Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Danny Kirwan & Peter Green, 'Like It This Way' ...

This performance of 'Like It This Way' by Fleetwood Mac, recorded for their 1970 Live in Boston album, features Danny Kirwan on vocals and guitar. The other guitarist is the legendary Peter Green. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, these two were considered by many to be the best guitar team in rock music, and they were integral in shaping much of Fleetwood Mac's early musical style.

For younger students of guitar, it is important to note that Danny Kirwan was only 19 years old at the time of this recording. He shows us all that age is not a handicap to those who work hard at their craft. In his performance of this song, each note is clearly executed, as he improvises over the pattern set by the rest of the band. And despite the fact that he breaks a string in the middle of his solo, he continues to play without missing a note or beat, completing it with the finesse of a master artist. His playing reflects hours of dedicated study and practice, which helped to shape his ability to play with some of the best musicians of his era.

What is most extraordinary, however, about this performance are Green's and Kirwan's obvious convictions about and understanding of the blues idiom. Although they were from the UK, which was a world away from the American roots of the music they played, and lived during an era before computers, CDs or even cassette tapes, they became serious students of the blues. Like other guitarists, such as The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, they studied rare imported blues records by African-American musicians (who were part of a marginalized ethnic group in the United States), and applied what they learned to their own compositions. Because of their intense dedication to and respect for these authentic American blues artists, it is possible to label Peter Green and Danny Kirwan as 'authentic' guitarists of that genre.

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