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FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT

Family

Eclectic Prog


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Family Family Entertainment album cover
3.50 | 76 ratings | 14 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Weaver's Answer (5:01)
2. Observations From A Hill (3:12)
3. Hung Up Down (3:13)
4. Summer '67 (3:18)
5. How-Hi-The-Li (4:59)
6. Second Generation Woman (3:14)
7. From Past Archives (3:21)
8. Dim (2:32)
9. Processions (2:49)
10. Face In The Crowd (2:55)
11. Emotions (5:12)

Total Time : (39:49)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

-Roger Chapman/ Vocals
-John 'Charlie' Whitney/ Guitar, Vocals
-Jim King/ Saxophone, Flute
-Rick Grech/ Bass
-Rob Townsend/ Drums

With:
-The Heavenly Strings/ Strings
-Tony Cox/ Additional Arrangements

Releases information

LP Reprise RSLP6340 [1969]
CD See For Miles SEE CD 200 [1987]

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to bsurmano for the last updates
Edit this entry

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FAMILY Family Entertainment ratings distribution


3.50
(76 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
14%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

FAMILY Family Entertainment reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Family's second album sees the same line-up as it was on the debut album, but this sophomore effort is rather different than its rookie predecessor. I would not really say that it is less inspired, but it is definitely inconsistent even if there are some major highlights, but overall, I ban only think of this album as a deception. I never really understood exactly what this was about, but apparently this album was a base for a live concept with outside artists intervening on stage, but there is no clear (or at least obvious) link between the different tracks on this record.

There are some real pearls on the album such as the opening The Weaver's Answer and the closing Emotions with its great instrumental finale. Others include the short instrumental and eastern-influenced Summer Of 67 - which is more reminiscent of the debut album) and Face In The Clouds with its sitar dominated mid-paced ballad, but the real gem on the album is the politically conscious How-Hi-The- Li that hints towards the best Traffic moments.

The rest of the tracks are IMHO sub-standard Family songs and seem completely uninspired even if the Grech-penned Second Generation Woman was a minor hit with its strong power chords. Dim is a rather awful country-esque track and the pastoral From Past Archives is very average with superfluous string arrangements, Processions fails to raise the slightest interest in this listener's mind and the Observations seems to have been written from a pit rather than on top of a hill.

I am not too sure this album got another recent release on Mystic records (as did all of the following albums) but if it were, there would tons of singles material added as bonus tracks since they made a few non-album singles. If I seem rather severe with this album, it is because it is sandwiched between two much better albums and there are some rather weak tracks and those outnumber the three real gems/ Weaver, Emotions and How-Hi.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#62764) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 02, 2006

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars From the blues revival, through psychedelia to progressive. This is the first Family's album that can be defined progressive, even if some tracks are not. The starting song, "The Weaver's Answer" has influenced lot of other artists and it's possible to find its echoes in some other groups, in particular "Banco del Mutuo soccorso", whose vocalist has the same "vibrations" of Chapman's voice. It's a mix of varoius genres, from the rock and roll of "2nd generation woman", to the arab- waltz of "Summer of 67". "Processions", "Dim" and "Hhow Hi The Li" in my opinion are the best tracks. The strength of this album is its variousness, and Chapman's voice is one of the best in the all time prog scenario. 4 stars

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#97504) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Weaver of life let me look and see, the pattern of my life gone by shown on your tapestry

Let's be clear up front, this album is absolutely essential. Why? Because it includes the unbelievably magnificent "The weaver's answer". This song is one of those masterpieces which comes along only when the planets are correctly aligned and a flash of inspiration is sent from the heavens. The song is perfect in lyric, melody and performance. It builds through Roger Chapman's inspired vocal and some superb violin to a climactic and dramatic conclusion. It is, to put it simply one of the fiest peices of music ever recorded.

I'd love to just stop the review at this point and put up a five star rating, but this is an 11 track album. Much has been said about the production of "Family entertainment", the band's second album, over the years and it is true that there are deficiencies in that department. That however should not blind us to some highly enjoyable material.

"Observations from a hill" is clearly not sung by Chapman, but the credits are unclear as to who the vocalist is. Following "The weaver's answer" is going to make any song sound inferior, but "Observations.." is a rather prosaic number all the same. "Hung up down" is a stronger, more conventional Family song, with a fine performance by Chapman.

"Summer '67" is a Charlie Whitney instrumental with an eastern flavour, reflecting the mood of that period. It makes for a pleasant interlude piece. "How-hi-the-Li" is a politically charged song focusing on China and the East, with rather uninspired lyrics such as We only wanna break the chain of society Put the people back on the road to reality We only wanna turn the whole world on "Second generation woman" sounds completely out of place, not just on this album, but in the Family catalogue as a whole. The song is a Beatles style rock and roll number, perhaps with singles potential. Rick Grech takes lead vocal and adds some violin too, but while the song is a credible piece of pop, it just does not fit at all here. Fortunately, normal service is resumed with the quivering vocal of Roger Chapman on "From past archives" which features a bizarre mix of harmonica, barroom piano, clarinet, orchestration and Harpsichord. It is about 15 songs in 3½ minutes!

"Dim" also features harmonica, but in a lighter semi-country atmosphere. "Processions" has a retro 60's pop feel, the reflections of boyhood conjuring up nostalgic images. Had this been recorded in the mid 1960's, it would probably have found its way into the pop charts. The sitar based Rick Grech song "Face in the cloud" features a lead vocal by him. Why the band should insist on sharing out the vocal credits when they have in their line up the incredible and unique talents of Chapman is something of an enigma. Perhaps it was a futile attempt to prevent Grech from moving on to Blind Faith, something he announced would do before the tour to promote the album had started.

The closing "Emotions" is an atmospheric song with a strong arrangement. That arrangement in many ways carries the song, which is melodically average.

"Family entertainment" is far from being a one song album. While "Weaver's answer" is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown, it is supported by a creditable range of decent songs. The progressive influences are largely kept in check in favour of a more pop orientated feel, but the diversity of the content more than compensates for this.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#131420) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 02, 2007

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Summer of 4.5

(You'll have to excuse me if I attempt to delve into the philosophical motives behind some of the instrumentation on some of the songs. Other bands have chroniclers to explain WHY they did what they did when they did it, I somehow doubt Family has anyone like that. Guess that's me.)

It seems that while Ian Anderson was still singin' the blooz (not that he's ever stopped), Roger Chapman and his ragged gang of mobsters had already written Thick as a Brick! Alright, probably not true, but I swear that between "The Weaver's Answer" and "Processions," you have the whole of Gerald Bostock's life's philosophy.

This album is a kind of letdown after Music in a Doll's House. I mean, in several ways, it's an improvement. The songs are a little more, uh, "Family oriented," and the musicians all play tighter and more naturally. Plus, the quality is cleaner here, Doll's House sometimes sounded a little muddy. Oh, and, the cover's way cooler. They're spoofing the Doors' "Strange Days," am I right?

However, the near immaculate consistency of Doll's House is gone on Family Entertainment. The songs still flow naturally, but sometimes without much connection. And there's filler! I swear it, there weren't no filler on that last one. However, in reality, it's not much of a drop; what Entertainment lacks in consistency, it makes up in pure song power.

Simply put: you cannot hate an album that opens with a number like "The Weaver's Answer." Okay, wait a minute, actually, you probably can. If you hate all things Family; namely, that weird blend of the artsy and the rootsy, multiple instrumentation almost to the point of uselessness, and of course, Roger Chapman on vocals. As for me, I love all that crap! Bring it awn!

"The Weaver's Answer" opens with a little hushed, mystical mantra, but very quickly becomes a driving, somewhat trippy, somewhat acoustic march. Love that rhythm section. Then there's pretty much some soloing, saxophone and cool, watery guitar, and then back to the march again. I LOVE Chappo here; as he continues listing his life's events to the "Weaver," wondering how much impact they've honestly had on the tapestry of the universe, he gets angrier and angrier, spitting out the lines with spine tingling honesty. And all the little flute and electric guitar noises that comes from...wherever? Great. Needless to say, it all collapses in on itself, and we start back at the beginning again. Point is, this song rocks. Hard. It's pretty much brilliant, and I can think of a few "real" progressive bands that would kill for something of its effortless quality. Best song on the album? You better bet.

"Observations From a Hill" is a nice folksy, acoustic number, but I'm less fond of it. Perhaps because Ric Grech is singing the verses? He reminds me of Geddy Lee on that one; you listen to it and tell me otherwise! "Hung Up Down" brings us back to the patented Chappo growl, and the chorus is actually pretty good.

"Summer '67" is a highlight for sure. It's an instrumental, but don't look for any summer of love references here. No, this is a bouncy folk chorus traded off with a decidedly Eastern themed verse, and I DON'T mean sitars and crap, I mean real Middle Eastern violin. Who was doing that at the time? "Kashmir" wouldn't come out for another half a decade. "How-Hi-the-Li" is just nutso. Which is a good thing. It's a sort of trippy groove (and listen to the first verse, gotta love the lyrics).

"Second Generation Woman" is probably the least attractive tune on the album, a difficulty we really didn't have to encounter on the first record. It's a rough rocker, but it's also melodyless. Pity, the soloing is probably the best on the album. "From Past Archives" is one of the weirdest numbers, in a way. I mean, the rootsy harmonica and the medieval harpsichord? And then the jazzy sax soloing? It's a cute number, don't get me wrong, but when the violin comes in it seems a little overstuffed. Great vocals though.

Now "Dim" is a truly catchy harmonica and banjo driven rocker about the dangers of...uh, loving with the lights off? Or maybe the dangers of loving with the lights ON. Point is, it's fun. Nice soloing, and I love the descending riff. And "Processions" is the last great number on the album, a truly gorgeous tune. It's the downbeat little tale of a kid on the beach. Tender vocals and sax, and that piano that comes in for the second verse represents water (change?), doubtlessly, but just dig those classy little arpeggios! And the brief coda? Once again, gorgeous.

The final two numbers are...I dunno, unnecessary? "Face in the Cloud" if a pure filler tune, seemingly designed around that damn sitar! What, were you obligated to have a sitar tune in '69 or something? Regardless of sitars, the tune itself is fairly lifeless. There's nothing wrong with "Emotions," but it's also a little...lifeless. It's a nice enough song from a technical point of view, the little ascensions played with the rhythm and blues melody, and is that a steel drum in the background? Still, it feels a little...fake somehow, don't you think it would have been better to close with "Dim" or something?

So you see what I mean this being a letdown from Doll's House? One thing that might not be so obvious is the variety; since this album is more smoothed out, it also means that Family have stopped running in all directions trying to find something to grab onto. Of course, Family are a naturally varietous band, so eclecticism lovers need not worry that much.

But more pressing is that Doll's house didn't have any filler like "Emotions" or "From Past Archives" on it, nor anything just plain bad, like "Second Generation Woman." Of course and on the other hand, it didn't have anything gorgeous like "Processions" or anything...well, ANYTHING like "The Weaver's Answer" on it neither. In fact, I'm having some trouble thinking of a lot of other records that have something like "Weaver" on 'em too.

In the long run, what am I talking about anyway? For one thing, Doll's House was so near to perfection it would have taken a Thick as a Brick to improve upon it anyway, and besides, Entertainment is still as good as some bands are ever capable of doing. And I think that everyone needs to hear "Weaver's Answer" at least once in their life.

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#132369) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 09, 2007

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record is a nice example of what progressive rock was before it became what it is. A forward-looking slice of 60s pie, it is a set of songs that took the Beatle's lead without the affectations, a band who let their compositions expand and even flourish, keeping it all suspended with skill and professionalism. Clearly Family were moving away from Cream and Hendrix riff-rock impersonations and though their material was psychedelic, it was more thoughtfully organized and recorded than the average mushroom band.

We couldn't ask for a better opener in 'The Weaver's Answer', full of compelling melody and rock 'n roll power, an inspired moment. Even Roger Chapman's distracting vibrato works beautifully and features a great lyric hinting at a theatrical sound Peter Gabriel would later perfect, Jim King's sax and John Whitney's organ taking a solo. Whitney's acoustic guitar leads the pretty 'Observations From a Hill', the fife-rocking 'Hung Up Down' sounds like Fogerty gone a bit mad, Turko-Persian instrumental 'Summer 67' and mediocre 'How-Hi-The-Li'. The slightly odd Brian Wilson send-up 'From Past Archives' is good fun, 'Dim' and 'Processions' seem to reflect a penchant for American Bluegrass and Folk, and the gospel 'Emotions' to end.

Recommended? Only if you're interested in a brief period of very good music that would soon be trumped but never replaced by the movement that became Progressive Rock. On the whole, a healthy session and of note in prog development.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#150546) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After a rather luminous debut (don't forget that was issued in '68), their follow-up album was released quite in a hurry. But to be honest, this was business as usual in those remote days. Bands were so inventive that there were virtually no problems to come up with an album once (or even twice) a year. Lots of famous known (and not so famous as well) bands have done so in the sixties.

Now, to come back on this "Family" album, I have to say that the peak of their creativity was definitely achieved on their good debut. This "Family Entertainment" sounds real shy in comparison. Chapman even leaving the leading vocals role at times. So, what's left?

The wonderful and inventive arrangements of the debut are past history. Once in a while, the great singing capabilities of Roger are noticeable ("How-Hi-The-Li"). But these breaks are not really plenty on this album.

I know that it was very much in the style of these times, but a track as "Second Generation Woman" can't be of any interest to me: these Oriental moods are just average. "Family" plays in some sort of a second (at least) division band here. Press next to avoid these useless sounds. It is not because most prominent bands decided to investigated Eastern moods that everyone would succeed in this creative research.

At the end of the day, I far much prefer them while they play their psychedelic rock from their debut. In this sense "From Past Archives" is way better than most of the songs that can be discovered on this album. I would even call it a highlight if the average quality of this work would have been better.

I really can't be very enthusiast about this one. No songs are outstanding nor even shining to tell the truth. When I listen to the poor "Processions", I just have one feeling: to press a certain key form my keyboard. Yes, the "next" one. Even if this song holds diverse moods, its very much country style driven theme is totally alien to my ears.

The average experience goes on with another country one. When "Face In The Cloud" starts, I have only one ambition: let's have it stopped as soon as possible. I just can't stand this awful country style atmosphere.

I can hardly consider this album as a good one. It is so inferior when compared to their good "Music In A Doll's House". It seemed that this album was released to please the American audiences. This objective will never be achieved though.

I can't rate this album with more than two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#187532) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 31, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Family Entertainment is the second album from british rock act Family. I was really impressed with the debut album from Family called Music In A Doll's House from 1968. It´s a great psychadelic and eclectic rock album that falls under the catagory mildy progressive. With this second album Family has moved away from the psychadelic tendencies which were a big part of their sound on Music In A Doll's House. Family Entertainment is a much more polished and commercial effort.

Family´s music is not easily put into a catagory. It contains elements from both rock, jazz, blues, classical music and folk/ country. A truly eclectic band. One of the biggest assets on this album is Roger Chapman´s vocals which I find very charming and powerful. He has a very raw voice and he would have made a great hard rock vocalist. This fact is very evident in the only hard rocking track on the album Second Generation Woman, which by the way is a bit out of place IMO. Most songs on the album are pretty good and a few are above average. I like Observations From A Hill and the instrumental Summer ´67 while some of the more folk/ country elements that also sneak into some of the songs are not that interesting to me. The eclectic approach to music reminds me a bit of another british band called Audience.

The musicianship is one of the greatest assets on the album. Great violin and sax playing, but the rythm section also prove themselves throughout the album.

The production is very polished compared to the raw debut. It will be an aquired taste if this is something you´ll appreciate. Personally I prefer the raw sound of the debut.

Family Entertainment is a good album but I do miss the raw approach that was so enjoyable on the debut and for me Family Entertainment is a 3 star album. Family is still an intriguing band though and I´ll be looking forward to reviewing the rest of their discography.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#187781) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 03, 2008

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Second album from 1969 named Family entertaiment of the mighty Family band. This second album I think is a little better then the first one, the ideas and the playing are more consistent then on previous one and even better then a couple of next albums at least for me. One of the most underrated bands from the old school, strange because they've done some incredible albums in the late '60 and early '70's. They never reached the vame like others bands from that period, trying to survive in the shadow of big names, they are not even in the same pantheon with Van Der Graaf Generator, it's a shame. With all that they recorded at least 4 classics (first 4) and essential albums for every serious listner. One of them is Family entertaiment, this album is one of my favourite albums of them. Explaining why, because i really love the voice of Roger Chapman, his unique way and manner of interpretation and the musicianship is very ok . The best pieces are The Weaver's Answer , the instrumental Summer '67 and How-Hi- The-Li a strange but very unique piece. So a big 3 stars for this one, good to my collection and maybe for some of you. Many of the conoseurs of prog stay away from this band because of Roger Chapman's voice, strange but very unique in same time.3 stars, a good album for sure, nothing close to a masterpiece but a pleasent and very entertaining album in the end.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#250894) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 16, 2009

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
4 stars The biggest change of direction in FAMILY's output is probably here, in their second album. Whereas the extremely interesting debut Music In a Doll's House (1968) was quite an experimental stir of psychedelia, pop, blues and Proto Prog, this one is more even, no doubt more commercial and "easier", and resembling more of the later FAMILY albums in style than of the debut. Now, doesn't this sound as if this was a notably weaker album? Funny thing is that it isn't! It may not include as great and innovative moments, but it's a pretty good collection of solid songs, more or less progressive in nature, finely produced and played. In some way it definitely was a step forward, also as a product of a seriously taken PROG band (and as far as I'm concerned, they didn't take any bigger steps later on...), though of course it misses the more unique charm of the debut. But it has a different kind of charm. I think it's my second favourite, right after the debut, in their catalogue.

The songs are all fairly good, if not very good. The atmosphere is mostly a bit lighter or happier, but not to a degree of being dull. There are various moods as well. One standout track is the opener 'The Weaver's Answer', in which the famous larynx of Roger Chapman works best. Some songs are sung by guitarist John Whitney (there's also an instrumental or two) and that too brings some variety.

FAMILY made several fantastic songs also on their later albums, but none of them is as finely crafted from the beginning to end as this one. A safe choice, if not half as unique as the debut.

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Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Family's second album released a little more than half a year after their debut, and clearly demonstrated the band was not inclined to either rest on the laurels of their modest chart position nor repeat the same jazzy psych vibe of their first recordings. The result is an album that owes more to the blues heritage of rock music than their previous record did, but one that expands on the more folk-oriented themes hinted at on that album.

Despite the Doors rip-off cover, this is an innovative album with stronger lyrics, more experimentation with Eastern-tinged sounds and folk nuances, as well as considerably more acoustic instrumentation than what they had demonstrated to this point in their brief career.

The opening "The Weaver's Answer" is a classic folk tale of an old man facing death by reviewing his life through the mystic tapestry of "the weaver", presumably Death itself. Apparently this is a marquee song for the band back home, although I have no recollection of ever hearing it on radio here in the States.

"Observations from a Hill" is another one of those mildly bluesy and lightly psych poetic sort of tunes set to acoustic guitar and filled with lyrics vaguely meant to reveal some sort of epiphany about life or something. A decent tune but rather forgettable in the context of time. Roger Chapman's ragged vocals combined with a loping guitar riff bring things back into more familiar territory on "Hung Up Down", while "Summer 67" has a decidedly Eastern feel with strings (violin and cello as near as I can tell), Jim King's saxophone and I'm pretty sure a touch of sitar although uncredited as it was on the first album. "Face in the Cloud" is quite similar and here the sitar is unmistakable.

For me the sweet spot on the record comes with "How-Hi-the-Li", a highly acoustic number with mellow, jazzy snare drums, gorgeous violin work and Chapman's vocals toned down to an enchanting dull roar. This is a typical late-sixties tune with references to the dangers of dogmatic religions and politics. The saxophone/organ riffs will sound familiar to many music fans of that day, and in fact are quite similar to Chicago's "Wishing You Were Here" that released with 'Chicago VII' and became one of their biggest commercial hits.

Honestly I wish the album had ended there, since most of the rest of the album is a letdown in comparison. "Second Generation Woman" is the sort of blues boogie its title would suggest; "From Past Archives" comes off as more like circus music than serious progressive rock; and both "Dim" and "Processions" fail to take advantage of the considerable instrumental arsenal the band had at their disposal in the studio.

The closing "Emotions" manages to save the record, although just barely. Chapman's gruff vocals return here, and the handful of tempo changes while almost amateurish today were pretty heady stuff in 1969.

I kind of wish I had discovered this album years ago, but like most of the U.S. was largely unaware of the band until prog started to be rediscovered in the digital music age. The first CD reissue of the record came in 1987, although there is a remastered version available today that combines the band's first two albums along with some extended liner material. Mine is unfortunately the older See for Miles version picked up in a used record store and probably just a few more spins from being useless; the newer version is obviously better and probably more readily available today anyway.

Three stars out of five for the band's sophomore effort. A very decent album but not quite as distinctive and original as their first. The group had a lot more in them at this point though, as their next couple of releases would prove. Mildly recommended but not as much as anything else they released prior to 1973.

peace

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Posted Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Having burst onto the British rock scene with 1968's eclectic psychedelic debut 'Music In A Doll's House', Family, a group who have always defied easy categorisation, performed a characteristically abrupt about-turn with the release of this follow-up effort 'Family Entertainment'. Issued in 1969 with sleeve art directly parodying The Doors 'Strange Days' album, this sophomore release for the most deliberately eschewed the acid-rock overtures of its predecessor, instead producing a more song-orientated album that reflected the various band members love of folk, blues and rock 'n' roll. A veritable melting pot of ideas, 'Family Entertainment' may just be the most atypical of all Family albums, showcasing the rich and unique mixture of styles that saw the group positioned alongside many of the same era's progressive rock acts. The progressive rock tag is, of course, rather misleading, yet whatever genre you may think Family inhabit - whether it be art-rock, acid-rock or psychedelic blues - there is no denying that this one of the few outfits capable of producing an utterly original sound thanks to the winning blend of Roger Chapman's throaty vocals and the multi-instrumental talents of his bandmates. Whilst 'Music In A Doll's House' certainly leant towards the more lysergic end of sixties rock, 'Family Entertainment' instead serves up a colourful jaunt through a veritable mix of sonic territories, taking in rustic ballads, avant-garde rock stomps and bluesy pop numbers to name just a few. Highlights include the rousing fan favourite 'The Weaver's Answer', a tune which would quickly become a live staple; the brassy, head-nodding 'Hung Up Down'; the jazzy and atmospheric 'How-Hi-The-Li'; and the mid- Western cowboy drawl of the delightfully bouncy banjo-strummed 'Dim'. Its a heady experience, and like many of the best records this gets better with each additional listen, the dense instrumental passages constantly throwing up new surprises for the eagle-eared listener. A true original then from one of the great cult groups, 'Family Entertainment' is best described as an album full of character and charm; although it may not be progressive rock per se, this is still inherently progressive music chock full of creativity. In a word: excellent. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#857723) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars From Psyche to Prog in one year

Some weeks ago, a friend who has recently divorced from his Prog listening wife, sold me some of the albums she left in the house before moving to another country, among this records I found the first two releases by FAMILY. Music in a Doll's House didn't impressed me too much (good but not essential) so with little expectations listened Family Entertainment, but the surprise was monumental, I couldn't believe that a Psyche band could progress to a strong Proto Prog release in less than a year, but without losing the charm and freshness of the debut.

If the first album was a classic exponent of late Psychedelia, Family Entertainment is a nice blend of sounds, atmospheres and genres, we can listen some remains of the original style, carefully blended with Hard Rock and some sort of early Prog Folk, that is simply delightful.

The album is opened by The Weaver's Answer, a mysterious blend of every influence the band could had found in those days, from JEFFERSON AIRPLANE to early JETHRO TULL with a touch of Blues and Jazz, all enhanced by the dramatic voice of Roger Chapman who cam express and transmit strong feelings with unusual capacity. The interplay between the powerful vocals, distorted guitar and a soft flute is addictive from the first to the last note?.Really impressive.

Observation from a Hill took me by surprise, because the singer is definitely not Chappman but doesn't affect the quality of the music, and the folksy violin (uncredited) really is the cherry in the top of the pie, if I had to describe it would have to create some exotic genre as Country Celtic, again they hit the nail in the head.

Only after listening Hung Up Down, I'm able to notice that Roger Chapman is some sort of masculine version of Grace Slick, they both manage to create a peculiar atmosphere with the fantastic vibrato, but the similarities end there, after a bluesy they morph into some kind of Arabic Folk, that could be an acestor of DEAD CAN DANCE, a mysterious atmosphere that continues along the first part of Summer '67, another song that every Proghead should enjoy.

How-Hi-The-Li is another song without Chappman in the vocals, and this is a good change, because the deep calmed voice fits much better in this guitar oriented jazzy ballad that somehow reminds me of From the Beginning but more acid and vibrant. For the first time I notice the excellent drumming of Rob Townsend who does an extraordinaire job as a human metronome.

After the simple but effective Second Generation Woman (just a classic 60's Rock), comes the eclectic From Past Archives a song that has everything, beginning with a Beatlesque intro, orchestral and almost Symphonic passages and some sort of power ballad with a couple of Twelve-bar blues instrumental breaks, almost like a fusion of ELP and LYNYRD SKYNYRD.

From this point to the end, we can expect anything, starting with Dim that sounds like a Southern Country Rock with some Heavy fugues, but what I never expected was Processions a clear exponent of mid 60's British Invasion in the vein of HERMAN HERMIT'S.........A demonstration of how unexpected this LP is.

Family Entertainment, is closed by two different songs, the sitar based Face In The Crowd with the voice of Rick Grech (Bob Dylan anybody?) in then vocals and the atmospheric but vibrant Emotions where we enjoy Chappman's voice again supported by .dramatic choirs and a fantastic piano.

Probably for a 21st Century listener, not familiar with the late 60's, the music could sound dated, but for a fanatic of this transitional era is a must have, so I will go with 4 solid stars.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#920398) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars Unlike his experimental, psyhedelic predecessor, this more mature album represents Family as a tru progressive rock pearl. Numerous brilliant songs : from the A side opener ''Weaver's answer'' followed by four tracks full of Family typical energy, to B side unexpected hard rocking starter ''S ... (read more)

Report this review (#63669) | Posted by bsurmano | Saturday, January 07, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After a number of years of making a name for themselves in the UK, the mythical Art- rock group Family might have had a bit of trouble bettering their outstanding debut, but yet they proved naysayers wrong and released an even greater sophomore album, the great "Family Entertainment". For th ... (read more)

Report this review (#62719) | Posted by | Sunday, January 01, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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