Mick Fleetwood - drums; John McVie - bass; Christine McVie - piano, vocals; Doug Graves - organ, keyboards; Bob Welch - guitar, vocals
There is a curious fact behind the radio introduction at the beginning of this classic Fleetwood Mac concert. Recorded for the "Live At The Record Plant" radio series, the show begins with legendary KMET-FM disc jockey B. Mitchell Reed introducing the group with: "Tonight we're very happy to present Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Bob Welch, Doug Graves - in other words, the real Fleetwood Mac.
If it seems odd that they would be called "the real" Fleetwood Mac, it is because at the same time there was a group of imposters touring the U.S. as Fleetwood Mac, a result of a nasty legal dispute between the band and their former manager, Clifford Davis, who claimed he owned the name. The ex-manager decided to tour a group of musicians as Fleetwood Mac, in spite of legal sparring that continued between the real members and himself. In the end, the real members won the suit, and by then had moved to Southern California, where they had made the transition from hard-edged blues-rock band to a bona fide pop-rock band.
This recording represents the very end of the Bare Trees-era of Fleetwood Mac. Peter Green was the lead guitar player in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers following Eric Clapton's departure, and when he left the band in 1967, he took John McVie and Mick Fleetwood with him to form "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac." The initial studio albums would yield many great songs, including the original version of "Black Magic Woman" and "The Green Manalishi," which would later become huge hits for Santana and Judas Priest, respectively. By the early 1970s, the band would add a keyboardist named Christine Perfect, who had been with the Spencer Davis Group and Chicken Shack.
By 1971, both Green and Spencer would decline into drug use and mental illness (Spencer joined a religious cult called the Children of God and was barely heard from after 1972); and Perfect was now Mrs. John McVie. Bob Welch jumped on board, and he, along with Danny Kirwin and Christine McVie, would take a greater role in shaping the music of the band. It was in 1972, with the release of Bare Trees (and the 1973 follow-up Mystery To Me - both on Warner Brothers Records), that Fleetwood Mac would lay the groundwork for the pop phenomenon they would soon become.
The group was unable to tour in 1974 because of the court case with Davies, but they did record Heroes Are Hard To Find, and this radio broadcast done to promote the album was one of the few live performances the band did that year. Shortly after this show was recorded for KMET, Bob Welch left Fleetwood Mac to form the short-lived trio Paris. This forced the band to re-group once again in 1975, when they decided to change musical gears completely and recruit a struggling pop duo named Buckingham-Nicks. And the rest, as they say, is rock 'n' roll history.
-Written by Alan Bershaw