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
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