Family At The BBC MadFISh
Patchy, not-so-live ‘live’ tracks.
The 96 tracks on this seven-CD box set were recorded for/by the BBC between ‘67 and ‘73 for various programs including Colour Me Pop and John Peel’s Top Gear. Among them are 20 previously unreleased, some real gems, lots of workmanlike and the odd real stinker. Arranged chronologically, with several versions of some songs, they tell the story of a great, trailblazing British progressive band of the late 60s morphing into OK rock also-rans.
For many fans much of the gold here will be the earlier recordings, of songs (See Through Windows, Peace Of Mind, Drowned In Wine) from their stand-out first three albums, and a couple (Between Blue And Me, Spanish Tide) from the return-to-form Fearless. Mind you, many of the tracks are far from live, with swathes of tracking from the album versions – some are the album version.
But then that kind of shenanigans was the norm for Beeb sessions. Other tracks clearly don’t employ that approach, such as the May ‘69 version of The Weaver’s Answer, in which Charlie Whitney’s guitar solo sounds like he’s playing a different song.
Also included is a nine-track DVD of Whistle Test, Top Of The Pops and other TV appearances, a hardback book with an essay, rare photos, poster, recording and broadcast dates and personnel (Roger Chapman on sax throughout? I don’t think so).