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Family - A Song For Me CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.38 | 81 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Gone are two of the most notable members: bassist/violinist Grech who left for Blind Faith and later in Traffic and Jim King - although an original member dating back from the mid-60's The Farinas line-up - got sacked for his role had severely been diminished. They were replaced respectively by John Weider on bass and violin and ex-Blossom Toes Poli Palmer on keys, vibes and winds. This latest addition will help Family getting an even wider spectrum and it clearly shows on this third album. A change of band managers round up the changes. From this record onwards, all Family albums have received a remastering job from the Mystic label and have received many more bonus tracks as the previous Castle records releases.

One of the things that strikes most is that this album is very acoustic as the majority of the tracks are based on the acoustic guitars of John Charles Withney (but this can be explained easily since Grech, the other song writer was gone leaving the Chapman/Withney duo alone at the writing helm), but this does not mean that the record is a laid back affair, quite on the contrary. The opening Drowned In Wine is a real scoarcher and Chapman delivers a real strong vocal performance and newcomer Palmer adds some great flutes. Love Is A Sleeper excels again in the rougher kind of tracks but this time Palmer adds some vibes to liven things up. Another highlight on the album is the superb Wheels with its great acoustic guitar/flute duo sometimes hinting at raga music. In between those three excellent tracks are stuck some shorter and less exciting mainly acoustic tracks, but pleasant anyway. Song For Sinking Lovers is a country-tinged track and my least liked on the album. Another rather surprising track is the country boogie The Cat And The Rat which is preceded by a short but great jazzy Hey, Let's Rock with Palmer on vibes. The instrumental 93's OK J track is another great moment on the album with Palmer vibing out the Withney guitars. The closing title track is a 9 min affair which was written on a single chord and allows for lengthy soloing and it was used as a set closer in concert. I suspect this track worked best live , but here it appears a biyt overlong.

The first two bonus tracks are from a non-album single released three months before this record, but Family was only a quartet since Palmer joined during the ASFM sessions. The two tracks are rather forgettable, but it is nice to have them included here, anyway. The rest of the bonus tracks are live versions of album songs and add few value to the album although the live version of Wheels is quite a joy to hear.

Probably my fave Family album, even if some critics call it countryish (a vast over- statement if you ask me), but this is mainly due to newcomer Weider whose violin sound is definitely more Celtic-sounding than Grech.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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