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Family Bandstand album cover
3.48 | 88 ratings | 8 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Burlesque (4:05)
2. Bolero Babe (4:37)
3. Coronation (3:50)
4. Dark Eyes (1:46)
5. Broken Nose (4:09)
6. My Friend the Sun (4:20)
7. Glove (4:50)
8. Ready to Go (4:36)
9. Top of the Hill (5:40)

Total Time 37:53

Bonus track on 1997 & 2006 remasters:
10. Rockin' R's (B-side) (3:23)

Extra bonus tracks on 2006 remaster:
11. No Mules Fool (live) (2:58)
12. Good News - Bad News (live) (4:11)
13. The Weaver's Answer (live) (5:34)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Chapman / vocals, percussion, soprano saxophone (2)
- John 'Charlie' Whitney / guitars, keyboards (4)
- John 'Poli' Palmer / keyboards, percussion, vibes, flute, guitar (4)
- John Wetton / bass, guitars, vocals
- Rob Townsend / drums & percussion

Releases information

Artwork: John Kosh with Peter Howe (photo)

LP Reprise Records ‎- K54006 (1972, UK)

CD See For Miles Records Ltd. ‎- SEE CD 241 (1988, UK)
CD Essential ‎- ESM CD 565 (1997, UK) Remastered by Mike Brown & Robert Corich w/ a bonus track
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REPUK 1081 (2006, UK) Remastered (?) with 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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FAMILY Bandstand ratings distribution

(88 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FAMILY Bandstand reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!!

Yet with another expensive gimmick cover portraying an old type of TV with a plastic window and special cut-outs, this album holds a special place in collector's hearts, but it should also hold a good place in the proghead's collection. Although not as excellent as the previous Fearless, Bandstand has many things going for itself, not least of all some good songwriting.

The opening Stones-esque Burlesque (the main riff seems to be coming out of Keith Richards's Telecaster) became yet another hit for them, but this is maybe one of the least interesting (progressive-wise) songs on the album. For us progheads, songs such as Bolero Babe (with its string arrangements and synths), Dark Eyes, the delicate My Friend The Sun (in which Chapman actually sounds more like Peter Gabriel-but it stops there), the punchy Broken Nose and its winked-at slow-developing Glove are much more up our sleeves (get it? glove > sleeve ;-) and make this album yet another worthy listen. The last two songs on the original album are less interesting even if the finale Top Of The Hill with its string arrangements (strings were missing since Weider had left after Anyway) should be mentioned.

The bonus tracks include the country B-side of the Burlesque single, and three live tracks including a deceiving version of the superb Weaver's Answer and a short and non-definitive Good News.

I will stop my run of Family reviews at this album - as the last one (Movie) is a rather sad end - and the posthumous Live album, but I feel I covered the main aspects of one of UK's most uncompromising group on stage, but also outlined their "progressiveness".

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars "You in that dress and destination Burlesque, I've got all my cards in one shoe"

Released in 1972, "Bandstand" is the second album recorded by the line up which made "Fearless" a year earlier. While the ever present Roger Chapman's voice is of course the band's signature, it is perhaps surprising that the continuing presence of journeyman John Wetton is largely low key; apart from one co-credit he does not even contribute to the song writing. Wetton would in fact leave the band after this album, heading for King Crimson.

The single "Burlesque" opens the album, a dirty, funky piece of magic with slightly risqué lyrics, and a wonderful vocal performance by Chapman. The album as a whole though is not as aggressive as previous offerings, the reflectively harmonic "Bolero babe" being more representative of the mood. Del Newman's string arrangements are unobtrusive, but nonetheless uncharacteristic for a Family album. The downbeat mood continues on "Coronation" where Chapman's higher range vocals sound a little odd. The track benefits from the addition of some synth and violin and a more spirited chorus. "Dark eyes" is a brief Poli Palmer (who was also to leave the band) contribution, in very much the same vein as its predecessors on the album. The track rather strangely fades in mid verse.

"Broken nose" finally returns us to the heavier and noisier sounds we expect from the band. This story of unrequited love across the classes has a rather messy melody and some of the most obvious synthesiser the band have added to a song.

"My friend the sun" was perhaps too different to their previous releases to succeed as a single. The song is a soft acoustic ballad with CSN like harmonies, and accordion backing. "Glove" sets out as a quiet blues featuring just vocal and piano. As the song develops, it becomes a more orthodox Family song, with some nice lead guitar and ever more dominant strings. The final choruses have a sing-a-long anthem feel.

"Ready to go" is a sort of back to basics affair, with acidic lyrics. Whitney and Chapman are clearly getting something off their chests here, but rather at the expense of a decent tune. The closing "Top of the hill" is a mid paced traditional Family song, with a simple melody. The arrangement is reasonably lavish, accentuated by the ubiquitous strings.

Unlike "Fearless", "Bandstand" is very much a single mood album. This gives it a more coherent feel, but also a measure of dullness. There are some highlights, especially the opening "Burlesque", but overall I find the album to be undistinguished.

The LP comes in a wonderful shaped sleeve designed like an old fashioned radio, complete with Perspex screen.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars A nice and inventive packaging is not always the guarantee that the inside would be on par. This is the least that I can say about this album.

I have never been a devoted fan of this band but the talent of such a great vocalist as Chapman is of course immense and deserves the most profound respect. But the music that they offered at least in the studio; because the band was much better while playing live, has never exceeded the good rating as far as I'm concerned (meaning three stars). This album won't be an exception and I can't even think of more than two stars to catalogue it.

There is some heavy blues on this album, some funk as well. These are not really the genres that I embrace. But even so, I have to say that Broken Nose is probably one of the best track of this album. A deadly funky and wild beat throughout, for sure. Not very prog, is it?

The other favourite of mine is the excellent opening track Burlesque. But none of the other tracks are really fascinating: the mellow and countryside My Friend The Sun is just a press next type of songs.

Even if this album is not their last one, it sounds as if the end was near (and so was it). String arrangements just don't speak to me (Glove). On the contrary, most of the time, they just ruin it all. In all, I don't like this album. It just failed of sinking completely thanks to a couple of songs (Burlesque and Broken Nose) but the funky feeling is too strong (Ready To Go). Is this funky-prog???

Some good blues-rock with Top Of The Hill...Ok, it is my preferred song from this offering. Is it necessary to tell that the heart and soul Chapman is just wonderful? And that strings are not welcome in my opinion? Anyway, this song is a very good closing number. But there weren't many good ones before it.

Review by stefro
4 stars An odd but ultimately rather endearing little group, Family were always one of those outfits lumped in with the progressive group by dint of being a bit too different from everybody else. Calling them a prog-rock act is a bit like calling Hawkwind heavy metal; neither is particularly accurate yet they share definite traits of these respective labels. Besides, where else would you bracket Family? Starting out in the late-sixties, these not- quite-progressive-rockers introduced themselves with their excellent 1968 debut 'Music From A Doll's House', a psych-tinged medley of eccentric rock ingredients shot through with a deceptively complex instrumental edge that showcased the group's pure eclectism. It would prove to be a career highlight, although follow-up efforts 'Entertainment', 'Anyway' and 'Fearless' would also come close, respectively showing off the folk, jazz, pop and psychedelic elements that made their sound so attractively unique. With 'Bandstand', however, Family would pursue their ballsiest course yet, producing a hard-rock themed album that showed they could really rock out with the best of 'em, the opening salvo 'Burlesque' - all gritty, bluesy riffs and jump-start rhythms - kicking proceedings off in powerful style. Here, most of all, Family were producing a rare example of 'genre' music, grafting their eccentric style onto a bruising set of blustery tracks that exhibited a real spiky edge to their sound. It's one of their longer albums - thirty-seven minutes - yet it rockets by in pacey fashion, the stinging guitars of 'Broken Nose' and 'Ready To Go's tough veneer the perfect platform for Roger Chapman's wonderfully gruff vocals. 'Bandstand' may lack the lyrical undertones found in their best work - think the pretty simplicities of 'Fearless' or the odd time-signatures and acid licks of their debut - yet this is still Family in full flow, exhibiting a rare streak of rock solid power that showcases yet another side to their highly singular sonic character. Definitely the last great Family release, 'Bandstand' is an impressive ode to the bluesier side of prog.


Review by jamesbaldwin
4 stars Just as after the experimental and progressive "Music From a Doll's House" a more classic album has arrived ("Entertainment"), even after the creative effort of Fearless's eccentric art-rock arrangements, a much more conventional album has arrived, Bandstand.

The Family entrusted Del Newmann with the orchestral arrangement of the strings, and limited themselves to producing rock songs with the classic strophe-refrain structure showing off the technical virtuosity of their singer, Roger Chapman, and of all the musicians. The songs on this album are split between prog songs and blues-funk songs.

"Burlesque" is a syncopated funk (vote 7,5/8), with a lazy rhythm, which comes alive thanks to the Whitney guitar and the hoarse and vibrato singing of Chapman. This initial song brings the disc to the black sound that characterizes half of his songs, and heralds the style that Chapman and Whitney will adopt in the Streetwalkers, the group that they will create after the breakup of the Family. "Bolero Babe" (vote 7+) completely changes sound and mood, being a slow progressive orechestral ballad, where the arrangements are a simple accompaniment of Chapman's voice in the verses, then "pump" the refrain.

"Coronation" (vote 7+) is more spontaneous and less constructed than Bolero Babe and sees John Wetton's collaboration in writing, usually left to Chapman-Whitney. It is a progressive ballad with a rather bare arrangement, which gives the best of itself in the refrain. Until now, the album has shown three songs of medium-slow rhythm, the first aggressive, the other romantic and subdued. At this point comes "Dark Eyes", an abortive song, one minute and 46 seconds, that fades without being developed, after a good intro of Palmer's piano (no vote).

"Broken nose" (vote 7,5) reshuffles the tone of the album thanks to a frenzied, almost noisy, funky rhythm, supported by some frenetic chorus, in which Linda Lewis takes part. The song has a paroxysmal "crescendo" a bit forced, which becomes sensational (in this as in two other songs on the album) thanks to the sound of the keyboards (synth?) and piano.

Here ends a first non-memorable side.

"My Freind the Sun" is a prog-folk song (vote 8+) with in the foreground the voice of Chapman, here splendidly delicate, tender, and the acoustic guitar. Wetton sings the harmony vocals. The song is simple but very inspired. "Glove" is one of the top rockblues of the Family (vote 8,5). It's a piece that has little of progressive and a lot of the singing of black shouters. With a progression of piano, drums and electric guitar where even the bass is high in volume, the track reaches a remarkable pathos, penalized only by the fact that the sensational production due to the "wall of sound" of the arrangements prevents the voice of Chapman (which rises in a fantastic performance) to be fully audible. "Ready to Go" is another funky piece, very supported, without the excesses of "Broken Nose", more conventional (vote 7,5) but well done.

The last song, "Top of the Hill" (vote 8+) is the longest, and also the most progressive song of the Lp. The first minute, instrumental, is interlocutory, and seems like a way to increase its duration. then, when the piece explodes, we listen to another song with a sensationalist progression (where in the background it seems to me to hear the vibraphone), and where the strings support an ever more engaging rhythm that ends with a great climax. With this song ends a great second side.

Bandstand is an album only partly progressive, however, equipped with 8 very good songs, partly rock, partly blues / funk, with a good first side and an excellent second side. The Family seems that with this effort they have exhausted their creativity, their repertoire and, in fact, after being one of the progressive antesignan groups with their debut masterpiece (1968), only 4 years later, in a year where the progressive has broken the charts and touched perhaps its maximum splendor (1972), they give us a more conventional album, although very good, which seems to archive their most progressive and experimental phase. In fact, undecided about which direction to take, so eclectic to risk being without a true identity, with the next album "It's Only A Move" (1973) will definitely come out of the world of progressive rock and will melt for lack of inspiration.

Medium quality of the songs:7,78; Vote album: 8,5. Four stars

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album is an absolute classic! I was very fortunate enough to see family on the tour promoting this album, and it still ranks as one of the best experiences of my life. Just earth- shattering live. So much energy and emotion on stage, generated obviously by Chapman, but the whole experience w ... (read more)

Report this review (#584975) | Posted by chrismagic56 | Thursday, December 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Along with Fearless and featuring the same line up, this is Family's masterpiece. Burlesque and My Friend the Sun both reasonably successful as singles (by Family standards) but consistently strong playing and the recording/mixing much better than on earlier albums. Classic material - th ... (read more)

Report this review (#71967) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars On Family's sixth album, The band peaked with their most endearing recording. "Bandstand" is an improvement on even its predecessor "Fearless", showing this incarnation's best qualities with literally no weak moment. The songs here are a precussor to Roger Chapman and "Charlie" Whitney's next ... (read more)

Report this review (#62362) | Posted by Charles | Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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