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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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(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.
22 Comments| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 April 2017
I found this disk to be really poor quality. I really hope this was just a manufacturing error and not every disk is this way. If every disk is this way then do not buy. I think there are two versions of this remaster, mine is numbered 8122796551.

To be precise, basically the lyrics and low frequencies were not clear and sounded fuzzy.

Amazon offered a refund, which was great.
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on 21 February 2017
Original an the best Fleetwood Mac in my opinion.First class CD that should be in any ones collection
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on 2 November 2015
Had this when I was much younger in tape and was surprised with the additions of 2 other tracks on the cd. An essential cd for anyone who loves early Fleetwood Mac.
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on 29 June 2017
Great album:)
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on 21 July 2017
great album, wonderful cover.
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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.
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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.
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on 9 January 2017
Requested by my son but I'm sure I have most of these tracks on a UK album.
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on 14 June 2017
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