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Fleetwood Mac (1968) Peter Green

How to upset the blues purists

Among Britain’s young blues fans Eric Clapton was once hailed as a god, then discarded by the ethnics when he left John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers for the Cream. Taking his place in their affections was Peter Green, a 21-year-old from Bethnal Green hailed as the true voice of the blues guitar and symbol of dedication.

Shock

Peter left Mayall to form his own group, the Fleetwood Mac and it may come as something of a shock to his fans to learn that he is not a raving blues purist and started life as a rocker.

“The group has been very successful since we formed it last August. There is a big interest in blues in Britain, although not what I call real blues, more progressive stuff from Jimi Hendrix and the Cream. But it’s definitely spreading. There are only two places in the whole country where we don’t go down — a couple of dead universities.

Chocked

“John Mayall has been the spearhead in reviving interest in blues. He’s really done a lot for it. I’ve been playing blues guitar for about three years, and before that I was playing bass.

“When I left John, I didn’t want to form a group. I wanted to go to Chicago, but it was difficult to be sure of being safe and I ended up dropping the idea. I was happy doing nothing, but Mike Vernon said ‘Why not?’ and he talked me into it.”

Peter has been featuring rock ‘n’ roll a lot in his act. What did he think of the current revival?

“I’m a bit chocked about it. I hope people don’t think we’re doing it because of the revival!

Picture

“I was first interested in rock ‘n’ roll and Bill Haley when I was ten years old. It has a big place in my musical heritage. I had a picture of Haley on my bedroom wall. We’re all big rock fans in the group.

“We started out doing ‘At The Hop’ as a joke, then we did ‘Ready, Teddy’, and ‘Lucille’ and we really enjoyed them.

“A lot of so called blues purists are against us doing it, but I don’t care what they think. We play what we like — we’re not just playing for purists.

“I’m not a blues purist. I don’t know every record ever made, or their numbers, and I’m not interested in talking about the blues all night. I just play blues — and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Chris Welch / Melody Maker / March 16, 1968

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