Monday, June 11, 2018

Danny Kirwan, 1950-2018

It is safe to say that the majority of Fleetwood Mac fans can be divided into two groups- those that favor the original Peter Green line-up and those that prefer the hitmaking Buckingham/Nicks machine. It is the rare bird who cites everything in between as their Fleetwood Mac music of choice. Sadly, there are many, I am sure, who simply do not know Fleetwood Mac music exists before "Rhiannon." With the loss of the great Danny Kirwan, there is no better time to discover his brilliant contributions to the band.

1969's "Then Play On" is a masterwork. While it would be irresponsible to credit only Kirwan for the giant leap in sound and style from the previous record, 1968's "Mr. Wonderful" it would be just as irresponsible to say that the wholly unique style and attack of "Then Play On" would have happened without Kirwan. I can't say enough about the music found on this record. There is nothing like it.

I've always felt that the Bob Welch years deserved more credit, but once Danny Kirwan left the band, the output becomes increasingly more difficult to stand behind. It was Danny Kirwan making the beautiful music that makes these "lost" records worth everyone's time.


Anonymous said...

For some reason, the Peter Green years of FM have eluded me and, admittedly, I need to rectify that. The albums in between that time and Buckingham Nicks FM was absolutely my favorite FM stretch. Bare Trees is one of my all-time favorite records.


jmsafree said...

Very sad news. Then Play On, Kiln House, Future Games and Bare Trees are still my favorite FM records. Danny also had some nice cuts on the Chicago Blues cd volume 2. I have his Second Chapter record too. His other records are out of print and ridiculously expensive.

His life seemed to be filled with serious challenges. Very much a tragic situation. RIP Danny.

Anonymous said...

Kiln House was my intro to Fleetwood Mac; it and Bare Trees are probably the Mac albums I've played the most. Kirwan's story has always saddened me - he seemed a little out of place among a bunch of hard partying musicians. His particular brand of Englishness made the Mac special.

George said...

Some of the best songs on the albums of that period--especially on "Bare Trees" and "Future Games"--were Kirwan's, and they still sound great.

Anonymous said...

My first exposure to FM live was the Bare Trees tour and they were very, very good live.

I love the Peter Green years best but I have liked every version of the band though Bob Welch didn't really do it for me. He was okay but not more in my opinion.

If Danny Kirwin could have held it together maybe that version of The Mac would have been very successful eventually. Heck Jeremy Spencer was just coming into his own when he walked away.

Captain Al

ken49 said...

Wholeheartedly agree. Then Play On and Bare Trees are my favorites. Child of Mine just rocks.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Kiln House", by way of a Warner Bros Loss Leader was my introduction. I loved it so much I bought "Bare Trees", which I liked a lot, especially the title tune, and went on to be violently disappointed by "Future Games", "Penguin", and "Mystery To Me".
At the time, I'd never heard of Peter Green. I bought "Then Play On", which floored me, because of Danny's presence.
I still have all those records, and when I made a FM Weekend Mix for Burning Wood I tried to find something to like about those middle period albums, and I couldn't, except for "Hypnotized".
I'm fine with The Buckingham Nicks edition. I'm glad they met with success after so many difficult years.

Here is a link to "Then Play More", my Weekend Mix featuring Danny, Peter, Jeremy, Mick, and John.

A walk in the woods said...

Wow, that "Sunny Side Of Heaven" had completely eluded my notice. I have it, but had never noticed what an amazing song it is... thanks for pointing that out.

Yes - not only was Kirwan a big part of the most actually perfect Mac album (Then Play On), he also played key licks on "Albatross," and then there's "Future Games." A mighty legacy.

A walk in the woods said...

And thank for the Mac mix, BBJ! Does it have artwork too?

Michael Giltz said...

Thanks again Sal for turning me on to pre-Buckingham/Nicks Fleetwood Mac. "Then Play On" is a masterpiece and kind of mind-blowing. To me it feels like a missing link to all those American bands like Allman Brothers et al.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Yes. "Then Play More" by Pete's Big Mac has artwork and includes "Sunny Side Of Heaven".

A walk in the woods said...

Thanks BBJ