Albatross

The death at the age of 73 was reported today of Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac, and the band’s widely admired guitarist and vocalist in its early years.

On 18.11.18, Jon Kutner wrote on his blog:

“This week’s choice is a number one instrumental named after a bird, the albatross, which is mentioned in the classic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge*. As a child Peter Green, guitarist and singer with Fleetwood Mac read the poem and it gave him the inspiration he needed for the song…

…In the late sixties and early seventies, Peter Green was ranked as one of the great guitar heroes alongside Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour. B.B. King once admitted that Peter Green was “the only guitarist in the world who could make me sweat.” The first time George Harrison heard it he said “it knocked me sideways.”

Some sources state that Santo & Johnny’s 1959 track Sleepwalk became an inspiration but it bears much more than a passing resemblance to a Chuck Berry 1957 instrumental called Deep Feeling which has many of the same elements including a call and answer style of guitar playing, and the permanent bass in the background. Chuck made no attempts to sue for plagiarism as Deep Feeling was, in turn, based on the 1939 country-tinged, Floyd’s Guitar Blues by Andy Kirk & his 12 Clouds Of Joy. The tracks in feel gives the effect of a calm sea and an airy breeze. Green only used four chords and Fleetwood only used timpani mallets so as not give it a heavy drum sound.

Peter explained further about the title, “I heard John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers’ cover of Jimmy Rodgers’ The Last Meal –  that’s the blues singer not the country and western one. I thought I would take it and develop it. I called it that because of that reference to the back of a giant albatross mentioned in the Traffic record Hole in My Shoe.”

Fleetwood Mac were formed in 1967 and comprised Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer…

In an interview in 2003, Peter Green said of Albatross, “I’d like to do that again on Hawaiian guitars with Eric Clapton. I always liked Eric’s playing: he was much better than Hendrix, although I thought Jimi was a great person.” ”

*From Wikipedia:

“Wordsworth proffered the following developmental critique to Coleridge, which importantly contains a reference to tutelary spirits: “Suppose you represent him as having killed one of these birds on entering the south sea, and the tutelary spirits of these regions take upon them to avenge the crime.”

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