Addendum: A “New” recording of ‘Oh Well’
The “new” (unfortunately incomplete) recording came to my attention as I was making my way through one of the three collections of “unreleased” BBC recordings that were posted to YouTube early in 2022.
I thank Dutch Greenologist Gert Jan Kuiper for bringing those collections to my attention.
Two of the collections were identical with one being posted a day after the after.
Unfortunately, the third compilation has been since been removed and the publisher’s account shut down – this is a shame as there were a number of titles that would have been worth exploring – I’ve made it a point to explore some of the tracks that were on there separately in upcoming posts
Collection Title: “Fleetwood Mac Unreleased BBC Sessions 1967 – 1971” (Posted January 13, 2022)
Collection Title: “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac: 1967-1971 Unreleased BBC Sessions”
(Posted January 14, 2022) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbjw0rju0jU&t=2510s
An annotated listing of the eighteen tracks found on the two collections (including title corrections and track origins) can be found here: https://smilingcorgipress.com/annotated-breakdown-of-two-youtube-compilations/
In all honesty, at eighteen tracks, I viewed the collections as something little more than a chore. With a made-up mind, I set about listening to each track, with the expectation that each would simply confirm what I had already come believe: none of the tracks were actually “unreleased”.
As I listened to each track, my low expectations were all met, one after the other; then I came to the twelfth track. Incorrectly titled ‘Fool That I Used To Be’, this was a cover of Otis Rush’s ‘I Have to Laugh’.
A flurry of correspondence between Mr. Kuiper and myself followed, and we came to the conclusion that this was in fact a previously unknown recording of the song.
I wrote about that performance here: https://smilingcorgipress.com/addendum-previously-unreleased-performance-of-i-have-to-laugh/
I’m embarrassed to say that I am only now getting around to delving into the final track on the first two collections, listed as ‘Oh Well’ (Version2).
I had put this off as there are seventeen different recordings, not including the studio original, in circulation.
Two were done for the BBC (one for BBC-TV and one for Radio 1); one that was performed for Norwegian television and fourteen concert performances that are available commercially and on bootleg.
I was hoping I wouldn’t have to compare each to ‘Oh Well’ (Version 2).
The first thing to catch my attention on first listen to the track was that the number ended with about a minute of ‘Oh Well Part 2’.
You may have already guessed where this is going, but the first thing that came to my mind was to go and find a recently reposted video on YouTube of the band performing ‘Oh Well Part 1 and Part 2’ on The Top of the Pops.
I believe that this clip was originally posted back in 2017, was taken down at some point and has only recently been put back up.
The clip only runs about two-minutes. There are about forty-five seconds of ‘Part 1’ (picking up with Mick Fleetwood’s tapping of the cowbell before the second verse) and then a minute and fifteen seconds of ‘Part 2’.
The description on the post states that the clip shows the band miming the song from their October 30, 1969 appearance on Top of the Pops.
I had not seen this clip before finishing my books and it therefore unfortunately goes unmentioned in them.
Fleetwood Mac – Oh Well Part 1 & Part 2 (incomplete) Top of the Pops October 23, 1969 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qi5u2RXLcY
First thought after hearing the audio recording found on “Fleetwood Mac Unreleased BBC Sessions 1967 – 1971”: ‘Oh Well (Version 2)’ must be the audio track to the two-minute clip. I was grateful that unlike the video clip, Part 1 was complete. Part 2 faded out at the same point, strengthening my impression that it was the same performance.
A second listen revealed that the vocal on the video is different.
As stated, the video clip picks up shortly before the second verse.
Now, compare Green’s vocal on that verse (0:03 to 0:14 on the video clip) with that on the two collections (1:00:35 to 1:00:45) – in the video, Green elongates the final words of the line, “…might not give the answer that you want me to” (I actually prefer that delivery) and the guitar has already come back in before he finishes, probably because he has stretched the meter on the vocal.
On the audio only, Green sings the verse as he always did, in silence, with the band coming in after he is finished.
For good reason: the recording on the above collections is the original studio recording.
What the band is miming to, (the vocal is live) is the A-side of the original single, complete with the opening moments of ‘Part 2’, which explains the fade on both.
“Fleetwood Mac Unreleased BBC Sessions 1967 – 1971” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=840qhNxZL-M&t=207s
Oh Well (Version 2) begins at 58:57
So, where does this leave us?
Referring to Christopher Hjort’s indispensable “Strange Brew Eric Clapton & the British Blues Boom” (Jawbone Press 2007) he writes that the band appeared on The Top of The Pops twice, in seven days.
The first appearance was on October 23, 1969 and the second, on the thirtieth.
Based on his descriptions of the band from their two appearances, the incomplete video clip is from their first appearance, on the twenty-third.
That might also explain the “(Version 2)” designation. On the logs for the broadcasts “(Version 2)” might have differentiated the two performances done for the same show.
Now, the bootlegger may have taken this recording from that October 30th broadcast. If the band mimed their performance, (as they did on the first show) and Green lip-synced his vocal, the audio would have been the studio recording.
Unfortunately, without the video from that show, there is simply no way to know.
Personally, I think the compiler placed the original single on the end of the collection to make it that much more enticing to fans.
In the same way, track seventeen on the collection is ‘Watch Out’. This is also not a BBC recording. It comes from Volume 1 of “Blues Jam in Chicago”.
I am very interested in what others may have to say concerning these recordings and will incorporate any new information (with full accreditation to whomever supplies it) if necessary.