NEW YORK: CD Review for Blue Again - by J. Blake

Posted on 9/08/2009 by J. Blake

As most blues fans, music-philes & American Blues Blog readers know, the music group Fleetwood Mac got its start as an “all male” British blues band in the late-1960s. As founder/front man & main creative force Peter Green spiraled into LSD induced schizophrenia, a mental breakdown and over two decades of obscurity, the band marched on with several personnel changes and a shift in “sound” and style that would take a relatively famous late-60s blues band and launch it into the pantheon of legendary rock/pop super-groups.

Throughout the decades, as the band gradually strayed further and further away from its bluesy Peter Green roots and deeper and deeper into the more poppy/classic rock sound of the Buckingham/Nicks era, it is only natural for fans to wonder if the rhythm section in which the band was named, ever looks back at what once was and hears the calling of the blues beckoning them back to their roots. Luckily the 2009 release of 429 Records’ BLUE AGAIN by The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, answers that exact question.

In 2008, in the midst of Fleetwood Mac’s 40th anniversary, drummer Mick Fleetwood decided that it was time to revisit the blues years and took to the road with formidable blues line-up, fronted by onetime Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer Rick Vito and accompanied by bassist Lenny Castellanos & keyboardist Mark Johnstone. The mostly live album BLUE AGAIN was recorded in February of 2008 at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Lois, MO and features an even blend of Peter Green classics and bluesy Rick Vito originals; with a blistering encore of Elmore JamesShake Your Moneymaker. In the CD’s liner notes Fleetwood explains, “Over my career I've been called a pop star and a rock star, yet in my inner heart, I will always be part bluesman. On my journey from blues to a life of rock n roll, I've always remembered where I started.”

When I first heard of this album’s existence, I was of course excitingly curious, but as it began to sink in that this was not any kind of “Original Fleetwood Mac” reunion and was simply Mick Fleetwood playing those songs with another a band, I understandably became skeptical. However, though BLUE AGAIN is not one of the greatest blues albums I’ve ever heard and in my opinion doesn’t exactly holdup to the greatness of the widely distributed live recordings of Green’s Fleetwood Mac, I have to admit it is a very pleasant and enjoyable listening experience. The band is of course top notch and Rick Vito, whose guitar talents and meaty tone are more then adequate to tackle such revered classics as Stop Messin’ Around, Rattle Snake Shake and Black Magic Woman, puts his own stamp on the Green penned material while mixing in some of his own (well suited) blues rooted originals.

Though Vito suffers from what I call “the white-bluesmen’s burden”, a less then commanding and authentic blues singing voice, he does well in this live setting and delivers the lyrics with a sense of authority and passion. With the exception of the album’s only studio track, a less then exciting rendition of Green’s Albatross, the CD as a whole has a great energy about it. The band is tight, the guitar playing is inspired and despite the unfortunate omission of the Green classic, Oh Well, the material is balanced and thoughtfully chosen.

Definite highlights include early ‘Mac staples Stop Messin’ Around, Black Magic Woman and Shake Your Moneymaker; as well as Vito’s Red Hot Girl and Fleetwood Boogie.

Also, the word on the street is that a companion DVD of this 2008 performance will be released this fall. So stay tuned to the American Blues Blog for more information and updates!

01. Red Hot Gal
02. Looking for Somebody
03. Fleetwood Boogie
04. Stop Messin' Around
05. Rattlesnake Shake
06. When We Do the Lucky Devil
07. Love That Burns
08. Medley - Rollin' Man/Bayou Queen
09. Black Magic Woman
10. I Got A Hole in My Shoe
11. Shake Your Moneymaker
12. Albatross

Copyright © 2009 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved.

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

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