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Family - Fearless CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.50 | 95 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars For their fifth album, out goes Weider with his (sometimes irritating) violin and in comes John Wetton (from Mogul Thrash, a Colosseum offshoot) while the rest of the line-up stays put. Of all of the Family albums, this is the one I would recommend (along with their debut) for the uninitiated fan, not least because of Wetton's presence, but also because of Palmer's outstanding performances. The vinyl had a very expensive multi-layered cover revealing the successive suppositions of portraits of members and is now rather sought after among collectors.

What strikes most with this album (their most prog one IMHO) is the frequent use of keyboards - although Family never had a KB player, there was some use of keys in previous album, but not quite like in Fearless or the following Bandstand - but the use will not be systematic either. From the opening Between Blue And Me (between a superb Traffic and a manic Lennon-sung Beatles track), the ragtime-piano dominated Barfly, and passing through the GG-inspired Larf And Sing and the slightly Spaniard feel Spanish Tide (both stunning and my faves from Family along with How- Hi-The-Li), the first side of this vinyl is stupendous and almost flawless ending with Save Some For Thee (still outstanding with its big band horn section).

Starting with the mainly instrumental but funky-grooved Wetton-induced bass line Take Your Partners, the second side is of to just as good a start as its forerunner. A slightly weaker and almost sing-along Children, the vibes-lead (unfortunately underused on this album) Crinkley Grin all-too-short interlude, Blind with its bagpipe outro, and the astounding Burning Bridges (coming to some of the most tragic Traffic magic, rounds up another tour de force.

With such an excellent track-listing as this one, finding worthy bonus tracks would prove almost an impossible task and sadly so, the rough In My Own Time and the country-esque Seasons (both worthy Family tracks) do not live up to the album's high caliber and I wished so much that they be added to another album. A live rendition of the opening track and a JB Lenoir blues-folk-boogie track are the last bonuses.

Easily their best album along with their debut album, this warmly recommended to all progheads and will be an excellent introduction for beginners although please remember that Chapman's voice is an acquired taste.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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