My dear brother, Stephen Richard Swapp [1949 - 1987], occasionally threw me a curved ball in his musical taste (from a later penchant for Pink Floyd when I had given up, to a continued passion for all great guitarists) the one example that threw me the furthest was 'Family' and this track perhaps best explains why. I loved Chapman's voice but the cluttered and sometimes unnecessarily knowing complexity often struck me as wilfully pompous not to say pretentious. Their playfulness however always appealed . . . . .
This might well be the best of the early Family recordings. A combination of hard rock (bordering on metal) and wistful folk-rock (it sounds as if Chapman and Whitney were listening to a lot of Incredible String Band), A Song for Me veers toward early progressive rock, but isn't as nakedly indulgent as some early prog-rock recordings (e.g., they didn't try to sound like a jazz band, they wanted to sound like a rock band screwing around with jazz).
Perhaps their most experimental record, it seems as though the credo in making this disc was that anything went. And on tracks like "Drowned in Wine," it works quite well. Again, Chapman offers more proof of his vocal greatness, and again the record sells large quantities in England and nearly nothing in America.
by John Dougan