The Other One Notes:
Recorded at Capitol Records, August and September 1979
Love to Dani/Thanks to Curry Grant
Thanks Carter for your support and faith through the years
Love to Judy Wong Cornick
Thank you everyone who came to see us play last year - love Bob Welch
Roger Voudouris courtesy of Warner Bros Records
Man Overboard Notes:
Recorded at Capitol, Studio B
Additional recording and mixing at Sunset Sound
Randy Meisner courtesy of Portrait Records
Alvin Taylor plays Tama Drums
Al Bran plays Ovation Bass
Thanks to Donny Francisco and David Adelstein for your enthusiasm and energy, to Dave DiMartino and the Guitar Center for new stuff, and to Charles Faris for all your help.
The Other One/Man Overboard Notes:
"Bob Welch saved Fleetwood Mac" - Mick Fleetwood
As Fleetwood Mac's albums "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumours" successively dominated the charts around the world from 1975 to 1979, selling 18 million copies between them in the US alone, Bob Welch must have ruminated on the wisdom of leaving the group in 1974. However it was his departure that brought about the recruitment of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and it was their songs as much as those of Christine McVie that brought about the group's megasuccess. Bob Welch had to wait a while for his day to come....
Born on 31st July 1945 in Los Angeles, Welch had the entertainment business in his blood since his father. Robert Snr, was a major film and TV writer/producer. Robert Jnr had spent many years in a mixed black and white R&B band originally called Ivory Hudson and the Harlequins. From 1964 to 1969 they gigged in clubs around the States, even playing in France and Italy, before returning to LA and renaming themselves the Seven Souls. They were beaten to a recording contract by Sly & The Family Stone, and went their separate ways. Bob formed a trio and returned to Paris where he had spent some of his youth. It was in Paris that Welch received a call from Judy Wong, who had been his girlfriend in San Francisco.
Fleetwood Mac had finished the now-legendary American tour during which guitarist Jeremy Spencer had quit suddenly to join the religious sect The Children Of God. The group fulfilled their tour commitments with the help of Peter Green, but he resumed his retirement, and thus there was a vacant position for a guitarist/vocalist. Judy Wong (now the wife of Glenn Cornick, see later in the story) rang Welch and told him that Fleetwood Mac were looking for a guitar player, and did he know anybody who might be interested.
Bob Welch takes up the story: "I had heard of Fleetwood Mac despite my immersion in the R&B world, because 'Albatross' and 'Oh Well' had been on jukeboxes all over France and Spain. I'd also read the stories about Jeremy's departure in NME and the other English music papers. Finally Judy said, 'Why don't you come over and meet everybody and play some guitar with them? You're good enough'. I got on a plane with literally my last franc and went to London. I remember thinking that this whole world was alien to me. I wasn't a white fan of black blues like these English musicians. I thought of myself as a player in an R&B band.... We jammed for a long time, and played some blues on the side. I was waiting for them to tell me what kind of band they were, but instead I realised they expected me to be the band. I was expected to pull as much weight as anyone else".
John McVie decided to take the American on: "He came over, sat around, talked and played with us for a bit, and joined". Welch stayed with the group from April 1971 until December 1974, one of the most stressful periods in the Mac's perennially stormy history, during which they fired two guitarists and a vocalist, yet still managed to record five albums!
The first two of these, "Future Games" and "Bare Trees", released in September 1971 and June 1972 respectively, featured the line-up of Welch, Christine McVie, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and guitarist/vocalist Danny Kirwan. "Future Games", the title track of which Welch would re-record on his third solo album "The Other One", reached #91 on the Billboard album chart but failed to make an appearance in the UK charts (as with all other Welch period Fleetwood Mac albums). "Bare Trees", which featured Welch's "Sentimental Lady" (later re-worked on "French Kiss" - see below). reached #70 on the Billboard chart, even achieving platinum status in the US (1 million units) though not until some years later.
In August 1972 Danny Kirwan, who had been with the group since August 1968, was asked to leave - his chronic stagefright had proved intolerable for the rest of the players. His replacement was Bob Weston, poached from Long John Baldry's backing band. The group also decided to take on a vocalist. Said John McVie: "We met Dave Walker on a tour we did with Savoy Brown; he was their singer. We thought we'd try having a front man/vocalist, which we'd never done before - but it only lasted 8 months." This six-strong line-up made one album, "Penguin", released in May 1973. It peaked at #49 in the Billboard chart and included the notable Welch composition "Night Watch".
Minus Dave Walker, Fleetwood Mac's eighth line-up recorded "Mystery To Me", released in January 1974 (chart position: #67). During a lengthy US tour Bob Weston was fired - he'd been having an affair with Mick Fleetwood's wife - and the band's manager put a bogus group on the road to fulfill the dates. Lawsuits ensued over the next four years.
Despite it all, the remaining quartet still managed to deliver the excellent "Heroes Are Hard To Find" in September 1974. Seven of the eleven songs were Bob Welch compositions, but it's Christine McVie's songs that clearly point to the sound of the next album ("Fleetwood Mac"). In a Rolling Stone article in November, Welch was quoted as saying, "The point is to have a career, do what you're doing and do it well. Fleetwood Mac has done just that." Mick Fleetwood however had realised that "Bob wasn't happy. He had burnt himself out writing the last two albums, and he was actually feeling quite fried". Says Welch: "I felt like we were going round in circles. Fleetwood Mac was floundering then, and the essential creative freshness had faded. I thought I needed to strike out on my own and find another context". He left in December 1974, despite Fleetwood and McVie's efforts to talk him out of it. At the time, Fleetwood Mac seemed to be ascending in popularity, as the album reached #34 in the Billboard chart.
In the course of 1975, Bob Welch set about his next project. After two largely unsuccessful albums, bassist Glenn Cornick had disbanded Wild Turkey, the band he formed after leaving Jethro Tull. He joined a German group Karthargo before linking up with Welch to form a power trio which they christened Paris. The third member was drummer Thom Mooney, who had been in The Nazz with Todd Rundgren. They were signed to Capitol Records and released their first album "Paris" at the tail end of 1975. Described by one work of reference as "weaving mystical lyrical tapestries, within psychedelic, blues-based progressive rock", the album only reached #103, despite the line-up's credentials. For their second album "Big Towne, 2061", released in September of 1976, Mooney was replaced by Hunt Sales, who coincidentally had also drummed for Rundgren. Although more mainstream, the album was less successful than the first, peaking at #152, and the band split up almost immediately. Hunt Sales re-appeared many years later in Bowie's Tin Machine.
In June 1977, during a break in Fleetwood Mac's schedule, Mick Fleetwood decided to "take Bob Welch's career in hand. I felt strongly that Bob was a wonderful musician whose best work hadn't surfaced in 'Paris'....There was no doubt in my mind that, given the right presentation, he could have a hit record and take part in some of the rewards that were now coming our way after such hard travail... A record deal was procured and Bob proceeded to make "French Kiss", which indeed became a hit, and contained some great songs".
Welch recorded the album with Capitol's house producer (John) Carter, whose recent work with ex-Montrose vocalist Sammy Hagar was reflected in the riffing backing to many of Welch's melodic and instantly memorable tunes. However the first single off the album (and the lead track) was a completely separate affair. With the man who took his place in Fleetwood Mac taking on the roles of producer, arranger and guitarist, Welch ressurrected the haunting "Sentimental Lady" from "Bare Trees". Lindsey Buckingham's distinctive arrangement and Christine McVie's backing vocals (and Mick Fleetwood's drumming) made the track sound not unlike a song from the new Fleetwood Mac and it sold accordingly, reaching #8. The album took off resultantly, climbing to the #12 slot, and spawning two further hit singles, "Ebony Eyes" and "Hot Love, Cold World", both of which were rather more representative of the album's overall sound. The album eventually went platinum.
Reconvening in 1978, Welch and Carter attempted to repeat the successful formula, and largely succeeded. Capitol even went as far as to make the sleeve of "Three Hearts" look like a continuation of the "French Kiss" theme. Released in March 1979, the album reached #20, and its two singles, "Precious Love" and "Church", peaked at #19 and #73 respectively. Welch included two covers: The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There", and "Come Softly To Me", a song originally written and performed by, ironically enough, a group calling themselves The Fleetwoods (it was #1 for 4 weeks in March 1959). Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks provided the Fleetwood Mac cameos again, and the album achieved gold status.
For his third album, to some extent Welch repeated his formula, utilising the same producer and again resurrecting an old Fleetwood Mac composition of his, "Future Games" from the album of the same name. However this time he utilised his touring band for the recording. Retaining David Adelstein (keyboards) and Todd Sharp (guitar) from the "Three Hearts" sessions, he had recruited Brad Palmer on bass and Donny Francisco on drums and backing vocals, leaving himself free to be lead guitarist and vocalist. The democratic credit on the inner sleeve of "The Other One" read 'all songs aranged by the band', and the democracy even spread to the songwriting. Both Adelstein and Sharp contributed an excellent song apiece, and the cod-reggae track "Love Came 2x" was credited to the four members of the band. Released in December 1979, "The Other One" only reached #105 on the Billboard chart and provided no hit singles - it seemed perhaps that the US public was tiring of the Bob Welch sound, although side two of the record featured some very strong material.
The penultimate credit on the fourth album "Man Overboard" thanks 'Dave DiMartino and the Guitar Center for new stuff'. The investment in guitar effects certainly beefed up the sound of the album, perhaps most notably on "Justine". Also, the overall production, again by Carter, was much grittier, certainly on the first side, which climaxed with the thunderous "B666". This boasted orchestration by the legendary Jack Nitzsche, whose credits include work with Phil Spector, the Rolling Stones, and Buffalo Springfield. Another celebrity on the album was ex-Eagle Randy Meisner, who contributed backing vocals. But despite all the above, and the fact that the album was full of memorable tunes, it could only climb to #162 when released in October 1980. US copies were stickered, proclaiming 'Includes the Hit Single Don't Rush The Good Things', but this was wishful thinking!
Welch made two more albums, "Bob Welch" in 1981 and "Eye Contact" in 1983 for RCA, but further commercial success eluded him. He moved to Phoenix, Arizona to work on film soundtracks, and subsequently to Nashville, where he is still involved in music.
Val Jennings, December 1997
Acknowledgements: Pete Frame's "Rock Family Trees", Joel Witburn's "Top Pop Albums", The Guinness Encyclopaedia Of Popular Music, and "Fleetwood" by Mick Fleetwood with Stephen Davis.
Also on Edsel Records by Bob Welch: "French Kiss" + "Three Hearts" (EDCD 538) (two albums on one CD).
Issued under license from EMI Records
Tracks 1-10 (P) 1979 The copyright in these recordings is owned by EMI Records
Tracks 11-20 (P) 1980 The copyright in these recordings is owned by EMI Records
(C) 1998 Demon Records Ltd.
Manufactured in England
Compact isc Digital Audio
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