11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bandstand - Family's Finest Hour?, 21 Jun 2008
Much is written about 'Dolls House' and 'Fearless' - both truly magical albums - but this one, for me anyway (no pun intended) pulls together all that was great about Family into one fantastically played, produced and packaged album. The opening number - 'Burlesque' - still electrifies at 50 paces. It's an idiosyncratic but instantly wonderful riff, showcasing Roger Chapman's manic vox at it's best, and underpinned with a rhythm section as tight as a gnat's chuff. Next up, 'Bolero Babe' is a spacey, atmospheric number that rewards with more listens. Track three, 'Coronation', is a deeply melodic sonic canvas, overlaid with aural imagery recalling - well whatever you want it to really. 'Dark Eyes' is melancholic, achingly beautiful, and up there with Family's best. Just when all the romance is beginning to get too sweet, your reverie is irreverently juxtaposed with the manic opening of 'Broken Nose', Family rocking out with Linda Lewis (remember her?) on backing vocals, and which I remember seeing Family playing in ad for tea in cinemas of the early '70's (no really!). Side two's opener 'My Friend The Sun' is an all time classic - I heard Alison Moyet say it was the first song she ever sang on stage in a teenage talent show, and it really is a timeless song of hope that transcends the years. At the end of the next track, 'Glove', Charlie Whitney cuts loose with perhaps his greatest guitar solo, played over a swirling string arrangement, given more complexity by Chapman's harmonic wailing. The almost jazz inflected 'Ready To Go' and life affirming 'Top Of The Hill' conclude the original vinyl LP, and neither are filler. On this version you get four bonus tracks - 'The Rockin Rs' was the b side of the 1972 single release of 'Burlesque', a lovely slice of 60's dancehall imagery. Three live tracks from earlier incarnations of Family conclude this legendary album - 'No Mules Fool', 'Good News - Bad News' and the epic hippy favourite 'Weavers Answer'.
If you like great, original music, strong melody and no little passion - buy it - you won't be disappointed!