It's been thirteen long years since the indefatigable Pete Frame delivered his last magnificent collection of painstaking research in More Rock Family Trees, and I am delighted that he has now published a fifth volume. From the moment the first book appeared back in 1980, it was obvious that here was a unique and genius new way to study the comings and goings of great rock bands.
For this latest anthology, Frame has revisited some old trees, redrawing a number of them both to update information and also simplify a few. These include Fleetwood Mac, Roxy Music (a vast improvement on the original), and the Yes/ELP tree. But there are plenty of newcomers; just take a look at the trees featuring Suede, Creation Records and the Seattle grunge scene for starters.
Then there are trees featuring rock music stalwarts like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Paul McCartney and many others.
The biggest trees, spread over four pages each are those devoted to the Allman Brothers Band and US surf music. But by far the most complex is that for Fairport Convention. Completely redrawn from the original in the first book, it is a demonstration of the utter devotion that Frame pours into his work.
If one criticism can be made it is that in the past there has been a lack of trees featuring black musicians. Not anymore as this book features both R&B vocal legends the Drifters, and jazz genius Miles Davis.
As Frame turns seventy in 2012, one has to speculate on how much longer he will continue to produce these trees, but the book does contain a couple of examples of work from former NME journalist Paul Barber whom Frame has hailed as his natural successor so it looks as if this wonderful series is in safe hands for the foreseeable future!