Addendum – BBC recording ‘I’m A King Bee’

This recording has been a thorn in my side for over twenty years. 

When I first came across it, I could not find any information as to the performance’s provenance; in all of my research, I could not find any confirmation that showed that the band had ever recorded this song. 

The title could not be found in any of the few sessionographies available at the time and it was not in the BBC logs.  (It was not until later that I discovered those sessionographies and the BBC logs themselves contained multiple errors, including missing and mistitled recordings.)

Frustrated, I dismissed it as a miscredited number and moved on.

My concern is that having made up my mind early on, that then affected how I “heard” the song on all subsequent listenings.

What I am hoping to do here is see if some consensus can be found through “crowd sourcing”. 

I received the song on many different CDs over the years in trades with fans from around the world. 

Most times, the CDs being traded would be compilations of songs, sometimes pulled from the same sources, complete concerts or full BBC sessions; other times, there might be a track or two missing (depending on the source the trader had at the time).

In the spirit of the generosity with which these trades were done, people would often times tack random tracks on after the “complete shows” to reach the full running time of the CD.

I mention this as I eventually received a CD with this song grouped with others from a unique session apparently recorded before or after a four song Fleetwood Mac session, done for the “Symonds on Sunday” show on March 17, 1969.

You’ll Be Mine’ (Howlin’ Wolf) (1:55)

‘Roll Along Blues’ (unknown title – no recording in circulation)

Peggy Sue Got Married’ (Buddy Holly) (2:00)

Albatross’ (2:51)

That Fleetwood Mac session was highly unusual, in that Christine Perfect sat in on one Fleetwood Mac number, the Kirwan led, ‘You’ll Be Mine’. 

It also contains one of only three songs, out of one-hundred and ten, performed for broadcast for the BBC during Peter Green’s tenure with the band, that I cannot identify by title, ‘Roll Along Blues’. 

Before or after recording their set, Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer cut tracks (how many is uncertain – you can see where this going – I will write up the full session and the questions surrounding it in another post) backing both Alexis Korner and Duster Bennett.

This track features a full -band, which only one of the “Jams” with Korner and Bennett do. 

The slide guitar could be Jeremy Spencer, and the harmonica could be Green, but the vocals completely throw me off.

On no other recording, (live, BBC broadcast or studio) does Fleetwood Mac sound like this.

Nor can I hear Duster Bennett or Alexis Korner…

Fleetwood Mac ( ? ) – I’m A King Bee (Slim Harpo) (3:02) –

To the best of my knowledge, this recording first appeared on YouTube in September of 2010 and while the person posting it acknowledges that “…all details lost in time…salvaged from old reel to reel” they nonetheless credited it to Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.

The opening seems to have been sniped as the number is already loping along as the track begins. As with the original, the harmonica is the lead instrument and while I cannot be certain that is Green, it most certainly is not Bennett as it lacks his distinctive tone.

It is the lead vocal(s) that make this performance most difficult for me to “hear” as Fleetwood Mac.

It is hard to hear Green, Spencer or Kirwan in the vocals. I cannot hear Bennett or Korner either, for that matter.

If I had to guess, I would say it is Spencer on lead, singing in a lower register than he normally uses.

Over the years, people have begun to place this performance under the March 17, 1969, BBC session, claiming it as one of the All-Star Jam tracks, with either Alexis Korner or Duster Bennett.

Some have gone farther, making the case that this is actually the one song from Fleetwood Mac’s four song set logged as the otherwise unknown ‘Roll Along Blues’.

There are certainly enough examples of the BBC mistitling numbers, but I just can not see how they came to believe the song could be titled ‘Roll Along Blues’ when none of those words are ever uttered in the song.

The other possibility is that the song is from a different BBC broadcast and was never logged.  Within the realm of the possible, yes, but this now seems like a strained attempt at fitting a square peg into a round hole.

More important to me than when it may have been performed, is who is performing the number, and I urge each reader to listen to the number and make up their own minds on this one.

I have led off stating my belief that at best, maybe Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, or both are playing on the track, but not the full band.

I do not say that I am right.  I am extremely interested in what others have to say, and will evaluate the responses received, crediting any response that I may quote.

This is not a test; there are no “wrong” answers.  Or “right” ones. 

If you feel that you “know” who is performing the number, any further information as to how you came to the conclusion would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

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