By Matt Rowe, Columnist
If we begin to talk about Fleetwood Mac, most will immediately think of the version that employed Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. They will remember "Second Hand News," "Sara," and "Go Your Own Way," but likely couldn't hum the first note of a song called "Oh Well." What may surprise many is that the Fleetwood Mac they remember is a refresh of a much older band, older than they realize.
As a brief biographical sketch, Fleetwood Mac began way back in 1967, a full eight years before the self-titled 1975 classic that broke them wide open with "Over My Head," "Say You Love Me," and "Rhiannon." Moreover, the band had already released nine studio albums with several different incarnations of the band. Essentially, the band began with the highly regarded (among fans) but heavily underrated guitarist, Peter Green as well as Jeremy Spencer, soon transitioning with both Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch. The great thing was that all incarnations of the band were great in their own way. And they created vastly different sets of albums. All their albums are loved by various groups of fans. Believe it or not, some fans find earlier incarnations of Fleetwood Mac to be intrinsically better than the one that most know, you know—that famous version.
Without getting into a grand discussion of what albums preceded that groundbreaking 1975 classic, and their various virtues (and we could do that, easily), it is sufficient for the sake of brevity to just simply announced that Rhino Records will be releasing a deluxe edition reissue of the last Peter Green involved album, Then Play On (1969).
Then Play On was Fleetwood Mac's third studio album and is highly regarded by many FM fans. It comes as a bit of a surprise that the major label would green-light an early era reissue of this band that doesn't guarantee a rabid reaction by most people like Rumours would. But there we have it. They are. And early fans couldn't be happier.
The details are quite sketchy at this point concerning bonus track inclusions (if any) or whether they will go with the original UK track-listing rather than the punctured US release that left several songs off from the UK edition. Nevertheless, it's exciting news.
Currently scheduled for August 19 (UK) and August 20 (US), the Rhino-shine edition of Then Play On will make scores of early Fleetwood Mac fans very, very happy. And what is even more exciting is the possibility that if this does well, Rhino Records might revisit Heroes Are Hard To Find (1974), Bare Trees (1972), Kiln House (1970), and even Mystery To Me (1973). Of course, there are others. But the above mentioned hopefuls will be a great start if they see the light of day.
Fleetwood Mac – 1969-1972
As if this weren’t enough exciting Fleetwood Mac news, Rhino also has plans to release a 4LP set, Fleetwood Mac – 1969-1972, also on August 20. Included in this massive LP collection will be a bonus 7″ vinyl single.