a prolific lockdown. Following his recent single with Mick Jagger, he has now made one with his daughter Violet, 15, an accomplished rock vocalist in her own right.

Dad and daughter combine on a crunching cover of Nausea, a 1980 song by LA punk legends X. The single has a wider relevance for Grohl, who is a distant cousin of X drummer Donald J. Bonebrake. ‘I wanted to pay tribute to the people who influenced me to become a musician . . . and to my long family history,’ he says.

Will Young is also returning. The former Pop Idol winner lends his smooth falsetto to a surprising cover of synth-pop number Daniel, originally by Brighton singer-songwriter Bat For Lashes.

A.T.

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