a CLIFFORD HODGE review
There is an R&B/rap group called Family and an online download service has Roger Chapman linked with them as vocalist. WRONG! He was the singer extraordinaire for THIS Family, and he often made Jim Morrison seem laid back. Now do I have your attention? If you don't believe me, buy this and listen to THE WEAVER'S ANSWER. That will send chills up your spine. (and down, and up again,...) If I had to, I would pay $13.99 just for that one, THE CHASE, HUNG UP DOWN, and OLD SONGS NEW SONGS. They began in the 60's - I want to say '66 - and anticipated the likes of Roxy Music with prominent use of extra insturments like clarinet, saxophone, organ, piano. violin, harmonica, in a rock band, which, like so many of the greats, laid everything on a foundation of inborn British artistic sensibilities. A little blues influence, a little jazz influence, manipulated with a sensibilty that turns toward classical, and you have Family. Melodies that go well beyond merely "catchy" set into driving rhythmic progressions make Family, at their best, the most intense band I have ever heard. And yes, I've heard punk, industrial, thrash, etc. - Leather Nun, SPK, Sex Pistols, Motorhead - and think they are all great. But I know if I listen to THE CHASE on this CD, as Roger vibratos through, "Do I see blood in your eyes babe?...You...showered affections and loves; baited and loved me until, my defenses and cautions were down babe, sucked me of strength and goodwill" and then, being familiar with the song, the music has got me dreading the next line: "And you did it just for the thrill" and I can almost see the narrator mocking himself for being fooled in love, as I hear the increasing tempo with all the instruments joining, making me think how glad I am not to be the fox. When you go to drama class, they tell you, "Raising the energy on stage does not necessarily mean raising the volume." Roger Chapman shows you what that means. He is similar to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull in that he sings with an almost constant vibrato. Tidbit: Ric Grech played on the one CD Family Entertainment, before he was enticed to join a supergroup you may have heard of, Blind Faith, by someone you may have heard of: Eric Clapton. Roger Chapman is #1 on my list of vocalists I regret never having seen, and I've seen a lot. How a person could have such emotional intensity in his vocals and yet live to record so much is beyond me. If you can find their greatest hits compilation, move Heaven and earth to get it. You don't have to move anything except a mouse to get this.