Respectful (albeit soulful) backing vocals and laid-back, loping resolutions on the first couple tracks of this reissue (originally released in '01) seem a lifetime from Peter Green's stints with the Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac. And it really has been a lifetime: most of Green's fans know about his angst over the "star" role; his subsequent breakdown and retreat from the public. Playing with the Splinter Group has given Green a new lease, offering the team player spot he prefers and a laid-back, "We're not here to prove anything" approach. Meanwhile, addicts still tear into anything he does, hoping for glimpses of his ear-to-the-universe brilliance.
Even when the group shifts from nonchalance into a shuffle on "Running After You," recalling Green's original arrangement of "Black Magic Woman," the fire seems dead. But with the fourth track it starts to become apparent that this is some of Green's best work après-Mac. When second guitarist Nigel Watson grabs the mic, throwing a lifetime of sorrow into the line, "There's an evil...rolling through your veins," his mates rise to his fervor.
Between the album's slow start and a tranquil paean to "Uganda Woman" — threaded with some of the needlepoint tremolo that put "Albatross" on the map — the band maintains heat with intuitive gear shifts. Time Traders is the richer for the return of Snowy White, and songs by bassist Peter Stroud ("Temptation," "Time Keeps Slipping Away") and Watson. When the ephemeral splendor of Green's guitar wizardry makes our hair stand on end ("Underway," "Feeling Good," and the denouement of "Wild Dogs"), we remember why we drove for three hours to get here.
- Album: Time Traders (2011)
- Artist: Peter Green Splinter Group
- Label: Eagle Records
- Songs: (1) Until the Well Runs Dry (2) Real World (3) Running After You (4) Shadow on My Door (5) Lies (6) (Down the Road of) Temptation (7) Downsize Blues (Repossess My Body) (8) Feeling Good (9) Time Keeps Slipping Away (10) Wild Dogs (11) Home (12) Underway (13) Uganda Woman