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Jeremy Spencer: Jeremy Spencer

Album Notes

Spencer's rare solo debut is almost something of a 1970 Fleetwood Mac album that happens to feature Jeremy Spencer as lead vocalist and principal songwriter, since he's backed by Fleetwood Mac's own Danny Kirwan, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. (Peter Green appears on just one song, and then only on banjo.) If you think that gave Spencer the opportunity to fully indulge in aspects of Fleetwood Mac that only peeked through intermittently in the group's recordings and shows -- namely, his love of formulaic slide blues and '50s oldies pastiches -- that's pretty spot-on. Yet, even though he's not a terribly imaginative songwriter or powerful vocalist, even when posing as a loving satirist, there's still a sense of love and sincerity that comes through stronger here than it does on most similar vanity side projects. Rockabilly, Buddy Holly, doo wop, Bo Diddley, surf, Elvis Presley, and (of course) ham-handed British electric blues all come in for treatments mixing reverence and pisstake humor. "Mean Blues," actually, is funnier than the ridicule the blues-rock boom would have likely been given by outlets like the National Lampoon radio series, which is doubly impressive given that Spencer was very much part of the blues-rock boom he was poking in the eyes. Psychedelic hippie hard rock, too, is given a mockingly sophomoric, working-class filter with "Take a Look Around Mrs. Brown." The album's material might have been funnier live, naturally, but it's fairly funny and/or pleasing, and the styles are varied enough that it doesn't get tiresome. ~ Richie Unterberger



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