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A Song for Me is the third album from the British progressive rock band Family, released 23 January 1970.
When Family went into Olympic Studios in London to record a third album in late 1969, a great deal was riding on the outcome. It was to be their first album with new members John Weider on bass and Poli Palmer on keyboards, flute and vibraphone, and their sound was expected to be different from the one the band had achieved with Ric Grech on bass and Jim King on saxophone.
The previous year had been a year of disastrous setbacks for Family, with Grech having left for Blind Faith and King forced to leave for getting too deep into drug addiction. In addition, their first U.S. tour had been a disaster. The band recovered, though, and released A Song for Me at the beginning of 1970.
Although many of the songs on this record had been written with King's saxophone in mind, Charlie Whitney and Roger Chapman were able to rework them with Palmer's instruments, and Palmer quickly made himself integral the Family's sound. Because some of these songs had been debuted in live performances in the previous year, many Family fans found themselves getting accommodated to arrangements that sounded radically different from what they expected.
The opening cut, "Drowned In Wine," presented Family as a newly confident band ready to take chances and push rock into uncharted territory. This song was a sharp, heavy blast of rock and roll that made a clean break with Family's earlier work.
Much of A Song for Me shows Family exploring various popular forms, from jazz and blues to folk and country. "Some Poor Soul" was a richly detailed song about a nocturnal scene of wildlife. "Song For Sinking Lovers" adds banjo and violin creating an unusual hybrid of heavy progressive rock with strong country and folk music influences. "The Cat and the Rat" is in an updated 1950's Rock and roll style, which was one of Roger Chapman's favorite genres. The group experimented with strange guitar arrangements in songs like "Stop For the Traffic (Through the Heart of Me)" and added nontraditional instruments, like Palmer's vibraphone, to a steamy blues-rock number like "Love Is a Sleeper."
A Song for Me was a major success in Britain, and it established Family as prime innovators in the British rock underground.
Twenty seven years after the fact, 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.
01."Drowned in Wine" - 4:08
02."Some Poor Soul" - 2:44
03."Love is a Sleeper" - 4:00
04."Stop for the Traffic (Through the Heart of Me)" - 2:09
05."Wheels" - 4:38
06."Song for Sinking Lovers" - 4:04
07."Hey" - "Let It Rock" - 1:02
08."The Cat and the Rat" - 2:30
09."93's O.K. J" (Whitney, Weider) - 3:57
10."A Song for Me" (Whitney, Chapman, Weider, Townsend) - 9:13
11."No Mules Fool"
12."Good Friend Of Mine"
13."Drowned In Wine" (Live)
14."Cat And The Rat" (Live)
6."Song For Me" (Live)