Then Play On

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Then Play On
Then Play On.jpg
Studio album by Fleetwood Mac
Released 19 September 1969
Recorded 1968–69 at CBS Studios, London and De Lane Lea Studios, London[1]
Genre Blues rock, psychedelic rock
Length 53:39
Label Reprise
Producer Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac chronology
Mr. Wonderful
(1968 UK)

English Rose
(1969 USA)
Then Play On
(1969)
Kiln House
(1970)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Popmatters 7/10[3]
Robert Christgau B+[4]
Rolling Stone (unfavourable) [5]

Then Play On is the third studio album by blues rock band Fleetwood Mac, first released in September 1969. It was the first of their original albums to feature Danny Kirwan and the last with Peter Green. Jeremy Spencer did not feature on the album apart from "a couple of piano things" (according to Mick Fleetwood in Q magazine in 1990). The record, appearing after the group's sudden success in the pop charts, offered a broader stylistic range than the classic blues of the group's first two albums. The album went on to reach #6 in the UK, subsequently becoming the band's fourth Top 20 hit in a row, as well as their third album to reach the Top 10. The title is taken from the opening line of William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night — "If music be the food of love, then play on".

This was the band's first release with Warner/Reprise after being lured away from Blue Horizon and a one-off with Immediate Records. Forty years on, Fleetwood Mac remain with Warner. The album, which at its original UK release had an unusually long running time, has been released with four different song line-ups. The original CD compiled all songs from the two US LP versions, both of which omitted tracks from the original UK version. In August 2013, a remastered edition of the album was reissued on vinyl and CD, restoring its original 1969 UK track listing. This version reached No. 112 on the UK Albums chart.

Recording[edit]

Although "Oh Well" was a hit in the UK, that song was not the group's first single released in America. Instead, Clifford Davis, who was Fleetwood Mac's manager at the time, selected "Rattlesnake Shake" to be released in the US since he thought it would become a big hit,[6] although it charted nowhere. After the failure of "Rattlesnake Shake", "Oh Well" was chosen as the second single, and fared much better, becoming the band's first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Mick Fleetwood ranked the song in his top 11 favourite Fleetwood Mac songs list since he was able to participate in bringing out the character of the song:[7]

It incorporated the freedom to go off on a tangent, to jam – the classic 'Do you jam, dude?' We learned that as players. You hear that alive and well in the double-time structure that I put in at the end, which on stage could last half an hour. It was our way of being in The Grateful Dead.[7]

Artwork[edit]

The painting used for the cover of the album is "Domesticated Mural Painting", by the English artist Maxwell Armfield.[8] It was featured in the February 1917 edition of The Countryside magazine, which states that the mural was originally designed for the dining room of a London mansion.[9][10]

Track listing[edit]

Original UK LP, September 1969
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Coming Your Way"   Danny Kirwan 3:47
2. "Closing My Eyes"   Peter Green 4:50
3. "Fighting for Madge"   Mick Fleetwood 2:45
4. "When You Say"   Kirwan 4:22
5. "Showbiz Blues"   Green 3:50
6. "Underway"   Green 3:06
7. "One Sunny Day"   Kirwan 3:12
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Although the Sun Is Shining"   Kirwan 2:31
2. "Rattlesnake Shake"   Green 3:32
3. "Without You"   Kirwan 4:34
4. "Searching for Madge"   John McVie 6:56
5. "My Dream"   Kirwan 3:30
6. "Like Crying"   Kirwan 2:21
7. "Before the Beginning"   Green 3:28
Note
  • "When You Say" was covered by Christine McVie on her LP The Legendary Christine Perfect Album.

Original US LP, September 1969[edit]

The two songs ("One Sunny Day" & "Without You") deleted from the US version of the LP had already appeared on the US compilation English Rose.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Coming Your Way"   Kirwan 3:47
2. "Closing My Eyes"   Green 4:50
3. "Fighting for Madge"   Fleetwood 2:45
4. "When You Say"   Kirwan 4:22
5. "Showbiz Blues"   Green 3:50
6. "Underway"   Green 2:51
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Although the Sun Is Shining"   Kirwan 2:31
2. "Rattlesnake Shake"   Green 3:32
3. "Searching for Madge"   McVie 6:56
4. "My Dream"   Kirwan 3:30
5. "Like Crying"   Kirwan 2:21
6. "Before the Beginning"   Green 3:28

Revised US LP, November 1969[edit]

When the double-sided single "Oh Well (pts 1 & 2)" (released November 1969) became a hit, the US LP was re-released in a revised running order to include "Oh Well", dropping Danny Kirwan's "When You Say" and "My Dream" to make room for it. The two parts of "Oh Well" differ widely, the first being hard rock, the latter a meditative instrumental, on which Green played cello.[11] The first minute or so of "Part 2" was included as a fade-out coda to the A-side of the single. For the album, "Oh Well, Parts 1 & 2" were crudely spliced together, so that the coda is heard twice. Without the repeat the whole piece runs only 7:58. "Part 1" of "Oh Well" has remained a regular concert feature to the present day, sung variously by Bob Welch, Lindsey Buckingham and Billy Burnette.

Other changes include putting the two edits from the "Madge" jams back-to-back, fading down between them. The giggle that previously linked "My Dream" to "Like Crying" ended up, in the previous edit, following the end of "Fighting for Madge" instead. Madge, the press were told at the time, was a female fan of the group, immortalised in two long instrumental jams finally released in their entirely on 2002's "The Vaudeville Years".

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Coming Your Way"   Kirwan 3:47
2. "Closing My Eyes"   Green 4:50
3. "Showbiz Blues"   Green 3:50
4. "Underway"   Green 2:51
5. "Oh Well"   Green 8:56
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Although the Sun Is Shining"   Kirwan 2:31
2. "Rattlesnake Shake"   Green 3:32
3. "Searching for Madge"   McVie 6:56
4. "Fighting for Madge"   Fleetwood 2:45
5. "Like Crying"   Kirwan 2:21
6. "Before the Beginning"   Green 3:28

CD track listing[edit]

The CD release mostly sticks to the order of the revised US track listing, but re-inserts the two deleted songs ("My Dream" and "When You Say") in new locations. The giggle is now tied to the end of "Fighting For Madge" instead of the beginning of "Like Crying" by the previous edit. "Oh Well" still contains the repeated minute. The two songs which appeared only on the UK LP are still missing.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Coming Your Way"   Kirwan 3:47
2. "Closing My Eyes"   Green 4:50
3. "Showbiz Blues"   Green 3:50
4. "My Dream"   Kirwan 3:30
5. "Underway"   Green 2:51
6. "Oh Well"   Green 8:56
7. "Although the Sun Is Shining"   Kirwan 2:31
8. "Rattlesnake Shake"   Green 3:32
9. "Searching for Madge"   McVie 6:56
10. "Fighting for Madge"   Fleetwood 2:45
11. "When You Say"   Kirwan 4:22
12. "Like Crying"   Kirwan 2:21
13. "Before the Beginning"   Green 3:28
2013 Deluxe Edition Rhino Records CD
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Coming Your Way"   Kirwan 3:45
2. "Closing My Eyes"   Green 4:51
3. "Fighting for Madge"   Fleetwood 2:42
4. "When You Say"   Kirwan 4:31
5. "Showbiz Blues"   Green 3:51
6. "Underway"   Green 3:04
7. "One Sunny Day"   Kirwan 3:13
8. "Although the Sun Is Shining"   Kirwan 2:25
9. "Rattlesnake Shake"   Green 3:30
10. "Without You"   Kirwan 4:35
11. "Searching for Madge"   McVie 6:56
12. "My Dream"   Kirwan 3:31
13. "Like Crying"   Kirwan 2:25
14. "Before the Beginning"   Green 3:30
15. "Oh Well, Part 1 (Bonus mono track)"   Green 3:22
16. "Oh Well, Part 2 (Bonus mono track)"   Green 5:39
17. "The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)"   Green 4:37
18. "World in Harmony"   Kirwan/Green 3:26

Unreleased Bonus EP: The Milton Schlitz Show[edit]

The original intention was to include a bonus EP in the "Then Play On" album. The EP was to be compensation for the fact that Jeremy Spencer barely appeared on the album. The EP consisted of Spencer's parodies of doo wop ("Ricky Dee and the Angels"), Alexis Korner, country blues ("Texas Slim"), acid rock ("The Orange Electric Squares"), and John Mayall. It was finally released on Fleetwood Mac's The Vaudeville Years compilation in the 1990s.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Jeremy's Contribution to Doo Wop"   Jeremy Spencer 4:23
2. "Every Day I Have the Blues"   Peter Chatman 4:23
3. "Death Bells"   Spencer 5:05
4. "(Watch Out for Yourself) Mr. Jones"   Spencer 3:35
5. "Man of Action"   Spencer 5:21

Personnel[edit]

Fleetwood Mac

Additional uncredited personnel

Production

  • Producer: Fleetwood Mac
  • Engineer: Martin Birch
  • Sound consultant: Dinky Dawson

Charts[edit]

AlbumBillboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1970 Pop Albums 109

Singles – Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1970 "Oh Well – Pt. I" Pop Singles 55

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fleetwood Mac: The Complete Illustrated History - Richie Unterberger - Google Books
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Gu, Marshall. "Fleetwood Mac: Then Play On". popmatters.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (29 January 1970). "Consumer Guide (7)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Morthland, John (13 December 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (48): 50. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Morthland, John. "Fleetwood Mac Then Play On Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Bosso, Joe. "Mick Fleetwood: my 11 greatest recordings of all time - Rattlesnake Shake". musicradar. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Friday Gem from the Stoddard – Templeton Design Archive: Maxwell Armfield". University of Glasgow Library. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  9. ^ The Countryside and Suburban Life magazine, February 1917
  10. ^ "The Countryside". artmagick.com. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Startside 2005". Skaanevik-blues.com. 
  12. ^ "Fleetwood Mac: The Complete Guide to Their Music – Rikky Rooksby – Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 
  13. ^ "Fleetwood Mac: The Complete Guide to Their Music – Rikky Rooksby – Google Books". Books.google.co.uk.