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Family, Once Upon A Time (Snapper)

A moment's reflection would lead the music industry-watcher to conclude that we are already in the last days of the lavish boxed set of CDs, so praise be that this one made it before the download swept all before it.

It is quite superbly conceived and seen through, and includes all of the band's eight albums, an unreleased live one from 1971, a double disc of studio out-takes that even the devoted will probably listen to only once, a clutch of late singles, press cuttings reprinted in a facsimile edition of Sounds and a well-researched and written hard-back book by Pete Feenstra on the band's history. That is a lot for your £125, but clearly only makes any sense if the music stands up.

In that respect, Family entirely justify the exercise. Roger Chapman, Charlie Whitney and their bandmates were making memorable music at a time (1968 to 1973) when Britain was churning out creative combos. If they did not become as famous as some of their contemporaries, it was perhaps because they were too restlessly creative to build a large fanbase that knew what they were about. That diversity may have been a mistake then, but it makes this collection endlessly rewarding.

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