Danny Kirwan – Midnight In San Juan (1976)

FrontCover1.jpgDanny Kirwan, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist, dies aged 68

Kirwan joined in 1968 as a teenager, and played on five albums before being fired during a struggle with alcoholism

Danny Kirwan, who played guitar in Fleetwood Mac from 1968 to 1972, has died aged 68.

“Danny was a huge force in our early years,” said Mick Fleetwood from the band in a tribute on Facebook. “Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over 50 years. Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!”

At 18, Kirwan joined the band in their blues-rock era shortly after the release of second album Mr Wonderful. He became the band’s third guitarist alongside Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, and performed on their next five albums.

DannyKirwan03It was a period of flux for the band – Green left in 1970, followed in 1971 by Spencer, who joined the Children of God cult, while Christine McVie joined the band in 1969. Kirwan developed an alcohol problem, and was eventually fired from the band in 1972, ushering in an even more unstable period before the arrival of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, which led to their period of greatest success.

After leaving the band, Kirwan went solo and released four albums in the 70s, featuring self-penned originals and idiosyncratic covers such as his reggae take on the Beatles’ Let It Be. His studio band once included Kirby Gregory from the bogus version of Fleetwood Mac, who briefly formed amid a battle over the rights to the band name in 1974.

DannyKirwan01But Kirwan became homeless, and in 1993 Fleetwood used the Missing Persons Bureau to trace him. Kirwan said he had been living a hermitic existence in a Brixton basement flat for years, followed by four years at a St Mungo’s shelter in central London, living off social security and small royalty payments. “I’ve been through a bit of a rough patch but I’m not too bad,” he told the Independent at the time. “I get by and I suppose I am homeless, but then I’ve never really had a home since our early days on tour. I couldn’t handle it all mentally and I had to get out. I can’t settle.”

No cause of death has been given. (by Ben Beaumont-Thomas)

And here´s his second solo album:

Midnight in San Juan is the second solo album by British blues rock musician Danny Kirwan, who was a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1968–72. Released in 1976, this was his second of three solo albums with the DJM Records label.Midnight in San Juan is the second solo album by British blues rock musician Danny Kirwan, who was a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1968–72. Released in 1976, this was his second of three solo albums with the DJM Records label.
This album was released in the USA and Canada in May 1977 under the title Danny Kirwan, with a different sleeve (front and back) and a biography / review written by Michael Hogan. The recorded material is identical to the UK release. It was released for the first time on CD, only in Japan, in February 2006.

Apart from the self-penned tracks, Kirwan includes a reggae-style cover of The Beatles’ “Let It Be”, which was a single in the United States. The other single from this album was “Misty River”. Another cover version was “Look Around You”, written by Dave Walker, himself an ex-Fleetwood Mac member.
Kirwan’s backing band on the album was made up of members of Stretch; an earlier incarnation of Stretch had briefly toured as a bogus version of Fleetwood Mac in 1974. (by wikipedia)

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On his follow-up to 1975’s Second Chapter, his first solo disc after being such an important element of Fleetwood Mac, Danny Kirwan gives fans another taste of Bare Trees with the lovely song “Castaway,” which ends the album, and the instrumental “Rolling Hills,” which could be a sequel to the sublime “Sunny Side of Heaven,” a treat both when Fleetwood Mac performed it live and when it appeared on Bare Trees. Kirwan’s personality shines on those tracks, and this album is chock-full of quality material — there isn’t a bad track on it musically. Where followers of this artist might have a problem is that it seems to be a conscious effort to go off in the commercial direction taken by the folk band America, of all people. Both tracks which open side one and two, “I Can Tell” and “Misty River” respectively, would have perfectly fit in America’s “Sister Golden Hair,” “Don’t Cross the River,” and “Ventura Highway” set list.

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This is decidedly different music from the slick pop of 1979’s Hello There Big Boy, which retained only pianist John Cook from these sessions. That episode had him sounding more like his ex-Fleetwood Mac mate Bob Welch, no surprise since Welch actually charted in 1977 with his Bare Trees track “Sentimental Lady.” “Life Machine” on this disc actually sounds like a Bob Welch track, and it is too bad the two artists didn’t join forces at this point in time. The strange one here is a reggae version of “Let It Be,” which, in its brashness, becomes a nice turning point for the disc, showing real personality. Too many artists cover the Beatles note for note while Kirwan gives the world ten new originals and a creative reworking of a classic hit by “the Fab Four.” This album was titled Danny Kirwan in North America, while the British release took its name from the other instrumental track, a synthesized journey called “Midnight in San Juan.” “Angel’s Delight” and “Windy Autumn Day” sound like Fleetwood Mac meets the band America, a very saleable commodity if you think about it, the Beatles-style ending to “Windy Autumn Day” driving the point home. Dick James Records really should have gotten more solidly behind this artist — there’s no doubt the talent for Top 40 success here was enormous. (by Joe Viglione)

This is a very quiete, calm and sympathic album … recorded by a tragic looser.

AlernateFront+BackCover.jpgAlternate US front + back cover

Personnel:
John Cook (piano)
Steve Emery (bass)
Danny Kirwan (guitar, vocals)
Jeff Rich (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. I Can Tell (Kirwan) – 3:02
02. Life Machine (Kirwan) – 2:26
03. Midnight In San Juan” – 2:38
04. Let It Be (Lennon/McCartney) – 2:28
05. Angel’s Delight – 2:47
06. Windy Autumn Day” – 2:38
07. Misty River” – 3:59
08. Rolling Hills – 2:25
09. I Can’t Let You Go – 2:42
10. Look Around You (Walker) – 3:09
11. Castaway  – 3:47

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Danny Kirwan May 13, 1950 – June 8, 2018

Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan has died. His death was reported by Mick Fleetwood via Facebook.In a tribute headed “Danny Kirwan May 13, 1950 – June 8, 2018”, Fleetwood wrote, “Today was greeted by the sad news of the passing of Danny Kirwan in London, England.

Danny was a huge force in our early years. His love for the Blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years.

“Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac that has now endured for over fifty years.

“Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed! (Mick Fleetwood)

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