For Burning Airlines issue:
Bob Welch: Live in Concert, The Roxy Los Angeles
Bob Welch had performned with a bands prior to joining Fleetwood Mac in April 1971 as a replacement for Jeremy Spencer who had done a vanishing act in Los Angeles on the Mac's previous US tour in August 1970.
Long time friend of the band Judy Wong had recommended him. The surprising thing about Bob's entry to the band was that he didn't play a note. He talked with the band one night until dawn and was subsequently asked to join. Good job his guitar playing matched up to the man's temperament and personality! At this stage the band were more than likely looking for some stability, personality-wise, bearing in mind that they had already lost Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, and not too far ahead, Danny Kirwan would also fall away.
Bob brought with him pragmatism, which is just what the band needed at this time. As well as his guitar playing and vocal talents, Bob also brought this compositional skill to the band, the first fruits of which can be heard on the band's fifth studio album Future Games.
Bob recorded a further four albums with Fleetwood Mac: Bare Trees (1972), Penguin (1973) Mystery To Me (1973) and finally Heroes Are Hard To Find (1974). Following the rather frought departure of long-time member Danny Kirwan durig a tour to promote Bare Trees, Bob Welch became even more important to Fleetwood Mac with the song writing duties mainly being split between himself and Christine McVie.
Whilst a great many people did not become aware of Fleetwood Mac until the arrival of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks following Bob's departure in late 1974, it's all too easy to underestimate the importance of Bob Welch in Fleetwood Mac's history. During his time in the band he became a very solid and dependable part of Fleetwood Mac, both in a performing and song writing capacity, whilst it sometimes seemed the band were on the point of breaking up.
He also recorded some incredible songs with Fleetwood Mac, two of which he would carry over to his solo career and one in particular, Sentimental Lady, originally a track on Bare Trees, would be re-recorded for his first solo album, French Kiss, and become a fair sized hit when released as a single.
Following the bizarre fake Fleetwood Mac episode, Bob Welch recorded his final contribution to Fleetwood Mac's recorded legacy. Heroes Are Hard To Find, and left after the final tour to promote the album. He then formed the adventurous three-piece band Paris with former Jethro Tull bassist Glen Cornick and drummer Hunt Sales (who was later to work with David Bowie in Tin Machine).
Whilst the two albums that Bob recorded with Paris, Paris and Big Towne, may have been artistically satisfying for him, commercially the albums failed to perform and the band subsequently split.
At this point in 1977, Fleetwood Mac came back in to Bob's life. Bob had recorded the songs for French Kiss which in all honesty were much more like the material Bob had written with Fleetwood Mac. Mick Fleetwood heard the album and decided he wanted to manage Bob and when French Kiss appeared it included contributions from the then current members of Fleetwood Mac.
In fact, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie and Bob's sucessor in Fleetwood Mac Lindsey Buckingham appear on the re-recorded version of Sentimental Lady, which went top ten on the American singles chart in late 1977. Another single from the album, Ebony Eyes, also went top twenty in early 1978.
Bob recorded a further three albums for Capitol, Three Hearts (1979), The Other One (1980) and the aptly titled Man Overboard (1980). It was aptly titled in that it was his final album for Capitol before signing with new label RCA. His first for that label was the self titled Bob Welch in 1981.
In November of 1981, Bob and his band performed at the famous Roxy in Los Angeles. The set included songs from his current album and material from various points in his career, including songs from his time in Fleetwood Mac.
More importantly, Bob was joined on some of these numbers by various special guests augmenting Bob's band, which at that time comprised long-time drummer Alvin Taylor, Joe Brasler on guitar, Robin Sylvester bass, Dave Adelstein keyboards, and guesting on percussion and vocals Robbie Patton, who had just recorded an album with Christine McVie producing. In fact, one of the songs featured here, Don't Give It Up was from that album.
As for the guests, well, Christine McVie, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and Bob Weston were on hand to lend their vocal and instrumental support to various tracks, including Fleetwood Mac numbers like Hypnotized, Sentimental Lady, and a track from Penguin - Don't You Think It's Time (Remember Me), which featured former Mac guitarist Bob Weston on slide guitar. Even more incredibly, the set featured an extended version of one of the stand out tracks on the multi platinum Rumours album Gold Dust Woman, featuring Stevie Nicks, who is heard to comment at the end of the song, "They never let me play that song so long" ("they" presumably being the rest of Fleetwood Mac).
Other songs featured are four tracks from Bob's self-titled debut for RCA. It's What You Don't Say - Two To Do, Remember, and a credible cover of the Amen Corner/American Breed hit, Bend Me, Shape Me.
Making up the numbers, we have Precious Love from Three Hearts, Big Towne from the second Paris album and Hot Love Cold World, Sentimental Lady, Outskirts, and Ebony Eyes from French Kiss. The concert ends in fine form on another Fleetwood Mac song, the legendary Rattlesnake Shake.
A live video of this historic performance was briefly available in the USA, but aside from a syndicated radio broadcast early in 1982, this recording has remained in the vaults. Now for the first time, you can listen to this rare recording for yourself, and perhaps wonder why it's taken so long to become available.
Bob Welch And Friends Live At The Roxy.is a valuable addition to the growing Fleetwood Mac legacy and a fine showcase for Bob Welch's talents as a songwriter, performer and bandleader.
Bob Welch is still recording and performing and for news of his latest releases and concert appearances, you should visit his website at www.bobwelch.com
(C) Jon Kirkman. Rockahead Ltd. 2004
Jon Kirkman is a freelance radio and television presenter in the United Kingdom.
Special Thanks To: Brian Finlay, Brad Keenan, Carlton P Sandercock & Nick Hindle.
(P) (C) 2004 Alchemy Entertainment Ltd. in association with BMG Strategic Marketing, New York.
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