Sometimes you need to go back and experience what was to wonder what could have been. No other debut album from a band can match the force of this one from Family, and for more than 30 years, this work has remained a testimony to what rock music should be about: creative, mind-bending, pulsing, twisting, strange, engaging, and even failing.
The CD is full of gems, but the crowning glory may be "Old Songs, New Songs." Chappo's unearthly delivery of the main vocals contrasted with the falsetto of reedman Jim King's vocal on the chorus could stop traffic. Charlie Whitney offers up one of the coolest wah-wah pedal-powered solos toward the last minute of the song against the rock solid drums of the great Rob Townsend and the bass line of the late Rick Grech.
Be warned, however, if you cut your teeth on what has been on commercial FM radio for the past 20 years, you may experience osmotic shock when listening to Family. Had Family achieved the popularity it so deserved, then maybe today folks would know that the first and best rock band to ever feature violin, saxophone, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals may very well have been Family, not the Dave Matthews Band.