Family - Anyway

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Mystic Records
Catalog Number: MYS CD 171
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:21:00

Originally released in 1970 (Reprise RSX 9005) , this re-issue contains three extra live versions of tracks from the same album, a perfect example of how much of a live band Family really was. In fact, the first tracks on the original album also were live recordings, recorded live at Fairfield Hall in London. As is the case with a lot of vocalists, you either love or hate the voice of Roger Chapman, which is mainly due to the heavy use of his vibrato. But if you can set Roger's voice apart for one minute and listen to the ingenious compositions first and then add his distinctive voice to the whole, you will be pleased to know that Family is indeed a very interesting band! Especially the experimental nature of John Palmer's interventions lift these songs to great heights. Needless to say that, recorded in 1970, Family's music at times sounds a little muddy in places, as this was the kind of music studios were only able to reproduce at around that time. Hence the fact that some of the guitar solos are not so distinctive whilst also a lot of distortion is used.

As said before, tracks 1 to 4 are live recordings, so it's kind of normal that the balance between the instruments and Chapman's vocals is not perfect. Listen to the bluesy "Willow Tree" where the vocals sound much further away than the piano and violin. Yet it also strikes me that the audience is competely concentrated and quiet during the songs even when these contain very silent passages, something the current visitors of concerts might learn a lesson or two from! Due to the inclusion of the violin, Family's music sometimes contains some of the magic that we could find with Curved Air, although a track like "Normans" also holds a little bit of String Driven Thing, whilst Palmer's flute is reminiscent of Genesis at that time. However, the piano in combination with Charlie Whitney's guitar constantly injects a decent amount of blues into the band's compositions. Above all Family is the kind of band that really is the perfect example of the typical underground band which uses every concert to fully improvise whenever they feel like it. Just compare the studio and live version of "Part Of The Load" and you know exactly what I mean. It's the kind of music that was big in university circles at that time and the kind of stuff that sounded even better when you enjoyed a decent joint in the meantime!

The first pressing of this re-issue is a little confusing as instead of Anyway it says A Song For Me on the spine, which of course is another album by the same outfit and another Mystic release in its own right. My original vinyl copy of Anyway was tucked away in a special plastic outersleeve. It would have been nice to have the same idea in miniature size, but then again it would most certainly cost an arm and a leg and in the end it's the music that counts.

Reissued in 1998 by Essential/Castle (ESM CD 615)

Good News - Bad News (8:06) / Willow Tree (4:39) / Holding The Compass (4:28) / Strange Band (3:34) / Part Of The Load (4:40) / Anyway (3:28) / Normans (4:21) / Lives And Ladies (6:37) / Bonus Tracks: Mystic Records version: Strange Band (Alternative Live Version) / Part Of The Load (Live) / Lives And Ladies (Live)

Bonus Tracks Castle version: Today (4:59) / Song For Lots (3:34) / Today (4:05)

Roger Chapman - vocals
Charlie Whitney - guitar, bass, amplified acoustic guitars
Rob Townsend - drums, percussion
John Weider - bass, violin, amplified acoustic guitars
Poli Palmer - vibes, piano, electric piano, percussion, drums, flute

Music In A Doll's House (1968)
Entertainment (1969/2003)
A Song For Me (1970/2003)
Anyway (1970/1998/2003)
Old Songs New Songs (1971)
Family In Concert (1971/2003)
Fearless (1971/2003)
Bandstand (1972/2003)
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert (1973)
It's Only A Movie (1973/2003)
Rise...The Very Best Of Family (1981)
A's & B's (1992)
The Best Of Family (1995)
Anthology (2000)
Masters From The Vaults (2003)

Masters From The Vaults (DVD) (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: December 14th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1153
Language: english


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