26 February 2020 (released)
26 February 2020
I remember this being released in 1970 and being greeted with almost unanimous derision by the critics as well as die-hard Fleetwood Mac fans and yet, over the years, it has begun to be appreciated by a great number of music lovers as ground-breaking and original.
In 1970 Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac after suffering mental issues – probably as a result of his copious drug taking. He wanted to have nothing to do with the music business but was forced by his label Reprise to deliver one last album to clear his contract.
He took a few friends into a London studio for an extended jam session and in 5 hours of almost continuous playing created the music that became ‘The End Of The Game’.
The other musicians on the album are Zoot Money on piano, Geoffrey Maclean on percussion, Nick Buck on electric piano and keys and Alex Dmochowski on bass – all of them experienced session musicians and well known to Green through John Mayall and Aynsley Dunbar associations. Green was looking to experiment with his playing and writing and wanted to go away from the expected music that he had been making with Fleetwood Mac.
Musically, this is a long way from standard Blues and a very long way from the music that Green had been famous for since joining John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1966 but there is something about the guitar playing on the album that is most definitely Peter Green. Much of it is in a free jazz form but, while all the other musicians are playing very individual roles, everything revolves around Green’s playing.
From the fade-in of ‘Bottoms Up’ we get Green playing a solo role, seemingly unattached to the other four musicians. His guitar isolated in the left speaker while the bass plays in the right. Gradually the drums come in and spread across the soundstage but always the guitar is isolated in the left side. The track builds in depth and intensity, changes rhythmically but always follows the guitar.
And the whole album follows a similar path as the band give Green the freedom to experiment and play without restrictions. All four supporting players are excellent and their contribution essential but they are led at every moment by Green’s playing. It does sound as though all the musicians, including Green, are enjoying their playing. being stretched but also being able to make their own place on the album.
There are no vocals on the album and it feels very much as though Green is playing with maximum passion, focusing entirely on his guitar playing.
Peter Green was, probably, the finest guitarist of his generation and this shows a direction he may have gone if he had continued playing but it stands as a very fine album, enhanced by the brevity of its recording and the experimental nature of all of the tracks.
As usual, Esoteric have included relevant bonus track and the digital remaster is superb and taken from the original tapes.
Not for anyone looking for rehashes of Fleetwood Mac but a must for anyone who loves Greens playing for itself.