CD Review of Blue Again by The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band
The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band: Blue Again
Recommended if you like
Savoy Brown, Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac
The Mick Fleetwood
Blues Band:
Blue Again

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

ace it – it’s generally an uphill struggle anytime a drummer tries to steal the spotlight. Unless they fancy themselves a showman of the caliber of Keith Moon, John Bonham, or in this case, Mick Fleetwood, drummers simply don’t have the wherewithal to situate themselves front and center. Fleetwood himself has had trouble boosting his own prominence, even in his namesake band, what with the rotating cast of musicians that have fronted his group over the past forty years or so and imposed their own identity on Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green, Bob Welch and Lindsey Buckingham among them. And despite a series of solo offerings and side projects, Fleetwood’s individual offerings have been all but overshadowed by the duties he performs in his day job.

Consequently, it seems somewhat ironic – not to mention redundant – that Fleetwood would opt to revisit his back story and pay homage to the earliest incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, especially without recruiting the other players who were once so integral to those initial efforts. Now that Peter Green has regained his faculties and reasserted his stature, a reunion album would have certainly have elevated the interest. Likewise, erstwhile collaborator and fellow namesake John McVie seems conspicuous in his absence. If Fleetwood wanted to make this tribute on his own well and good, but the predominance of Peter Green Mac standards – "Rattlesnake Shake," "Love That Burns" and "Albatross" (added as a studio bonus track) – make this look back over to the Mac pack much less sensible.

Essentially then, Blue Again becomes mostly a showcase for singer/guitarist Rick Vito, a transitory Mac member, as well as journeyman musician whose resume includes stints with Jackson Browne, John Mayall, Roger McGuinn, Roy Orbison, Bob Seger and Bonnie Raitt. Vito does an admirable job of fronting the foursome and subbing for Green on both the covers and his own material. Yet as adept as he, Fleetwood and the other musicians are (keyboardist Mark Johnstone and bassist Lenny Castellanos fill out the quartet), the album becomes more a matter of retracing some basic blues, boogie and signature shuffles. As a live recording, it succeeds in rekindling some electricity, but being just another take on a patented approach, it adds little to the initial template. Better to go back and listen to the original offerings – specifically, the classic albums Fleetwood Mac, English Rose and Then Play On – to sample Mick… and Mac at their most memorable.

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