|Produced by Family and George Chkiantz|
|Released on September 1972|
|UK CHART POSITION #15 . . . US CHART POSITION #183|
|Find it at GEMM|
[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.
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|
|UK||November 1988||See For Miles||LP||SEE-241|
|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|
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