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Family - Family Entertainment CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.61 | 124 ratings

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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.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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