So, this brings us to the final installment of the “ex-Fleetwood Mac solo’s” series. There were more – many more – ex-Fleetwood Mac members. Some are relatively obscure, like Bob Bruning and Dave Walker, and some more well-known like Dave Mason. Even Christine McVie is no longer a member of the group. But, my interest lies in the 5 who attempted solo careers in the 1970’s and 1980’s after leaving the band. It’s interesting to note that there was a flurry of album releases from all five of these guys at the end of that decade. I’m guessing it was at least partly fueled by the success of Bob Welch’s French Kiss album. I’d guess the others were thinking, “If he can do it, why not me?.”
Bob Weston was a member of FW Mac in the early 70’s during the post-Peter Green, pre-Buckingham Nicks band years. Not as big a contributor as his bandmate Bob Welch, he was still a valuable asset to the group, with strong slide guitar chops. His instrumental “Caught in the Rain”, which closes 1973’s Penguin album, and his playing on “Why” from the following Mystery to Me are highlights of his time with FW Mac.
He didn’t leave the band due to mental illness, as three of his predecessors had, but more due to bad judgement. He had an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife Jenny Boyd (sister of Pattie Boyd, inspiration for Eric Clapton’s “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight”). As a result, and not surprisingly, he got the boot. In later interviews, he would chuckle ruefully, referring to it as the most expensive affair he ever had, costing him a career.
He never had the post-FW Mac success of a Bob Welch, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, or even a Danny Kirwan, though he released three solo albums. In a strange twist, he guested on Kirwan’s Hello There Big Boy album, even though Kirwan was who he was hired to replace in FW Mac. (I didn’t mention it in my Peter Green entry, but in another similar twist, Green guested on two 1970’s FW Mac albums with a succession of his replacements). Weston reportedly had spent the last few years before his death earlier this year working on a new album.
But, enough talk, let’s take a listen to some of Mr. Weston’s fine solo work and a little bit with Fleetwood Mac (sadly, Weston is virtually nonexistent on Youtube):
“Caught in the Rain” (from Fleetwood Mac’s Penguin, 1973):
“Throw Me a Line” (from Night Light, 1980):
“Eye of the Hurricane” (from Night Light, 1980):
“Bay Mare” (from Studio Picks, 1981):
“Enigma Files” (from There’s A Heaven, 1999):
“There’s a Heaven Above” (from There’s A Heaven, 1999):
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I experienced a lucky stroke in Charlotte NC around 1971-72, when I attended one of those typical all-day outdoor multi-band “revue”-styled shows held in a local football stadium, on a hot afternoon, and this one included the late Long John Baldry (then riding the only U.S. success he ever knew, when he was signed to WB Records). His longtime piano accompanist, Ian Armit, was there, along with the hired ‘backup band’, who happened to be the utterly forgotten UK group called Ashman-Reynolds (co-fronted by hot female singer, Aliki Ashman, newly jettisoned from Ginger Baker’s Air Force), and their lead guitarist was Bob Weston. He thrilled me that day, as he was heavy on the slide, which has always been a favorite intrumental sound for me (this was only months after I’d lucked into catching Duane Allman live with the original ABB in the gym of UT-Chattanooga). I was a fan of Baldry, and I knew his two WB albums pretty well, but I had never heard of Ashman-Reynolds, and Weston was the highlight.