Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac (Orlando Sentinel Review) 4 stars
**** Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Live at the BBC (Castle Records): Most Americans know Fleetwood Mac as a successful pop band fronted by Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. But before they joined the group in the '70s, it was one of the greatest and most successful British blues-rock bands.
Peter Green, who got his start as Eric Clapton's replacement in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, had a more resonant voice and raw, tortured, risk-taking style than Clapton. His original foil was earthy slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer, who could emulate Elmore James and Elvis with equal aplomb. With the addition of Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac developed a formidable, adventurous three-guitar attack. Although Green was the band's visionary, Spencer and Kirwan never functioned as mere rhythm guitarists, and the intersecting lead lines made for some heady jams.
Live at the BBC compiles archival recordings from the band's first year, 1967, through 1970 when all three guitarists left. Drummer Mick Fleetwood, who selected the tracks, seems to have been most concerned with showing the many facets of the band and not just the blues-rock that dominated albums it released at the time.
This two-CD set does include the searing originals ''Oh Well'' and ''Rattlesnake Shake,'' as well as the band's wrenching version of Little Willie John's ''Need Your Love So Bad'' and a number of the Elmore James and Robert Johnson covers the band favored. Fleetwood also chose several of Kirwan's more pop-influenced numbers (''Although the Sun Is Shining'' is particularly lovely) and a number of Spencer's forays into early American rock 'n' roll. In addition to covering ''Honey Hush'' and ''When Will I Be Loved,'' Spencer showed a knack for writing tunes in the same vein, including ''You Never Know What You're Missing,'' ''Jenny Lee'' and ''Linda.''
This might not be the ideal introduction for fans unfamiliar with Fleetwood Mac's early years because it's missing such essential originals as ''The Green Manalishi'' and ''Black Magic Woman.'' But it does present a fascinating portrait of one of the greatest blues-rock bands of the '60s.