Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Eclectic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Family A Song for Me album cover
3.42 | 95 ratings | 6 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

Buy FAMILY Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Drowned in Wine (4:10)
2. Some Poor Soul (2:44)
3. Love Is a Sleeper (4:02)
4. Stop for the Traffic-Through the Heart of Me (2:11)
5. Wheels (4:43)
6. Songs for Sinking Lovers (4:06)
7. Hey-Let It Rock (0:59)
8. The Cat and the Rat (2:32)
9. 93's Ok J (3:59)
10. A Song for Me (9:20)

Total Time 38:46

Bonus tracks on 1998 remaster:
11. No Mule's Fool (single 1969) (3:13)
12. Good Friend of Mine (B-side) (3:31)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Chapman / vocals, percussion
- John 'Charlie' Whitney / guitar, banjo, organ
- John Weider / guitars, violin, dobro
- John 'Poli' Palmer / vibes, piano, flute
- Rob Townsend / drums & percussion, harmonica

- George Bruno Money / organ (? 3)
- Jim King / saxophones (11,12)

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Holden (photo)

LP Reprise Records ‎- RSLP 9001 (1970, UK)

CD See For Miles Records Ltd. ‎- SEE CD 240 (1988, UK)
CD Castle Communications ‎- ESMCD616 (1998, UK) Remastered by Mike Brown with 2 bonus tracks

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

Buy FAMILY A Song for Me Music

FAMILY A Song for Me ratings distribution

(95 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FAMILY A Song for Me reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I quite prefer this album to Family Entertainment.

The personnel changes doesn't seem to have affected the band too much; especially when I listen to the very good opening song Drowned In Wine. I'm maybe too much attracted by the title, but this song features a great Chapman on the lead vocals and some fine flute as well.

Flute has a more prominent role on this album (which is fine with me), and the violin play is a fine add on as well even if Song For Sinking Lovers sounds a bit folkish.

The major attraction IMHHO, is the fantastic vocal performance from the electric goat. Roger is really excellent from start to finish; even during softer and more delicate songs (Some Poor Soul).

Of course, when the beat catches up, his powerful organ (I mean his voice), brings you on the border of heaven. Have a listen to Love Is A Sleeper to be convinced. Not only by his voice, but also for the great vibes.

This shouldn't prevent me to say that some tracks are not really good like the country-style The Cat and the Rat (but I have never liked country music).

Therefore, 93's OK J is welcome; it is a pleasant track holding some very good acoustic guitar work which is sustained by strong percussion. Some fine Spanish atmosphere comes out from it; it is a bit unexpected from Family, but it works very well.

The long closing number is a serious piece of music which holds lots of frenetic violin and an amazing and crazy finale: totally wild and devastating. It might though be a bit too long and repetitive, but A Song For Me is one of the best number from this album.

Three stars. Maybe not as inspired as their debut, but better than their sophomore album.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "A Song For Me" is the third full length studio album by UK progressive/psychadelic rock act Family. The album was released through Reprise Records in January 1970. Itīs the successor to "Family Entertainment" from March 1969 and thereīs been a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor as Rick Grech (bass, violin) left to join Blind Faith and Jim King (saxophone/harmonica) was fired because of his excessive drug abuse. Most of the material was written while King was still in the band, and therefore the original arrangements of the songs centered around his saxophone. Family however opted not to replace the two members as one to one replacements. Instead they hired John Weider (guitars, bass, violin, dobro) and John Palmer (vibes, piano, flute). Especially the latter has great impact on the musical direction of "A Song For Me", as the flute is now a central instrument in the bandīs sound compared to the first two albums, where the saxophone took that place in the soundscape. The inclusion of vibraphone is also a new element in Familyīs sound.

Stylistically Family are as eclectic as ever. The core of the bandīs sound is rock/hard rock, but youīll also be exposed to musical elements from jazz, folk, progressive rock, and psychadelic rock. This is a smorgasbord of different elements and influences, but Family can handle it, and although not all tracks are equally interesting ("Stop for the Traffic - Through the Heart of Me" is for example not a particularly remarkable song), the quality of the compositions is overall high throughout. Lead vocalist Roger Chapman is quite the unique singer and his voice and singing style is arguably an aquired taste. He has an almost demented vibrato and presence, but to my ears he is a great asset to the bandīs sound, and thereīs no Family without him.

Upon conclusion "A Song For Me" is a good quality third album release from Family, and considering the short time between this album and "Family Entertainment" (10 months) and the fact that two out of five members were replaced in that time, itīs a testimony to the strength of Family that they came through that period and produced an album like "A Song For Me". A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Following their second consecutive release with the same lineup Family underwent the inevitable staffing changes that characterized so many B-list prog bands of the early seventies. Bassist Rick Grech departed for a gig with the newly-formed supergroup Blind Faith (and later the spinoff Ginger Baker's Air Force) before Family's connections to Traffic paid dividends for him with a stint there, followed by a brief stay with the reformed Crickets (minus Buddy Holly of course) and on to more commercial success with KGB. He was replaced (sort of) by multi-instrumentalist John Weider of Eric Burdon & the Animals, who brought with him a new dynamic for the band with his considerable violin and dobro-playing skills, in addition to guitar and a little bass. The band also added piano along with another flautist in the form of John Palmer. Both would depart within a year, but their presence gave the band the ability to stretch their sound into new territories, albeit more along the lines of the more acoustic and folksy sound than the harder-rocking debut.

This proved to be a mixed blessing. One a positive note the band's music is rather more eclectic on this album than either of the previous ones, with more fusion ("Hey Let it Rock", "93's Ok J" in particular). And the piano and electric keyboards add depth to the mid-range of their sound that tended to be a bit flat and muddled on the first two albums (some of that owing to the dubious production of late sixties studios).

The downside I suppose is a decidedly more contemporary rocking sound on what can best be described as filler tracks, most notably the opening "Drowned in Wine" and the jam session titled "Love is a Sleeper". At times I wonder if I'm listening to a set of Wishbone Ash outtakes, including the almost countryish "Stop for the Traffic-Through the Heart of Me" and mushy "Good Friend of Mine".

Roger Chapman's vocals are as potent as ever though, and the blend of flute, dobro, piano and guitar trio of Charlie Whitney and Robert Townsend make for a bevy of well- constructed, easy-listening tunes even if not many of them offer much new in terms of composition or innovative arrangements.

Overall I have to say this is a slightly better album than the last, mostly due to the variety of instruments and occasional deviation from both blues and country rock they favored on the first couple of records. Their debut still beats this one out for sheer creativity though, so three stars out of five is the best I can do. Recommended to fans of the band and those who enjoy hearing what passed for new more than forty years ago. As a nostalgic piece you could do worse.


Review by jamesbaldwin
4 stars The Family is a great art rock and pioneeristic prog rock band.

I think the Family is one of the most underrated group here in progarchives and generally in forums of prog fans. The reasons why Family is underrated are:

1) Family's music is full of american roots-rock influences.

2) The singer is too much cumbersome.

3) The music of the group is guitar-oriented and keyboards are not preminent.

4) Family prefers more short art rock songs than suites or long and odd songs.

In a word: Family's music is visceral art rock, not cerebral or classical prog rock. Family's music touch more your lung (and heart) than your brain. Anyway, this music touches you in a surprising way, full of strength and intelligence.

Except their last album, Family's discography includes only great Lp or masterpiece. There are no falls.

"A Song for Me" is not a masterpiece but a very good album, It's hard rock and folk oriented, with an excellent mix of acoustic and electric guitar, plus violin and flute, and over all there is the Chapman' voice, wonderful, rough, or tender, ore amusing, or angry. Chapman is one of the greatest singer in the whole rock history (not only in prog history). In this album Chapman sings without any inibition (in the firsts two album his vocal performancee sometimes are not at their best, if we consider his enormous capability).

The songs.

1) "Drowned in Wine". Great hard-folk song. Electric and acoustic guitar, flute, voice: magic. Vote 8,5. 2) "Some Poor Souls". Short acoustic folk song. Delicious. Vote 7,5. 3) "Love is a sleeper". Great song of classic rock with vibes. 7,5/8. 4) "Stop For the Traffic". Not bad but anonymous rock song. Vote 6,5. 5) "Wheels". Another great hard folk song. Excellent work of guitarist Whytney. Vote 8+.

End of side A.

6) "Song for Sinking Lovers". This song is more folk and violin oriented than others and in the beginning is lazy but before ending has got the climax in instrumental sequence. Vote 8. 7) and 8) are two closed short songs (Hey - Let It Rock; The Cat and The Rat), the first with vibes, the second of classic rock. This moment is the easier of the album. Vote 7+. 9) "93's O.K. J" is an instrumental, and very strange folk song, with optim melody and improvisations. Vote 7+. 10) "A Song for Me". Maybe the longer song of the Family. It's a jam of hard rock, maybe too long and repetitive because the songs goes around the same musical chord. But there are good moment of power rock, and avanguard sounds with the violin; the song give you power. Vote 7,5/8.

The production is good, the sound is homogenic, the alternance between empty space, or calm melody, and pieces of hard rock and shouted voice makes a good effect.

Medium Quality: 7,64 Vote: 8,5 Four stars. Listen to, and re-listen to Family music!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Like all of Family's studio albums, all are worth listening to, but unlike the band's prior two albums especially their sophomore release "Family Entertainment", the band is quite emphatic about what they deemed to less than stellar recording conditions and poor engineering, they felt that a ... (read more)

Report this review (#62716) | Posted by | Sunday, January 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of FAMILY "A Song for Me"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.