Well, even though Jeremy Spencer left Fleetwood Mac under unusual circumstances, precipitated by temporary mental instability, and joined what many people considered a cult, he still has a happier ending (so far) than Bob Welch. There’s a common thread of mental illness and turmoil running through the stories of most of the musician’s who have left Fleetwood Mac (it could be argued that Lindsey Buckingham has had his share of “unstable” moments as well, but then he too quite Mac for a time, so he fits into that ex-bandmember category also).
Spencer’s time in FW Mac is largely remembered for the way he left the band. He was a gifted blues guitarist and chameleon of many styles of music, as evidenced on his self-titled 1970 solo album which featured parodies (or homages, depending how you look at it) of Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, English blues bands, surf rock, etc. But, when you tell your bandmates a few hours before a show that you’re gonna go down to the nearby bookstore and then disappear for days only to be found having joined a group called The Children Of God, that’s likely to overshadow any musical contributions you might have made when your name comes up later on. Incidentally, it was Bob Welch who was hired to replace the departed Spencer.
Through the 1970’s, Jeremy Spencer recorded three albums. Unfortunately, the above mentioned self titled one has been unavailable for decades, even though it’s extremely entertaining. Soon after joining The Children of God, there was the album Jeremy Spencer and The Children, which is not as bad as you may think. It’s a surprisingly laid-back affair, with fluid guitar and feel-good rock n’ roll. It wasn’t till the late 70’s that he was heard again, this time as The Jeremy Spencer Band, again with Children of God bandmates. They issued a slick album, with a bit too much disco era production. There’s really only two songs I can stand to listen to on it, but the first ,”Flee”, is a lost classic. It has a muscular progressive rock meets pop song feel, almost . “Cool Breeze” doesn’t sound anything like a Jeremy Spencer song, but it’s got a sultry, lite-jazz vibe going.
Lots of world traveling occupied his time in the 80’s and 90’s as a member of The Children of God, now called The Family International, but he returned to his blues roots with some new releases, including one this year called Bend in the Road (which apparently includes a reworking of “Flee” entitled “Refugees”…hmmm…very intriguing…..) He’s also got his own Youtube channel, where he talks a bit about his guitar playing and other things.
These first three songs are from that rare, missing-in-action LP Jeremy Spencer (1970). One could file this LP under “comedy” or under “rock” and be correct either way…
“Mean Blues” (“…he’s the leadest guitarist, he’s the best in the country…”)-
“Take A Look Around, Mrs. Brown”-
2 Comments Add yours
So interesting about this guy and his life and music. I love that song Flee.
JS and the Children of God happen to be a great album. I love every song of it and recently had the chance to buy a mint lp press. P