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lunes, 9 de noviembre de 2015

Family - A Song for Me (1970)


Tercer disco de estudio de Family, compartido para ustedes por Esteban. Como dice un comentario: "Un disco de la época más dorada de ese Prog. en constante evolución que se dirigía directamente a las estrellas, para gozo y disfrute de los que amamos ciertas cosas incomprensibles"

Artista: Family
Álbum: A Song for Me
Año: 1970
Género: Progresivo ecléctico
Duración: 45:36
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. Drowned In Wine
2. Some Poor Soul
3. Love Is A Sleeper
4. Stop For The Traffic-Through The Heart Of Me
5. Wheels
6. Songs For Sinking Lovers
7. Hey-Let It Rock
8. The Cat And The Rat
9. 93's Ok J
10. A Song For Me
Bonus Tracks (Castle CD)
11. No Mule's Fool
12. Good Friend Of Mine

Alineación:
- Roger Chapman/ Vocals, Percussion
- John 'Charlie' Whitney/ Guitar, Banjo, Organ
- John Weider/ Guitars, Violin, Dobro
- Robert Townsend/ Drums, Percussion, Harp
- John 'Poli' Palmer/ Vibes, Piano, Flute
- Jim King/ saxophone


Tercer disco de estudio de Family que nos comparte Esteban. He aquí sus palabras presentando el disco:


Ric Grech falleció el 17 de Marzo de 1990, víctima de una hemorragia cerebral probablemente derivada de su adicción al alcohol.
Jim King abandonó Family justo antes de la grabación del nuevo álbum, entrando en su reemplazo el multiinstrumentista John "Poli" Palmer (ex componente de Deep Feeling).
Los temas, que habían sido compuestos pensando en el saxo y la armónica de Jim King, tuvieron que ser revisados y la transformación provocó una positiva revitalización del sonido de la banda. A pesar de los cambios Family continuó ensanchando su triunfo comercial con el nuevo disco “A song for me”, número 4 en el Reino Unido, contenía canciones como “Drowned in wine” o “Love is a sleeper”, que resultaron beneficiadas por la presencia de Palmer.

"A Song For Me" es un disco notable aunque no está a la altura de otras grabaciones del grupo como "Music In A Doll’s House" o "Family Entertainment". Personalmente, la voz ovejuna me termna resultando demasiado chocante y la encuentro en desmedro de toda la obra

Family es otra de esas bandas inglesas de principios de los setentas que inexplicablemente están injustamente olvidadas, o en el mejor de los casos, no suficientemente reconocidas, habiendo hecho discos de gran consistencia, calidad y originalidad, teniendo en sus filas a una buena cantidad de músicos sobresalientes y haber creado un concepto original, factores todos que, por lo regular, convierten a una banda de rock en clásica e inmortal.
Family se creó en Leicester por la iniciativa de un grupo de estudiantes de arte y en su período de conformación tuvo varios cambios de personal, para 1968, año en que grabaron "Music in a Doll House", su extraordinario disco debut, celebrado por los críticos más exigentes, pero poco vendido y olvidado, sus miembros eran: Roger Chapman, cantante, armonicista y saxofonista; John Whitney, guitarrista; Jim King, que tocaba saxofones, armónica y cantaba; Ric Grech, en bajo, violín, cello y voz y Rob Townshend con las percusiones.
"Family Enterteinment" su segundo disco y con los mismos músicos, es también una joya de principio a fin, con el quinteto, desarrollando una música que, aún en el contexto expansivo de esos años, era muy rica en la composición de las piezas, que no se limitaban al rock, sino que tenía pasajes muy variados donde se asomaban las músicas tradicionales del Reino Unido y la música "culta", ires y venires de unos escenarios a otros, con instrumentación muy variada y un vocalista (Chapman) que tampoco goza del reconocimiento que merece, con la fuerza y emoción de Joe Cocker y un timbre parecido al de Mike Harrison de Spooky Tooth, era un cantante fuera de serie.
"A Song For Me", su tercer álbum lo busqué por mucho tiempo, sólo para completar mi colección de la primera etapa de Family, pero sin mucho entusiasmo, me parecía que las dos obras maestras mencionadas, no podían ser superadas y en las crónicas y reseñas, nunca se menciona a este disco como sobresaliente, pero cuando lo conseguí, mi sorpresa fue muy grande y muy grata, con dos cambios en la alineación: salieron Jim King y Ric Grech, este último directo al reflector con la superbanda Blind Faith que fueron sustituidos por: John Weider y John Palmer, también multinstrumentistas, lo que al parecer era requisito para entrar a la banda, hicieron un trabajo que no desmerece frente a sus antecesores y en momentos hasta los supera.
"A Song for me", es como un trabajo de entramado colorido y lleno de imágenes, que van de un lugar a otro y de un tiempo a otro, en momentos lleno de luz y en otros un tanto sombrío, nutrido de géneros ya establecidos pero maleados y aleados por la Familia con gran oficio, como toda la obra de la banda hasta 1970, sin duda el hecho de que fueran todos músicos con grandes conocimientos y su característica de tocar una gran variedad de instrumentos fueron determinantes para que se atrevieran a hacer rock sin barreras, rock que en cada momento se salía de sus límites, para explorar otros paisajes sonoros, siguieron grabando discos hasta 1973, pero de eso no puedo hablar porque no los conozco.
Ariel Martínez

Mito en la época y uno de los grupos señeros en la transición de la Psycho al Prog., Family es la perfecta armonía entre dos décadas que aspiraban a ser historia dentro de la Música.
Quizás parezca algo banal, pero para mí es muy importante recordar que el grupo también fue pionero en dar más importancia al vinilo de 33rpm que al disco de 45rpm, intentando en sus obras ese concepto de homogeneidad que la larga duración requiere (al menos en una Música como la suya)
"A Song For Me" es su tercer trabajo, parido tras dos monumentos que son parte indisoluble del mejor Prog. de la época. Quizás por eso no llega en lo que se presupone al magno espectáculo de ellos, pero en mi opinión es un pedazo de disco que encierra aún todo lo que Family era como banda creativa y original.
La salida de dos de los miembros de la banda original, Jim King y Ric Grech provoca que el sonido del grupo se resienta un poco en cuanto a lo buscado en sus primeras obras, pero la entrada de John Palmer y John Weider no desmerece en cuanto a la calidad, aunque la Música varíe ligeramente. Aún así, la voz de Roger Chapman marca (como no puede ser de otra manera) esa mágica impresión que nos ofrece toda la creatividad del grupo, que en este caso nos deja un disco más ágil, vigoroso y con un cierto sentimiento de caos en el sentido creativo del término, si no tan fascinante como lo entregado anteriormente sí más impactante y sorprendente en algunos aspectos que pudieran no esperarse tanto.
Entre el Folk y el Hard, nos llegan sonoridades acústicas con arreglos más intrincados, canciones distintas a lo que sabíamos de la banda y el uso de instrumentos por primera vez dentro del grupo, como el vibráfono, usado de manera continua y habitual. También nos deja el título más extenso en duración de la historia de la banda, "A Song For Me", en el cual demuestran su saber hacer compositivo y la maravillosa capacidad vocal de Chapman llega a niveles de excelencia.
Un disco de la época más dorada de ese Prog. en constante evolución que se dirigía directamente a las estrellas, para gozo y disfrute de los que amamos ciertas cosas incomprensibles. ¡¡¡Disfrútalo!!!
Agilulfo

Vamos con algunos comentarios en inglés y su video respectivo.

Gone are two of the most notable members: bassist/violinist Grech who left for Blind Faith and later in Traffic and Jim King - although an original member dating back from the mid-60's The Farinas line-up - got sacked for his role had severely been diminished. They were replaced respectively by John Weider on bass and violin and ex-Blossom Toes Poli Palmer on keys, vibes and winds. This latest addition will help Family getting an even wider spectrum and it clearly shows on this third album. A change of band managers round up the changes. From this record onwards, all Family albums have received a remastering job from the Mystic label and have received many more bonus tracks as the previous Castle records releases.
One of the things that strikes most is that this album is very acoustic as the majority of the tracks are based on the acoustic guitars of John Charles Withney (but this can be explained easily since Grech, the other song writer was gone leaving the Chapman/Withney duo alone at the writing helm), but this does not mean that the record is a laid back affair, quite on the contrary. The opening Drowned In Wine is a real scoarcher and Chapman delivers a real strong vocal performance and newcomer Palmer adds some great flutes. Love Is A Sleeper excels again in the rougher kind of tracks but this time Palmer adds some vibes to liven things up. Another highlight on the album is the superb Wheels with its great acoustic guitar/flute duo sometimes hinting at raga music. In between those three excellent tracks are stuck some shorter and less exciting mainly acoustic tracks, but pleasant anyway. Song For Sinking Lovers is a country-tinged track and my least liked on the album. Another rather surprising track is the country boogie The Cat And The Rat which is preceded by a short but great jazzy Hey, Let's Rock with Palmer on vibes. The instrumental 93's OK J track is another great moment on the album with Palmer vibing out the Withney guitars. The closing title track is a 9 min affair which was written on a single chord and allows for lengthy soloing and it was used as a set closer in concert. I suspect this track worked best live , but here it appears a biyt overlong.
The first two bonus tracks are from a non-album single released three months before this record, but Family was only a quartet since Palmer joined during the ASFM sessions. The two tracks are rather forgettable, but it is nice to have them included here, anyway. The rest of the bonus tracks are live versions of album songs and add few value to the album although the live version of Wheels is quite a joy to hear.
Probably my fave Family album, even if some critics call it countryish (a vast over- statement if you ask me), but this is mainly due to newcomer Weider whose violin sound is definitely more Celtic-sounding than Grech.
Sean Trane

Like all of Family's studio albums, all are worth listening to, but unlike the band's prior two albums especially their sophomore release "Family Entertainment", the band is quite emphatic about what they deemed to less than stellar recording conditions and poor engineering, they felt that a band of their stature should receive the same treatment as some of the bigger names in Rock music at the time.
Family felt that the only way that they would acheive this dream was to produce the album themselves. It was prior to this album that the band lost bassist/violinist Ric Grech to "greener pastures" to the ill-fated supergroup Blind Faith, but the band capitalsed on ex-Animal Jim Weider, whom similar dexterity was what the band was looking for.
Also long-time band mate, saxophonist Jim King at this time also was doubting his role within the band as a friend John "Poli" Palmer was contributing his talents to the band, whose overall talent was what the band was looking for. The fruits of the recordings for their third studio release "A Song For Me", was met with mixed reviews, but yet it is also considered a "transitional" album from the band's psychedlic past, but yet expanded on second album by taking on songwriting talents of Chapman and Whiney's love for a myriad of musical genres and produced a more harsher approach to their music.
Decades later after its initial release, "A Song For Me" is considered one of Family's finest moments as some of the album's best numbers would become part of the band's stage repertoire. Also during this time, the album edit "More Fool Me" would go on to become a minor hit in the UK.
Charles

I quite prefer this album to Family Entertainment.
The personnel changes doesn't seem to have affected the band too much; especially when I listen to the very good opening song Drowned In Wine. I'm maybe too much attracted by the title, but this song features a great Chapman on the lead vocals and some fine flute as well.
Flute has a more prominent role on this album (which is fine with me), and the violin play is a fine add on as well even if Song For Sinking Lovers sounds a bit folkish.
The major attraction IMHHO, is the fantastic vocal performance from the electric goat. Roger is really excellent from start to finish; even during softer and more delicate songs (Some Poor Soul).
Of course, when the beat catches up, his powerful organ (I mean his voice), brings you on the border of heaven. Have a listen to Love Is A Sleeper to be convinced. Not only by his voice, but also for the great vibes.
This shouldn't prevent me to say that some tracks are not really good like the country-style The Cat and the Rat (but I have never liked country music).
Therefore, 93's OK J is welcome; it is a pleasant track holding some very good acoustic guitar work which is sustained by strong percussion. Some fine Spanish atmosphere comes out from it; it is a bit unexpected from Family, but it works very well.
The long closing number is a serious piece of music which holds lots of frenetic violin and an amazing and crazy finale: totally wild and devastating. It might though be a bit too long and repetitive, but A Song For Me is one of the best number from this album.
Three stars. Maybe not as inspired as their debut, but better than their sophomore album.
ZowieZiggy

A Song For Me is the third full length studio album from Family. I´m very fond of their debut album Music in a Doll´s House while my hopes for another great album from the band was somewhat lowered after listening to their second album Family Entertainment. It´s a good album but it never met my high expectations after listening to the excellent debut. A Song For Me is better than the way too polished Family Entertainment, but not as good as the debut. Less can do it in this case though.
The music from Family is characterised by holding elements from many different genres and even though the main element is rock there are also elements from Classical music, jazz and folk/ country. A very interesting mix of genres that generally works well.
There are some really great songs on A Song For Me and album opener Drowned in Wine is one of the best and most powerful tracks on the album. Love is a Sleeper introduces a new element in Family´s sound which are Vibes. A good song that one too. Wheels is a great eclectic and progressive song. There are also a couple of fillers that don´t mean much to me. Stop For The Traffic-Through The Heart Of Me is one such song. The album ends with the hard rocking title track which reminds me a bit about Led Zeppelin. It´s a bit too long and repetitive though ( The repetitive element is also something Led Zeppelin could be accused of having in some of their songs).
One of the biggest assets to Family´s sound is without a doubt singer Roger Chapman. His vocals are outstanding and compared to his performance on Family Entertainment his performance on A Song For Me are much stronger and even crazy sometimes. The rest of the band are also excellent and well playing musicians.
The production is excellent. A bit more raw than on Family Entertainment and that´s exactly what was needed for Family. A bit more attitude and bite.
A Song For Me is a good album but and my rating lies somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I´ll give it a BIG 3 star rating.
UMUR

Following their second consecutive release with the same lineup Family underwent the inevitable staffing changes that characterized so many B-list prog bands of the early seventies. Bassist Rick Grech departed for a gig with the newly-formed supergroup Blind Faith (and later the spinoff Ginger Baker's Air Force) before Family's connections to Traffic paid dividends for him with a stint there, followed by a brief stay with the reformed Crickets (minus Buddy Holly of course) and on to more commercial success with KGB. He was replaced (sort of) by multi-instrumentalist John Weider of Eric Burdon & the Animals, who brought with him a new dynamic for the band with his considerable violin and dobro-playing skills, in addition to guitar and a little bass. The band also added piano along with another flautist in the form of John Palmer. Both would depart within a year, but their presence gave the band the ability to stretch their sound into new territories, albeit more along the lines of the more acoustic and folksy sound than the harder-rocking debut.
This proved to be a mixed blessing. One a positive note the band's music is rather more eclectic on this album than either of the previous ones, with more fusion ("Hey Let it Rock", "93's Ok J" in particular). And the piano and electric keyboards add depth to the mid-range of their sound that tended to be a bit flat and muddled on the first two albums (some of that owing to the dubious production of late sixties studios).
The downside I suppose is a decidedly more contemporary rocking sound on what can best be described as filler tracks, most notably the opening "Drowned in Wine" and the jam session titled "Love is a Sleeper". At times I wonder if I'm listening to a set of Wishbone Ash outtakes, including the almost countryish "Stop for the Traffic-Through the Heart of Me" and mushy "Good Friend of Mine".
Roger Chapman's vocals are as potent as ever though, and the blend of flute, dobro, piano and guitar trio of Charlie Whitney and Robert Townsend make for a bevy of well- constructed, easy-listening tunes even if not many of them offer much new in terms of composition or innovative arrangements.
Overall I have to say this is a slightly better album than the last, mostly due to the variety of instruments and occasional deviation from both blues and country rock they favored on the first couple of records. Their debut still beats this one out for sheer creativity though, so three stars out of five is the best I can do. Recommended to fans of the band and those who enjoy hearing what passed for new more than forty years ago. As a nostalgic piece you could do worse.
Bob Moore




1 comentario:

  1. Download: (nuevamente, gracias a Esteban)
    http://adf.ly/1RMPTN

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