25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Classic Family album in replica of original packaging limited to 4000 copies,
This review is from: Bandstand (Audio CD)
First if you're looking at buying this you're probably going for the collectable packaging. This duplicates the original packaging for the original LP release (look carefully--if it doesn't say that this is the it's a limited edition and put out by Repertoire, then this review has been combined with ANOTHER review of the same title put out by a different company. The audio on the Repertoire release sounds slightly better than the release by some of the other labels (the exception would be the Castle release)but it appears that No Noise has been used on almost all of these releases. Does it sound different enough to pay the extra money? In my opinion yes but I'm also getting this for the replica of the original packaging. If you're looking to spend less money I would pick up the Castle release if you can find it. Family wasn't well known for writing hook-based rock music but Bandstand is probably one of the best albums in their discography. The band's bluesy sound is mixed well with experimental touches such as the use of sythesizer, strings, horns and John Wetton on electric violin on "Bolero". The opening cut "Burlesque" has a wicked, nasty flavor to its crunchy guitar riffs and the lyrics making it unlike alot of what this band recorded. "Coronation" and "Dark Eyes" are two of the best late period ballads the band recorded and it's clear listening to this song why Elton John picked them to open for him at one point--his music from "Tumbleweed Connection" through "Honkey Chateau" would have fit in quite well with the music heard here. "Dark Eyes" with terrific layered vocals and John Whitney's guitar picking is truly a highlight of the album. "Broken Nose" is more typical Family fair crossed with boogie rock. "My Friend the Sun" with its acoustic guitar playing and Roger Chapman's sensitive vocals is one of my favorite tracks on this underrated album. "Glove" opens with Wetton's bass gradually joined by other instruments and Chapman's vocals building slowly with some tasty organ that wouldn't have made this out of place on a Traffic album. "Ready to Go" and "Top of the Hill" close out the album with a subtle jazzy vibe on the former and a relaxed string drenched melody on the latter. The original album is packed with some nice bonus live tracks. "The Rockin' R's" was a b-side for a single and is easily as good as anything on the album. "No Mule's Fool", "Good News-Bad News" and "The Weaver's Answer" are all live recordings of varying quality and suffer from the usual limitations of bootlegs/cassette recordings at the time. "No Mule's Fool" sounds the best of the lot with the instruments and vocals coming through very clearly. Although Family recorded one final album after this ("It's Only A Movie"), that release doesn't quite hold up as well when compared to this album or "Fearless" in my opinion but even their final album shows that the band wasn't willing to call it a day with a substandard effort. Recommended.