Thursday, September 27, 2012

Forgotten Music Thursday: Peter Green - In The Skies (1979)

The American LP cover on Sail Records
The American LP cover on Sail Records
Much has been written about the troubles of guitarist Peter Green, the founder of Fleetwood Mac.

After leaving the band in 1970 Green spent most of the decade either in jail or in hospitals due to mental illness that was heavily fueled by his unfortunate usage of LSD. If you want to read all of the sordid details about the personal problems that still haunt him today you can find them in Wikipedia and All Music.

Regardless, Green was considered one of the premier blues-rock guitarists of the classic rock era and many considered him the equal of Eric Clapton, the man he replaced in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

Green released one poorly received solo album, The End of the Game, not long after he left the Mac but it took another nine years until he issued In the Skies, quite possibly the best work he's done outside of his famous band.

Green sang lead on the LP's only four songs with vocals. The rest are instrumentals. He wrote or co-wrote all nine tracks and shared lead guitar with Snowy White, another renowned, English blues-rocker who was a member of both Thin Lizzy and the 90s version of Pink Floyd. White's lead fretwork is featured on the title tune and on the instrumental "Slabo Day."

In the Skies is not a blues album in the truest sense. The songs are solid, straight ahead rock but they remain outside the mainstream because of the unique work of both axemen. Every note is crisp, tasteful, and inspiring.

The highlight of the record is a slow, smoldering blues, "A Fool No More," that proved Green could still knock listeners' socks off when the world was going well for him.

In the Skies was widely released in Great Britain but in America it was issued on a very small label, Sail Records, after Green rejected a multi-million dollar contract from a major company.

The album isn't vintage, early Fleetwood Mac but it definitely is a joy to listen to. One spin on your turntable and you'll realize how great of a career Green could have had if his circumstances had turned out differently.

1 comment :

  1. You know, I was going to submit a review of "Then Play On" for Forgotten Music, but work and my son's after school activities got in the way of that plan. Peter Green is one hell of a soulful cat. I was listening to The Robert Johnson Songbook the other day and just marveling at how smooth the guy is after all this time (and what he had been through). It's a damn shame that he didn't get to do more in his prime, but that window of time has passed. Great write up on a record that should have been heard by a much wider audience.

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