Friday, May 13, 2011

Fleetwood Mac - They Play On (4 CD)

Deluxe Reissue

Fleetwood Mac's Then Play On is an album that I consider to be one of Britain's finest exports of the late sixties, on par with The Who Sell Out, Led Zeppelin II, Beggar's Banquet or any other record you'd care to name. This version of the group (nearly unrecognizable when compared to the later Buckingham/ Nicks era) reached their pinnacle here as their leader, the visionary guitarist Peter Green, was joined by an 18-year old phenom by the name of Danny Kirwan. Though the pairing only existed for this album and a handful of singles, it was an explosive combination that burned bright and then faded away just as quickly.

The addition of Danny Kirwan pushed Fleetwood Mac beyond the limitations of the strict blues structure heard on their earlier releases, as Kirwan brought along a soft, melodic sensibility to his songwriting. Likewise, he was nearly an equal to Green as a guitarist, and the two summarily pushed each other to lofty heights that may have never been equaled during the British blues boom.



So why is it so hard to get a decent sounding copy of Then Play On on CD? It was only ever issued once digitally in 1990, and it was a botched release at that. The sound was sub-murky, and the tracks weren't even sequenced in the proper order (a problem that had hampered U.S. releases of the album since it was first released over here back in '69).

The problem could only be solved by procuring a great sounding copy of the original U.K. vinyl, which is exactly what we did to start off this collection. Now American audiences can finally enjoy Then Play On the way it was meant to be heard, in its proper running order. Next we added two discs worth of vital 1969/70 Mac singles and outtakes, including the long lost Milton Schlitz Show EP, which was originally supposed to accompany the album when it was released but was pulled at the last minute. Disc four contains a live concert from Stockholm recorded in March of '69 that shows the Green/ Kirwan line-up in all its glory.

If you've never heard this album or don't know much about the early Fleetwood Mac, prepare to be blown away! 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

43 comments:

  1. Hey Spherical Ones,

    Sorry to clog up your comments.
    Never Get Out Of The Boat Redux has got a new home.

    Hope you can update your link for us.
    You're posted at our new place, of course.

    Willard's Wormholes
    http://thewormhole1.blogspot.com/

    Thanks as always for putting up with our exits and returns.

    Cheers,
    Willard

    ReplyDelete
  2. No worries. Your blog is amazing and we're not exactly drowning in comments anyway, yaddamean?

    Give our regards to the good Colonel Kurtz when you see him!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was an amazing album. The vinyl still abides in my basement... thx for a quality rip of the blokes at the height of there creative powers.
    Mahalo!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is absolutely stunning.thank you

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank YOU, friends! Wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just to let you know the link are now duds I'm afraid. It says the 'archive is damaged'.
    Ciao! x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmmm, seems to be working fine on this end djbethell... I was able to download all three files on my end. Do you want to try it again and let me know?

    ReplyDelete
  8. This looks like a fantastic project! A great concept. I had the good fortune to see the band during this era - Peter Green wore a white Jesus robe, and the set was continuous, mostly from this album, with a "Green Manalishi" that's still sending shivers down my back four decades or so later!

    Thanks for this, and your work.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks you for this, I really appreciate it. Can I ask though, what's the point in digitising a really nice sounding vinyl album and making it available at a relatively low bit rate? Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  10. i just stumbled upon your blog via 'son of zamboni' which in itself was something of a rare visit. i like what you're doing here --- informative essays, customized mixes, etc. i'll look forward to sampling some of your compilations as it seems we appear to share some common ground in terms of taste starting with 'the underage mothers' and peter green's mac.

    that should keep me busy for a bit. thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I had the same problem as djbethell, specifically with "Underway" and "Albatross."

    ReplyDelete
  12. So it's just particular tracks that are messed up? I can re-upload it if need be.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My vinyl copy of TPO is missing "Oh Well". What the heck? I can't wait to hear the whole thing.

    Thanks!


    James

    ReplyDelete
  14. No worries James; hope you enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anybody else having trouble with those two tracks ("Albatross" and "Underway")? I've heard back from others that they seem to play just fine for them.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Its been on my 'must listen' list for a long time. So thanks for providing the opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Have loved this album since it first came out. Thanks for posting it and the extra material. Your blog's great!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow, I am so excited to hear this vinyl version! I've had the CD and have all but worn it out since 1990. I got into Mac then, but I always was a little annoyed at the CD sound, especially the hiss on things like Closing My Eyes. The "correct" running order on here is going to be interesting. I'm not the biggest fan of One Sunny Day and Without You, but maybe in the context of this album they'll fit better. I don't think I have the single version of World In Harmony, only the Vaudville Years version so that's cool to have. Thank you SO much for this wonderful gift!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks Rich! Hopefully you will enjoy those tracks more in this new context.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Links to Parts 2 & 3 are working, but not the one to Part 1. Really would like to hear it all. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sendspace says that part 1 isn't available.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yikes! I don't get what's going on with these files sometimes. Okay I'll re-up.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Looking for TPO Pt. 1 when you get a chance. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Please re-up part 1. Thx in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Magnificent. Thanks so much for getting this reposted

    ReplyDelete
  26. hi, I#m looking for a long time for this album in this quality! I#m very happa that i found it on your side! thank you very much, lg, michael

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for this. Fantastic. I'll be checking out your Who posts as well.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I always thought One sunny day was the best song on that album but it was left out on the cd version. I'm looking for a decent remastered CD in the future of this magnificent album.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Great to hear this set. I never heard much early Mac. Great stuff. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have to say this was a fantastic concept... and I appreciate all the nice material to check out. Only thing is, why put all this effort into a collection like this and only present it in an inferior MP3 format? I mean, it's not a big deal for me, as I have a nice needle drop in lossless format for my own listening pleasure, but why not take this great concept and combine it with truly awesome sound? Then it would really blow away the fans of this website! Just a suggestion... all the best. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi there CruchyFrog... It seems the majority of peeps who frequent this site enjoy the ubiquity and ease of use of simple mp3 files. As of yet, iTunes does not support FLAC. Thanks for your interest and enjoy the set!

    ReplyDelete
  32. You sir are a legend. Thanks so much for putting in the legwork. This is one of my favourite albums and the fact that it has never been remastered is a tradegy. Cheers moosh!

    ReplyDelete
  33. ..Fantastic blog, this Fleetwood Mac post is amazing--many thanks for your efforts..got all the downloads OK, they ask for a password, though. to open--am I missing the obvious here?..All the best, keep up the musical magic Beega in Florida

    ReplyDelete
  34. wow just surfing about this lp & bam i found you this is f in great. thanks for all your work on this cool gem!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Any thoughts on the 2013 remaster of this?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Have yet to hear it, but advance notice is that it sounds pretty good. Too bad they didn't follow my lead and come out with a definitive box set. In the meantime I'm happy to share!

    Peace,

    JP

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you, Anonymous! Appreciate the kind words! ^.^

    JP

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm also really excited to listen that album. now fleetwood mac play new album in UK tour 2013. get more information for fleetwood mac new album visit :https://www.premierevents.co.uk/music/fleetwood-mac-tickets/default.aspx Anyone tell me about this band history.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for putting all of this together! Any chance of Re-upping the bonus material,especially that bonus EP?

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is really a beautiful thing. I downloaded this from somewhere else awhile back and finally pulled it out for a close listen after excitedly downloading an SHM disc Then Plays On and finding it excruciatingly awful. Besides your sense of history, the rips are very very fine. So THANKS. I feel sorry for the poor souls who missed it. Speaking of which, I'd love to hear your Phases collection, for which I am the missee. I'm downloading the Brian Vision thing at the moment. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hey any chance of a reupload of this? I'd love to hear the vinyl version how it was and any chance of the live Stokholm gig? Been looking for that for ages!

    ReplyDelete