Stop Messin' Round 2:18
Jigsaw Puzzle Blues 1:33
Doctor Brown 3:43
Something Inside of Me 3:54
Evenin' Boogie 2:39
Love That Burns 5:05
Black Magic Woman 2:46
I've Lost My Baby 4:14
One Sunny Day 3:09
Without You 4:36
Coming Home 2:38
The addition of nineteen year old guitarist Danny Kirwan pays immediate dividends for Fleetwood Mac. With Green, Spencer, and Kirwan on guitars, one might think English Rose would sound too cluttered but this is not the case. In fact, Spencer plays a minimal role here as the two songs he contributes are carryovers from their previous release, Mr. Wonderful and the Green and Kirwan duo handle the majority of the remaining tracks together. Kirwan adds four tracks to this album and unlike Spencer, these tracks do not sound like reproductions of Elmore James or other well known blues slide guitar masters. Although not quite as blues oriented as what is found on Fleetwood Mac or Mr. Wonderful, Kirwan brings a new spin on blues music, relying on more rhythm and rock themes to breath life into his tracks. Peter Green, fresh off a songwriting low on Mr. Wonderful, contributes two classics: the original form of 'Black Magic Woman' and 'Albatross.' English Rose is still very much rooted in the British Blues that defined Fleetwood Mac's first two LPs but it does push the boundaries thanks to Green and Kirwan.
About half of the tracks on English Rose can be found on Mr. Wonderful and this is the main reason I don't appreciate this album more than I do. Although only the stronger tracks from Mr. Wonderful are the inclusions here, which is expected, listeners like myself want more. Green's original version of 'Black Magic Woman' is phenomenal. The biting opening chord sets the stage for the track which features great guitar interplay and tone work. The instrumental 'Albatross,' the other major Green creation, is a testament to how good his songwriting and guitar playing can be. Green and Kirwan's guitar tone and their interactions are masterful and the smooth, dreamlike melody is one of the best from Green. After these two major hits, Kirwan's 'Without You' is a soulful minor key blues number that flies under the radar. As his best contribution to English Rose, this cut moves at a snails pace and relies on slow guitar lines, even slower vocal lines, and one hell of a melody to deliver a fantastic blues cut.
Only Spencer's 'Evenin' Blues' and 'I've Lost My Baby' fail to impress. Kirwan and Green appear to push each other in ways Spencer and Green fail to accomplish. This is the last Fleetwood Mac album that I would classify as being largely British Blues. The upcoming Then Play On will still incorporate blues, but not in the overdriven, slide infused, electric sound that is found on their first three studio albums.
|Decade :||60's ROCK, 70's ROCK|
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