Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Eclectic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Family Old Songs, New Songs album cover
3.02 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Write a review

Buy FAMILY Music
from partners
Boxset/Compilation, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hung Up Down
2. Today
3. Observations from a Hill
4. Good Friend of Mine
5. Drowned in Wine
6. Peace of Mind
7. Home Town
8. The Cat and the Rat
9. No Mule's Fool
10. See Through Windows
11. The Weaver's Answer

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Chapman / vocals, percussion
- John 'Charlie' Whitney / guitar, banjo, organ
- John Weider / guitars, violin, dobro
- Robert Townsend / drums & percussion, harp
- John 'Poli' Palmer / vibes, piano, flute
- Jim King / saxophone

Releases information

LP Reprise RMP 9007 [1971]
CD See For Miles Records SEE CD 334 [1992]

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

Buy FAMILY Old Songs, New Songs Music

FAMILY Old Songs, New Songs ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (83%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FAMILY Old Songs, New Songs reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Lastly through these last few years of loneliness maybe, does by sight a shooting star fade from your tapestry? But wait, there in the distance your loom I think I see, could it be that after all my prayers you've answered me? After days of wondering I see the reason why you've kept it to this minute, for I'm about to die".

By 1971, Leicester band Family had pretty much reached the height of their popularity and commercial success. That height was however not great when compared to their peers, such as Free, Ten Years After, Deep Purple etc. Despite having had several hit singles, and attracted a small but loyal following, Family never managed to make the leap from pub-rock band done good, to fully fledged headliners.

In preparation for what was hoped to be their breakthrough US tour, the band and their record label put together this compilation of selected album tracks and non-album singles (A and/or B). Some of the tracks were remixed, and the backing tracks to four of the songs ("Weaver's Answer", "Hung up Down", "Observations from a Hill" and "Hometown") were re-recorded all together. In the event, the tour was cancelled, and this album became a stopgap UK release. "Old songs, new songs" (the appropriate title is taken from a track on their "Music in a Doll's house" album which bizarrely is not actually on this album), did eventually get released in the US, but only on 8-track cartridge and cassette tape.

The period covered by this set, which is technically a compilation but is effectively a bona fide studio album, is from the bands debut album ("Music in a doll's house") through to their fourth album ("Anyway"), although the latter is only represented by the CD bonus track "Today". During the period, bassist and violinist Rick Grech left to join Blind Faith and Jim King was sacked due to the band's style mutating and rendering him superfluous. A certain John Wetton, who does not appear here, arrived before their next studio album was recorded.

As was common in the 1960's and early 70's, several singles by Family never appeared on their original studio albums, and four of the tracks here fall into that category, including the minor hit single "No mule's fool".

Musically, the album consists of eleven diverse Chapman/Whitney composed songs. Some of these such as "Hung up down", Drowned in wine", and "Peace of mind" are very much of their time, and have not aged particularly well. They have echoes of early Uriah Heep/Spice ("Peace of mind"), Slade's "Cos I love you" (Drowned in wine"), and early Genesis ("Today").

There are softer reflective numbers such as "No mule's fool" and "Home town" where Roger Chapman demonstrates that he did not need to utilise his demented warble to get noticed. The latter song was criminally hidden away for years as a non-album B side.

The standout track by far though is "The weaver's answer", from which the lyrical quote at the start of this review is taken. Indeed, Chapman's virtually unintelligible vocal style on this track disguises some incredibly accomplished prose. I would highly recommend reading the full lyrics on the band's official website. The song is an exceptional work, which suits Chapman's unique voice perfectly. If only Family could have come up with a few more tracks like this, they may well have become one of the UK's top bands.

In all, a decent introduction to the early music of Family, although some of the track selections are dubious and not necessarily represent the best of the source albums.

Incidentally, the sleeve shown here is from the German release. The original UK version was in black and white, with the track listing and credits on the front. It also had individual photos of the five band members, but not Rick Grech or Jim King. The rear sleeve was negative mirror image of the front.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Old Songs, New Songs" is a compilation album by UK rock act Family. The album was released through Reprise Records in March 1971. It bridges the gap between the band's fourth and fifth full-length studio albums "Anyway" (November 1970) and "Fearless" (October 1971). "Old Songs, New Songs" is a rarities type compilation album featuring single tracks (which had not been included on the previous album releases), some re-recordings of early tracks, and a couple of remixes of previously released tracks ("Hung Up Down", "Observations from a Hill", and "The Weaver's Answer" from "Family Entertainment" (1969)).

Stylistically the material is in the standard rock/psychadelic rock style of the previous releases by Family, which of course isn't a surprise, since many of these tracks have been released in other versions on some of the preceding releases by the band. This is great, organic, and at times quite adventurous rock music, featuring a lead vocalist in Roger Chapman who has a distinct sounding voice and delivery.

Upon conclusion "Old Songs, New Songs" doesn't add much to the discography of Family and it's certainly what you'd label a "fan" release, but since the material is of a high quality and some of the re-recordings/remixes do add something to the original recordings (and some of the rarity tracks are nice too), a 3 star (60%) rating is still warranted.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of FAMILY "Old Songs, New Songs"

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.