‘Jenny Jenny’ Recorded November 11, 1969, (late show) Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, Finland
On July 25, 2021 the Finnish Broadcast Company (YLE) released the original audio broadcast of Fleetwood Mac’s late show performance from the Kulttuuritalo in Helsinki, Finland on November 11, 1969.
The show can be found here: https://areena.yle.fi/audio/1-50888397
(I recommend going to the “main page” and checking out some of the other shows that are available also)
Special thanks to Marko Laakkonen for originally posting the link on the “Then Play On…Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac” Facebook page.
Bootlegs of this show have been in circulation for decades, but on all of the ones that I have heard the final encore, Little Richard’s ‘Jenny Jenny’ cut out after only a minute and nineteen seconds.
Now, more than fifty-years after the original broadcast, the full show is not only available with improved sound, but we finally have the complete performance of ‘Jenny Jenny’.
The earliest available recording that we have (they may have played it prior to this) of Peter Green and the band bashing out this song is from November 06, at the Konserthuset in Orebro, Sweden, five days earlier.
It was the final song of a long show; the seventeenth number of the night.
After playing ‘Albatross’, they apparently stayed on the stage, with Green noting after the applause died down that they didn’t want to go up and down the stairs again.
As prelude to the final number, Green tells the audience that, “This is a thing we worked out, specially…very very difficult, very complicated, very hard to understand.”
And with that, the entire band bashes out a couple of climatic chords, approximating the sound of Led Zeppelin (think ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ but without the slide).
As the final echoes of Fleetwood’s drum fade away, Green shouts out the opening lines of ‘Jenny Jenny’ a capella. When the music kicks in, it is a sludgy churn, slow and almost ponderous.
Not only does it not sound like Little Richard’s original, it does not sound like Fleetwood Mac. The two long breaks find Green and Kirwan seemingly at odds. (The poor sound is certainly affects our appreciation, the distortion muddying the sound even further)
Judged by the audience reaction though, they enjoyed the performance, clapping along when almost all the instruments drop out, urging Green on, even when he overreaches, going for a shock effect by throwing in some unnecessary vulgarity concerning what he is going to do to Jenny. For me, the music is simply too slow and his shouted vocal too strained, causing his attempted humor to fall flat.
Taking another go at the number, this second recording, heard in full for the first time since it was broadcast, comes off far better.
Peter Green: vocal & guitar /
Danny Kirwan: guitar & backing vocal /
Jeremy Spencer: backing vocal
John McVie: bass / Mick Fleetwood: drums
Recorded November 11, 1969, (late show)
Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, Finland
Jenny Jenny (Little Richard) (5:15) – (starts at 52: 15) – where the musical engine of the first version roared as it idled, it seemed permanently stuck in first gear, not going anywhere.
The engine now thrums; it’s power a palpable force.
With only a minor adjustment to the tempo, the number is dramatically improved. The groove now dug by McVie and Fleetwood (although McVie is a bit too deep in the mix and Fleetwood too high for my tastes), is integral to the number’s success
This performance is actually closer to the Little Richard original, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLIlRvEa3Ls ; other than that fact that Green more than doubles the length of the song, the deep rumble of the guitars mimic the bray of the saxophones and Green’s rushing of the lyrics at the ends of lines simply shows he has the same difficulty that Little Richard had with the lyrics not scanning the melody.
It is in this performance that one can hear the seeds of Green’s ‘Sandy Mary’. Green kept the basic arrangement (including the background vocals) and certainly the “sound” of this cover and laid it over a new set of lyrics. What was new was the added bridge.
The first available recording of ‘Sandy Mary comes from a show at the Whiskey A-Go-Go, in Los Angele, CA less than two months after this recording (again, we have no way of knowing if it was performed prior to this).
There are eight live performances of ‘Jenny Jenny’ in circulation and four of ‘Sandy Mary’ – they do not appear to have ever been performed together on the same show (‘Jenny Jenny’ is on “The Boston Tea Party Part II” and ‘Sandy May’ on “The Boston Tea Party Part III” but as the discs are compiled from recordings made across three nights, two shows a night, they most likely come from different sets)
The next recording of ‘Jenny Jenny’, after the one heard at the Kulttuuritalo comes from The Fillmore West on January 02, 1970. The tempo is even slower, the tone a bit smoother, the backing vocals from Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer better integrated into the arrangement.
The number would continue to evolve, remaining in their sets, on and off, until one of their final live performances at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London England April 24, 1970.