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If Music Be The Food Of Love: Fleetwood Mac’s “Then Play On” Joins “1969-1972” Box Set In August

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Fleetwood Mac - Then Play OnFor many, the story of Fleetwood Mac begins with 1975’s self-titled album.  But that album, which introduced Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the group’s line-up, was in fact the band’s tenth.  Long before locking into the L.A. pop-rock sound epitomized by “Say You Love Me” or “Over My Head,” the Mac had already experienced a number of transformations, from its blues-based roots to folk, rock and even a retro rockabilly style.  On August 20, Reprise Records will revisit that early period of Fleetwood Mac’s history with two new releases: a deluxe, expanded CD remaster of the band’s 1969 Reprise debut Then Play On, and a four-LP vinyl box set Fleetwood Mac: 1969-1972 containing its first four Reprise LPs in one impressive package.

Then Play On, originally released in September 1969, was the group’s final album to feature founding member Peter Green.  Guitarist/vocalist Green joined Mick Fleetwood (drums), John McVie (bass), Jeremy Spencer (piano/guitar) and new recruit Danny Kirwan (vocals/guitar).  Kirwan, Green, Fleetwood and McVie all contributed songs to Then Play On, which has had quite a convoluted release history.  Two songs were dropped from the U.K. line-up when the album was released in the U.S., namely “One Sunny Day” and “Without You,” as both tracks had already appeared on the compilation album English Rose.  When the non-LP single “Oh Well – Pt. 1” b/w “Oh Well – Pt. 2” became a hit in November 1969, however, Reprise made the decision to add both sides to the LP as one rather sloppily-edited track, dropping “When You Say” and “My Dream.”  (Interestingly, all four dropped songs were written by Danny Kirwan.)   The LP sequence was also shuffled.  When Reprise reissued Then Play On as a compact disc, “My Dream” and “When You Say” were reinstated into the revised running order, but not “One Sunny Day” and “Without You.”

The upcoming reissue of Then Play On, for the first time on compact disc, includes not only “My Dream” and “When You Say,” but “One Sunny Day” and “Without You,” recreating the original U.K. 14-song line-up.  The merged “Oh Well” has been jettisoned in favor of the original two-part single, now included in the bonus section, and one more non-LP single has been added: “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)” b/w “World in Harmony.”  To top off the fully-remastered package, David Fricke has contributed new liner notes.

The deluxe Then Play On arrives August 20.  Hit the jump for the scoop on Fleetwood Mac: 1969-1972 along with track listings and pre-order links!

Fleetwood Mac - 1969-1972The vinyl box set Fleetwood Mac: 1969-1972 brings together the band’s first four albums for Reprise (Then Play On, Kiln House, Future Games, and Bare Trees) in new 140-gram vinyl editions. Each album is housed in a replica of its original packaging, including the lavish gatefolds for Then Play On and Kiln House.  As a bonus, the set is bundled with an exclusive replica of the original 1969 7-inch single of “Oh Well – Pt. 1” b/w “Oh Well – Pt. 2.”  Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering cut the lacquers for all four albums.  The box set LP of Then Play On replicates the 14-song U.K. edition.  (There has been no word of a remastered CD edition of the remaining three albums in the box.)

The box chronicles the band’s ultimate move towards pop-rock.  With 1970’s Kiln House, Fleetwood Mac began moving toward a more melodic pop sound on songs like “Mission Bell” and “One Together.”  Though his fifties pastiches play a major role on the album, it proved to be Jeremy Spencer’s last with the band.  Christine McVie, then Christine Perfect, was also present at the recording sessions.  She contributed backing vocals and the album’s cover art, but she didn’t become a full-fledged member of the Mac until after the album’s release.

1971’s Future Games introduced Bob Welch (guitar/vocals) and Christine McVie (keyboards/vocals) to Fleetwood Mac.  With just eight compositions on the lengthy side – the band actually submitted a seven-track LP but Reprise requested an eighth song, hence the inclusion of the jam “What a Shame” – Future Games didn’t spawn any hit singles, but the shift towards more accessible pop and folk styles was evident via songs like “Show Me a Smile” and “Morning Rain,” both by Christine McVie.  Bare Trees was

The line-up stayed the same for 1972’s Bare Trees, which introduced Bob Welch’s timeless “Sentimental Lady.”  (In 1977, Welch would re-record the song with a little help from his Mac cohorts Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood along with future Mac member Lindsey Buckingham.  It became a Top 10 hit.)  With strong songs from Kirwan, Welch and Christine McVie, Bare Trees also signaled an upward swing in the band’s commercial fortunes.  Though it only peaked at No. 70, it was certified Gold in 1976 and later went platinum.   Alas, Bare Trees was the final Mac album to feature Danny Kirwan, who was fired during the tour promoting the LP.  Four albums followed before the breakthrough Rumours in 1977, but those four albums (from Penguin to Fleetwood Mac) might be a tale for another box set.

Thanks to these two new projects from Reprise, the early part of Fleetwood Mac’s long history is finally getting the attention it deserves.  You can order both titles, due August 20, at the links below!

Fleetwood Mac, Then Play On: Expanded Edition (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. Coming Your Way
  2. Closing My Eyes
  3. Fighting for Madge
  4. When You Say
  5. Show Biz Blues
  6. Underway
  7. One Sunny Day
  8. Although the Sun is Shining
  9. Rattlesnake Shake
  10. Without You
  11. Searching for Madge
  12. My Dream
  13. Like Crying
  14. Before the Beginning
  15. Oh Well (Part 1)
  16. Oh Well (Part 2)
  17. The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Prong Crown)
  18. World in Harmony

Tracks 1-14 released as Reprise U.K. LP RSLP 9000, 1969
Tracks 15-16 released as Reprise single RS 27000 (U.K.)/0883 (U.S.), 1969
Tracks 17-18 released as Reprise single RS 27007 (U.K.)/0925 (U.S.), 1970

Fleetwood Mac 1969-1972 (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

LP 1: Then Play On (released as Reprise U.K. LP RSLP 9000, 1969)

  1. Coming Your Way
  2. Closing My Eyes
  3. Fighting for Madge
  4. When You Say
  5. Show Biz Blues
  6. Underway
  7. One Sunny Day
  8. Although the Sun is Shining
  9. Rattlesnake Shake
  10. Without You
  11. Searching for Madge
  12. My Dream
  13. Like Crying
  14. Before the Beginning

LP 2: Kiln House (released as Reprise LP RS 6408 (U.S.)/RSLP 9004 (U.K.), 1970)

  1. This is the Rock
  2. Station Man
  3. Blood on the Floor
  4. Hi Ho Silver
  5. Jewel Eyed Judy
  6. Buddy’s Song
  7. Earl Gray
  8. One Together
  9. Tell Me All the Things You Do
  10. Mission Bell

LP 3: Future Games (released as Reprise LP RS 6465 (U.S.)/K 44153 (U.K.), 1971)

  1. Woman of 1000 Years
  2. Morning Rain
  3. What a Shame
  4. Future Games
  5. Sands of Time
  6. Sometimes
  7. Lay It All Down
  8. Show Me a Smile

LP 4: Bare Trees (released as Reprise LP MS 2080 (U.S.)/K 44181 (U.K.), 1972)

  1. Child of Mine
  2. The Ghost
  3. Homeward Bound
  4. Sunny Side of Heaven
  5. Bare Trees
  6. Sentimental Lady
  7. Danny’s Chant
  8. Spare Me a Little of Your Love
  9. Dust
  10. Thoughts on a Grey Day

Single: Oh Well (Part 1) b/w Oh Well (Part 2) (Reprise single RS 27000 (U.K.)/0883 (U.S.), 1969)

Written by Joe Marchese

July 1, 2013 at 13:12

13 Responses

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  1. Still no “Purple Dancer”! What the heck!


    July 1, 2013 at 13:36

  2. There’s a number of single-only Mac tracks from the post-Peter Green, pre-Buckingham Nicks era, so I hope they manage to corral them all up somehow: Dragonfly b/w Purple Dancer, for instance, which never got a US release. Dragonfly did appear on a UK CBS compilation, but Purple Dancer hasn’t ever been reissued in its original form, AFAIK.

    William Keats

    July 1, 2013 at 13:42

  3. Hopefully these titles will all be issued on CD as well.


    July 1, 2013 at 13:59

  4. Excellent post. Two minor points: Jeremy Spencer’s primary instrument was guitar, not piano. And although she joined the band as a full-fledged member for Future Games, Christine McVie was credited with background vocals on the previous album, Kiln House.


    July 1, 2013 at 15:07

    • Thanks for reading, Ron. See above, regarding KILN HOUSE: “Christine McVie, then Christine Perfect, was also present at the recording sessions. She contributed backing vocals and the album’s cover art, but she didn’t become a full-fledged member of the Mac until after the album’s release.”

      Joe Marchese

      July 1, 2013 at 15:10

      • Oops, sorry Joe. My bad.


        July 1, 2013 at 15:19

  5. Excellent news about Then Play On. I’ve get everything else by the Peter Green era Mac, and have been eagerly awaiting a decent reissue of this final album. Roll on August!


    July 1, 2013 at 16:23

  6. Looking at the track list for the CD of TPO, it looks like ‘World In Harmony’ is the only previously unissued on CD track. Good tune.


    July 2, 2013 at 23:18

  7. Why in the hell are these going to be 140 gram vinyls?!! Why would they not be 180 grams?!


    July 3, 2013 at 15:04

  8. Not only do Rhino/Reprise need to reissue ‘Kiln House,’ ‘Future Games,’ ‘Bare Trees’ on CD in remastered & expanded form with the afore mentioned 1971 non-LP single ‘Dragonfly b/w ‘Purple Dancer’ but, they should also seriously consider ‘Penguin,’ ‘Mystery To Me,’ and ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’ as well. Relevant Fleetwood Mac post-Peter Green era BBC Sessions, alternate versions, and live recordings should also be considered. Jeremy Spencer’s self-titled 1970 solo album & e.p. backed by F.M. is another album to be included with this. Maybe one big box set for it all is a good solution ? I know it would sell.


    July 8, 2013 at 23:25

  9. I’m thinking they should make a proper edit of “Oh Well” as one song and put it between the two sides. “One Sunny Day”->”Oh Well”->”Although the Sun Is Shining” flows remarkably well. (Or at the end of album, if you must.) And put the other non-album singles on there. If you’re gonna do it, do it so it won’t need to be done again.


    August 10, 2013 at 03:58

  10. For the love of God, I hope they continue with the deluxe cd releases. I’ll throw in ‘Good Things (Come to Those Who Wait)’ as a highly sought-after outtake from ‘Mystery to Me’.

    W Stacy

    August 21, 2013 at 10:24

  11. Anyone have a review of this set? How does it sound, etc? Anyone own it?

    Scott Collins

    November 20, 2013 at 14:17

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