Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Family A Song For Me album cover

“A Song for Me” is the third album by the British progressive rock band Family, released on 23rd January 1970 on Reprise Records.

The album was recorded in late 1969 at Olympic Studios in London. It was their first album with new members John Weider on bass and Poli Palmer on keyboards, flute and vibraphone. The past several months had been full of setbacks for Family. Rick Grech had left for Blind FaithJim King was forced to leave for getting too deep into drug addiction, and their first U.S. tour proved to be a disaster.

Although many of the songs had been written with King’s saxophone in mind, Charlie Whitney and Roger Chapman were able to rework them with Palmer’s instruments, and Palmer quickly made himself integral to Family’s sound. Because some of these songs had been debuted in live performances in the previous year, many Family fans found themselves getting accommodated to arrangements that sounded radically different from what they expected.

This might well be among the best of the early Family recordings. A combination of hard rock and wistful folk-rock (it sounds as if Chapman and Whitney were listening to a lot of Incredible String Band), “A Song for Me” veers toward early progressive rock, but isn’t as nakedly indulgent as some early prog-rock recordings, perhaps they wanted to sound like a rock band screwing around with jazz. Perhaps their most experimental record, it seems as though the credo in making this disc was that anything went. And on tracks like “Drowned in Wine,” it works quite well. Again, Chapman offers more proof of his vocal greatness, and again the record sells large quantities in England and nearly nothing in America.

Family

  • Roger Chapman – vocals, percussion
  • John “Charlie” Whitney – guitars, banjo, organ
  • John Weider – guitars, bass, violin, dobro
  • John “Poli” Palmer – vibes, piano, flute
  • Robert Townsend – drums, percussion, harp

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THE ICONIC BRITISH ROCK BAND’S PERFORMANCES FOR THE BBC – REMASTERED A DELUXE 8 DISC 48-PAGE HARDBACK BOOK SET CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF FAMILY
“there was no more innovative group at the time, nobody bettered Family for imaginatively corralling pop, rock, folk, R’n’B and jazz.” UNCUT

Growing out of the R&B boom of the early 60s, Family’s sound evolved into a unique mix of blues, folk, jazz, psychedelia and high energy rock’n’roll built around the distinctive vocals of frontman Roger Chapman, Charlie Whitney’s innovative guitar playing and Rob Townsend’s intelligent drumming.

At the BBC is the most comprehensive release of Family’s recordings for the BBC, featuring seven CDs containing tracks beginning with their first session for “Top Gear” on 26th November 1967 and running up until their last session with John Peel on 22nd May 1973. The eighth disc is a DVD of nine live tracks from iconic BBC shows including “Top of the Pops” & “The Old Grey Whistle Test” and a rare performance on ITV’s “Doing Their Thing”.

This book set boasts 20 previously unreleased recordings including new versions of “Scene Through The Eye Of A Lense”, “Old Songs New Songs” and “The Weaver’s Answer”. All CD audio has been newly remastered for this release.

Also included in the 48 pages of this deluxe hardback book are John Peel’s now legendary interviews, introductions and anecdotes, new liner notes, a rare poster replica promoting Family Entertainment and rare photographs including shots from the lens of Michael Putland & Jill Furmanovsky. At the BBC is presented in a deluxe hardboard slipcase.
“They’ve got a fantastic blend of sound, the best I’ve heard in a long time.” John Lennon
Roger Chapman is, without doubt, one of the all-time great lead vocalists.” Bob Harris

At The BBC

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Woburnwas one of the first rock festivals including the inexpressibly wonderful Jimi Hendrix.. At the time the British blues bands such as John Mayall and Fleetwood Mac were riding high. Organised by the UK music magazine the Woburn bash advertised in the Melody Maker with Mayall, Fleetwood Mac , Hendrix , over two days.The Woburn Music Festival was one of Britain’s first large scale, open-air rock music events. Staged by brothers Richard “Rik” and John Gunnell, who were well respected individuals in the burgeoning London music scene where they were heavily involved in many aspects including band managed, show promoters and club owners. Rik in particular, who owned three fashionable 1960’s London nightspots—the Ram Jam Club, Flamingo, and Bag O’ Nails presented authentic, first generation American icons like John Lee Hooker and Otis Redding and some of the brightest examples of a swelling wave of emerging British talent such as The Rolling Stones, Jack Bruce and Georgie Fame.

People standing in their gardens two miles away from Woburn Abbey could hear strains of pop music floating on the air… As dusk fell along with the temperature, the Festival attendance reached a peak of over 14,000. Emperor Rosko compered the evening session and swung things along with records and tapes in between sets from Little Women, New Formula, Geno Washington, Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Family, and Jimi Hendrix Experience blasting his way into the midnight hour. Already fires were being built and lit all over the field. With [the] end of Jimi’s set everybody headed for homes, temporary or permanent. On the Sunday morning many of the fans had spread out into the sur*rounding district in search of food and drink. At the Swan Hold. Woburn Sands, landlord Chris Collier dished out pints like there was no tomorrow and the regular customers stood looking amused and bemused by the inrush of long-haired customers….

The line-up for the Saturday afternoon session was as follows. Alexis Korner, Shirley and Dolly Collins, Al Stewart, Roy Harper and Pentangle. It was a very pleasant sunny day, the area was not particularly full. Roy Harper – who in those days was relatively smooth looking , minus most of his hair and facial adornments, He ambled through most of the tunes from his album. Folkjokeopus – Sgt Sunshine, She’s the One ,Exercising Some Control , all great songs. Unfortunately he then decided to finish the set with the very lengthy McGoohans Blues, which although a good song, is 18 minutes long and was just not up-tempo enough for a festival setting. 

Pentangle were the last band of the afternoon session the crowd were knocked out by their on-stage act. They really were not the ideal sort of band for a large festival. For a start, folk bands were often not really amplified loudly enough in those days. All it needed was a reasonable breeze and the wind blew the sound away  and Pentangle’s rather soft sound suffered badly at an outdoor venue. The individual members, each in their own ways masters of their craft Bert Jansch and John Renbourn were just too quiet to capture the attention in this least intimate of settings.I’d love to hear their set again just to pick up on Danny Thompson bass. I wasn’t aware of how good this guy can be until I heard him on John Martyn’s Solid Air a few years later, pure  genius .

New Formula were a bleeding awful sweet soul group and NOBODY liked them. You have to feel sorry for this band , they were given an awful reception . Slow hand clap, whistles, shouts of piss off  I have a vivid memory of some tousle haired Marc Bolan clones down the front throwing toilet rolls at the lead singer, and after a while the band retired hurt. So much for the generation of love. 

The next band on were Family and they were phenomenal they were something out of this world.  Frontman Roger Chapman was so frigging MANIC on-stage, grabbing the mic stand so tightly that he might have been strangling it, cords on the neck strained so tight that it was a wonder he didn’t burst a blood vessel, the sounds issuing forth floored the crowd Chappo was unique.

And the rest of the band! Jim King blowing his brains out on sax, John Whitney on searing lead and steel guitar, Ric Grech on bass and occasional violin and the excellent Rob Townsend on drums , simultaneously elegant and threatening. This was the best line up of Family, and they had a great range of songs, most from their first highly under rated albumMusic from a Dolls House, songs like – Hey Mr Policeman, Me My Friend,  Old Songs New Songs – they were BRILLIANT and many in the audience thought so too.

Tyrannosaurus Rex were fun, if slight. Bolan strummed and churned out his fey little songs with predictable charm and Steve Took provided nice little edges with his bongos. Tyrannosaurus Rex were the staple of many festivals at the time , archetypal hippies, they enjoyed a certain sort of vogue . Bolan and Took went down very well with the audience, so I am probably  in the minority here – but after the concentrated madness of Family it seemed anticlimactic. 

The bill was a pretty eclectic one, veering wildly into the realms of pseudo soul , far out psychedelic rock, psychedelic folksy rock and back to genuine, get down and dance-to-the -music SOUL – in the form of Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band.

  • Geno Washington – vocals
  • Pete Gage – guitar
  • Lionel Kingham – saxophone
  • Buddy Beadle – saxophone
  • Jeff Wright – organ
  • John Roberts- bass guitar
  • Herb Prestidge – drums

These guys laid it down in the alley and, in contrast to the ill fated Little Women, the crowd loved every note of their act  . This was the real thing , but above all , it was dance music and it meant that the crowd could get loose and enjoy themselves.  The use of a good gutsy horn section to punctuate vocal chorus’s  also really pushed the music out there and the fact that Geno was a damn good front man also helped more than somewhat. The band were all gussied up in over the top stage clothes – this was an ACT in every sense of the word and it set the stage more than nicely for the top of the bill,Mr James Marshall Hendrix. Now almost everything that can be said about Jimi’s performance has been said on the excellent Univibes pages on the Woburn festival, Whether the inclusion of Geno Washington on the bill was a deliberate act by the promoters to give the crowd an idea of the sort of bands that Jimi used to play with , I don’t know, but whether it was or not, it certainly put  the audience into a great mood and they were more than enthusiastic about the Hendrix set , which was the only Hendrix concert in the UK in 1968. 

Although the Univibes site rates the show as average ,they are not able to see what went down on-stage , which was pretty outrageous, with Jimi playing the guitar with his teeth , grinding his axe between his legs and generally doing all the things that got the girls horny for him . Given all of that it was a fantastic visual experience and the music certainly seemed great too ,there was rapturous applause as he left the stage and as the crowd streamed off into the night. 

At Woburn, Jimi skipped songs from Axis: Bold As Love altogether, electing instead to ‘jam’ as he called it—kicking off his set with a spirited “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The trio followed with “Fire,” and despite beset with buzzing, crackles and otherwise unwanted noises throughout their set, The Experience continued to persevere doing their best to surmount the technical problems that hampered an otherwise animated set.

Although opting to bypass music from Axis: Bold As Love, Hendrix did foreshadow his next album at Woburn, stretching out a marvelous 10+ minute version of “Tax Free;” an early contender for Electric Ladyland and a favorite Experience vehicle for improvisation. Hendrix followed up with another extended improvisational rendition of “Red House” before closing the show with a trio of live concert stalwarts “Foxy Lady,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and “Purple Haze.”

In launching into “Purple Haze,” Jimi kicked off a boisterous feedback opening, buttressed by Mitchell and Redding and complete with tremolo bar swoops, wah-wah pedal shadings and soaring dive bomb styled bursts that transitioned seamlessly into the song’s unmistakable opening notes. At its conclusion, the audience roared with approval. While no microphones were positioned to fully capture the intensity of their reaction, their enthusiasm and calls for more can be easily heard through Jimi and Noel’s stage microphones.

The Experience’s performance at Woburn Music Festival would mark the trio’s last performance in England until the two celebrated concerts in February 1969 at the Royal Albert Hall.

Jimi Hendrix July 6th & 7th 1968, Woburn Music Festival, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.

Apparently Fleetwood Mac did not turn up, due to other commitments, and the whole Sunday show was wet and badly attended,Apparently there is a sound board recording of the HendrixFamily and Geno Washingtonsets from the Saturday which may be released as a CD sometime.It is even rumoured that theHendrix show was filmed using three cameras. Who knows ,perhaps both of these precious artefacts will be released one day. 

The soundboard recordings have been SOLD ! A rare 1⁄4 inch reel-to-reel master soundboard tape recording of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and others performing at the Woburn Music Festival, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, England, 6-7 July, 1968, was offered for sale at Christies. The price realise was £48,050, which probably means that either the music will disappear into a collection or be eventually offered for sale commercially . However since apparently the Hendrix estate were not previously keen to release the Hendrix set (and this may be why the owners have decided to sell the recordings) there would have to be a policy change before this happened.

Recordings and Setlists Woburn Music Festival, 6th July, 1968

Family (29:13 minutes)

  • Me My Friend
  • Old Songs New Songs > How Many More Years (You Gonna Wreck My Life)
  • Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
  • Hey Mr. Policeman
  • Observations (incomplete)

Geno Washington (18:05 minutes)

  • Mony Mony
  • Funk Broadway
  • Rock Me, Baby
  • I Get So Excited
  • Holding On Baby (With Both Hands)
  • Baby Come Back
  • Jumping Jack Flash


The Jimi Hendrix Experience (48:22 minutes)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (0:42)
  • Fire (3:18)
  • Tax Free (10:10)
  • Red House (10:17)
  • .Foxy Lady (4:12)
  • Voodoo Child (6:05)
  • .Purple Haze (8:00)

 Woburn Music Festival, 7th July, 1968 

Taste (23:21 minutes)

  • Summertime
  • Blister On The Moon
  • I Got My Brand On You
  • Rock Me,>Baby Bye Bye Bird >Baby Please Don’t Go >You Shook Me Baby

This is the earliest professional live recording of this Taste line-up known to exist. After finishing the first song of his set, Rory Gallagher says Thank You 16 times!


Tim Rose (8:57 minutes)

  • I Got A Loneliness
  • Long Time Man (incomplete)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience show at Woburn was professionally recorded on a 7.5 ips, 2-track, mono, reel-to-reel tape. It is not known who actually recorded this tape but the master tape was stored in a small studio in London, where it sat on the shelves among a wall of tapes. In the early 1970s, the studio went bust and an employee rescued some of the tapes before they were destroyed. Additionally, a film crew was present to record the event. Nothing is known of the whereabouts of this footage, but if such footage were to surface it would be an incredible find and a wonderful companion to the recording.

So. the festival come [sic] to an end. unfortunately rather a damp one. How ever a bright note was struck by a message from the Abbey saying that the Duke thought the Festival had been very well organised and he would be happy to see it happen again. A sigh of relief was given all round…. [ attendance of] nearly 8,000 people [on the Sunday for Donovan’s set and more rolled in for the final blues session played in pouring rain.”

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The complete session recorded by Family on 28th July 1969 for John Peel on the Top Gear show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 3rd August 1969. Family You absolutely could never mistake the voice of Family’s Roger Chapman for anyone else. No other singer sounded anything like him. The American press wasn’t all that keen on his distinctive vocal-chord adventure.

Tracklist: 1. Drown In Wine (0:07) 2. Wheels (4:07) 3. No Mule’s Fool (10:56) 4. The Cat And The Rat (13:51)

 
BBC Radio, Volume 1 – 1968-69 – Released by Hux Records in the United Kingdom in June 2004, this album features sixteen songs Family performed for various pop shows on BBC’s Radio 1 station between September 1968 and July 1969. Except for the July 1969 performances, which featured John Weider in place of Ric Grech, these recordings feature the original lineup. Many of these songs were composed with Grech and/or Jim King in mind and performed on the BBC before Family properly recorded them for disc, so many of these performances sound different from the officially released versions. Also included here is a stunning cover of J.B. Lenoir’s “I Sing ‘Um The Way I Feel.” More information on this release is available here.
Family BBC Radio Volume 1
BBC Radio, Volume 2 – 1971-73 – Released by Hux Records in the U.K. in September 2004, this album features fourteen songs Family performed on various pop shows on BBC’s Radio 1 station from March 1971 to May 1973. Although not as consistent as the earlier CD – these appearances on Radio 1 cover a period in which Family endured most of their personnel changes – it contains several interesting variations on their best-known songs that are definitely worth a listen, and an intriguing medley of “Processions” and “No Mule’s Fool” is included. More information on this release is available here.
Family - BBC Radio Volume 2 1971-73

BBC Radio, Volume 3 – 1970 – This Hux Records disc, released in the U.K. in August 2009, features rare BBC Radio 1 performances from January 1970 and September 1970, including Poli Palmer’s debut with the group. Among the surprises are Palmer’s instrumental “Here Comes the Grin” and a jam titled “Blow By Blow,” both available here for the first time anywhere. Most of the original BBC Radio 1 tapes that comprise this collection were “wiped” (Britspeak for “erased”), and so this album was derived from private off-air recordings. As this was done in 1970, sound quality is substandard, but it’s still worth a listen, as many of the songs featured here have arrangements different from the studio versions on the original Family LPs. More information on this release is available here.

Family

Once Upon a Time – This box set brings together the complete Family catalog for the first time ever in a strictly limited edition complied with Roger Chapman’s co-operation, limited to 2,000 numbered copies and individually signed by Chapman. It includes all seven Family albums (plus one anthology) in mini LP Japanese-style gatefold sleeves, the Live album, plus two compact discs of previously unreleased alternative versions and rarities, three CD singles reproduced in original picture sleeves, and a 72-page hardback book about the band that features many previously unseen photographs and memorabilia reproductions – all for £125, or US$200. If you can afford it, buy it while you can. Also available is a box set of the four original albums of Chapman’s and Whitney’s mid-seventies band Streetwalkers, on CD.

 

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Family an English rock band, active from late 1966 to October 1973, and again since 2013 for a series of live shows. Their style has been characterised as progressive rock, as their sound often explored other genres, incorporating elements of styles such as folk, psychedelia, acid, jazz fusion and rock and roll. Family’s sound was distinguished by several factors. The vocals of Roger Chapman, described as a “bleating vibrato” and an “electric goat”, were considered unique, although Chapman was trying to emulate the voices of R&B and soul singers with some reviewers noting however that Chapman’s voice could be grating and irritating occasionally. John “Charlie” Whitney was an accomplished and innovative guitarist, and Family’s often complex  song arrangements were made possible through having multi-instrumentalists like Ric Grech and Jim King in the band and access to keyboards such as the Hammond organ and the new Mellotron. Family were particularly known for their live performances; one reviewer describing the band as “one of the wildest, most innovative groups of the underground rock scene”, noting that they produced “some of the rawest, most intense performances on stage in rock history”

The band’s rotating membership throughout its relatively short existence led to a diversity in sound throughout their different albums. Family are also often seen as an unjustly forgotten act, when compared with other bands from the same period and have been described as an “odd band loved by a small but rabid group of fans”.

The band signed with the Reprise Records label (the first UK band signed directly to UK and US Reprise) and their debut album Music in a Doll’s House, was recorded during early 1968. Jimmy Miller was originally slated to produce it but he was tied up with production of The Rolling Stones’ album Beggar’s Banquet and he is credited as co-producer on only two tracks, “The Breeze” and “Peace of Mind”. The bulk of the album was produced by former Traffic member Dave Mason, and recorded at London’s Olympic Studios .

Mason also contributed one composition to the album, “Never Like This”, the only song recorded by Family not written by a band member. Alongside Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, The Move and The Nice, Family quickly became one of the premier attractions on the burgeoning UK psychedelic/progressive “underground” scene. Their lifestyle and exploits during this period provided some of the inspiration for the 1969 novel, Groupie, by Jenny Fabian (who lived in the group’s Chelsea house for some time) and Johnny Byrne. Family featured in the book under the pseudonym, ‘Relation’.

Music in a Doll’s House was released in July 1968 and charted in the UK to critical acclaim, thanks to strong support from BBC Radio 1’s John Peel. Now widely acknowledged as a classic of British psychedelic rock, it showcased many of the stylistic and production features that are archetypal of the genre. The album’s highly original sound was characterised by Roger Chapman’s vocals, rooted in the blues and R&B, combined with several unusual instruments for a rock band, courtesy of the presence of multi-instrumentalists Grech and King, including saxophones, violin, and cello . Music In a Doll’s House was as important to rock in 1968 as that other debut album from that year conceived in a tiny abode, the Band’s Music From Big Pink. Like the Band’s freshman effort, Family’s first album presented a much more thoughtful and musicianly alternative to the excesses of much of the rock of the late sixties .

Family’s 1969 follow-up, Family Entertainment, toned down the psychedelic experimentation of their previous offering to some extent, and featured the single “The Weaver’s Answer”, although the group reportedly had no control over the mixing and choice of tracks, or the running order of the songs. The cover of Family Entertainment, depicting circus performers, was inspired by the sleeve of the Doors’s Strange Days.

Family Entertainment shows these five musicians growing steadily. Chapman’s vibrato vocals evolve into more of a bleated growl, Whitney’s guitar riffs become more inventive, Jim King’s saxophone is decidedly funkier, and the already excellent drummer Rob Townsend becomes even more so. The biggest surprises, though, come from Ric Grech; not only does his improved bass work stand out dramatically here, he also wrote or co-wrote four songs on the album and sings lead vocals – sometimes with Chapman, sometimes solo – on these songs. His clear, flawless voice provided an an exciting contrast to Chapman’s primal shouting.

With the UK success of Family’s first two albums, the band undertook a tour of the United States in April 1969, but it was beset by problems. Halfway through the tour, Grech unexpectedly left the band to join the new supergroup Blind Faith; on the recommendation of tour manager Peter Grant, Grech was replaced by John Weider, previously of The Animals. A further setback occurred during their first concert at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East, whilst sharing the bill with Ten Years After and The Nice – during his stage routine, Chapman lost control of his microphone stand, which flew in Graham’s direction, an act Graham took to be deliberate.

Returning to the UK, the band performed at The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park gig and the Isle of Wight Festival that summer. In late 1969, Jim King was asked to leave Family due to “erratic behaviour” and was replaced by multi-instrumentalist John “Poli” Palmer.

In early 1970, Family released their third studio album, A Song for Me; produced by the band, it became the highest charting album the band released, reaching No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart. The album itself was a blend of hard rock and folk rock. Issued in January 1970, A Song For Me is an act of defiance from a band that refuses to surrender to the kind of adversity that would have devastated other groups and comes back stronger and sharper than ever. Family had formed a new production company to replace John Gilbert’s management, and they gained a sense of freedom along with confidence in both their music and in taking full control of the recording process. The ten cuts on A Song For Me are an eclectic mix of country, folk, twelve-bar blues, and brutally hard rock in which conventional rock and roll boundaries are outlined and subsequently smashed. Weider’s rough bass certainly helped, and Palmer contributed an awesome array of skills as a pianist, flutist, and vibraphone player, but the remaining original members were no less potent. Charlie Whitney’s guitar slashed through chord changes with raw intensity, and Rob Townsend’s drumming was nothing short of a major assault. But it was Roger Chapman, as usual, who outdid everyone; his voice had now mutated in a hideously wonderful screech that, to paraphrase Robert Christgau, could kill small animals at a hundred yards.

Family’s follow up album Anyway, released in late 1970, had its first half consist of new material recorded live at Fairfield Hall in Croydon, England, with the second half a set of new songs recorded in the studio, Family had originally intended to follow up A Song For Me with a double live album, but they decided against it. Apparently, the problems were that their concert performances were rather undisciplined, sounding even more so on tape, and the sound quality seemed too rough to justify a two-record concert set. Also, they felt that any live versions of songs like “The Weaver’s Answer” and “Drowned In Wine” would pale in comparison to the studio versions. Family ultimately compromised by deciding to assemble a single album – side one would feature live performances of four songs that, with one exception (“Strange Band,” referred to earlier), were unavailable in studio form, while side two would contain four new songs from the studio. Hence Anyway, released in November 1970.

In March 1971 the compilation album, Old Songs New Songs, (which contained remixes and rare tracks) was released, but in June Weider left Family . He was replaced by former Mogul Thrash bassist John Wetton, who had just declined an invitation from Robert Fripp to join King Crimson.

As with Grech in Family’s original line-up, Wetton also shared vocal duties with Chapman, and this line-up soon released Family’s highest-charting single “In My Own Time/Seasons” which reached No. 4, and the album Fearless in October 1971,  This album, is the masterpiece, the best album Family ever made. Everything the group had become known for over the previous three years – curious arrangements, abrupt tempo changes, imaginatively abstract lyricism, stellar musicianship – clicked together here like a well-made combination lock. The group’s quest for innovation paid off handsomely on Fearless, with the band offering its tightest, most cohesive performances and an adventurous sampling of different rock styles. Like A Song For Me, Fearless is superb from beginning to end, but Fearless is better – albeit only slightly better – for two reasons. One is Fearless’s superior production, owing to the band’s greatly improved command of technical skills in the recording studio. The other factor was the result of their latest personnel change.

In June 1971, John Weider, having grown tired of playing the bass as his principal instrument, left the group. He was quickly replaced by an ambitious 22-year-old musician named John Wetton, whose steady, economical pacing anchored the music with great subtlety. Also, Wetton was an accomplished singer in his own right, offering a magnificent, unencumbered voice that stood out on its own and blended wonderfully with Roger Chapman’s voice no small achievement – in harmony arrangements. Chapman remained the center of attention, though, as his primitive bleating and the undeniably powerful passion that fueled it continued to make for decidedly uneasy (but still intriguing) listening.

In 1972, another album, Bandstand was released, which leaned more towards hard rock than art rock, featuring the singles “Burlesque” in late 1972, and “My Friend the Sun”, which was released in early 1973. Bandstand is the only Family LP not to feature an instrumental track.

For their sixth album, Bandstand, the group attempted a tougher edge to their sound; they experimented more with synthesizers, sought a grittier yet polished feel and, for the first time, introduced a female backing vocalist into the mix. The woman in question was Linda Lewis, a high-pitched London R&B diva of West Indian heritage who at the time was the girlfriend of Jim Cregan, who would soon become Family’s fourth and final bass player. Lewis’s five-octave range made her stand out considerably here, and she provided a formidable backdrop for Roger Chapman on this record.
The final outcome of all this innovation produced both mixed results and mixed reviews. Many critics and fans regard Bandstand as being superior to Fearless, Family came up with some really tough playing here, Poli Palmer concocted some wonderfully subtle synthesizer lines as well, and the group’s sound was crisper than ever. The whole, however, falls short of matching Fearless in terms of consistency. There are some undeniably weak moments here, and not every song on Bandstand is as memorable as those that grace Fearless or A Song For Me.
The album’s sleeve was a similarly tremendous feat. Bandstand featured a cover depicting the image of – and die-cut in the shape of – an antique television set with the band onscreen posing in a dimly lit recording studio; opening the layered page revealed the television set’s mechanism underneath. Again, this was impossible to replicate to the letter on CD,

In mid-1972, John Wetton left Family to join a new line-up of King Crimson and was replaced by bassist Jim Cregan, and at the end of that year John “Poli” Palmer also left the band and was replaced by keyboardist Tony Ashton,  After Wetton’s departure (but before Palmer’s exit) Family toured the United States and Canada as the support act for Elton John, 

In 1973, Family released the largely ignored It’s Only a Movie (and on their own label, Raft, distributed by Warner/Reprise), which would be their last studio album. Most of Family’s songs were written by the songwriting team of group leaders Charlie Whitney and Roger Chapman, but It’s Only a Movie is the only Family LP comprised entirely of Whitney/Chapman compositions. By the middle of 1973, Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney felt it was time to dissolve their group, largely for three reasons. First, there was the lineup; there had been five personnel changes up to that point, meaning that there had been as many replacements as there had been original members. Chapman and Whitney feared that, with so many member turnovers, Family might soon turn into a parody of themselves; indeed, they were becoming notorious for being unable to hold onto a bass player for more than two albums.

Secondly, their songwriting was beginning to get formulaic, and they felt that their most innovative ideas had been exhausted. (Chapman: “The choruses came more and more. As you write [songs] you can’t help but standardize yourself.”) Thirdly, they realized that achieving mainstream success in America was a pipedream; though they stirred some interest in the U.S. with Bandstand so Family would call it a day .

Roger Chapman of Family - a voice that once had the distinction of winning out over Tom Jones.

Studio albums

  • Music in a Doll’s House , (1968)
  • Family Entertainment , (1969)
  • A Song for Me , (1970)
  • Anyway , (1970)
  • Old Songs, New Songs ( 1971)
  • Fearless , (1971)
  • Bandstand , (1972)
  • It’s Only a Movie ( 1973 )

Thanksgiving is about family, Blood or acquired. Speaking of family …THE THOMPSON FAMILY RECORD is out this month…Featuring Linda Thompson, her son Teddy Thompson, Richard Thompson, and Kami Thompson daughter to Richard and Linda and sister to Teddy. Fathers Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Grandchildren, etc.

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