Strange Band

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What Family BBC recordings have emerged have been from 1973, at which point the band had passed its peak. So for those who have the early Family albums and crave more, this 18-track, 75-minute mixture of pre-1973 BBC, live, and TV recordings (also including both sides of their non-LP debut 1967 single, although that's been officially reissued on CD) is recommended. None of the 16 1967-1972 live/BBC/TV tracks have been issued as part of Family releases, with sound that ranges from acceptable (if a little flat and muffled at its worst, occasionally cutting off small fragments of songs) to full official standard. As happens often with this kind of specialist bootleg, less fanatical fans should be cautioned that the versions aren't really remarkably different than what you'll hear on Family albums, except that the sound isn't as good. Nevertheless, some live spark of spontaneity does come through that makes them worth hearing for the rabid fan, more so on the actual live concert recordings ("Drowned in Wine" from a 1969 Dutch festival, "Good News -- Bad News" from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival) than the ones done for the BBC or television. It also covers a wide five-year range of their career, which in its own way reflects their music's evolution from its most pop-psychedelic inclinations (on the 1967-1968 tracks) to a style with more hard rock, progressive, and jazz leanings. All of these songs were also recorded in studio versions, with the exception of a 1969 cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bring It on Home" that features nothing but vocals, a solitary guitar, and harmonica in the arrangement.