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Fleetwood Mac [seal,zalepena]

Kiln House

 

Nosič: 33" LP
Rok vydání: 1970
původ: Spojené státy americké
kat. číslo: PN 3308885

 

blues, rock


seal,zalepena

This was a transitional album for Fleetwood Mac.  Peter Green had left the group, and Bob Welch and Christine McVie had not yet joined.  Jeremy Spencer, who had remained pretty much on the sidelines for the previous album ("Then Play On"), came to the fore, contributing several compositions and giving the album something of a running theme -- an homage to 1950s-style rock 'n' roll, rockabilly, and plain old country.  While these songs don't have the depth and adventurousness of the material on "Then Play On", they are very well done, catchy and entertaining, and several Danny Kirwan compositions lend sufficient gravity to make the album creditable from a prog viewpoint.  The first cut, Spencer's "This Is the Rock", pretty much indicates where things are going -- it's a loose-jointed Gene Vincent-style rocker.  The next cut, "Station Man", was co-written by Spencer, Kirwan, and McVie, and is probably the closest thing on the album to the old Fleetwood Mac... it's kind of bluesy, with a very nice rolling groove and several recurring riffs.  Next is Spencer's "Blood on the Floor", an affectionate honky-tonk parody, featuring a dead-on vocal by Spencer.  On the next track, Fats Waller's "Hi Ho Silver", the group channels Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio, turning in a blistering performance.  Side A ends with Kirwan's lovely "Jewel Eyed Judy".  The first track on Side B is "Buddy's Song", credited to Buddy Holly's mother; the tune is essentially that of "Peggy Sue Got Married" and the lyrics consist mostly of lines from Holly's hits.  Next comes a Kirwan instrumental, "Earl Gray", that is basically a single musical phrase repeated over and over; it's OK as background music but nothing more.  The next song, Spencer's "One Together", is an earnest country-folk song that reminds me of New Riders of the Purple Sage.  This is followed by Kirwan's "Tell Me All the Things You Do", which has a Cream-like sound, with prominent wah-wah guitar.  The side ends with another oldie, Donnie Brooks' 1960 Buddy Holly soundalike "Mission Bell".

Another excellant platter from this group. Green is gone but the two new leads are very good blues guitarists. Some of this stuff is a homage to 50's rock, in particular Buddy Holly. This is one very good album.

Kiln House is a really uneven album, and it's not too surprising, considering that it was recorded within the first couple of months of Peter Green's departure, which left Fleetwood Mac without their fearless leader and main creative force. That's not to say Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan weren't skilled in their own rights, because they certainly are; but at this point the band was definitely in an interesting situation.

Even though Fleetwood Mac were already moving away from their blues roots during their last year with Peter Green (I will get around to reviewing the Green material as well, but that's sort of a messy discography, which freaks me out), Kiln House takes the band in a completely different direction. Green's later songs like 'The Green Manalishi' suggested that the band would have made some incredibly dark, heavy material had he stuck around, but with Spencer and Kirwan becoming the main creative forces, Fleetwood Mac immediately adopted a hazy soft-rock sound (augmented by an even muddier mix) that would linger for the next couple of years.

Roughly half of Kiln House is dedicated to Jeremy Spencer's well-documented 'parodies' of 50s rock and roll. A lot of people dig it, and it is fun listening to him assume all these exaggerated vocal styles, but I usually skip most of his songs. Then again, I never really got into 50s rock and roll so maybe I was doomed from the start. I do like 'Hi Ho Silver', which is one of the more rocking songs on the album, and a nice showcase for Spencer's slide playing. 'One Together' and 'Mission Bell', Spencer's two ballads, are nice as well, but stuff like 'This Is the Rock', 'Blood on the Floor' and 'Buddy's Song' don't do too much for me. For instance, I can't tell if 'Buddy's Song' - basically Buddy Holly's 'Peggy Sue Got Married' with different lyrics naming a bunch of his songs - is a fun, unassuming jam, a sign of how desperate the band was for material, or both. Or maybe I'm just a dick and I'm thinking into it too much.

As for Danny Kirwan, his songwriting really starts to blossom on Kiln House, and is a nice introduction to what he would be doing on the next two Fleetwood Mac albums. 'Station Man' (the only song on the album Kirwan and Spencer wrote together) is kind of a slow-building groove that didn't leave much of an impression the first time I heard it, but continues to grow on me with each listen. 'Tell Me All the Things You Do' is a more upbeat rock song (at least by early 70s Mac standards) with a great guitar/keyboard jam that hints at his later song 'Child of Mine' (of course, that's Christine McVie on the keyboards and backing vocals on these songs, but she wasn't an official band member yet). My two favorites on Kiln House are Danny's 'Jewel Eyed Judy', which starts as a typically Kirwanesque mellow song before morphing into a strangely violent chorus, which I love, and 'Earl Gray', one of Danny's many beautiful instrumentals, and one of those songs that really takes you into its own world. The ringing guitar tone, that gorgeous piano, a melody that keeps building but never resolves... it's a really simple song, but for those four minutes, it really takes me away; either to the clouds or in the ocean, I can't really tell. But now I'm starting to sound like a hippie.

Kiln House is short, rather haphazard and almost carelessly hazy enough to emit its own cannabis-esque scent (at least, the inside of my copy of the vinyl did a little when I first bought it), but it's an enjoyable album, and great one to relax to without actually becoming simple background music. It's in every way a 'marking time' record, a brief, odd, but musically documented moment in Fleetwood Mac's career. Later in 1970, they recorded Danny Kirwan's song 'Dragonfly' (one of my favorites) and the Kirwan/Spencer song 'The Purple Dancer' (another of my favorites) as a single; a couple of months later, Jeremy Spencer infamously disappeared and ended up joining the Children of God, and Fleetwood Mac were stranded yet again.

Kiln House is an utter masterpiece from Fleetwood Mac. As their first album of the post Peter Green era it should have been a disaster, instead it's arguably one of Fleetwood Mac's greatest achievements. Kiln House absolutely cooks. The Twin Guitars of Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer burn. Mick Fleetwood's Drums are both ergonomically sparse and totally powerful. And the wonderfully rich production by Martin Birch just adds another level of excellence. Kiln House starts out wonderfully with the amazing This Is The Rock, then slides right into the albums centerpiece, the slow burn of Station Man and finally ends with the gorgeous Mission Bell. Kiln House is nothing short of an amazing album from an amazing band.

 
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Ostatní náhledy

Fleetwood Mac [seal,zalepena]-Kiln House

 



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