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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Post Blues Pre Mega Fleetwood Mac
This set of five albums covers Fleetwood Mac's album releases from 1969 to 1973, excluding Penguin from 1973 and replacing it with Mystery to Me, their later release from 1973. It is an interesting and inexpensive package to explore the development of the group from Peter Green's blues rock through various styles including the emerging pop rock harmonies that would...
Published on 19 Jan. 2013 by Barry McGloin

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
in my opinion the only good album here is the first one with Peter Green, the others are interesting for Fleetwood Mac fans. I don't consider it was money wasted, at this low price. It is interesting how the changing lineup changed the music, and boy was there a changing lineup!
Published 7 months ago by baz123


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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Post Blues Pre Mega Fleetwood Mac, 19 Jan. 2013
By 
Barry McGloin "Baz" (Canberra, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
This set of five albums covers Fleetwood Mac's album releases from 1969 to 1973, excluding Penguin from 1973 and replacing it with Mystery to Me, their later release from 1973. It is an interesting and inexpensive package to explore the development of the group from Peter Green's blues rock through various styles including the emerging pop rock harmonies that would distinguish the Buckingham / Nicks hit making outfit of 1975 onwards. These albums were not mega sellers on release, although they continued to sell steadily as the group became popular. Then Play On reached number 4 on the UK charts and Kiln House charted in USA, UK and Australia, and both Future Games and Mystery To Me are now certified Gold and Bare Trees is certified Platinum.

The albums cover four incarnations of the group, but the propulsive and inventive rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass remains throughout. The sound is ok - it could be better given that three of these albums were recorded using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio - the transfer to digital would benefit from a remaster - I recently reviewed Howlin Wolf's London Sessions (DeLuxe edition) and the remastered sound on that 1971 double disc is superb.

Then Play On (1969) was the final Peter Green album and saw the development from a pure blues band to a blues rock unit which was prepared to use influences from Spanish Canto hondo to classical. A good album, this US version has two Mac classics, Oh Well Pts 1 & 2 and Rattlesnake Shake, as well as a number of strong songs and a couple of instrumentals and hot excerpts from jams. Note that this US issue replaced two Kirwan songs from the UK release, Without You and One Sunny Day with the UK hit Oh Well Pts 1 & 2. Jeremy Spencer contributes little but Danny Kirwan's guitar playing and song writing develop.

Kiln House (1970) sees Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan take the reins, with Christine McVie added on keyboards and backing vocals, although uncredited and not officially a band member. I recalled it as being an entertaining fun album with Spencer's love of 50s rock 'n roll coming to the fore. On stage, wearing his Elvis gold lame suit, his persona took a satirical edge, but here there is a cringe factor - Buddy's Song and Mission Bell being too fervent. Blood On The Floor is satirical, salacious Spencer and initially amusing. Listening now, the album is lifted by three good rockers, Station Man, Tell Me All The Things You Do, both primarily Kirwan compositions and Spencer's cover of Big Joe Turner's Honey Hush. Also, the Spencer opener This Is The Rock is faux Cliff Richard/Presley rock and quite good.

Future Games (1971) and Bare Trees (1972).
Exit Jeremy Spencer to the Children of God and hello to Bob Welch with his distinctive American twang and his pop/r 'n b compositional abilities. I found both Future Games and Bare Trees to be better than I remembered. There is some lovely melodic and textured guitar playing, courtesy of both Kirwan and Welch but Danny Kirwan for a young bloke in his early 20s wrote some beautifully accomplished material, lyrically at times with a whiff of patchouli, but musically adventurous with interesting arrangements. Christine McVie's compositional abilities develop beautifully and her keyboards and vocal harmonies take Mac towards pop rock. In the USA they were becoming bigger, in the UK the loss of the 'best English blues band' was bemoaned. Here in Oz they were regarded as 'underground' ie artistically relevant, not mainstream, and I recall hearing Rhiannon on our 'underground alternative' radio station 2JJ when it was released in 1975.

Mystery To Me(1973)
Exit Danny Kirwan after Bare Trees. As mentioned, the follow up album Penguin is not included and Penguin's successor Mystery to Me is here instead. To my taste they are similar with good songs on each, although MTM has the edge with a wider variety of styles, and shorter more focussed pop/rock material with some great guitar sounds from Danny Kirwan's replacement Bob Weston. Highlights are the popular Bob Welch song Hypnotised [do they really mispronounce it??], his r 'n b rocker Miles Away, his funky Somebody, his soulful Keep On Going (sung by Christine McVie), Christine's succinct The Way I Feel and her wonderful Why. Even Bob Weston's reggae-ish Forever sounds good, but the album belongs to Bob Welch. The rhythm section is on target and inventive throughout. So, why was the late Bob Welch ( he died in 2012 ) excluded from the Fleetwood Mac members in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees? It must surely reflect on the Hall Of Fame credibility - surely Mac themselves could have rectified it? Welch was a major part of the band artistically for five years.

In summary this is a bargain set, with jewels for the most jaded. I have the complete Blue Horizon box set of the Peter Green band and while not everything is good, most is worthwhile and some is perfect. The band also made good music between Green and Buckingham/Nicks and some tracks may not be for you but if so have another listen, there is a depth of musical intelligence, for your enjoyment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow a five disc set of interim FM - great value for money!, 30 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
Wow a five disc set of interim FM - great value for money!
The interim era of FM are the years after Peter Green left to the main stream music of Buckingham/Nicks - so basically the band changed from blues rock to pop.
Then play on still contains contains some of Greeny's songs and is pretty good. In Kiln house, despite an abrupt change in FM's music from blues-rock, there are some amazingly good songs on here such as Station Man [why was this not a single!] and joule eyed judy the best. Sadly two of the best songs [dragon fly and purple dancer] are missing from this album. Future games - signifies the arrival of Bob Welch and another style change - not the best album here, while Bare Trees, I feel, offers a return to form with Bob and Danny combining really well: Danny Kirwan's Dust is particularly good. Sadly Danny left at this stage, as far as I am concerned he also took his melodic creativity and awesome guitar skills with him, evident in the next album, mystery to me [one of three from this Bob Welch period]. Generally all albums are good, and I recommend this series as it is not only good value for money but also some albums are not on I-tunes. Kiln House and Bare Trees particularly stand out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... so-called middle period Fleetwood Mac this is a highly recommended package. Kiln House the first post Peter Green ..., 10 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
For those missing out on the so-called middle period Fleetwood Mac this is a highly recommended package. Kiln House the first post Peter Green issue sees Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer share the leadership through a eclectic album from blues to country to pop leanings. Jeremy Spencer jumps ship to be replaced by Bob Welsh sharing guitar and song-writing duties and to me Future Games, is the best of the period. Bare Trees is the same line-up and is another excellent offering. Out go Kirwan and the bands takes various shapes, even to the point of having a lead singer. These albums were a bit variable to say the least, but Mystery was by far the best of them. As for Then Play On, I was never a fan of the blues except for the first album, my main attention being drawn by the non album Green Manalishi, Man of the World, Albatros etc. So 4 stars for the middle three from me.

Edit: Just bought the "Then Play On" remaster and it is great, especially with the added tracks.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth adding to your collection, 19 Jun. 2015
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Some really obscure songs here, many of which I was totally unaware of, as they never ever received radio play back in the day, but thanks to this series, have at long last come to the surface again. many excellent tracks, and you can hear the subtle changes in the groups sound as they cross from the earlier Peter Green influence through the Danny Kirwen era and then into the softer sounding Christine McVie lead vocals, which sound very much near the soft rock sound they became famous for after Nicks & Buckingham took the lead.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery to Me, 13 April 2014
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Fletch-a-sketch "Fletch" (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
How can you go wrong with 5 Fleetwood Mac albums at for the cost of 1 Full price CD.
OK this was a period of great change for the band the end of the first great period with Peter Green, (The US track listing of 'Then Play On' not the recent superior UK tracks), the Introduction of Christine McVie and a number of Guitarists taking charge to greater or lesser effect. Some albums work better than others despite the evocative cover 'Bare Trees' is more miss than hit and the production sounds poor Drums sound like cardboard boxes, while 'Kiln House' and 'Mystery to Me' have a better hit potential. Overall very pleased with the set it filled the gap in my Mac Collection and that is not a bad thing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Value for money, 23 Sept. 2014
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Eleanor Hamilton "mini_hamilton" (England, UK) - See all my reviews
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Great value selection. Then Play On is rightly seen as one of THE great blues albums to come from these shores. Bare Tress is an under-rated gem. The other three are make-weights with only a couple of decent songs apiece - the sound of a band desperate for a new identity , which, of course, they found. I'd recommend the new Then Play On however for some super bonus cuts rather than this older version( which i suspect is the 1980s mix)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 28 Aug. 2014
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Remembered their greatest hits, but found extra material on these albums of a consistent good quality
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 8 Sept. 2014
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psafloyd "psafloyd" (London (there's only one...)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
Great to get access to these albums, some of which I've only heard snatches of in the past.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Sept. 2014
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Have all these on viynl and at this price it makes it easier to own them on cd
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 12 Mar. 2015
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Fleetwood mac the lost years bumps up my c.d. collection with honours
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