Christine McVie Before Fleetwood Mac

Friday, 28 March 2014 08:52 AM Written by 

The buzz about Christine McVie rejoining Fleetwood Mac for their upcoming tour makes her early days worth examining. 47 years ago, when she in her 20's, she was a singer-pianist and artist known by her maiden name of Christine Perfect and like the original Fleetwood Mac, her roots were in the same British Blues movement that spawned Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Rod Stewart, John Mayall, Mick Taylor, the Animals and even the Rolling Stones.

Perfect emerged in 1967 as an original member of singer-guitarist Stan Webb's new blues band, Chicken Shack, whose sound owed plenty to the music of bluesman Freddie King.

January 1968: "See See Baby" with Chicken Shack. Taped for French TV, they were covering a Freddie King number.

The lineup: Stan Webb, vocal and guitar; Christine, Dave Bidwell, bass; Andy Sylvester, drums.

Webb and Christine divided up the singing. Her vocals appeared on the band's "I'd Rather Go Blind," a cover of a 1968 Etta James tune and a Top 20 single for Chicken Shack in England.

1969: I'd Rather Go Blind"

Today, few recall the fact the original Fleetwood Mac was a hardcore blues quartet, built around John McVie, guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer and Mick Fleetwood. Since Mac and Chicken Shack recorded for the same UK label (Blue Horizon), Christine played piano on Mac's second album and in 1969 she sat in with them, but wasn't yet a member. After leaving Chicken Shack she recorded a solo LP, The Legendary Christine Perfect, blending blues and original numbers.

1969: From the solo album: a cover of Little Walter's "Crazy 'Bout You Baby."

She briefly retired from performing after marrying McVie, though she painted the cover for Fleetwood Mac's 1970 Kiln House album, reflecting a new sound expanding well beyond their blues roots. At that time, however, the band was in turmoil. She joined after Green left the band following a mental breakdown caused by drug use,.  Her role became even more important in 1971, when Spencer quit in midtour to join a religious cult.  Everyone knows the rest.

This is the first song she did when she returned to the stage last year, before she appeared at a Fleetwood Mac concert.

Full Circle: February 13, 2013 with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band in Maui.

As she was at the start: with Fleetwood's side band, which sounds similar to the original Fleetwood Mac. The song is "Get Like You Used To Be," an original blues she recorded with Chicken Shack on their second album.

 

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