Then Play On


 
1. Coming Your Way 2. Closing My Eyes 3. Showbiz Blues 4. My Dream 5. Underway 6. Oh Well 7. Although the Sun is Shing 8. Rattlesnake Shake 9. Searching for Madge 10.Fighting for Madge 11.When You Say 12.Like Crying Like Dying 13.Before the Beginning

 

There are some people who mistakingly say that Fleetwood Mac was a Blues band up until the joining of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks around 1975. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, there were several different lineup shuffles in the sixties and early seventies, but even by the time of this release, they had pretty much abandoned the straight forward blues tunes that they churned out on their first couple of albums. Yes, you could argue that there are some elements of Blues here, but you should be able to say that about any true rock and roll album - especially in the late 1960s.

This band had progressed to this point in having a sound uniquely their own. And what a sound it was. These guys played heavy guitar laden riffs complete with the funky incorporation of the great latter half of sixties music that made that generation so revolutionary. Danny Kirwan now had much more of a presence the lineup, and the whole album seems to be a tradeoff in great tunes by himself and Peter Green. This could be because the other guitarist, Jeremy Spencer, was the easier recognizable one when it came to replicate the blues, which they seem to be slowly abandoning.

Most of Peter Green's stuff is the heavier edge stuff. Who can forget such classics as Rattlesnake Shake and Oh Well? Actually, Oh Well is a bit of a weird one. The song clocks in at over 9 minutes in length, yet it's the first one third of the song that everyone knows and loves - with Green's soldering guitar work and fast, infectious groove. In many cases the band would only feature this part of the song when playing live - or even when released on various compilations (It became known as Oh Well, Part One). Well, "part two" is a radical change in styles the morphs into dreamy acoustic guitar playing over synthesizers and pianos. It's a bit too radical of a jump - especially at six minutes plus. Of course, the "sound" of this song is closer to what Fleetwood Mac would become in its later years - so maybe this shouldn't be so unexpected.

But mostly its Danny Kirwan that has the more dreamy pieces. The strongest of the strong are the hippie-ish Although the Sun is Shining as well as the apt titled My Dream. He leads off the album with one of the strongest tracks on the album - the latin fused congas filled Coming Your Way that sets the tone for the rest of the record quite well.

There are two songs that are written by John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, respectively. Searching for Madge and Fighting for Madge are two instrumental jams that show off the players licks and chops. There essentially the same song - one fading in just as the other is fading out, which was probably the result of the band members doing a tad bit too much acid or something. It's essentially about nine and one half minutes of good, solid jamming.

The whole album is one good solid experience. This record was almost 54 minutes in length, which was a rarity for a single length album to have so much music (most albums topped out at about 35-40 minutes). The entire album is one strong song after another. Sadly, things were about to change quickly. Each of the three guitarists would suffer some sort of bizarre breakdown over the next few years, and Peter Green was the first casualty. This would be his swan song, although no one knew at the time. There are some that say that the band never quite made anything this good again. That's a bold statement considering the massive success they had in the mid to late seventies, but actually it's close to being very accurate. If you could only choose a few Fleetwood Mac albums to have on a desert island - this one would should be in your top three, at least.

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