Fleetwood Mac in Chicago (Rocky Mountain News)
Fleetwood Mac In Chicago 1969 Fleetwood Mac, Sire / Warner Bros. / Blue Horizon.
Given the dizzying array of musical lineups and styles associated with Fleetwood Mac, one shouldn't be surprised that the Mac's first incarnation was a blues band.
Unlike some British acts that used the blues as a starting point for their rock (Led Zeppelin, for example), Fleetwood Mac played it straight and soulful. This two-disc reissue proves that devotion, as the young Brits (average age, 22) sound at home jamming with legends Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, Shakey Horton and J.T Brown.
Recorded over two days at Chicago's fabled Chess Studios, we hear the band on their own and alongside the local talent. And while it's a no-brainer that the Chicagoans sound in great form, Fleetwood Mac sounds just fine, too.
Guitarists Peter Green (check out Sugar Mama), Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer play with passion and precision while Mick Fleetwood and John McVie provide the rhythm that remains the band's cornerstone.
The album includes chatter by the musicians between tracks (Jeremy Spencer worries out loud if he should attempt I'm Worried) as well as some false starts, including two-time busts before I Need Your Love and Sugar Mama take off. Sometimes that can make an album seem contrived, but here it just adds flavor to an already tasty effort.
And you get two bonus tracks - Drifting and Fleetwood Mac, which appeared on the 1971 album The Original Fleetwood Mac - recorded before the band's formation.