The Archive.

 

The Bickershaw Programme: Family .
 
By  Al Clarke. 
   To anyone who ever strutted down to a Leicester dance dive in the early sixties , The Farina's were as integral a part of the occasion as getting plastered, pulling bird and making a lot of noise on the  way home . And to anyone who ever wandered out into a dazed spring 68 Covent Garden morning after an indefinable period of time at Middle Earth, Family , menacing and boorish as they often appeared to be , were definitely part of the hallowed whateveritis.

   Somewhere along that line , founder members guitarist John Whitney and sax player Jim King  enlisted bassist Ric Grech , vocalist Roger Chapman  and at a later vacant drum stool stage, Rob Townsend . The music evolved at the same pace they did and when they put away their gangster suits ands built a tombstone for the Rolling Sixties. They became Family , played together  and stayed together. With that particular set of human components  they made two monstrously good albums " Music In A Dolls House" and "Family Entertainment " , both of which , for all the uncertainties that prompted the band to re-mix several of the tracks for a later composite album, remain well crafted , intelligent  and exciting records. 
  

  • Front cover
  • Back cover
  • America
  • Brinsley Schwarz
  • Brotherhood of Breath
  • Captain Beefheart
  • Captain Beyond
  • Cheech and Chong
  • Country Joe.
  • Donovan
  • Dr John 
  • Flaming Groovies
  • Grateful Dead.
  • Hawkwind
  • Jonathon Kelly
  • Linda Lewis.
  • Incredible String Band
  • Neophonic Orchestra
  • New Riders.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric 
  • Sam Apple Pie
  • Stackridge
  • Al Stewart
  • The Kinks.
  • Joe's Lights 
  • Mike Westbrook
  •  

        Following the unfortunately -timed departure of Ric Grech - just one aspect of a cursed and disastrous tour of the states - John Weider hastily came to the rescue and stayed on . Soon after , it was Jim King's turn to be replaced by Poli Palmer who didn't play sax but did play vibes and flute and they liked him anyway. . That Family lasted through "A Song For Me. " Anyway " Old Songs New Songs " , another slightly less troubled but no more incisive tour of America and a multitude of gigs up , down and off the motorways. Sometime early last year , John Weider got tired of it all before any of the others did, so when the time came to record again they found themselves with no bass player. John Wetton not only played bass but opened up a whole new area of vocal counterbalance with Roger's legendary vibrato. Roger doesn't hurl around mike stands so much these days. 

          Fearless  their last record , is just a further assertation of everything that's been remarkable about Family . Through all the gross posturings of the last few years , they've relied on a careful meshing of sounds and supported it with strength , symmetry , subtlety , drive and imagination. They've been gentle and fierce and credible . Above all they've done the unexpected : acoustic guitars when everyone was muttering "heavy" , gorgeous tunes when it was time for a blues lick , explosive drama when the dream was just setting in.
        They're back from France and Norway  and will be returning to the states in August with high hopes and plenty of advance encouragement . Their new album is in the formative stages . And as always so are they .

    That's what being progressive is about isn't it ? .  


     

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    Other Bickershaw links.
     
    • The Bickershaw diaries-

      Mike Plumbleys saga at Bickershaw, with more photos and extensive first hand observations of his time at the festival. 

    • Repfoto- massive collection of commercially available photos of Bickershaw for sale and view
    • Mothergrumble Magazine-article on Bickershaw and Lincoln 72

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