Song Of The Day - 28 Nov 2007: When The Train Comes Back


28 Nov 2007, 22:36

Chicken Shack / "When The Train Comes Back" / Forty Blue Fingers Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve (3) / ? 1968

Artist: Chicken Shack
Original Album: Forty Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve
Track: When The Train Comes Back

Track preview via allmusic

Day 3 of the SotD Fleetwood Mac Legacy...

In 1968, the band began to pick up the first pieces that would contribute to their evolution beyond . Being in the same English blues scene, it was unavoidable that John McVie and would meet, Christine being probably the most critical piece of the
ever-evolving-yet-not-quite-stellar English blues band Chicken Shack. John and Christine began dating, and though that was interrupted by FM's 1968 tour through the U.S., they were married in August 1968 after John's return.

Yesterday I mentioned that the Fleetwood Mac lineup hit hard times with the departure of all three guitarists that brought them such success as a five-man band. Fueled by acid, Peter Green eventually had a spiritual crisis over fame and money. His final performance with the group he founded was in May of 1970, and with him went the band's burning spirit of deep electric blues.

Christine was actually an uncredited contributor to Kiln House, so as the band was preparing to do their first tour without Peter, they asked her to join officially to fill out the sound, and became a major contributor to the band from 1971 onward.

After Peter's departure, the task of carrying the guitar load fell to Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan. Under similar influences of drugs, this became a bit too large of a bill for Jeremy, and in the fall of 1970 during their tour to support Kiln House (released Sep 1970 - 12 days after I was born!), he fell in with a religious group called The Children Of God. He reluctantly helped them complete some dates of the tour, but that was the end of his tenure with FM.

Danny held on for a reasonably good while longer. The band actually increased back to a five-person band during 1971, but he was actually asked to leave the band by 1972 because his melancholy and alcohol problems fueled contention and explosive actions that had disastrous effects on performances and sharply alienated him from the rest of the band.

The first American to join Fleetwood Mac was Bob Welch. His influence was what actually moved FM into their next era. He never auditioned formally, but he and Christine wrote a bunch of things and he joined in 1971, making the five albums that I consider the "transitional period" of FM: Future Games, Bare Trees, Penguin, Mystery to Me, and Heroes Are Hard to Find. While those five are all a bit too saccharine and even a bit twee, especially for a metal fan like me, they are for me sentimental favorites. The hits from those albums were staples of mid-70s AM radio, which was what my parents always listened to in my formative years, so they were my first exposure to FM.

Efforts from Christine and Bob outside of FM were definitely not near as successful as work with FM. Post-FM, Bob had a couple of releases with Paris and then went solo with French Kiss, which never really had a chance against disco, though he did have a couple of minor hits with a re-release of Sentimental Lady (previously from 1972's Bare Trees) and Ebony Eyes in 1978.

Christine had a couple of hits in 1984 from her self-titled solo album Christine McVie, "Love Will Show Us How" and "Got a Hold on Me." Other than that, her solo output has been minimal and she's now retired from touring with FM.

Though I'd Rather Go Blind was Chicken Shack's biggest hit, I chose today's selection because it was penned by Christine, and also because I like it better!

The evolution of Fleetwood Mac continued in 1975 after Bob's departure with the addition of two more artists that brought them all into the superstar era...but more on that tomorrow!



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