Top critical review
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Oh Well, maybe they'll get it right next time....
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.