Posts Tagged ‘Robert Townsend’

“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.

Recorded at Olympic Studios in late 1969 and issued in January 1970, ‘A Song For Me’ marked a new chapter in the story of the band. The middle months of 1969 had been a period of trauma with the departure of bassist/violinist Ric Grech to join the supergroup Blind Faith and the dismissal of saxophonist Jim King. As a result, vocalist Roger Chapman, guitarist John ‘Charlie’ Whitney and drummer Rob Townsend recruited bassist and violinist John Weider (previously with Eric Burdon And The Animals) and multi-instrumentalist John ‘Poli’ Palmer (previously with Blossom Toes and then Eclection) joined on vibes, keyboards and flute.

As a result of the line-up change, the musical characteristics of Family progressed and ‘A Song For Me’ was a wonderful showcase for the reincarnated band. Upon its release the album reached number four in the UK charts and saw the band enjoy further success in Europe.

This new two-disc edition of this classic album has been newly remastered from the master tapes and also includes 14 bonus tracks drawn from singles and BBC Radio sessions from August 1969 and January 1970. This release also features an illustrated booklet with a new essay and is a fitting tribute to a much-treasured band.

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