Family | Bandstand – Reissue Review


Bandstand, released in 1972, marked a pivotal moment in the career of Family, a British rock band known for their distinctive blend of blues, folk, and progressive rock. Their earlier albums had already showcased their musical prowess, but Bandstand elevated their sound to new heights. This album is a masterclass in intricate song structures, dynamic arrangements, and the undeniable charisma of frontman Roger Chapman.

The expanded edition of Bandstand for 2023 features the album newly remastered from the original master tapes, plus 10 bonus tracks drawn from the single “The Rockin’ Rs,” unreleased studio outtakes from May 1971, and a BBC Radio session from October 1972. An illustrated booklet with a new essay tops this package off.

The album kicks off with the infectious “Burlesque,” a track that perfectly encapsulates the band’s sound. Chapman’s raspy, soulful voice takes center stage, delivering the lyrics with an unmatched passion. The track’s captivating melody adds a layer of sophistication that sets Family apart.

One of the standout tracks on the album is “My Friend the Sun,” a beautifully crafted piece that highlights the band’s ability to fuse rock with folk influences. This track also exemplifies the thought-provoking lyrical content that was a hallmark of Family’s music. Bandstand is not just a collection of songs; it’s a cohesive journey. Each track seamlessly flows into the next, creating a sense of unity throughout the album. The production quality is remarkable for its time, and it still holds up well today. The mix allows each instrument and vocal to shine, making it a joy for audiophiles.

“Children” is another gem on the album, featuring an irresistible groove and Chapman’s signature growl. The song’s lyrical content delves into the theme of youth, with a sense of nostalgia and reflection that many listeners can relate to. The haunting “Sweet Desiree” showcases the band’s ability to create a moody atmosphere. The lyrics are introspective, and the music has an ethereal quality that lingers long after the final notes fade.

Bandstand is a timeless masterpiece that showcases Family at the height of their creative powers. The band’s unique fusion of rock, folk, and blues, combined with Roger Chapman’s distinctive voice, makes this album a classic in the progressive rock genre. It’s an album that continues to captivate and inspire new generations of music lovers, and it remains a testament to the enduring power of great rock music. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Bandstand, do yourself a favor and give it a listen – you won’t be disappointed.

~ Irvin Sidewall

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