UAS-5644 Bandstand
Produced by Family and George Chkiantz
Released on September 1972
UK CHART POSITION #15 . . . US CHART POSITION #183
Find it at GEMM
UAS-5644 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

T his is the first Family record I’ve ever heard, and after a dozen spins I still don’t believe what I’m hearing. Before they were over, the 60s opened the door wide to all sorts of strangeness, from experimental acid trips (Pink Floyd, Red Krayola) to fantastical art/rock hybrids like Uriah Heep and Family. The latter were sometimes fantastically ugly, a mixture of musical freakshow and sublime beauty. Heep certainly fit that category some of the time, and I’d place Family up and to the left of that. Roger Chapman has a voice that, how to put this delicately, sounds like Marc Bolan squeezing out a fist-thick deuce. Then there’s the music, which here ranges from lovely, BJH-styled acoustic numbers (“My Friend The Sun,” “Dark Eyes”) to heavier, darker, proggish entries (“Coronation,” “Broken Nose”). I find myself reaching out to unlikely quarters to describe this music; if you can imagine Lee Jackson replacing Peter Hammill in VDGG, you’ll have an idea of what awaits you on Bandstand. The album’s first track, “Burlesque,” is a red herring. I jotted down the description “slow jerky greasy chunk of glam crotch sleaze” (I’m pretty sure I could have worked the words “gopher guts” in there too) in my initial notes (yes, I actually do have a system), and then didn’t have occasion to use those words again (admittedly, I used the word “of” 10 more times, but you get the point). Over the course of the album, you’ll hear the roots of English hard rock, the fading ghost of the tolkien folkies, White Album grandiosity (“Glove”) and even some funk (“Ready To Go”). Whether it all equals prog, I would argue that prog is only one of the worlds where Family lives. At their core, the songs from Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney are common as mud, the lyrics (on close inspection) clumsily conceived (except for the line "The day that I stopped loving you / Was the day you broke my nose"). But here’s where the magic happens: Family takes each song and stitches strange sounds into it (strings, vibes, Rhodes piano, synthesizers), plots twists and turns along the way, and filters it through a distorted lens that bakes the mud into a surprisingly solid house of bricks. In the neighborhood of prog-adopted English rock bands (Procol Harum, Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep), Family deserves a house at the top of the hill. Where Bandstand fits within the house of Family, I couldn’t tell you yet, but if it’s anywhere near the basement, I’m in for one hell of a reunion.

TRACK LISTING

  1. BURLESQUE    4:04
  2. BOLERO BABE    4:11
  3. CORONATION    (Charlie Whitney/Roger Chapman/John Wetton)    3:49
  4. DARK EYES    (Roger Chapman/Poli Palmer)    1:48
  5. BROKEN NOSE    4:09
  6. MY FRIEND THE SUN    4:20
  7. GLOVE    4:53
  8. READY TO GO    4:35
  9. TOP OF THE HILL    5:41

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  10. THE ROCKIN' R'S
  11. NO MULE'S FOOL (LIVE)
  12. GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS (LIVE)
  13. THE WEAVER'S ANSWER (LIVE)

    Tracks 1-9 written by Charlie Whitney/Roger Chapman unless noted

CREDITS

ROGER CHAPMAN --
POLI PALMER --
ROB TOWNSHEND --
JOHN WETTON --
CHARLIE WHITNEY --

return to FAMILY discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK September 1972 Reprise LP K-54006 diecut gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US September 1972 United Artists LP UAS-5644 diecut gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US September 1972 United Artists 8T/CS U-8452/K-0452  
AUSL 1972 Reprise LP RS-4000  
JPN 1972 Reprise LP P-8298R  
GER   Teldec LP TIS-8104  
UK November 1988 See For Miles LP SEE-241  
GER 1989 Line CD 9.00821L  
UK 1992 Castle CD CLACD-322  
UK 1997 Essential CDX ESMCD-565 digital remaster w. bonus track (10)
UK 2003 Mystic CDX MYSCD-173 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN   Airmail CDX AIRAC-1089 w. bonus tracks
GER 2006 Repertoire CDX REPUK-1081 limited edition 4000 copies w. bonus tracks
UK 2009 BGO Records 2CDX BGOCD-856 digital remaster w. IT'S ONLY A MOVIE + bonus tracks

 

For more discographies visit...
progrography

© 2009 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved.