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on 31 January 2005
This is the only live album recorded and released by the group during their short life span. Well, half live album, anyway.
The live tracks were recorded during the 1970 tour with the group trying out versions on the road prior to possible studio recordings.
Chappo is in fine voice for the opener, the hard rocker 'Good News, Bad News.'You can almost sense the tambourine impacting into the face of some unfortunate 'head' in the front row at Fairfield Hall. Other highlights include 'Holding the Compass' which Chappo refers to as 'another busker job' and a hard-edged pre-release live version of the single 'Strange Band.'
The studio side is far from filler and features some sterling songwriting from Chappo and Whitney. Highlights feature the delightfully ramshackled instumental 'Normans', the ode to life on tour 'Part of the Load', the psychy 'Anyway' and reflective 'Lives and Ladies.'
Family had a reputation for being awesome live. 'Anyway' goes some way to explaining why but for absolute proof listen to the later 'Family Live'CD from the 71 Tour.
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on 8 September 2007
I was lucky enough to see Family play live about a dozen times. They were quite superb - unpretentious, casual in approach, even sloppy at times, yet could suddenly become extremely tight, musically. They could be as complex as a jazz band, but all the time driven by Roger Chapman's manic persona and sense of fun.

The live section of this album gives a glimpse into how good (and bad) they could be - Chapman forgets his words a couple of times, yet the band plays on behind him as if nothing has happened, bringing in electric violin, saxophone and vibraphone to augment their routinely excellent blues-influenced guitar/bass/drum combo.

I suppose the nearest thing we've seen to Family since they broke up would be Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Clever songs and witty stage persona, allied to skilled musicianship.

Never a studio band, Family failed to produce an album which truly reflected how good they really were. This is about as close as they got.
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VINE VOICEon 8 January 2007
I bought this album when it first came out on vinyl with its weird plastic cover over a picture by Da Vinci. I had just seen them perform live and also bought the single 'Strange Band' which had the brilliant 'Weavers Answer' on the 'B' side.

Seeing them live was always a wonderful evenings entertainment - rarely has a band put so much into their live shows (they never performed encores on any occasion I saw them), they really were a great live band. This album is half live and half studio and although the two sides may be very different, the quality of both is superb.

The brilliant 'Good News, Bad News' starts off the album with great vocals from Roger Chapman plus an excellent solo from Charlie Whitney and some excellent vibes playing from Poli Palmer. 'Holding the Compass' follows with Chappo repeating trhe same verse twice (not the only time I heard him do this!). A live version of 'Strange Band' is full of raw energy. with some powerful drumming from Rob Townsend and some excellent 'rock violining' from bassist John Weider. On the studio side the superb 'Part of the Load' and 'Lives and Ladies' are highlights for me with the other tracks not far behind. 'Lives and Ladies' in particular is a vastly underrated track and for me comes close to 'Weavers Answer' as the definitive Family track.

Family never had major commercial success but they didn't do too bad and it is obvious listening to the superb music on this album why they were never considered mainstream (whatever that is). They did, however, leave behind some brilliant music and this album is a great reminder of the band close to the peak of its powers (their next album 'Fearless' was perhaps their best).

Highly recommended.
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on 7 January 2011
I bought this album in my early teens. It Blew my mind, so different from the usual radio stuff and led to me looking at band like Led Z, Groundhogs, Amon Dull. I saw them all live except Led Z, Something I still regret not being able to do. I purchased several of the following albums, All EXCELLENT. If you like music have a listen, I listened to the album again recently after it has spent some time in a cupboard, it still made my spine tingle. I love it. To me several of their albums, like Music In A Doll's House, bandstand and Fearless, rate amongst my top album list that includes Led Z, Groundhogs, Beatles, Pink, David Bowie, Geoff Wayne, Vampire Weekend and so on. Listen to the voice of Roger Chapman, so emotive, check out "Good news, Ban News" and "Strange Band" my two favourites. Without going into a long, long, long explanation as to why I think they are great I would sugges listening to a couple of albums this one and Music in a Dolls House and make up your own mind.
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on 14 March 2013
Beware of the various reissues of this disc that contain the 3 bonus Live tracks-
'Strange Band','Part of the Load','Lives and Ladies'
They are not live versions,they are taken from the 'BBC Radio Sessions' cd
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on 2 February 2009
The other reviews cover pretty much everything I would say about the original album - good and bad. However, no one seems to have picked up on the extra tracks this version includes and that needs rectifying.

The alternate version of Strange Band is fine - with a lively violin solo. But the live versions of the two best studio tracks on the album - "Part of the Load" and "Lives and Ladies" - are something else again. Both are stretched way beyond the studio versions and both benefit as a result (not always the case). There is no information about where they come from. Part of the Load sounds similar to the Family Live version without the crowd noise, but I don't think it is the same one. Lives and Ladies - who knows? But they are both great and if you programme out the studio tracks then Anyway becomes a rather good live album indeed.
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on 21 June 2013
Brilliant... Chapman's voice is amazing... Best live album of the 70's by a long shot. Holding the compass is stunning...
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on 26 July 2009
Wow a great trip back to a time of fun and great music. From start to finish this is a quality album! Non-Family fans beware of listening you can be turned in an instant!
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on 15 October 2013
Loved this when it was first released, sounds great all be it a little dated now but the voice really does it for me. Great to get it on CD at this price.
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on 28 June 2007
I don't think a half live/half studio album is a good idea - I always think it gives the studio tracks an air of "off-cuts", whilst a side of vinyl is nowhere near long enough to portray a band's in-concert persona.

The four live songs ARE all quintessential live Family. Sloppy, raw, noisy and breathless, they act like aural paintstripper. Holding The Compass (with the proper opening verse omitted and the second verse sung twice) is in my top three tracks of theirs and Strange Band is totally out of control.

Understandably, the studio tracks suffer slightly after all that energy. Normans DOES sound like filler to me, Anyway is gossamer-slight, but Part of The Load and Lives and Ladies rank with the finest of Family songs and the best of Chapman's vocal performances.

Family never made a perfect album - it wasn't their way - so it's not exactly a disappointment that this is flawed. However, it's one I still come back to, almost four decades on.
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