Addendum: Danny Kirwan – The Boilerhouse Acetates Part Three – ‘Wet Weather Blues’ & ‘All Your Love’
Both of these songs were among the dozen listed on the reproduced live set list found in 150-page booklet accompanying the 4 CD set “Something Inside of Me – Unreleased Masters & Demos from the British Blues years 1963 – 1976” (Wienerworld Records 2021)
A discussion of the songs found on the set list can be found here: https://smilingcorgipress.com/addendum-danny-kirwan-the-boilerhouse-acetates-part-two-the-live-set-list/
I have already written about the best-known Kirwan original among the five released acetates here: https://smilingcorgipress.com/tag/boiler-house/
The four remaining recordings consist of two originals, and two covers.
The two covers were part of their live repertoire as per the set list.
I’ll review one of each in this and the final write-up of the acetates.
As for the two originals, there is an incomplete home rehearsal tape (just Kirwan and Peter Green, playing in Green’s family’s apartment) in circulation and two live performances of the second, captured within days of one another, recorded during a November 1968 Scandinavian tour, six months into Kirwan’s tenure as a member of Fleetwood Mac.
Boilerhouse – Wet Weather Blues – acetate (3:02)
This is the only one of the five acetates where we get to hear Kirwan playing slide*. Set to a lead-footed stomp, Trevor Stevens keeps the beat strumming a second guitar and Dave Terrey attempts to insert some variety on the drums.
The poor sound quality works against their best efforts: Terrey’s drums are too high up in the mix, making it even harder to hear Kirwan’s already muffled vocals.
More damaging is almost painful thinness of Kirwan’s guitar tone, which is a shame, as he playing is quite interesting, and the solo is unusually long, (for him) lasting just over a minute.
The number also an early example of a Kirwan’s difficulty with writing lyrics. There are only two stanzas in the song, two lines each that he repeats for the length of the song, with the three-word title serving as a chorus.
Danny Kirwan & Peter Green – Wet Weather Blues (incomplete – rehearsal – home recording (1:30) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ-o6H6cJk4
Where the acetate was a showcase for Kirwan’s guitar skills, now that he has been asked to join Fleetwood Mac, he shows his willingness to be a team player, providing Green with the instrumental lead.
As it is just the two of them, it is Kirwan who now keeps the beat by strumming his guitar, laying a foundation for Green to weave his harmonica through Kirwan’s slight lyrics.
Coming to the break, it is Green who takes the lead (again, something that we can only wish that had done more often)
It is unfortunate that the tape simply ends.
This first came into wide circulation when it was posted on YouTube in 2009**. Five months after it was posted, a second home recording was put up by the same person, (Blindjellyeel) of Kirwan and Green slowly working their way through Kirwan’s ‘Crazy For My Baby’ (another song found on the Boilerhouse live set list). Unfortunately, that number too is incomplete.
It seems likely that the two songs were caught on tape during the recording of a 1968 French TV special titled “La Nouvelle Vague de la Pop Music”. In the special, there is also a scene of Kirwan and Green working out Kirwan’s ‘One Sunny Day’ as John McVie sits on a sofa nearby. Both of these clips are available on YouTube.
Boilerhouse – All Your Love – acetate (2:45)
Kirwan had only recently turned eighteen when these acetates were cut, meaning that he had probably been performing this Otis Rush classic at seventeen.
Rush’s original (titled ‘All Your Love (I Miss Loving)’) was released in the States in 1959.
Kirwan may have seen Rush perform it on television when the American Folk Blues Festival ’66 was broadcast from Germany, but more likely, like most of his contemporaries in England, his introduction to the song was as the opening track to John Mayall’s “Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton”.
Released in July of 1966 as the opening track of this seminal LP, the sound of Clapton’s Les Paul Standard pushed through Marshall amplifiers forever changed the sound of rock guitar; and that was just on the opening track, ‘All Your Love’.
Kirwan may have even seen Clapton perform it live with the Blues Breakers, (there are no known live recordings of Clapton playing the number as a Blues Breaker); or he may have seen Peter Green perform the number as Clapton’s replacement in the Blues Breakers.
We have no way of knowing if Boilerhouse performed the number as an instrumental during their live shows, (though it would seem likely; I do not believe Kirwan would have attempted to tackle the number vocally – he was never one to display that type of raw emotion, ‘Something Inside of Me’ included)
It took a lot of confidence for a relative novice to even consider tackling a number such as this; yet even more impressive was his understanding of this and his band’s limitations and his confidence in reshaping the number closer to his own personal preferences.
He slows the tempo and plays it more in the style of an Eddie Lang; clean, with no effects; the result being closer to ‘Jigsaw Puzzle Blues’ than the song we are familiar with.
Kirwan’s instrumental reworking lacks the explosive power of the original or Clapton’s (and Green’s) performances, but that was never the intention. Kirwan makes the song his own.
John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers
John Mayall: vocals & organ /
Peter Green: guitar / John McVie: bass /
Mick Fleetwood: drums
Recorded at: The Manor House, Bluesville ’67, May 05, 1967
Available on: “John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers Live In 1967” (Forty Below Records 2015)
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – All Your Love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BICW8qUIvu4
We’ll conclude our review of the Boilerhouse acetates with a look at ‘Tell Me Mama’ and ‘Silly Mean Old World’.
*Correction: in private correspondence, Christopher Hjort (who wrote the “chapter” concerning the Boilerhouse recordings in the liner notes to the box set) informed me that it was most likely Dave Terrey who overdubbed the slide guitar lead on the track.
**The two videos were originally posted in November of 2009, and only remained up for a few months.
It would be six years, in 2015, before they returned to YouTube.