R.I.P. Danny Kirwan Album Review: Fleetwood Mac – The Best Of Fleetwood Mac (1972 German press lp)

I heard the awful news this weekend that Danny Kirwan had died. He previously had been fired from Fleetwood Mac, had struggles with alcoholism, and was even homeless for a time. However, no one could argue about his musical prowess. His vibrato sound was the stuff of legends. Many guitarists have tried this method, but Danny was a master. R.I.P. Danny.

Fleetwood Mac rules. No, not THAT Fleetwood Mac. This Fleetwood Mac. In the late 60’s Fleetwood Mac was sort of a psychedelic blues band. They let the guitars do most of the talking, and the musicianship was amazing. This version would never see the heights of pop rock radio success the later versions of Mac would, but they are considered by many to be the real Fleetwood Mac.

I have been wanting to do a post about an early Fleetwood Mac album for some time. Mr. 1537 posted about a Fleetwood Mac compilation called Greatest Hits in his write up here. He mentions it is the only Fleetwood Mac he will ever need. I beg to differ though, as The Best of Fleetwood Mac is pretty damn fine as well. The 2 comps share only 4 songs, so my suggestion is anyone that wants to explore the early Fleetwood Mac should buy both comps.

Oh Well – This is a 2 part song that has a blues section with vocals as the first part and a sort of classical section as part 2. I can’t describe it any better than 1537 so please refer to his post. ( The video below is a live performance of part 1)

Dragonfly – Another one found on the 1537 comp. It is a beautiful song penned by Danny Kirwan with lyrics taken from WH Davies. The guitar almost has a Hawaiian tone, and I can almost see the dragonfly. Peter Green felt it was the best thing Kirwan ever wrote, and thought it should have been a hit.

Rattle Snake Shake – (Please see 1537 post above for best possible description ever)

World In Harmony – Finally I get to ramble on. The guitar work on this green manalashi b side is a pre-cursor to what would happen in the mid 90’s alternative scene. This song sounds so similar to a number of 90’s alternative sounds. The band was actually 25 years ahead of it’s time.

The Green Manalashi – I hate to admit it, but I thought this was a Judas Priest song until the 1990’s. It really says something when a blues band from the 60’s can influence a metal band in the 1970’s. With all of  this talk of sleep, darkness, creepin’ around and the heavy tone of the song, how could it not be an early metal influencer.

Searching For Madge – A song written about a dedicated fan of the band. She once hitchhiked 200 miles to see one of their gigs. I hitchhiked about that far to see my first concert, and Triumph has yet to write Searching For Boppin’. I’m just saying.

Before The Beginning – Ok I just found out all Them Witches did a remake of this song, but it is only available digitally. That sucks. I love this song and that band, but I don’t do digital. Oh well. I’ll always have this one.

The Purple Dancer – The b side to Dragonfly is the first to include Christine McVie as a full member of the band. Both Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green had left the band by then, so we got to see how awesome of a guitar player Danny Kirwan is. It has a sort of Guess Who sound to it, and even though the writing was on the wall for the early Mac, it really is a great song. It makes me wonder if Kurt Cobain had heard this song shortly before he did his unplugged version of Lake Of Fire. Again Fleetwood Mac were years ahead.

Fighting For Madge – So not only were they searching for her, but also fighting for her. The tailing off of the music at the end is really cool.

Coming Your Way – This one has a cool sort of Latin feel to it. Almost like a Santana song from this era. I also get a bit of Led Zeppelin in this one. Almost a mash up of Zep’s version of Dazed and Confused with Santana’s Soul Sacrifice. A really cool ending to this album. (The clip below is a live version)

This isn’t the perfect compilation of the early Fleetwood Mac, since there are some great songs left off, but all of the ones included are stars.





25 thoughts on “R.I.P. Danny Kirwan Album Review: Fleetwood Mac – The Best Of Fleetwood Mac (1972 German press lp)

  1. A sadly troubled man, you can hear his fragility bleeding through ‘Dragonfly’. Poor guy.

    But enough about him, this is all about me, glorious me! Thank you for your kind words, it is one of my favourite reviews I’ve done over the years. It is the most listened to greatest hits/best of compilation I own.

    You do make a darn good case for the slightly later Mac though, Then Play On is on my radar.

    I assume that since they aren’t showing any signs of either searching, or fighting for Boppin, Triumph must still be hard at work on their triple concept LP Boppophrenia.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just got Then Play On newer remastered vinyl. I have not heard a chance to play it, but I can imagine it rules.

      When they finally do record their rock bopera, I hope they record it on analog. I have not spoken to Ry Cooder since he ignored my instructions and recorded Bop Till You Drop digitally.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. J. says:

    I still haven’t heard enough Fleetwood Mac… I’m a Rumours guy. I know, I know. This sounds like another good intro, though… and it’s not often you Kurt Cobain gets a mention alongside Fleetwood Mac, eh?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kurt Cobain seems to have come across as someone that hated old 60’s/70’s music, but I just can’t help hearing the similarities between his Unplugged In New York with Lake Of Fire and The Purple Dancer.
      Kind of eery.

      Don’t worry about being a Rumours guy. I am too.
      I’ve seen the band twice and the Peter Green era is sadly gone from the set, but the later Mac was a pop rocking hit machine.
      There are not a ton of bands my wife and I love together, but later Mac is one.
      Fun, good time music.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is the third Danny nod (Vinyl Connection,Greenpete58) I’ve come across.I’ve been listening to this band since I sneaked listened to my brothers albums way back. Green and Kirwan were magic together. Hey Boppin, the influences these guys left are everywhere. I still revisit their music often. Like I said on one of the other takes, CB left the band when Danny did. Great piece and the songs you picked are fantastic. I’ve probably listened to Oh Well more times than i can count

    Liked by 2 people

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