Family

From: Leicester, Englad

Family is a psychedelic/blues/progressive rock band that formed in Leicester, England. Family evolved out of a Leicester band called the Farinas in early 1967. Original members included Roger Chapman (vocals), Charlie Whitney (guitar), Rob Townshend (drums), Ric Grech (bass, vocals, violin) and Jim King (saxophone, flute). The band quickly moved to London and met up with US producer Kim Fowley who convinced them to change their name to Family due to the fact they regularly wore double-breasted suits in performances, giving themselves a mafia like appearance. Through Fowley, they signed a one-off deal with Liberty Records in the fall of 1967 and released the excellent “Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens.” The single was surprisingly a commercial failure.

Their debut LP, Music In A Doll’s House, was co-produced by Dave Mason of Traffic. The album is very innovative and diverse for its time, showcased on songs such as “The Chase”, “Winter”, and “See Through Windows” with their highly complex instrumentation and melodies. All songs on the album were originals except for Mason’s “Never Like This”, which would end up being the only song ever recorded by Family that wasn’t an original. The album peaked at #35 in the UK and was praised by critics. Family was also a hugely popular live act, first playing the leading London clubs along side the likes of Pink Floyd and Tomorrow, and then outdoor festivals in front of large audiences.

1969 saw the first on many personnel changes when Grech left the band to join Blind Faith; he was replaced by John Weider (bass, violon), who had previously been with Eric Burdon & The Animals. They released their second album, Family Entertainment, in the spring of that year. The album was hugely successful in the UK, climbing to #6, but the band remained virtually unknown in the US. A non-LP single, “No Mule’s Fool”, was released towards the end of ’69, and this also did well on the UK charts, reaching #29. Shortly after the release of the single, King was ousted from the band as a result of his “unpredictable behaviour” and was replaced by John “Poli” Palmer (keyboards, vibes), formerly of Blossom Toes and Eclection.

By the early 1970s, Family developed a more straight forward sound and found even bigger commercial success. Two LPs released in 1970, A Song For Me and Anyway, hit #4 and #7 respectively and they also enjoyed three hit singles during this time. In 1971, Weider left and was replaced by John Wetton (bass, vocals). During the next few years, Family released two more commercially successful studio LPs, Fearless and Bandstand, which reached #10 and #15 on the UK charts respectively. They were also the first albums to chart in the US at #177 and #183.

By the end of 1972, Palmer had left to form a band with Ric Grech, which ended up going nowhere, and was replaced by Tony Ashton (keyboards). Wetton also left the band around this time to join King Crimson and was replaced by Jim Cregan (bass, guitar). In 1973, Family released their final LP, It’s Only A Movie. By October of that year they split, leaving behind a solid body of work.

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1967 single Liberty LBF 15031

  • Scene Through The Eyes Of A Lens

From the 1969 single Reprise RS 27001

  • No Mule’s Fool

From the 1968 album Music In A Doll’s House

  • 3 X Time
  • Me My Friend/Variation On A Theme Of Hey Mr. Policeman
  • Mellowing Grey
  • Never Like This
  • Old Songs New Songs
  • Peace Of Mind
  • See Through Windows
  • The Breeze
  • The Chase
  • Voyage
  • Winter

From the 1969 album Family Entertainment

  • Emotions
  • Face In The Cloud
  • How-Hi-The-Li
  • Hung Up Down
  • Observations From A Hill
  • Processions
  • Summer ’67

From the 1970 album A Song For Me

  • Song For Sinking Lovers