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Continental European album from 1976
Review written by Mark Trauernicht, June 29th, 2007
This album, released in 1976, is noteworthy in that it is--so far--the only album (vinyl or CD) release of two single B-sides. The first is "World In Harmony", the b-side to the "Green Manalishi" single. The second is "The Purple Dancer", the b-side of the "Dragonfly" single from 1971. The Best of was released only for the [continental] European market, in 1976, just as the band was starting to take off in America.
It basically contains highlights from the Then Play On album, both sides of these three singles: "Oh Well", "Green Manalishi", and "Dragonfly"....nothing earlier, and nothing later.
I am still amazed, after all this time, that "World in Harmony" and "The Purple Dancer" still haven't made it onto any CD--anywhere!
That fact alone makes getting this 1976 album an absolute MUST!
An oddball, but pleasant compilation
Review written by Anonymous, October 24th, 2004
This Reprise compilation collects material from "Then Play On," as well as material released around the same time as singles. My copy, acquired in the late 70s (glorious vinyl!), appears to be a German pressing. At the time, this was one of the few places to find "The Green Manalishi," and the studio version of "World in Harmony." While the cover art features images from the "Then Play On" LP, (including Peter Green) the album also contains "Dragonfly" and "The Purple Dancer," on which Green is nowhere to be heard, having left the band the previous year. Still, if you run across it, this is useful if you don't have the aforementioned singles. It's not an ideal introduction, though. The version of "Oh Well" is apparently lifted right from the single mix - there is a VERY noticeable fade out a few seconds into "Part Two." There are also some strange edits on the "Madge" jams - very jarring if your first introduction to those comes from "Then Play On." Still, I haven't seen any other releases with the studio version of "World in Harmony," nor have I ever run across another album with "Dragonfly" and "The Purple Dancer." From my perspective, this is worth having just for those songs. "Dragonfly," which is a Danny Kirwan setting of a W.H. Davies poem, catches the mood of the poem perfectly, and is typical Kirwan - wistful, delicate, and exquisitely melodic. In many ways, this is a less melancholy cousin of "Dust," from "Bare Trees." "The Purple Dancer" is an interesting suggestion of where the "Kiln House" lineup might have gone, had they stayed together for more than one album. The song has distinct movements, and Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer each sing sections of it. It also features a lovely blending of their guitars, much like "Station Man," but less laid-back. Each guitar is distinct at times, while at others meshing together into a taut, silvery web that alternately growls and sighs. Again, not for the uninitiated, but fun for the fan seeking the rarities.
Hardly a best of, but good Reprise rareities clean up
Review written by John Fitzgerald, October 24th, 2004
This is a strange compilation put out by Reprise. It does appear from the packaging that it would be a non US pressing and it doesn't seem as though it's a UK one either as the catalogue number doesn't start with a "K" the way most of the UK Reprise pressings did back then and there's no year release listed either so it's hard to know when it was released too. My guess would be that this is a French pressing but I can't say for sure. The main plus for collectors is that it includes some rare early 70's singles only tracks like the rocking "Purple dancer", the beautiful "World in harmony" & the poetic "Dragonfly". Interestingly, "Oh well" parts 1 & 2 are spliced together but you can hear the faded snippet of part 1 which cannot be heard on relevant copies of "Then play on" and "Searching for Madge" is strangely edited down to five minutes flat. Even odder, all they have done is let it play for five minutes and then just stopped it cold. They could have chosen a better title too as "Best of" is not really indicative of this throw together of "Then play on" tunes with some oddities. All in all though, this, with other highlights from the "Then play on" album makes this a colorful energetic listen.
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Also available on Musicasette & 8-Track.