by Emery Columna –
The Blues has always been the part of the sandbox I like to play in best. So when I step into someone else’s rock garden, it ain’t gonna be no problem. The Blues is my transporter. The vehicle I use to drop in on any other genre or media in life. Blues is beyond Music itself. The Blues is the tint in the lenses I use to gaze upon everything in this little old World. Little? Yes, little I say. The World is a very small place if the bag you carry with you on this journey is The Blues.
The Blues is all-important when discussing the colossus the civilians know as Fleetwood Mac. Back in 1992, when Ron Thompson was gigging at The Sunset Social Club, I got my first chance to hear Mick Fleetwood LIVE on drums. Between sets I walked up to Mick and tapped him on the knee, telling him how much I liked Fleetwood Mac in Chicago, 1969. Mick looked at me and said, “I’ll buy that!”, smiled broadly, and went back to his conversation with Ron Thompson. I wonder if any of you out there know what I’m talking about. At that time, Fleetwood Mac was an all-guy band with three gifted lead guitars, bottom and drums. They were all about 22 years old and held their ground with the Cold Blooded Masters of Chicago Blues. Listen to that record for a minute, would you?
I was so moved when I read the liner notes to the 1994 re-issue and felt how deeply Mick Fleetwood loves Willie Dixon. I have felt the personal warmth of the Dixon Family in my travels through this little old World and I miss hearing Pat’s beautiful, resounding laugh, which is just like her [Pop’s], if you take the time to listen to that album. I would have never met Eric Clapton, were it not for the interest The Dixons showed me. I love you, honest I do.
Emery, why you talkin’ all this Blues stuff?, you supposed to be writing about Fleetwood Mac NOW. Well, in my book, you cannot understand NOW unless you understand yesterday and the future at the same time. If you’re one of the ones asking that question, you ain’t never felt no MOJO in your life. Fleetwood Mac wouldn’t be so HEAVY today, were it not for John McVie’s and Mick Fleetwood’s pilgrimage to Chicago back in the day.
The next time I saw Mick perform was at the 1994 Blues Heaven Benefit held at B.B. King’s, Universal City. It becomes very clear to me why Mick played so hard that night. I mean he was throwing down that night. I’ve never seen Alvino Bennett play so hard on drums. That was because Mick brought the level up to the higher plain where the Blue grass grows.
About 10 months later I saw Mick sit in with Ron Thompson again. This time at The Mint. After that I’d see Ron quite regularly during 1995 on gigs where he played guitar for B.J. Sharp. Between sets, I’d always ask about Mick and how he was doing.
Emery, why you talkin’ so much about Mick Fleetwood? What about the other Artists in the band? I’m getting there, give me a minute.
Mick Fleetwood is the heart of the band. Literally. Mick Fleetwood plays with his heart, the best clock in the world. Mick don’t need no goddamn CLICK track! Every Mac album I’ve listened to has Mick’s big, big heart on the tracks.
John McVie rules the underworld with his extraordinary touch on bass. Yeah, bottom! Dig. Mick and John do not require the facility of words once they lock into a groove. Once they’re in the pocket, the language is music. Watch this rhythm tandem’s eyes light up when they play. Oh my God, “This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no foolin’ around!”(D. Byrne)
The Summer of 1977 was a great one for me, actually all of 1977 was. School ended for me getting my first real soul kiss from Lisa Andrews. Where are you, baby? My mother made me take tennis lessons…a gift that lingers with me to this day. And Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was spinning every 10 minutes on the radio. The specific song was Don’t Stop. Man, that song made everybody happy!
Understand this. America was two years into getting used to being the LOSER of a Major Conflict in History. Peace with Dignity…Yeah, right. The dreary sight of multi-million dollar Huey Cobras getting pushed off of aircraft carriers to make room for a tide of humanity going out with the old regime was still fresh on the minds of The American Conscience. Then along comes Fleetwood Mac, offering America and the World a song of HOPE. Dig It.
Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham added a duende to John & Mick’s already powerful Mojo, which is ALL over that song.
That is the ONE THING that makes Fleetwood Mac so important to me. The Mac revived Americans and transported them to new heights. Thanks, MAC.
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks have wonderful voices that move me. Lindsey Buckingham can cut some heads with his guitar. And No, I do not hear David Gilmour!
I am so glad The Mac Is Back! The new songs are so damn strong: Bleed To Love Her, Silver Springs, Sweet Girl,… damn, Stevie, did you have to hit me so hard with your words? Dig: “I’ll follow you down til the sound of my voice will haunt you.” Big medicine, baby.
Don’t Stop has got The Jack Swing, baby! Dig the swingin’ USC Marching Band! Ohhhhhhh Yeah!