Saturday, 3 October 2020

45 RPM Gems - Family - Burlesque (1972)


Family were a band that slipped under the radar a bit in the early seventies, but they were one of those hard-drinking but hard-gigging outfits that seemed to garner a lot of industry respect and inspired considerable loyalty from their fans. The band were from Leicester and the lead singer was the gravel-throated, whisky and roll-ups-voiced Roger Chapman. He was an underrated vocalist as too was guitarist Charlie Whitney.

I remember hearing this grteat serving of bluesy rock back in the autumn of 1972 and thinking 'this is the sort of band I ought to be getting into', feeling they would give me some sort of credibility as moved through my early/mid-teens. I duly taped their follow-up single, the gentle, dreamy and folky My Friend The Sun, and, although I pretended to like it, in reality I found it wishy-washy back then. I wanted more of the riffy, blues, down and dirty rock of Burlesque, I'm afraid. I didn't get it and so ended my brief flirtation with Family. It still doesn't take anything away from the fact that Burlesque was an absolutely stonking rock single, with its killer riff, Free influences and gritty, earthy vocal about the charms of Rita and Greta, Chapman's companions on his druknen bar-room night as detailed in the lyrics. Just put this track on and the intro gets you from the very beginning as we all head out west - destination burlesque.

The 'b' side is an average, upbeat rocker, The Rockin' R's, about an old rock 'n' roll group that I don't know too much about, but Chapman and Whitney were clearly fans of, as the song talks of going into a record shop and hearing them.

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