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Family That Plays Together Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Sept. 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000024R2E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,080 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Underrated and increasingly forgotten Spirit's second album is a near perfect encapsulation of where high quality "progressive" rock music was in late 1968. Meticulously produced and featuring absolutely top-notch playing & singing it draws on the huge diversity of styles floating round the music scene at the time - from hard rock, through West Coast harmonies & country-folk to the emerging jazz/rock scene - and pulls them into a satisfying whole held together by a series of high quality songs.

Five stars then?... well not quite. The problem is that, like their first album "Spirit", it's almost too perfect and, at times, all a little too contrived, but it's close as the driving "I Got A Line On You", the beautifully reflective "It Shall Be" and the wonderful, Band-like "Darlin' If" amply show. And, on those that don't quite hit the highs of these three outstanding tracks, you get a great deal of clever production, a series of excellent instrumental breaks and some unforgettable tunes.

And that's late 1968 for you... a long way from the sheer enthusiasm and barrier-bending innovation of the previous two years but with a much broader pallet of styles to work off. While most of their peers were imploding, losing the plot or just waiting for something to happen Spirit captured this odd, transitional period of rock music and in "The Family That Plays Together" moulded it into something that reflected the best of it all.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
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I bought this CD for this much overlooked track: 'Aren't You Glad?' For me everything else Spirit did pales into mediocrity compared to this, their most psychedelic moment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91ea469c) out of 5 stars 63 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
By Sean M. Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
From 1968, "The Family That Plays Together Stays Together" marked the first major breakthrough for Spirit, one of the late 60's most underrated (and still is) bands. On it, their mix of fuzzed jazz psychedelia that was introduced on their self-titled lp, sounds tighter and better than any of their material to that point. The surprise top 25 hit "I Got a Line On You" b/w "She Smiled" began an ecclectic collection of tunes, ranging from the gorgeous Jay Ferguson (lead singer) penned "Silky Sam" and "A Dream Within a Dream," to organist John Locke's wonderfully jazzed up "Space Chile," to guitarist Randy California and drummer (and stepfather to Randy) Ed Cassidy's funny "It's All the Same."
The results are breathtaking, and very much unlike the rest of the psychedelia made during that period. With Spirit, one gets an intelligently and professionally made lp that takes on all genres of music- jazz, blues, strings, as well as rock n roll. Spirit made music by their own rules- and it worked.
Hard core fans of the late 60's sound know full well who Spirit were. Budding guitarists should listen to Randy California for influence, as should drummers to Ed Cassidy. Those who like surprises with their music will also enjoy this lp. While their best lp, the amazing "12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus," was a few years away, "The Family the Plays Together Stays Together" is a wonderful listen and a great introduction to this most wonderfully unusual L.A. band.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91fd2108) out of 5 stars I should've tried Spirit much earlier 3 May 2005
By BENJAMIN MILER - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
OK, so I've been aware of this band for ages. After all, turn on the classic FM rock dial and you're bound to hear "I Got a Line On You" or "Nature's Way". It's only now that I bought any of their albums. I have acquire The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, and this one, The Family That Plays Together.

The Family That Plays Together was their second album and gave Spirit their first wide exposure, because the album's opening song was none other than "I Got a Line On You", which became a hit for them. This band is odd for one having one member a generation older than the rest. The band featured guitarist Randy California, who was at that point 17 years old, and drummer Ed Cassidy, who was his stepdad (married to his mother), and around 20 years or so older than the rest of the band. Most other people Ed Cassidy's age were more likely to yell at their kids to "Turn off that noise" (like when they're listening to the Beatles), but in Randy California's case, that was different, Ed Cassidy encouraged his music habit and both helped form a band. Of course, lets not forget the rest of the band: Jay Ferguson, John Locke, and Mark Christopher-Andes. Most other people Ed Cassidy's age were more into Lawrence Welk and Bing Crosby and thought rock and roll, like of the Beatles (or Spirit for that matter) was the downfall of civilization.

There is so much more to this album than just "I Got a Line On You". "It Shall Be" is a wonderful, atmospheric number with John Locke giving us some electric piano, and nice use of orcestrations. There are some more rocking passages as well with horns. "Silky Sam" is another one of those mellow orchestrated pieces, with the unexpectedly dissonant passage in the middle (much like what many prog rock bands a few years later would be doing). "The Drunkard" has a rather baroque feel, with an even stronger classical-feel, as it's very dominated by strings. "All the Same" is a rather fun number, with lots of nice electric piano and catchy melodies, one of my favorites on this album and for some reason often overlooked. "Jewish", penned by Randy California, is a real odd number. It's sung in Hebrew (how often do you come across a rock song sung in that language?). We should also know that California himself was Jewish (his real name was Randy Wolfe), so I guess he was exploring his Jewish roots in that song. The final song, "Aren't You Glad", ends in a rather dramatic fashion, more or less the album's epic. When I hear the more mellow, orchestral numbers like "It Shall Be" and "Silky Sam", I keep imagining that John Locke should be using a Mellotron, Spirit would have sounded great using one, but they used real strings (which still sounds great) after all the Mellotron wasn't made commercially available in America until around 1972, but the Chamberlin was available then (and only a band like the Beach Boys made the occasional use of one at that time).

Spirit is one of those few West Coast psych bands that would appeal to people who otherwise are generally not fans of that genre. They avoided the most of those psychedelic cliches (ie. "flowers and beads" and "canyons of your mind"), probably because they realize in even just a couple years time, people would laugh at that stuff if they wrote "canyons of your mind" type of music. So their music ended up not being so dated as so many of their West Coast contemporaries of the time.

The Family That Plays Together is a wonderful album, if you never heard this album, get it, you'll find out there's much more to Spirit than just "I Got a Line On You" as this album proves!
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9206906c) out of 5 stars the best psychedelic jazz rock album ever. 29 Oct. 2004
By madhu m - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
for long i was sure that credential should go to either 12 dreams of doctor sardonicus by spirit, or forever changes by love - but over time, i have come to the conclusion that this particular little gem takes that title.

despite the very radio friendly, "i got a line on you", the family that plays together is slightly inaccesseible, a lot of the structures and melodies take a little time to get used to. but they grab you at the first go. this is a must buy for experienced rock lovers, who appreciate good music. definitely not recommended for people who think bon jovi is the greatest rock star of all time, or that bruce springsteen is the boss.

this is an album for connoisseurs who know how to appreciate music. a work of sublime beauty and genius.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91fd2390) out of 5 stars My brother Randy California 28 Feb. 2007
By Janetwolfe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I would like to correct some misinformation in the amazon review of this album.............Randy at the age of 17 yrs old wrote and SANG "I Got A Line On You'.......................you printed that Jay furgeson sang on it .....just wanted to keep it straight.............Janet Wolfe
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91fd25d0) out of 5 stars Their Best 22 Oct. 2003
By Fred Rayworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is one of those albums I bought because of a song on the radio. Their hit, "I've Got a Line on You" did it for me. I was quite surprised at the rest of the album and Randy California's riffing still gives me shudders. I am amazed but at the same time not entirely surprised they did not get any bigger than they did (they sounded too good). At least they made most of the rock history books as a minor note.
To me this is their best album. I loved Dr. Sardonicus and the other one with "Dark Eyed Woman" on it (can't remember the name). But one album I missed somewhere was the one with 1984 on it. I love that song!
This album is polished but at the same time a little raw which is more to my taste and that is why I hold it above their other albums.
I've tried to keep track of the band over the years and have lately lost track of them all except for Randy (RIP).
A great album. Highly recommended.
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