The Henry Björklund Tapes, Part 2
Part 1 of this series was a recording of Peter Green during his days as a Bluesbreaker. The next two recordings were made approximately fifteen months later with Green now leading his own band, Fleetwood Mac.
In May 1968, their label, CBS / Blue Horizon released ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’, backed with ‘My Heart Beat Like a Hammer’ as a single in Norway, Holland and Germany.
While their debut single also featured Spencer on the A-side, the songs left no doubt that they were a blues band.
With these two numbers as your introduction to the band, (this was their maiden release in both Germany and Norway, their second in the Netherlands) you would never know it was Green’s band, or the importance of the blues to their sound.
The picture sleeve of the German release invites the listener to “Rock ‘n Roll with The Fleetwood Mac” and the words “Rock ‘n’ Roll” also appear on the sleeve of the Dutch 45.
To promote the single, the band joined a package tour of Scandinavia that would see them play in three countries and five cities in nine days. Also on the tour were Ten Years After and The Nice with American provocateurs The Fugs, headlining.
Fleetwood Mac started the tour at the NRK-TV studios in Oslo, Norway were they were filmed for a music show called “Popcorn” miming the two sides of the single in an empty theater.
The next day they were in Copenhagen, Denmark taping another television appearance, this time for a show entitled “Toppop”. Other than the fact that they performed on the show, I have not been able to find any information related to this appearance.
Two songs from the third date of the tour became available on-line in January of 2016; one each from the band’s two lead players.
Jeremy Spencer performs Homesick James Williamson’s ‘My Baby’s Sweet’, a number that had been in his repertoire from the band’s beginning, with the first available version found on “Live at the Marquee” featuring Bob Brunning on bass.
That performance of the song is unique in its arrangement and vocal approach. Spencer supercharges the number, both on guitar and his belted delivery of the lyrics.
Compare this with the next available performance nine months later for the BBC (available on “Show-Biz Blues Fleetwood Mac 1968 – 1970 Volume 2”)
Spencer has transformed the number, slowing it down to a lazy lope, and introducing piano (which he overdubbed). The new arrangement mirrors Williamson’s original recording and in my opinion, surpasses it.
The next live performance was recorded eleven days after the BBC session at the Regent Street Polytechnic (“London Live ‘68”). Spencer has kept the slower tempo, but as if realizing it may be a bit too slow, he sings the chorus faster than the band is playing. He takes an extended break, his slide temporarily quieting the restless crowd, with some even beginning to clap along, but it doesn’t last. Another verse and then he plays a lovely outro, earning an enthusiastic response.
This “new” recording was made less than two weeks later.
Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac
Jeremy Spencer: guitar & vocal / John McVie: bass
Recorded May 10, 1968 by Henry Björklund
Folkets Hus, Kongresshallen, Stockholm, Sweden
Originally posted on YouTube January 15, 2016
My Baby’s Sweet (3:48) (4:10)
Spencer has slowed the tempo to a crawl and his only support (that can be heard) is John McVie’s thrumming bass. Percussion is provided by the audience who join in clapping almost from the opening notes.
The music is so skeletal that it almost sounds as if he is singing a capella. He holds the listener’s interest through changes in volume and emphasis.
The break runs just under a minute, and he refuses to be rushed. He just takes his time keeping the number moving through minor changes in force and phrasing.
He does one more verse and chorus and then slips into an extended outro. Halfway through the audience begins to applaud as if he were finished, but the number goes on, only to be brought to an abrupt close.
Björklund mentions an audience member getting up on stage with a flute (could that have been what the clapping was for?) and Jeremy angrily stopping playing. They could be what we are hearing.
This number would continue to evolve through the last recorded performance at the Royal Albert Hall just under a year later. Jeremy’s vocals would loosen up and the rhythm section (especially Fleetwood) experimented with different approaches. The best recorded live version and thankfully one of the best performed can be found on the “Shrine ‘69” collection.
Two of the last performances, from shows recorded in Denmark and Sweden in early 1969 find the song morphing into an almost Western-Swing number; a far cry from the arrangement heard on “Live at the Marquee”
I will review the second song from this show, the earliest known live recording of ‘Stop Messin’ Round’ in a separate blog.
Appendix Four – Song Index, in “A Love That Burns” should now read as follows:
My Baby’s Sweet – Fleetwood Mac
Live at the Marquee – The Marquee Club, London, England August 15, 1967 – released 1992
BBC broadcast, Radio One “Night Ride” recorded April 16, 1968 – broadcast April 17, 1968
London Live ’68 – Regent Street Polytechnic April 27, 1968
Folkets Hus, Kongresshallen, Stockholm, Sweden May 10, 1968 – audio available on YouTube
(probably) The Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA July 1968 – exact date and location uncertain
The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac – BBC broadcast, BBC-2 Television
“Colour Me Pop” – recorded & broadcast July 19, 1968
Idrottshuset, Örebro, Sweden November 23, 1968
ROTF Studios, “Surprise Partie”, recorded November 27 – broadcast December 31, 1968
Shrine ’69 – Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA January 25, 1969 – released 1999
(possibly) ABC-Teatret, Copenhagen, Denmark March 25, 1969
(possibly) Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden April 01, 1969
Royal Albert Hall, London, England April 22, 1969