50 Years ago today – Green’s first session as bandleader
Fifty years ago today, February 16th 1967, Green entered the Decca Recording Studio in West Hampstead for his first session as a band leader.
Green and his fellow Bluesbreakers, John McVie and Aynsley Dunbar would record four numbers as a “power trio” for producer Mike Vernon.
Green’s first recording session, as a member of the Peter B’s had taken place just a year earlier. Within seven months of that first session, he had joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and added two singles, an EP and a full album, to his C.V.
Now he was given the opportunity to lead a session on his own. Mayall had been extremely generous in allowing Green to bring his own material to the Bluesbreakers, both on stage and in the studio, this was Green’s first opportunity to lead a session.
The most frequently told story is that the sessions were actually a “quiet mutiny” by the Bluesbreakers, abetted by producer Mike Vernon, but although Green says he was ready for a change, I don’t believe that this was the case, just yet. It just makes for a good story.
I believe that the session was one that Mayall had “given” Green as a birthday present.
And although Green, along with Aynsley Dunbar and John McVie knocked out four numbers that day, the songs themselves did not seem all that well developed if they were intended to be the band’s calling card to the big time.
It seems more than possible that the release of two of the songs as a 45 was almost an afterthought.
It is interesting that the numbers were released under the “Bluesbreakers” moniker, and not Green’s name – although as we have seen, that would most likely have been Green’s preference (not that the label would have cared)
The label of his first single with John Mayall stated, “Featuring Peter Green”. The second single, released only a month before this session no longer singled Green out.
Of the four songs recorded that day, we have proof of only one of them, ‘Curly’ (which would become the A-side of the single) had been played prior to this session.
Said to have been a “live favorite” prior to this recording, the only live recording that we have of the song comes from an April 1967 club date.
There are also two versions of the number, from two different BBC sessions, recorded a few weeks before it was committed to tape in the studio. The first features Mayall adding his nine-string guitar to the mix, and the second, done without Green’s homemade fuzz box.
We’ll look further into ‘Curly’ and the other three songs recorded that day in future posts.
Which is your favorite version of ‘Curly’?