A Family get-together

At 15 I had nailed my colours firmly to the music mast, but front man Roger Chapman kept us informed of the progress of the game anyway, disappearing into the wings to ask a roadie with a radio the score.

I only just caught the band during their performing existence, but I had their most recent albums then and when my 18th birthday yielded a sheaf of record tokens, I filled in the gaps in my collection. What I Iiked most about Family, I think, was that they never made the same album twice. All eight of them are good, but very different, and only Chappo’s distinctive powerful bluesy vibrato voice really marks them out as being the work of the same group.

Anyway (the title of album four, curiously), you needn’t take my word for it, because reissue specialists Snapper Music are about to unleash a lavish boxed set of the band’s entire recorded works, complete with a lost live album, rarities and out-takes, and a 72-page book. And the band, or at least as comprehensive a version of it as is feasible, are committed to playing two dates at Shepherd’s Bush Empire at the start of February. This incarnation will include founder members Chapman and drummer Rob Townsend alongside long-servers Poli Palmer and Jim Cregan. It will be 40 years since the group last played.

“The impetus for the re-issue came from the record company,” says Chapman, “and they’ve done a splendid job. There’s lots of stuff that’s never been collected before, and the book is a good read and accurate, I think. I’ve found out more about myself than I knew 40 years ago.”

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