Thursday, October 01, 2015
Vinyl black hole
Still on this erratic voyage of rediscovery. This week's chosen item of pleasure / torture being "Then Play On". A suicidal and enigmatic offering that sees the doomed guitar stars, Danny Kirwan and Peter Green burn themselves out as they question existence and meaning via the neck of a Les Paul. The therapy didn't work and the band collapsed shortly thereafter as M Fleetwood, J McVie and the mischievous J Spencer, all clearly sidelined from the beginning of this project looked on aghast and sought out their own kinds of personal salvation. That led to a mixture of tragedy and multi-million dollar sales and earnings. None of that seemed likely in 1972 to this puzzled listener.
So after 40+ years what are we left with? As an album it's not aged well, Kirwan's songs are trite and annoying, Green's troubled work masquerades as deep and spiritual but is saved by that guitar tone and finger light technique. His mental health is certainly stretched out in the lyrics but back then who knew anything of the dark side of the mind? It's a bizarre and mixed album. Maybe best forgotten but, if like me you first heard it as a vinyl scraping and head booming experience when a teenager then the angst and the questioning probably disturbed you. It scarred you just enough for you to remember it with fondness and if nothing else respect for the unpolluted, undistorted studio sound of a real band. Best track? Rattlesnake Shake, it has everything; mad drums, big guitar sound, humour and ritualistic and comical masturbation. Next!