Grande Gets Ready


Fifth Estate # 57, July 4-18, 1968

Unaccustomed though I may be to giving advice which will earn money for someone other than myself I feel duty bound to give you some information concerning two forthcoming attractions at the Grande Ballroom.

Foremost, by date of appearance only, is the Jeff Beck group. Some of you will probably remember Jeff as being the guitarist in whose shadow stands, and always will stand, Jimmy Page, present “Lead Player” with the Yardbirds, who having now disbanded leaves him as the lead player to Chris Dreja, bassist.

Forming his own group some 18 months ago, Jeff Beck embarked on a tour of England which they left after the first night owing to the fact that none knew what the others were doing. However, just before I left England I saw the group again and they at last sounded together, very together. Rod Steward is an excellent singer from way back when he and Long John Baldry were singing blues in the clubs of Northern England; and Jeff Beck ranks as one of the world’s best.

I hope that many “Electric Flag” types go along so they can realize at last just how talented Mike Bloomfield really isn’t.

The following week at the Grande sees the Detroit debut of another fine band, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. John Mayall’s old guitarist heads his own band in a harder, newer form of blues playing than he ever played with Mayall.

Peter Green is a perfect blues guitar player—a fact not very well exhibited on the new Fleetwood Mac album recently released in this country. His slide-guitarist however is given plenty of room and deserves it. Elmore-based, as are all slide guitar players, he is refreshingly fast and clean.

Also the lead singer of the group, Jeremy Spencer has to be an incredible blues player and is. On bass is the old man of English blues bassists John McVie. Professionally good is John McVie as is Mick Fleetwood the long thin drummer, another “find”.

It never fails to perplex me where all the unknown talent comes from for these blues groups. Someone must be churning them out on an assembly line for the number is apparently unlimited and the musicians are constantly good.

If you cannot get to the Grande to see these people, you can hear them either on Jeff Beck’s two singles, “Hi-Ho Silverlining” and “Tallyman” or on the Fleetwood Mac album, but do try to see them in person.

Uncle Russ doesn’t really need the money but it’s nice to hear someone on a stage who isn’t trying to be another Cream or V-Fudge, or both.