Article – Historical Essay

From the reissue of Music In A Doll’s House, MIDI 24018, 1974
The “Farinas” had a good reputation with students and club-goers in Leicester – a high class soul band that played songs from James Brown and Ray Charles. They made really arousing music with two saxophones and up to three singers. They changed their name during the roaring “Roaring Sixties” and then also got offers from the south, giving some concerts in London’s top clubs like the UFO and The Roundhouse. And, as life goes, they soon stood in a recording studio to record their first single. Jimmy Miller (yes, from the Stones) was the producer. Roger Chapman, John Whitney, (who later called himself Charlie because everyone had always called him that at Leicester), Jim King, Ric Grech and Rob Townsend played – to be known henceforth as “Family”, a name proposed by the American head-freak Kim Fowley.

But there were a few more musicians in the studio: Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, Steve Winwood and Dave Mason, better known as Traffic. By the way, the song was “Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens” with “Gypsy Woman” on the flip side and came out on Liberty. The single was naturally a flop being just one of the many records brought out by new groups in 1967.

The five still lived in Leicester then but soon moved to London. There they were also soon discovered a second time by talent scouts from the American company Reprise, who signed Family as their first group. Jimmy Miller was supposed to have produced their first album but the Stones got him first for Beggers Banquet. Dave Mason thus received his first real job as producer. And produce he did, coming up with such immense production ideas like “feedback violins” in the process. This later gave way to comments to the effect that the record had been over-produced, but as Charlie Whitney later pointed out, “for the conditions in 1968 it was exactly the right production”. Mason wrote one of the songs, “Never Like This”, then Jimmy Miller did join in and co-produced “The Breeze” and “Peace Of Mind”.

Music In A Doll’s House was a true studio production and therefore different that when the group played the music live on stage. On stage they cultivated an image of being wild and rough, real “ravers”; on the platter they were moderate, sometimes soft. Some of the songs were never even performed live – “Mellowing Grey” for example. The style of the group developed into something much stronger than one would guess by listening to the Doll’s House – it is nonetheless unmistakable Family Music! A new group has been discovered which, up until the end of their career in 1973, had “brought happiness into all our lives.”

Leave a Reply