If you think the Fleetwood Mac show of the Rumours-era band was a soap opera, heck that was nothing. That was just a lot of coke and couples busting up, normal rock star stuff. The Mac of 1969, now that was nuts. You had two guys going on about making records about God, one battling schizophrenia, the other who quit to join a cult. Then there was a third guitarist so wild he had to be fired from the band. Too crazy for Fleetwood Mac? That's pretty amazing, for a band that specialized in having guitar players quit. It says a lot that Mick Fleetwood was the most normal, together guy in the band at this time.Then Play On was the band's third album, and they were already stars in England, plus making inroads in the U.S. They were a blues group, but like others of the day, starting to move in new directions. Known for their two strong guitarists, ex-Mayall man Peter Green, and the wacky Elmore James freak Jeremy Spencer, they'd also just added a third axe, young Danny Kirwan, and this was to be his first LP with the group. The triple-guitar thing was a gas onstage, but Spencer was totally linked to Elmore covers and old rock 'n' roll, and didn't get where Green was going. So, amazingly, he doesn't even play on this album. It's a four-piece, with Green and Kirwan writing and singing all the tunes.
This new version of the LP is long overdue, as it cleans up a bunch of problems long-associated with the release. First off, it's been remastered, yahoo for the best-ever sound. The track list has been restored to the proper original U.K. running order, all the tunes left off North American versions (there were a couple) restored in the right order. And it features the two famous singles of that time, Oh Well, parts 1 and 2, and The Green Manalishi, plus its lovely instrumental b-side World In Harmony. Oh Well and Manalishi are certainly two of the great Green tracks, with the first now considered a blues classic for good reason, while the second is a mysterious, heavy number that was his swan song from the band. Green was at his peak, Kirwan proved an excellent second writer, singer and guitarist, Spencer was still killing it on live dates, but it was not to last. Too bad, as this, with its bonus cuts, is one of the great late 60's albums.