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FAMILY

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Family biography
FAMILY was formed in 1967 by John 'Charlie' Whitney (guitar, vocals), Roger Chapman (vocals), Jim King (saxophone, Flute), Ric Grech (bass) and Rob Townsend (drums) in Leicester. FAMILY plays a mixture of Rock, Blues and Folk interwoven with Classical and Jazz elements.

The history of FAMILY goes back to1962 when John Charlie Whitney formed the R&B outfit THE FARINAS, together with Jim King (sax & vocals) Harry Overnall (drums) and Tim Kirchin (bass). In 1965 Rick Grech replaced Kirchin on bass and in 1966 singer Roger Chapman joined the band. Chapman's vocal-style and the use of violin and sax expanded the band's sound in a progressive direction. They changed their name to ROARING SIXTIES and started to wear double-breasted suits on stage, that gave them a gangster image. Consequently the producer Kim Fowley, who recorded demos with the band in1967,christened them 'The Family'. Shortly after becoming FAMILY, drummer Overnall was replaced by Rob Townsend.

In September 1967 FAMILY released a single for 'Liberty', produced by Jimmy Miller and a year later signed to 'Reprise' for their first record 'Music In A Doll's House' (1968), produced by Dave Mason (TRAFFIC), who contributed one composition to the record. The record presented a mixture of Rock, Blues and Folk with Classical and Jazz-elements, dominated by Roger Chapman's typical 'throaty' vocal-style. The record came out with a sophisticated cover, a feature that would become one of FAMILY'S trademarks. In July1968 the band opened for singer Tim Hardin at the 'Royal Albert Hall' in London and in 1969 they released their second record 'Family Entertainment', that followed the same musical direction as the first. After the release of the record and prior to a US tour Ric Grech quit the band to join BLIND FAITH. John Weider (Ex-ERIC BURDON &THE ANIMALS) joined the band on bass and violin and in 1970 John 'Poli' Palmer (Ex-ECLECTION/keyboards & vibes) replaced Jim King ,who was dismissed for his 'erratic behaviour'.

In 1970 FAMILY released two records 'A Song For Me', on which the band developed a more aggressive sound and 'Anyway', a half-live half-studio record, with a beautiful 'Leonardo Da Vinci' cover . Both records entered the British Top Ten. In 1970 the band played several major European Rock-Festivals (among others 'The Isle Of Wight Festival') and became an appreciated live-act. Roger Chapman became famous for tambourine and mic-stand crashing and his special custom 'Idiot-Da...
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Partridge Family Up to Date LP Record with Sleeve Cover Bell 6059 Stereo US $7.99 [0 bids]
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46m 26s
BURTON & CUNICO (**SEALED) ~ STRIVE, SEEK, FIND ~ FAMILY PROD 6013 US $7.99 Buy It Now 46m 57s
FAMILY STAND 6 Song 1991 PROMO CD w/ New World Order US $4.99 [0 bids]
48m 6s
MALAVSKY FAMILY: Same LP International US $20.00 Buy It Now 48m 16s
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SINGIN TIME IN DIXIE SHOW RECORD SPEER FAMILY OAK RIDGE US $11.95 Buy It Now 48m 26s
SPIRIT "The Family That Plays Together" 1st PRESS ODE Z12 44014 Psych VG+ Cond. US $29.99 Buy It Now 48m 40s
Willie Murphy & Family, Jesus Is Coming Soon & Ye Must Be Born Again, 2 LP, VG+ US $14.75 Buy It Now 52m 2s
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57m 31s
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Jimmy Dean Country The Stoneman Family Big Tiny Little Movin' On 12" LP VG+/VG++ US $7.99 [0 bids]
58m 26s
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1h
COUNTRY GOSPEL 78 Humbard Family, Rex & Maude Aimee on WHITE CHURCH 5150 US $10.00 [0 bids]
1h
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The Poppy Family "which Way You Goin' Billy?" 45 RPM US $1.49 [0 bids]
1h
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1h 4m
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Favorite Hymns the Family Loves : The Light of Faith Choir US $0.99 [0 bids]
1h 5m
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TV Family Christmas - Various Artists - Like New CD US $13.00 Buy It Now 1h 6m
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1h 10m
The Addams Family by Original Soundtrack (CD, Jun-2010, Decca (USA)) US $8.06 Buy It Now 1h 10m
Family Tree [Digipak] by Nick Drake (CD, 2007, Island (Label)) US $7.97 Buy It Now 1h 10m
A Lifetime in the Making * by The Whites (CD, Nov-2002, Skaggs Family Records) US $6.72 Buy It Now 1h 10m
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1h 16m
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1h 19m
FAMILY CHRISTMAS, HOLIDAY TRADITIONS (CD, 1999) US $0.99 [0 bids]
1h 19m
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1h 25m
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Sing A Song The Brown Family Singers~RARE 1970s Private Label Xian~FAST SHIPPING US $44.95 Buy It Now 1h 27m
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1h 30m
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1h 32m
Korn Family Values Extra Value Compilation CD KID ROCK, Incubus, Hed[PE] US $7.98 Buy It Now 1h 32m
CLARK FAMILY EXPERIENCE Standin' Still 2001 PROMO CD US $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 33m
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CLARK FAMILY EXPERIENCE Meanwhile Back At The Ranch PROMO CD CFX US $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 34m
Shaking Family - Dreaming In Detail CD 1990 US $5.99 [0 bids]
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1h 35m
CLARK FAMILY EXPERIENCE Going Away 2002 PROMO CD CFX US $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 35m
(PARTRIDGE FAMILY -I Think I Love You/Somebody Wants to Love You )-K3-7 US $6.31 Buy It Now 1h 35m
Harold Sala STRESS AND YOUR FAMILY Cassette Tapes US $8.99 Buy It Now 1h 36m
HER & KINGS COUNTY Family Tree 2012 PROMO CD US $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 36m
PARTRIDGE FAMILY LOT OF 4 VINTAGE RECORD ALBUMS LPS US $49.99 [0 bids]
1h 37m
A Family Christmas Vol. 5 CD, Christian, NEW Free Ship US $6.87 Buy It Now 1h 39m
(AS185) VWF, Family Man - DJ CD US $4.64 Buy It Now 1h 40m
East Coast Family, Vol. 1 (CD, Jul-1992, Motown (Record Label)) US $1.00 [0 bids]
1h 42m
Soundtrack LP HONEYSUCKLE ROSE OST Willie Nelson & Family US $9.30 Buy It Now 1h 43m
THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY UP TO DATE BELL RECORDS 6059 US $0.99 [0 bids]
1h 44m
Funk and Wagnalls Family Library of Great Music Classical LP Set US $19.99 [1 bids]
1h 44m
THE LOUD FAMILY Take Me Down / The Come On 1993 7" Scott Miller Ex Game Theory US $8.99 [0 bids]
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1h 44m
KING FAMILY Mono LP! "CHRISTMAS WITH....WB 1627 US $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 44m
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Nur ein Kusschen by Honey Twins (CD, May-2000, Bear Family) US $12.99 [0 bids]
1h 46m
ALL IN THE FAMILY LP SOUNDTRANCK 1971 ORIG CLEAN!! US $40.00 Buy It Now 1h 48m
The Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group by Chas McDevitt (CD, May-1999, Bear Family... US $11.99 [0 bids]
1h 49m
Caldonia and More by Bill (Sax) Ramsey, Bear Family CD US $11.99 [0 bids]
1h 50m
CD Family Reunion Concert Spirit Of Freedom US $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 50m
PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION Garrison Keillor 2LP Set SEALED The Family Radio '82 US $7.95 [0 bids]
1h 51m
Family Values: The Biggest Show of Stars For '98 - V... US $1.99 [0 bids]
1h 52m
P. DIDDY & THE BAD BOY FAMILY - THE SAGA CONTINOUS (PHILIPPINES) BRAND NEW US $10.00 [0 bids]
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1h 52m
PARTRIDGE FAMILY SOMEBODY WANTS TO LOVE YOU/I THINK I LOVE YOU 45 RPM BELL B-910 US $2.98 Buy It Now 1h 54m
Journey Through the Provinces by Stu Phillips Bear Family.1993. US $11.99 [0 bids]
1h 58m

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FAMILY shows & tickets


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FAMILY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FAMILY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 101 ratings
Music In A Doll's House
1968
3.50 | 72 ratings
Family Entertainment
1969
3.21 | 51 ratings
A Song For Me
1970
3.39 | 57 ratings
Anyway
1970
3.33 | 56 ratings
Fearless
1971
3.41 | 54 ratings
Bandstand
1972
2.23 | 35 ratings
It's Only A Movie
1973

FAMILY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 6 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert
1991
3.00 | 2 ratings
Live
2003

FAMILY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.00 | 5 ratings
Family - Masters From The Vaults
2003

FAMILY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Old Songs, New Songs
1971
3.00 | 2 ratings
Best Of Family
1974
3.59 | 6 ratings
Music In A Doll's House / Family Entertainment
1999
3.00 | 3 ratings
BBC Radio Volume 2: 1971-73
2004
3.13 | 4 ratings
BBC Radio Volume 1: 1968 - 69
2004

FAMILY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Strange Band
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Weavers Answer
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Strange Band
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
In My Own Time
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Burlesque
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
My Friend The Sun
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sweet Desiree
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Burlesque
1978
2.09 | 2 ratings
The Peel Sessions
1988

FAMILY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Family Entertainment by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.50 | 72 ratings

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Family Entertainment
Family Eclectic Prog

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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 Music In A Doll's House by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.91 | 101 ratings

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Music In A Doll's House
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

3 stars A few days ago, a friend who had just divorced from his wife who used to be Prog fan, sold me the albums she left in the house, like 30 records for US$ 50.00. I bought them without looking at them, and that's how I found FAMILY, something that really made me happy, being myself a huge fan of the late 60's Psyche/Proto Prog scene.

So started in chronological order with Music in a Doll's House and from the first moment was impressed by the fantastic voice of Roger Chapman, who combines a timbre reminiscent of a young Peter Gabriel, with the vibrato of David Surkamp and in occasions the acute screams in the vein of David Byron , but a more powerful voice, really a great combination.

But let's start from the beginning, despite some radical moments, the album is not, I would say that they are one of the best examples of Proto Prog, because despite some radical changes and some exiting experimental passages, they play some sort of Blues, Hard Rock, 60's British Invasion and Psyche with an interesting structure.

Won't make a song by song review, because it could lead to confusion being that they don't have a defined style, but must mention some tracks as the vibrant The Chase, the weird Me My Friend, the radical Variation On A Theme Of Hey Mr. Policeman and the spectacular Voyage, where the guys of FAMILY dare to go further and explore new sounds, a brilliant song with stupendous vocals and incredibly advanced distorted violin (for 1968) that took me by surprise plus an exciting Mellotron as the cherry at the top of the cake.

To summarize, not a masterpiece or a great addition for every Prog fan, but if as me, you are a fanatic of the late 60's, the album is a must have, so I will go with 3 solid stars that should be 3.5?I'm impatient to review their second release.

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 Family Entertainment by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.50 | 72 ratings

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Family Entertainment
Family Eclectic Prog

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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 Music In A Doll's House by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.91 | 101 ratings

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Music In A Doll's House
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Fronted by the incredible lungs of Roger Chapman - whose theatrical singing style sounds to me a bit like a more forceful and energetic version of the one Peter Gabriel would hit on when Genesis made Trespass - Music In a Doll's House is a psych-tinged masterpiece of early prog. Opening with the blind, wild-eyed panic of The Chase, the album soon segues into the melancholy romanticism of Mellowing Grey, takes a trip through Moody Blues Territory on Never Like This, and offers a moment of stentorian melodrama in the form of Me My Friend before reaching the first of the shorter "Variation On a Theme Of..." tracks which punctuate the album; in about nine minutes, the band have already woven more disparate themes and atmospheres and approaches together than many contemporaries would be able to muster for a full album.

A neglected classic, this is particularly recommended for anyone interested in spooky, haunting early prog which takes the sound of The Moody Blues or Procol Harum in a more wild and untamed direction.

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 Anyway by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.39 | 57 ratings

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Anyway
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Anyway" is the 4th full-length album release by UK rock act Family. The album was released through Reprise (UK), United Artists Records (U.S.) in November 1970. "Anyway" was originally meant to be released as a double live album, but the band werenīt satisfied with the quality of the live recordings. Therefore the album was released as a split live/studio album with four live tracks (not available in studio form on any of their studio albums) on side 1 and four studio recordings on side 2 of the original vinyl version.

The music is in the trademark eclectic rock style that Family are known for. There are elements in the music from hard rock, progressive rock, phychadelic rock and folk. The inclusion of violin especially strengthens the link to the latter mentioned style. Vocalist Roger Chapman has a distinct, raw and throaty singing style which is a great asset to the bandīs sound. His performance on especially the live tracks is energetic and raw (on the studio tracks too). Lotīs of charm and great conviction behind the delivery.

The four live tracks on side 1 were recorded earlier in 1970 at Fairfield Halls in London. Weīre talking some pretty raw live recordings, and when the music is most busy, the recordings make me think of bootleg material. Itīs not bad by any means, but itīs not top notch professional sounding either. The four studio recordings on side 2 are enjoyable but not among the best material by the band. I think "Lives and Ladies" stand out as the strongest of the bunch.

Overall "Anyway" is a pretty decent release by Family. Iīd purchase any of the three preceeding albums before this one though but a 3 star (60%) rating is still deserved.

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 Bandstand by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.41 | 54 ratings

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Bandstand
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

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.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 The Peel Sessions by FAMILY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
2.09 | 2 ratings

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The Peel Sessions
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by 1967/ 1976

2 stars This CD of series "The Peel Sessions" by BBC contains recordings made by Family in 8th May 1973 and transmitted for the first time on 22nd May 1973 of three songs of "It's Only A Movie," the band's last album.

"Boom Bang" is a pure slow Soul song. Not bad at all, with interesting feeling but without magic. "Buffet Tea" is a good mix between Folk and Soul. Also if not personal as mix in Prog the tremolo voice of Roger Chapman is good in this type of songs. I repeat: "Buffet Tea" is a not very personal song because it reminds me too bands like as Traffic. "Checkout" is a pure POP fusion between Jazz and Funky and not present particular moments of joy.

In my definitive vision this CD of "The Peel Sessions" with Family is only a release for completionists or fans.

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 Music In A Doll's House by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.91 | 101 ratings

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Music In A Doll's House
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Family have made a massive impact on prog rock and were one of the earliest eclectic groups blending many styles together to create innovative albums such as "Music In A Doll's House". This album along with "Family Entertainment" are heralded as the band's greatest triumphs. Roger Chapman's bleating vocals will take some getting used to, in a similar way to Surkamp of Pavlov's Dog, but the music always is nothing less than compelling.

The Chase is a rocker that pounds along quickly with a few innovative time sigs. The dreamy Mellowing Grey is replete with symphonic violin string sounds. The work of Jim King on wind instruments is a key feature of Never Like This and Chapman is more restrained on his overuse of vibrato. Me My Friend is a psychedelic piece with strong influences from the underground culture, with the familiar swishing effect on the vocals prevalent on so many psych treasures of 1968. All of the songs on this album are short and some are really mere snippets or transition points such as Variation On A Theme Of Hey Mr. Policeman. The music is really part of the previous track.

Winter is one of the best tracks with psych reflections of escaping the rat race and system; "wish that I could hibernate go to sleep and never wake until the sun shines once again." The melody on this is certainly infectious with a solid chord progression. I like the way it ends effectively with the wind howling.

The harmonica drives the quirky beat along on Old Songs, New Songs. The wah wah guitar solo of John 'Charlie' Whitney is wonderful embellished with a brass section lending a majestic feel. The sound is like the works of early Chicago or jazz fusion. Another Variation follows and we soon segue to Hey Mr Policeman. This is almost a stab at the system about how policemen hassle the adolescent culture, and they did in the hippy era.

See Through Windows is a very different track on the album, higher vocal harmonies and extremely psychedelic in flavour. The mid section is rather weird in structure, with broken time sigs and fractured rhythms. The lead break is terrific from Whitney.

Peace of Mind has some wacky sections, and the music is rather droning throughout with a sustained organ chord that grates on the nerves. It builds well with time sig changes and some psyched up passages of guitar and quick tempo blasts.

The vocals of Voyage sounds uncannily like early Peter Gabriel and it may be argued he found influences here. Even the structure is akin to Genesis with time shifts in the tempo and metrical figures totally off the scale. It is one of the best Family tracks for certain and perhaps one of their most inventive and experimental. The ending is absolutely of kilter and disconcerting. It finishes with 3x Time that has strange time sigs and a jazzy mid section.

The free form jazz of the album tracks and experimental art rock feel are hallmarks of the album. As a debut for the band this one really announces a new style of music and may be the forerunner to many prog artists. It is an essential album to discover how prog formed in this early phase of the movement. It is albums like this that led to the 70s breakthrough of progressive sounds. Family's influence on prog rock cannot be underestimated.

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 Bandstand by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.41 | 54 ratings

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Bandstand
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by chrismagic56

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 was phenomenal. In actual fact, when I first bought it I only played 'Burlesque' and 'My Friend The Sun' because they stood out as 'obvious' favourite tracks, but, as the months progressed, I started playing the rest of the album. In hindsight its a peculiar effect which I have rarely experienced since. Stick any album on and you have to play it a few times to get into it, but you know its a process. Initially you're starting each track in hope, and after a few bars you've decided whether it has potential or not. With this album, the initial few plays were peculiarly disappointing. I still loved the two mentioned but couldn't get anything from the others. And then something really quite peculiar happened. I don't understand it still, and I cant go back and start the experience again, but one by one each of the other tracks starting lighting up. 'Burlesque' ran into 'Bolero Babe' and what had initially been a nothing track suddenly became a masterpiece. It still sends shivers up my spine when I hear it. This track is followed by 'Coronation' and again, as is pretty much the mood right through the album, everything is pretty much low key and chilled and another little masterpiece once you get into the mood. This track is followed by a short masterpiece called 'Dark Eyes' and this is just so soulful. I well up when I hear it, and I just don't do that! But you can feel the pain and sense of loss, and the what is coming next in this relationship....but loss is what it is. What you had, gone for ever. Then comes the aggressive 'Broken Nose' which is typical ballsy Chapman vehicle at its best. Awesome charge! Side two opens with the whimsical 'My Friend The Sun' and this is just so delightful. As someone has written on the YouTube upload, this song is worthy of The Beatles. There is no higher praise. 'Glove' follows, and this shows the depth and versatility of Chapman/Whitney as songwriters. You just don't hear stuff like this written by anyone else. Its a touching soulful ballad that really should be an old folk song that they've covered. But, no, its original, and inspired. Then comes 'Ready To Go' and this looking very much autobiographical. A more upbeat jazzy number, but the message is in the lyrics to the band. Finally the album ends with the song that started the Live show, 'Top Of The Hill' which was just such a cool way to start a show! Awesome! Chapman just straight into your face and hands round your throat, and he shook you like no-one else! Brilliant!

The whole album has a sort of sadness feel to it. I guess, as a band, they knew the end of the era was coming, and in their way the songs reflect this. Its a very emotive and moving album. If you have the soul and feel for this you will be seriously touched by this album. Family produced many many wonderful moments and have nowhere near the prestige they deserve. The songs were probably 'too clever' if thats fair? This album is very special in my heart, and 'Weaver's Answer' will always be their finest moment. However, as I say, this album is a classic. Enjoy.

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 Fearless by FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.33 | 56 ratings

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Fearless
Family Eclectic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars While half of Mogul Thrash would reform as the Average White Band in the early seventies, John Wetton took a different route out of that group with a stint as yet another multi- instrumentalist for Family by replacing John Weider, who left to form Stud with Jim Cregan (Cregan would end up in Family himself by the time they recorded their final album). Otherwise the lineup is unchanged from their late 1970 release 'Anyway'.

This is arguably the band's 'bluesiest 'record, but also the most interesting album for the them since 'Music in a Doll's House' in 1968. That said, I'm not sure it's all that progressive but it still manages to expand at least a little on the instrumental experimentation and complex rhythmic arrangements that characterized some of their earliest and finest work. The guitar playing from Whitney and Wetton (and Chapman at times) is nearly all blues-based. But there are occasional funky riffs to break things up on songs like "Spanish Tide", which has just a bit of a Yes feel to it at times except without the exotic keyboards of Rick Wakeman or Anderson's voice (so maybe not as much like Yes as I thought when I started this sentence). Both Roger Chapman and Wetton sing, sometimes in unison, but the majority of vocal duties still fall to Chapman. His voice is a bit more restrained than on prior albums, but still quite distinctive and really helps to give the band its signature sound.

Like 'Anyway' and even more so 'It's Only a Movie', the album has its fair share of pedestrian filler as well, "Save Some for Thee" and the laconic "Children" being chief among those. And the band can't seem to avoid throwing in an unmanaged jam session as with so many of their other albums, "Take Your Partners" in this case.

Their fusion tendencies emerge from time to time, but sadly mostly on the shorter tunes like the instrumental "Crinkly Grin" and "Larf and Sing" with a bit of scat 'n chant singing along with a grooving riff from Whitney.

As with the other CD reissues this one has some bonus material, only one of which is very interesting. "In My Own Time" showcases the best days of Chapman's gruff vocals and gained the band a singles hit in 1971, while the B-side "Seasons" was appropriately relegated to the backside of that single.

This is a better album than anything that would follow, and honestly I'm not sure what happened to trigger the downward slide after this released. The band would tour the U.S. with Elton John a year later (with a much retooled lineup), but the end was already in sight and after another pair of lackluster studio releases the band called it quits.

This is a high three (out of five) star album, not quite four but I may rethink that at some point. It's definitely worth seeking out for Family fans, as well as for anyone curious about whatever it was that King Crimson heard in Wetton that appealed to them. For anyone else this is another faded and forgotten relic of the early seventies.

peace

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