Saturday 29 October 2022

Cult Album: Fleetwood Mac 'Then Play On'



Album Review of: 
(Reprise/ Rhino Records Deluxe Edition 8122796443) 

A stunning, complex, astonishing, conflicted, beautifully baffling, exquisitely problematic album, unlike anything they’d previously released, and nothing like anything that ever came after, anywhere in the vinyl cosmos. ‘Then Play On’ was the Mac’s third studio album. The John Mayall kudos had them rated as the most authentic Blues outfit around, but by 1969 their restless creativity was taking them way beyond such genre restrictions. Think of their no.1 single “Oh Well” – both sides of which are here. It’s soft-loud dynamic is something of a touchstone, although the fourteen original (and four bonus CD) tracks range much further. The 54-minute playing time allows jamming-space, but Peter Green’s spiritually charged improvisations are always immaculately interplayed and never self-indulgent. A vital element of the album’s incandescence is its unstable fragility. On the tipping-point of cataclysmic implosion, with Green’s traumatic state of disintegrating mental health scarily apparent on ‘The Green Manalishi’, Jeremy Spencer equally messed-up, soon to flee to a Christian commune, and with troubled Danny Kirwan’s first album contributions to the Mac canon, this line-up wouldn’t survive a moment longer. Leaving all these doors of potential wide open. This is one of the most breathtakingly mystifying albums of the decade. 

Published in: 
‘R2: ROCK ‘N’ REEL Vol.2 Issue.42’ 
(UK – November 2013) 

(1) ‘Coming Your Way’ (Kirwan, 3:45) 
(2) ‘Closing My Eyes’ (Green, 4:51) 
(3) ‘Fighting For Madge’ (Fleetwood, 2:42) 
(4) ‘When You Say’ (Kirwan, 4:31) 
(5) ‘Show-Biz Blues’ (Green, 3:51) 
(6) ‘Underway’ (Green, 3:04) 
(7) ‘One Sunny Day’ (Kirwan, 3:13) 
(8) ‘Although The Sun Is Shining’ (Kirwan, 2:25) 
(9) ‘Rattlesnake Shake’ (Green, 3:30) 
(10) ‘Without You’ (Kirwan, 4:35) 
(11) ‘Searching For Madge’ (McVie, 6:56) 
(12) ‘My Dream’ (Kirwan, 3:31) 
(13) ‘Like Crying’ (Kirwan, 2:25) 
(14) ‘Before The Beginning’ (Green, 3:30) 
Bonus tracks: 
(15) ‘Oh Well, Part One’ Bonus mono track (Green, 3:32) 
(16) ‘Oh Well, Part Two’ Bonus mono track (Green, 5:39) 
(17) ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)’ (Green, 4:37) 
(18) ‘World In Harmony’ (Kirwan-Green, 3:26)

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