Then Play On
rating: **** (recommended)
These folks started out as a solid but standard British blues outfit but by 1969 they’d turned into something much more interesting. This was Mac at its best, with all three of the classic guitarists on board (but some suggesting that Spencer didn’t actually play on this album). This would be the end of Green’s involvement, another acid casualty, and they’d also soon lose Spencer–apparently to some American religious cult.
Green’s contributions are especially strong at this point, with the almost nine-minute version of “Oh Well” the centerpiece, perfectly capturing the manic-depression acid-fueled insanity. This flash of mad brillance had started with the “Albatross” single late in ’68 and concluded with “The Green Manalishi.” It’s too bad these cuts didn’t end up on this set, but this still has plenty to offer.
If you’ve never heard this extended version of “Oh Well,” you owe it to yourself to crank it and lie down, turn out the lights. If you’re a frybrain, roll one up and fire it up at the beginning of the album so you’re flying high by the time “Underway”/”Oh Well” rolls around. Then play on.
author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s