Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Masters from the Vaults Family|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
British DVD, playable on USA systems features Progband Family, including Roger Chapman, John "Charlie" Whitney, Poli Palmer, John Weider and Rob Townsend. This material is from an early 1971 performance; also includes a bo... more »
If you've come this far...........
Donald Stuart MacGillivray | Vancouver B.C. Canada | 03/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You are probably a fan of Family of some standing. In some ways, the most enigmatic of all the Brit progressive bands of their era, not just for their music but for the fact they never did a reunion, one off or otherwise. And also for the fact they left so little visual evidence of their existence. So, if you are a fan who never saw these Leicester heros live, this may be a real pleasure for you. Be aware though that this is literally footage from the vaults and is brief in length. Actually, it's a copy of a Belgium telecast of a show called Ben and Babbete which featured bands of the day. There have been rare videos copies of poor quality floating around for years and it's wonderful to have this so well cleaned up for digital. Excellent job. This is generally an assortment of various clips. No host or commentary, the focus soley on the band. This is 71 era Family, being Chapman, Whitney, Townsend, Weider and Palmer. So right after Anyway and before Fearless. I'll give a rundown.
The "bonus" track is actually the lead off with a live version of Strange Band. Typically manic version with good sound and video quality for 30 years of age. Chappo at his finest.
Next up is a "video" of Part of the Load. A montage of some pretty cool images interspersed with the band over the sudio version of this song. Really as a "video" it is more original than most of the dreck you ever saw on MTV. And from 71 no less!
Back to live footage with Good News Bad New. This is from a different show that Strange Band. Awesome rendition with Roger giving his tambourine a good workout against his mike stand and displaying the vocals that have made him legendary live. Awesome solo from Charlie and this is pretty sublime.
Next is a short version of Holding the Compass from the same show as Strange Band. Cut briefly with some fun footage of the band goofing off at what looks like Heathrow Airport! . Too short but welcome, in that it is not listed on the cover as being on this DVD.
Next is a acoustic version of Procession which segues into No Mules Fool. Looks like a television appearance of good quality. Mellow Chappo and Weider on Violin and Palmer on flute.
This all ends wonderfully, as it should, with Weavers Answer. Again live, but with a montage behind them of various images. A great version regardless.
The show ends with Dim being played over the french credits of the T.V. show.
That's it and under 30 minutes.
In a perfect world we would find a two hour show perfectly filmed in 5.1. Until that world comes along this will suffice pretty nicely. The variety of sources actually makes this of more interest and works in its favour. And if you are a Family fan you'll most likely be thrilled that this is being released so late in the game. Enjoy!
There are extras on this DVD, mainly long ads for other bands product from this company. Interesting and long but always feels like an advertisement."
Family gets 5 stars, the DVD gets zero
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 12/08/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Let's go with the good news first, and let me state up front that my criticisms---the bad news---are not directed at Family but at "Masters From the Vaults: Family (1971)."
This lively set captures the band after the departure of original members Rick Grech and Jim King with short-timer Jim Weider brought on board to replace Grech (both played bass and violin) and Poli Palmer, who had the longest tenure of any member besides Townsend, Chapman, and Whitney, to round out the sound with flute, keyboards, vibes, and odd percussion.
Part of the Load is my favorite track here, and apparently it and Weaver's Answer were recorded during the same session (not that they follow one another on the DVD). The montage of images in Part of the Load, which was filmed in a British military museum, is wildly disturbing and fun. The opening cut, Strange Band, shows the band in great form and while they may not have been masters of fashion, Family comes across as a muscular, rocking band. Apparently the camera operators filming Good News, Bad News were so enthralled with Chapman's performance, which was dubbed "idiot dancing" back then---and it is a sight to behold---that they forget to include the rest of the band. A more mellow side of the band surfaces in Procession/ No Mules Fool, revealing the folk elements that helped Family gain such a following in rural England back in the `70s.
It's a revelation to actually see Family perform and this is treasured footage to be sure. I wish there were more shots of Charlie Whitney searing the strings off that wild-looking 12-string and Rob Townsend making a case as to why he is perhaps the best overlooked rock drummer of his time.
Now for some of the bad news: Unfortunately, Weaver's Answer and Holding the Compass are both truncated (why and by whom, I wonder?) versions of these classics, and it's hard to get past the fact that somewhere, someone eviscerated these two fine performances. For instance, not one note of Whitney's awesome guitar solo makes it into the video, which is a criminal offense in my book. Dim, listed on the track list as the final cut, is not a video at all but rather just playing in the background during the credits! The quality of the video is uneven at best, and certainly more could have been done to improve it.
Given that only about 30 minutes of footage from Family graces this DVD, the production outfit loaded it up with bonus footage from DVDs from various other dinosaur bands in its catalog. (After watching some of this mostly awful stuff, I'm actually glad that there has not been a Family reunion.) There is other video footage of Family available as anyone who has checked out some of the more thorough Web sites knows---could some of this material not have been added as well?
Why are there no interviews with the surviving members of Family? Certainly, Whitney, Chapman, Townsend, Palmer, Weider, King, and Wetton (RIP Grech and Ashton) would have been able to provide some excellent commentary and insights. I'd have paid a king's ransom for that sort of bounty.
Being able to watch Chapman impale a tambourine on a microphone stand over and over does help sooth my troubled soul. So, all in all, the band gets five stars for their performance but the overall DVD gets zero stars.