61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
For this particular music buff, this new edition of Fleetwood Mac's expansive 1969 album THEN PLAY ON is quite possibly the key reissue of 2013. Having had to put up with that awful butchered version for all these years and thinking that the genuine UK version of the record would never come out on CD, I gave up the ghost and some months ago forked out some fifty quid on an original vinyl copy just so that I could listen to this album in the configuration that it was originally intended. Now, lo and behold, miracles do happen: Rhino Records have put the original 14-track UK edition onto CD at last.
With Peter Green moving away from the pure blues and second guitarist Danny Kirwan being actively encouraged to blossom as a songwriter, THEN PLAY ON represented a major progression for Fleetwood Mac. 'Coming Your Way', Kirwan's pulsating opening track, and his wistful 'Although The Sun Is Shining' stood proudly alongside Green's increasingly introspective compositions like 'Closing My Eyes' and his truly sublime album closer 'Before The Beginning'. THEN PLAY ON is not without its flaws - the cut-up jam session 'Fighting For Madge'/'Searching For Madge' does tend to disrupt the flow of the album to some extent - but overall the collection offers up many indicators as to the Mac's future course.
I've read some negative comments about the remastering (as usual). I would agree that it's perhaps not the most dramatic sound make-over I've ever heard, but compared to the vinyl copy I bought (which was in pretty good nick) I think it all sounds fine. Mick Fleetwood's bass drum patterns really hit home on 'One Sunny Day', for example, while 'Before The Beginning' - surely a number that influenced Santana - has a beautiful resonance to it. I must admit, however, that the associated singles included here as bonus tracks, namely both sides of 'Oh Well', its follow-up 'The Green Manalishi', and the latter's gorgeous Danny Kirwan-penned b-side 'World In Harmony', do sound a little more dynamic than the album tracks for some reason; to be honest, 'Oh Well (Part One)' sounds absolutely awesome on here and is worth the price of the CD alone.
The packaging is perfectly satisfactory. The original gatefold cover has been nicely reproduced around the jacket of the booklet with the design continuing onto the back of the actual jewel case, while journalist David Fricke's eloquent essay lays bare the background to the album, bolstered with some additional quotes from Mick Fleetwood.
To sum up, I have no real complaints over this release. It is just how I've always wanted THEN PLAY ON to be released on CD - the bonus tracks selected are just the right choices - and its welcome appearance fills a long-vacant space in my collection.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2013
I felt I had to write a review of this reissue as after listening to my copy and indeed the original vinyl and the first issue CD I don't know what the other reviewers are carping on about? I think they must be "Aurally challenged" or just plain picky. This remaster is a wonderful, long overdue addition to the FM discography. I found the sound through my modestly expensive system to be wonderful. This work was well ahead of it's time, masterful. Just imagine what Peter could have achieved if not for drugs and disrupted health.
So the message from me is don't listen to the carpers, if you like this era of FM get this reissue. Carpers go put your anoraks on!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2013
Like many others I have waited for a decent re-issue of this masterpiece. When I read that Then Play On would get the long deserved make-over and be presented with the correct running order of songs as in the original English vinyl release I was more than happy. When I saw that there will be also a Japanese cardboar cover edition I ordered both the jewel box extended edition at Amazon as well as the Japanese edition directly in Japan. I was very pleased with the normal edition but was shocked to realize that the Japanese edition was released with the wrong running order. Why they should do this is beyond my comprehension. So anybody who considers ordering the Japanese editon, which is by the way done with perfect artwork as usual, should know that this will come neither with the correcet running order/original tracklisting nor with the bonus tracks.
As mentioned by other customers, Amazon should really separate comments and reviews according to the issues and not pack them all together. I give Then Play On (Extended Edition) gladly 5 stars. For the Japanese edition I can only give 3 stars.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
(NB. This is a review of the 2013 deluxe extended reissue.)
In a recent issue of Uncut magazine, they rated all Fleetwood Mac`s albums - a mad idea in itself, since the original band were nothing like the later, blander version. They unaccountably, and all too predictably gave the bafflingly overrated Rumours a full ten out of ten, while Then Play On picked up eight. Had I been rating them, Rumours would have got five or six at most, and TPO would have got nine or ten. To these ears Rumours is to TPO what Michael McIntyre is to Dylan Moran, or Dan Brown to Ian McEwan.
Alright, rant over.
TPO has been somewhat neglected since its release. It did well back in 1970, but has fallen off the radar, partly perhaps due to early Mac albums not getting a proper CD reissue programme till now.
This welcome new edition of a unique record is the bee`s knees. It was the last one Peter Green made before his demons sent him into freefall (thank goodness he`s still with us) and he`s very much to the fore, as is Danny Kirwan, their differing styles of both singing and guitar complementing each other beautifully.
The Kirwan-sung tracks are lyrical, melodic and rather innocent - though he was to have his own demons; and he`s still with us too. (Amazingly, against all odds, the Mac are one band who, as far as I can tell, have not lost any members to the Grim Reaper, quite a rare thing in rock.) Green`s songs are both bluesy (the rousing Rattlesnake Shake) and mourfully soulful (the lovely Closing My Eyes).
Jeremy Spencer, as the excellent booklet notes tell, us, hardly plays on this one, seeming content to pop into the studio and lay down only one or two licks.
The whole set is more like a seamless `suite` of songs, with two instrumentals dedicated to a devoted Mac fan named Madge punctuating them. I bought the original LP and played it a lot. It sounded unlike anything else at the time, and it still has a unique feel to it. What is such a relief is to find how wonderful it still sounds, after so long.
Bonus tracks consist of both parts of Oh Well and the darkly ominous, scarifying The Green Manalishi, plus a fine Kirwan instrumental called World In Harmony, all the latter having been recorded at the sessions for TPO.
Don`t give me Rumours! This is what mattered then and, to me, matters now. This music has guts, soul, sincerity, and a thoroughly distinctive sound that later manifestations of F Mac could only dream of.
One of the finest albums of its illustrious late 60s/early 70s era.
Beautiful, unique, essential.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2013
Finally, a deluxe edition of my 2nd favorite album of all time.Danny Kirwan would never sound better, and the Peter Green tracks are just magical. The original release suffered from having differing versions released in England and in the USA. This is addressed here by including Oh Well pts 1 + 2 (missing on the UK version) and the two Danny Kirwan songs that made way for Oh Well on the US release. The inclusion of the last Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac single, "Green Manalishi" and it's B side, "World In Harmony" is very welcome here. In fact, after playing the latter song on here, I realised that I had only ever heard live versions of this song before, so the original studio take is very welcome.
Many deluxe editions are able to include out takes and un-issued material, but with "Then Play On", that was pretty much covered with the 2 CD set, "Showbiz Blues" which includes early versions of songs from the album as well as the 17 minute jam that the "Fighting For Madge" and "Searching For Madge" tracks were culled from. It also has the Jeremy Spencer parody tracks that were originally intended to be included on an EP that would have accompanied the full album. To fully tell the story of this great LP, perhaps a box set with the "Show Biz Blues" material and any other studio offcuts that might exist would have been good, However, this is a valuable addition to the collection of any Mark II Fleetwood Mac fan. I really ebjoyed the notes by Rolling Stone writer David Fricke too.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2001
Then Play On features Peter Green near the peak of his songwriting and guitar playing powers. I know that sounds cliched but it is true. This album has a range of styles that showcases the incredible talents of the band as a whole but it is worth buying simply for the classic playing of Green. It is a classic Rock album and has everything from hit single material (Oh Well) to free flowing jams (Searching for Madge) to heartbreaking soul searching. Wonderful drumming and percusion (listen to Coming your way) great guitar courtesy of Green and Danny Kirwan (Jeremy Spencer did not play on this one..See Vaudville Years for the Spencer contributions and the outtakes of this album)and well...what more could you want? It is a great album.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
First off, why do Amazon still persist on lumping all the reviews for a particular album together? The older reviews for this album pertain to the original CD release of Then Play On not the new 2013 CD issue. Just makes it more confusing for the casual fan who may be trying to find out about a particular version!
Anyway, rant over (almost!). I've been waiting for this album to be properly remastered and reissued for YEARS. I'm a huge fan of the Peter Green era of FM. I have all the Blue Horizon remastered CD's and they sound fantastic - which makes this album all the more frustrating. They've got the running order right, seperated Oh Well into parts 1 and 2 as it should be, added the singles as bonus tracks and supplied a great booklet. (I doubt Mick Fleetwood was interviewed for this album, more likely his quotes about the album have been lifted from elsewhere, but hey-ho). Even the pre-order price of £6.99 was great. But the sound.....come on!?
I was hoping to hear Oh Well properly remastered in stereo, but no, its still the mono version. The sound is identical to the CD issue of the old CBS Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits that came out 25 years ago (at least). Here was an opportunity to offer properly remastered, complete sterephonic sound of this album and singles and its been squandered. Ok, I know theres the argument about mono v stereo (Beatles etc) but why not offer both versions as bonus tracks?? As said elsewhere there is hiss all over the place and the high end is clipped badly, especially during Oh Well Part 2 - its sounds like its being played off an old cassette from years ago (and not a Maxell even, one of those cheap ones from Poundstretcher!). I can only imagine they couldn't find the master tapes, that's the only excuse thats close to forgiveable! The main album is a little better mainly because its in stereo but I can't hear too much improvement over the original CD.
Its a double edged sword, I'm glad the album has been reissued and I can now complete the studio output of that era of the band. The UK version of the album has been neglected for such a long time and now its available for people to discover. But... on the other hand I feel that someone from Rhino has been on the blogs regarding the The Top Ten Forgotten Albums and someones thought, "we could license that and put it out". Unfortunately, not taking the proper care and attention that a release such as this deserves. After all, the sound is what its about, not the fancy booklet.
I've given the album a generous 3 stars. 5 for the music and genius of Peter Green but 1 for the poor sound. It sounds like this CD was put out in 1983, not 2013.
Also, have a look at the reviews of the Fleetwood Mac 1969-72 Vinyl box that Rhino have just released which also includes the vinyl version of this album. People are complaining that they've been skimping on the vinyl and they're being put out on 120g not 180g so they're warped. Maybe this cost cutting can also explain why they haven't invested in properly dealing with the sound on the CD. They've probably cut a master with the vinyl box set in mind and used that, rather than mastering one specifically for the audibility of CD. Just a hunch though.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2013
I first stumbled across this oft-ignored Fleetwood Mac album in a box of LP's left in an old office I took over (oh it was joyous, An Electric Storm was in there too). It had the black (UK issue I think) cover. The difference between it and even the comparatively recent Fleetwood Mac was startling.
I sold or lost that LP many years ago, and have been struggling along with the appalling CD issue with the US / mixed up tracklisting... until now.
Finally Fleetwood Mac (well, Rhino) have done a superb remastering job, and re-aligned the original UK track listing. So now we have the missing tracks back, the giggle at the beginning of Like Crying, and my favourite Showbiz Blues - well, turn it up.. sounds amazing.
There are three bonus tracks in the form of Oh Well, rightly split into two tracks, The Green Manalishi and a gorgeous Kirwan track World In Harmony.
Trust me folks, you can FINALLY play frisbee with the old Reprise CD and buy this. Its awesome, and about flipping time.
Now, dare they issue remastered UK track listing Blue Horizon Mac stuff, but without all the stupid studio false starts etc?!?!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2013
I took the plunge with the new CD edition having listened to this classic only on vinyl previously and find the whole project very pleasing - minimal differences between the two formats - albeit that the vinyl is worn and inevitably superior at the bass end . However my policy is not to subject this type of music to the scrutiny of head phones, in the perhaps old fashioned belief that blues should be played / heard live in a small club preferably having consumed in the order of 4 pints of beer. The David Fricke essay is fine (despite references to the 'British' version of the album - wait a minute this IS a British record!!!), I was unaware that the original black cover which I prefer was not the original choice. The Danny Kirwan B side World in Harmony is rightly sighted for its inclusion.
PS don't forget the post PG single Dragonfly authored by Danny ,a rarely mentioned piece of wonderment
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2009
It has been correctly mentioned that this release of 'Then Play On' is the U.S. listing, not the original U.K. listing. We all know that 'Oh Well' was added, but, which two tracks were omitted? Both songs that were left off were written by Danny Kirwan, 'One Sunny Day' & the beautiful 'Without You'. In this age of 70+ minute CDs, omitting these two tracks is really stupid, take the 14 original tracks, add 'Oh Well' and you have a playing time of just 60 minutes, well within the scope of a single CD. So shame upon the record company! If, like me, you want the missing tracks, well, they are on an album called 'Original Fleetwood Mac', but be warned, I think there may be 2 albums with that title! So check the track listing (I think they are tracks 17 & 18).
As for 'Then Play On', a masterful album with some wonderful tracks, well worth adding to any collection, too many good tracks to mention, just listen to the album.
And why only 4 stars? That is for the record company.
BTW, the original CD releases by the Rolling Stones suffered that same fate - U.S. listings instead of the original U.K. Someone should tell record companies that we are not the 51st State! (or are we?)