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Then Play on

4.6 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The roots of the pop juggernaut Mac became lay here! You'll still hear lots of the Peter Green bluesy stuff, too; their first hit Oh Well joins Rattlesnake Shake; Coming Your Way , and the rest of this 1969 turning point.


Before they set sail for California and a new life as consummate pop songsmiths, Fleetwood Mac were pedigreed British blues rockers with roots in Britain's seminal John Mayall's Blues Breakers and their hearts orbiting Chicago and the Mississippi Delta. One of the few surviving albums from that ill-fated, earlier Mac, Then Play On captures them at a potent turning point: the original two-guitar quartet, with founder Peter Green's sinuous leads complemented by Jeremy Spencer's shimmering slide guitar, had been augmented by third guitarist Danny Kirwan, a Green protégé. Buttressed by Mick Fleetwood's muscular yet restrained drumming and John McVie's steady-as-a-heartbeat bass lines, this edition of the band reveled in moody, compelling guitar showpieces that savor texture and line over sheer speed or volume. Accordingly, the lyrics don't benefit from close study, but the guitars surely do--and when the quintet launches into the best-remembered track here, the classic "Oh, Well" (which reunites the separate electric and acoustic sections originally released as two sides of a single), it's understandable that Green, in his day, was mentioned comfortably in the same breath with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. --Sam Sutherland

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Coming Your Way
  2. Closing My Eyes
  3. Show-Biz Blues
  4. My Dream
  5. Underway
  6. Oh Well
  7. Although The Sun Is Shining
  8. Rattlesnake Shake
  9. Searching For Madge
  10. Fighting For Madge
  11. When You Say
  12. LIke Crying
  13. Before The Beginning

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002KOO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,156 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's taken 44 years for this original 1969 UK LP version of "Then Play On" to finally appear on CD! This was the swan song album of the original Fleetwood Mac founded by Peter Green in 1967. This final incarnation of this group included Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer & Danny Kirwan (guitar & vocals), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums).
Since the earlier days of CD we have had to be content with the inferior American version of this album. This new remaster of "Then Play On" reflects the multitrack technology of the time. It was not a very dynamic sounding recording in the first place, however this new digital transfer gives us what's on the master tapes with more punch. At last we have the original 54 minute edit of the UK LP running order along with bonus tracks of the last two 45 singles from this group, "Oh Well" (Parts 1 & 2), "The Green Manalishi (with the Two Prong Crown)" and "World in Harmony". The total playing time for this new CD reissue with it's original feel and segues is a generous 69:53. All tracks are Stereo except for "Oh Well" (in it's original mono mix). Also included in the booklet are 8 pages of fascinating new liner notes and graphics.
"Then Play On", one of the masterpiece British albums of the late 60's, alongside John Mayall's "Bare Wires", demonstrated how the British blues movement had evolved into a polished art form all of it's own. The darkness of "Then Play On" anticipates the murkiness of "Exile on Main St." by the Rolling Stones 3 years hence. We will never know where this Fleetwood Mac might have gone next...
This is a desert island disc.
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Format: Audio CD
First and foremost, Jeremy Spencer does not play on this album. Although a great player, (Kiln House is his best contribution to the band) the sounds you hear were created by Kirwan and Green.

I cant begin to say how fresh this album sounds, every time I put it on. While still able to bring you back to that warm 60's sound, it never sounds dated. This is FM's first serious departure from the straight blues which appeared on previous efforts thanks to, IMHO, Kirwan's presence.

Just a young lad of 20 his maturity as a song writer is brilliantly evidenced in the first track "coming your way". The song changes from a groovy little number to a heavy ending, reminiscent of I want You (Shes so heavy). Only heavier and louder. From here Kirwan flawlessly moves from said number to the dreamy instrumental "my dream" and other beautifully sad songs like "When you say' and "Although the sun is shining".

How is it possible for him to get no recognition in the annals of music history? To me its simply an indication that people simply dont know their music, and are too willing to accept the Claptons, Santanas and (insert other overrated player) as "the" guitar players.

Kirwan constantly gets labelled as "Green's protege" when in fact Kirwan could keep up with Green's masterful playing as demonstrated on Fighting/Searching for Madge. As a songwriter, Kirwan tapped into music in a way that only the most talented musicians could do. He looked to the past for influece, while still incredibly ahead of his time, writing songs the likes of Cobain would write 20 years later. To write songs like he did, and play as he did, at such a young age, is a testament to his brilliance.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
2013 NOTE: I posted this review in 2002 on the original 1990 release. Unfortunately, with Amazon's idiotic policy of cross-pollination of reviews across multiple editions of the same title, it appears on the new 2013 remastered edition... Not my fault! As Warner is choosing to still press that atrocity, instead of deleting it, I'm leaving the original review posted.

Yes, Warner Brothers, I mean you.

With all of the advances in remastering technology over the life of the CD format, you should be ashamed to offer such a classic recording that sounds this bad. And that is why I'm giving a one-star rating to a five-star album.

Imagine my dismay when I slipped this great album into my CD player, cued up "Oh, Well", and was greeting with the tinniest, noisiest (hiss), most distorted and worst sounding presentation of this song I've ever heard. Whatever master this travesty was spawned from sounds many times removed from the original recording.

Granted, the original recording has inherent noise and distortion, but even the LP I had back in the 70's sounded better than this. And the technology certainly exists, and has existed for years, to bring this wonderful recording properly into the digital domain.

To properly judge how bad this CD sounds, all one has to do is A/B "Oh, Well" from "Then" against the remastered single version on the now-defunct "The Chain" box set.

This is a textbook example of why consumers have complained about the CD format for so long.
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Topic From this Discussion
'Then Play On' Remaster?
"Then Play On" was recorded for the Reprise label, a Warner subsidiary, whereas the first three Fleetwood Mac albums were originally Blue Horizon/Columbia recordings latterly owned, remastered and reissued by Sony. Still, why no-one at Reprise/Warner or in the "Fleetwood Mac... Read More
Mar 26, 2010 by Thomas C. Griss |  See all 11 posts
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