I’m quite tickled by Castle Records’ new releases of the Family back catalog and (even better) an excellent retrospective/greatest hits disc called A Family Selection. No lie: these guys were one of the most under-appreciated bands of the ’70s, even though today (if they’re remembered at all) they’re generally recalled as little more than the training ground for Blind Faith’s Ric Grech and King Crimson’s John Wetton. But they were so much more than that: singer Roger Chapman, guitarist Charlie Whitney and drummer Rob Townsend anchored this quintet for nearly a decade, creating the smartest, most accessible blues-prog blend ever to cross this critic’s plate–particularly during the 15-month period when Wetton and keyboardist/vibes player Poli Palmer were in the group. Exquisite. Essential. Important.

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