Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just An Important Album Pt 2

I was a late starter. My first listening to Family was about 1975 when their history had ended. I heard Bandstand, fell in love with it, then I heard Family Entertainment and even though there was one or two weak moments the highlights was of outstanding quality. I realised this was a band for me. The following years I bought the rest of their stuff and really liked most of it with the only exception of It's Only A Movie, their last release. Every now and then I return to their music and think it's still great. Some of it has been a bit dated, but most of it is still really strong.

Chapman & Whitney started their new band Streetwalkers and they made three studio and one live albums, most of them really good. In 1976 Yan, TC3 and me were fortunate to watch them live at The Roundhouse in London. Red Card was newly released and the concert was powerful, Chapman turned his lungs inside out and the wood splinter from the tambourines poured all over us all the time.

Sometimes in the late 70s I also laid my hands on the album Chapman-Whitney made between Family and Streetwalkers, the one confusingly titled (Chapman-Whitney) Streetwalkers.... well, watch the picture and you see which one I mean.

Released in 1974 on Reprise Records (K54017) as an LP and unbelivebly never re-released on CD, a real mystery.
The music captures some of the best moments ever heard from these guys. The musicians are those normally found in the Anyway/Bandstand Family era or King Crimson of 1971-72. Mel Collins' playing is superior, no matter if it's rough sax on the masterful and funky Call Ya, when he and John Wetton build the track towards the end in a way that makes us wonder when the rocket finally will leave while Chapmans voice moves like a wild and hungry animal in a cave, or when he plays his own wonderful and beautiful clarinets arrangement in Sue And Betty Jean, the slow ballad which early Genesis would have offered one arm or two to have written.
The final three-track-suite Just Four Men/Tokyo Rose/Hangman complete this great album when it goes from soft spoken poetry in the beginning to rough and dirty proggrock in the end, with Whitney's chords fighting against Del Newmans' great strings arrangements.
An highly appreciated album. Go for it!

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