Friday, January 6, 2012

RIP - Bob Weston (but not THAT Bob Weston)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a pretty hefty fan of Fleetwood Mac, and especially champion their output between legendary founding guitarist Peter Green and the Buckingham-Nicks era that shot them into the pantheon of the rock n roll gods.

Sadly, this post nods to the passing of one of F'Mac’s revolving door of guitarists, Bob Weston, who played with the Bob Welch lead version of the band from 1972 to 1974. He played on two of the five albums during this time of the band’s existence, Penguin and Mystery to Me, both of which are arguably the lesser of the Welch era (no fault of Weston's), and yet still grossly underrated and overlooked in the saga of Fleetwood Mac.

Weston contributed as both vocalist (notably with Christine McVie on Penguin’s Did You Ever Love Me) and songwriter, but it was as a lead/slide guitarist that his abilities really shine, especially on tracks like Remember Me and Why. As the story goes, some dastardly doings in relations with Mick Fleetwood’s wife lead to his dismissal from the band, the subsequent turmoil of which caused Bob Welch to leave later in 1974, opening the door for Buckingham-Nicks and the worldwide glory that would ensue.

As with many of Fleetwood Mac’s guitarists from the earlier days, Weston’s career was at a much lower profile after leaving the band, and most all of his output is difficult to find these days. He did, however, put out a few solo albums and collaborated with such notable folks as Murray Head, Sandy Denny and even contributed to a record by Danny Kirwan (whom he had replaced in F'Mac). More recently he had revived his music career and was to be recording with ex-Stones guitarist Mick Taylor at the time of his untimely death from seemingly natural causes.

Like most of the post-Green, pre-Buckingham-Nicks years, Weston’s role is important in that he helped keep the band together during a highly transitional (though no less creative) period that saw more turmoil than not (though to be honest, F’Mac has always been a band rife with problems, which is part of their magic), as his considerable abilities helped hone the radio friendly sound that would move the remaining members from rather respected obscurity to household names. I’m sure he has a spot reserved for him in the jam line of rock heaven.

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