I have no idea what this song is talking about but I think it's something creepy! And Lindsey sings it with the proper amount of bluesy spookiness. The only think missing from this version is the weird "woooo woooo" noises that are in the background on the original, but Stevie tries her best to make up for it with her own "sound effects." A good one for Halloween!
According to interviews I've read, the Green Manalishi is in reference to the worship of money. Peter went through a phase where he wanted to band to donate most of their money to charity. They went along with it for a while but eventually stopped. It was the their refusal to comply with his wishes that lead to his departure from the band. Shortly after his departure, Green slipped into serious mental problems and stayed completely out of music until only a few years ago. Many feel that the lyrics for Green Manalishi chronicle Green's battle with fame, money, and mental illness.
The reference to it being money and fame may be correct, but it is also about acid flashbacks and fighting to hold on to his sanity.
In general it is about what would visit him in his dreams, thus the reference to night and "Bustin' in on my dreams Makin' me see things I don't wanna see". In the end he cries "Just tryin' to keep from followin' you" Is this a reference to following the trail of fame & money or following his nightmares into madness.
Peter has said that he "took acid and never came back". To be sure all seems to have been caused by bad acid trips, but like many songs the meaning is not always simple. He was suffering and fighting against his descent into madness at the time, so it could be a reference to this, but acid flashbacks can be a descent into madness.
Whatever the meaning it is another of the brilliant works of Peter Green. Sadly a talent that never was able to reach it's Zenith, yet reached greater a higher level than most. Happily for his fans he is performing again.
It is a blues based song with lyrics typical of the blues. The inspiration or the reason for being feeling depressed were all the reasons already stated but when you get right to it they are some of the best blues style lyrics Peter ever wrote. Peter was truly a bluesman. It is hard to have original lyrics for a blues song he just seemed have had the knack for it. Songs like Watch Out and Loved Another Woman are perfect examples of that. When exploring Fleetwood Mac's history never forget they were a blues band.
A few days ago I have read about a circle of persons (a sect) in the 70s, which was celebrating "perception-events". There was a mysterious drug called "green manalishi" (also in other colors) with immense hallucinogenic effects. Part of this "cult" was the architecture, where the sessions were going. Often they came together in empty factory-halls. The name "green manalishi" has to do with the form of this substance; it was given as little horned frogs.
I first heard this as a Judas Priest song on Unleashed in the East. To my ear it sounded much darker -- like a song about sexual abuse. The green represents a level of jealously and controlling behaviour and negative acts that interferes with everything going on around the singer. Thus, a jealous controlling person makes nocturnal visits forcing his love on the singer (awakening him from his dreams and doing things he does not want to do). The singer is pissed about it and sees no way out of the situation.
I much prefer the interpreation that it relates to money, fame, and the negative effects of acid.
Green has apparently stated that the green Manalishi was actually a wad of 500 or so dollar bills held together with an elastic band, money collected from the previous gig the band had played,
This was shown to him - stood upright, the bills fell apart in 2 directions, looking like a decoration on a crown. The word "manalishi" then appeared to him.