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FAMILY ‘BBC Radio 1971-73’ Hux Records HUX060(2004)


Hux are spoiling us. Only a few months ago came the first volume of this definitive collection at the BBC. Now we have Volume 2 which charts Family's progress after the loss of original band members bassist Ric Grech and saxophonist Jim King.

The years 1971-73 saw the band consolidating their prog-rock leanings, with Poli Palmer adding distinctive vibes and flute and John Weider's violin giving an almost gypsy dervish flavour.

The tracks from the 1971 sessions have a toe in the band's recent past with a fine version of 'Part Of The Load' which featured on the album 'Anyway'.

Family were, like the title of the opening track, a strange band. The use of unusual instrumentation (such as violin,vibes and mandolin) often gave them a folksy feel. 'Burning Bridges' which appeared on 1971's 'Fearless' album sounds like Gentle Giant.

The 'hit' singles 'No Mules Fool' and the superb 'In My Own Time' are included but are not really representative. By November 1971's session prog journeyman John Wetton had taken up the bass residency in the band.

We jump to 1973 when in May Family recorded their last BBC session for John Peel. Jim Cregan was in on bass and Tony Ashton, piano and organ. The sound quality also seems to ramp up here, and 'Buffet Tea For Two' (from 'Like A Movie') is outstanding.

With some great archive shots in the liner notes, this completes a fine year for Family fans and should be snapped up along with Volume 1 and the Mystic album reissues.


Review by David Randall

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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