Worldwide media has announced the death of Rock-Blues legend and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac group, Peter Green who passed away peacefully in his sleep on Canvey on Saturday 25th July aged 73 years.
As has been widely documented there are not enough superlatives to cover the sublime musical ability of this man not only was he probably (vying with Eric Clapton) the best blues guitar player the UK has ever produced but was such an accomplished composer (everyone will remember Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’ No 1 hit in 1969) of many numbers, particularly in the late 60’s. He had a soulful voice which he was able to adapt from the complicated timing of ‘Oh Well’ to the whistful, melancholy vocal of ‘Man of the world’. (both 1969). To add to that he was a ‘pretty mean’ blues harmonica player too.
My first knowledge of his family’s island connection was when his parents lived in the bungalow opposite my brother Chris in Lottem Rd, Don’t think Peter was ever living there but they were often visited by one of his brothers. This was the late 70’s and was probably about the time he was recovering from his first bout of mental illness which began in the early 70’s and for most of that decade he virtually disappeared from the music scene whilst undergoing treatment.
In 2011 when I joined Mike Machin’s band ‘Free Spirit’ Mike said to me “Did you know that Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac lived on Canvey?” Apparently Mike had seen an image of him on You-tube and recognised him as the guy who used to be a customer in his shop ‘Selectronics’ in Furtherwick Rd. This would have been around 2006 onwards so it was evident that Peter was a Canvey resident at this time.
It is quite possible that he lived on the island for seperate periods of time and at different addresses during the 2000s. His actual place of residence could be regarded as one of Canvey’s best kept secrets as people respected his privacy and nobody ever divulged the address. Since Mike’s information I have met one or two islanders who have had personal contact with Peter Green. Bass guitarist Tony Dubbridge told me he had given him a guitar case. Then two or three years ago Buzz Bullock (the lighterman) told me was helping to move a boat to a new mooring in Benfleet Creek and Peter was there. The reason for this was probably to do with his second love after music; that being fishing and he must have had connections with the boat owner, fishing trips?
The re-emergence of his musical career from the 80s on wards is well documented on the internet with particular reference to his ‘Splinter Group’ band and solo performances in Europe but the item which is of course of most interest to us is the short film entitled ‘The Canvey Island Sessions’ which can be seen on this site. The title starts ‘On a hot sultry summer afternoon in South Essex’ definitely genuine ‘Thames Delta Blues’.
I think it would be fair to assume that despite some difficult times in his life the rock legend Peter Green was in a good place when living on Canvey Island!
RIP Peter Green (Peter Allen Greenbaum) 1946-2020