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Chicken Shack Christine McVie

For Christine, hard work hasn’t made Perfect

Hard work is not always rewarded, as Christine Perfect is unfortunately finding out. Since leaving Chicken Shack to spend more time with her husband, Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie, then forming her own band and touring again, she has not exactly achieved what a lot of people know she deserves.

It’s rather an odd situation as she has a healthy fan following and always does well in popularity polls. One of her main problems is the total unpredictability of the television companies who used to fight over well-known acts but who now make a habit of booking lesser-knowns at the expense of people like Christine.

“I sat down and added up all the points in my favour and it’s ridiculous,” she explained. “They just won’t give me any TV work. They like the records but they have so much power and they know it.”

She can be excused a modicum of bitterness. It must be very frustrating to have the talent without it being given enough exposure. An endless round of one-nighters isn’t quite the same as a few hours in a TV studio.

Mixture

Her last single, “Too Far Gone (To Turn Around)” was released on April 24 and her album is due out in the middle of next month. It has quite a mixture of tracks: a new version of the Chicken Shack hit “I’d Rather Go Blind,” Tony Joe White’s “I Want You,” her single “When You Say,” Ike and Tina Turner’s “Crazy Bout You Baby,” Bobby Bland’s “I’m On My Way” and “Too Far Gone” without the strings and brass. There are also some numbers written by her group which includes the exceptionally good guitarist Top Topham.

But even the album isn’t really making Christine all that happy. When I asked her about it, she smoothed down her blonde hair, creased her brow and replied: “You know how it is with albums, they’re always representative of what you were rather than what you’re doing now… so I’m happy with fifty per cent of it.”

Christine took the decision to go back on the road when she found the contrast between working with Chicken Shack and looking after John and nothing else was too much.

Her first London concert date at the Drury Lane Theatre Royal was a bit of a disaster, mainly because of a compere who calmly announced: “Next is Christine Perfect, I don’t expect many of you have heard of her.” Very professional.

None the less, Christine enjoys working if not the actual travelling and she knows a lot about venues.

“London audiences seem to be blasé,” she told me. “They’re far better further North. Those pubs that have rooms above are usually very good, the kids seem more relaxed. They have a drink or two and don’t have to worry about sitting down all the time like at a concert, they feel freer to enjoy themselves.”

Things should get better, it’s nice to think they will. How about joining Fleetwood Mac, I joked, after all Peter Green is leaving?

She thought this funny and had to put her pint down rather quickly to avoid spilling it. Then she looked more serious and said: “That’s funny you mention that because Peter introduced me to the audience once and I got an ovation. I was amazed. I did a number with them and it went off great.”

Richard Green / New Musical Express / May 30, 1970

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