Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac 220px-Then_Play_On
TITLE: Then Play On
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #109 US, #6 UK
SINGLES: Oh Well (#55 US, #2 UK), Rattlesnake Shake
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not, sadly.
LINEUP: Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood. Christine Perfect adds piano. Jeremy Spencer, part of the band, only plays piano on one track.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Fleetwood Mac moves past pure blues into a hybrid band thanks to the addition of Danny Kirwan. It made for a fabulous record that ensured Green’s legacy in Fleetwood Mac.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Yes, there’s some blues here – or blues based rock. The addition of Danny Kirwan made the group move towards a rock and pop motif. Combined with the blues background and the playing of Green, it made an excellent mix of styles and songs.

Starting out with “Coming Your Way”, the album moves between harder blues rock, nearly straight blues (acoustic at times) and quieter, more reflective numbers. Green and Kirwan make an excellent guitar tandem. Fleetwood’s percussion is impressive as he moves from traditional drum kit, to congas, to timpani, and to other percussion.

Then there’s “Oh, Well”, bolted onto the US version of the album after it became a surprise hit. The first part is the one everyone knows and has heard as even current Fleetwood Mac trot it out. The second part is a very reflective guitar solo with recorders, violincello (played by Green) and piano that is equally as impressive.

It’s almost a complete package. Sadly, it was the last album Green made with the band. After a couple more singles he left to join a cult, leaving the band in tatters and a transitional period that lasted for about five years.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The release version is kind of a cluster. The original UK release had a couple of tracks that were on the US compilation English Rose, so those were sliced off the US version. THEN, about two months later when “Oh, Well” became a hit, that was added to the album, two other tracks dropped and the whole thing resequenced. The UK version stayed the same on vinyl.

When it was released on CD in both the US and UK, the two missing US tracks were added back in, and they used that running order for both countries. Then in 2013 Rhino released the original album in the original UK order with bonus tracks. STILL, this thing isn’t streaming nor available digitally for some damn reason. Neither is any other FM album released from now until 1975. Bollocks!

Oh, and when “Oh Well” was added to the record in 1969, they butchered the splice and looped the coda of the part 1 single (the fade out) to actual part two (which had the entire coda of Part 1) so it adds an additional minute and three seconds. That mistake carries over to the CD version.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: See above.

GRADE: A: Of any record to grab outside of their big two, this is the one to get even though it’s almost a completely different band and a different motif. It’s fantastic.

 

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