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Family - Fearless CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.50 | 95 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars John Wetton joins the Family

Way back in the 1970's, I used to play this album a lot. It is essentially a collection of pop rock songs, which are not really very progressive, but the album has a quality which I found, and still find, endearing. The arrival of John Wetton in place of John Weider meant the end of the violin interludes, but it is probably no coincidence that things appeared to be tightened up considerably.

My cassette version has the tracks in a different order to that shown here, presumably to even out the side lengths. We still open with the moody, rather heavy "Between blue and me", but this is followed by the improvisational and almost entirely instrumental "Take your partners", complete with brass section accompaniment.

"Children" is a soft Crosby Stills and Nash ("Teach your children"?) like acoustic number. "Larf and sing" sets off like a Pentangle song, the falsetto vocal sounding distinctly female. This contrasts effectively with the a-cappella harmonies of the chorus. Side one closes with the more orthodox Family number "Save some for me", one of the comparatively few songs on the album to feature Roger Chapman's traditional style of delivery.

"Sat'd'y barfly" has the feel of a Rod Stewart and the Faces number, with some dry comedy and a drunken story line. The sound is softened by the muffled brass in the background. "Spanish tide" is one of the highlights, featuring pedal steel, Spanish guitar, and the harmonised vocals of Wetton and Chapman. Wetton also gets the opportunity to sing solo on part of the verses.

"Crinkly grin" is a brief but strange instrumental interlude of under a minute, which fades just as it is getting interesting. "Blind" is probably the most progressive piece on the album, with a swirling mix of instrumentation backing a frantic Chapman vocal. The album closes with what for me is the best track, "Burning bridges". This is not the Status Quo song of the same name, but is primarily a soft, melodic, almost folk song, with medieval stringed instruments along the lines of the Strawbs "Cannon Dale".

In all, an enjoyable collection of great diversity. If I have a criticism, it is that many of the songs are not developed to their full potential. There are several songs which could have equalled "The weaver's answer" in stature, had they been fully exploited. Nevertheless, this is a fine album.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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