I can’t tell you how many drugs I took while listening to this album back in the day. Like many stateside newbies, I first learned of Family when supergroup Blind Faith pinched their bass player, Ric Grech. Being curious what they were all about, Fearless was my first taste and, probably because of that, I still consider this my favorite Family member, though… it’s surely not the “best” representation of this ever-evolving outfit. By the time this album came out in 1971, Grech was long gone and future King Crimson/Asia bassist/frontman, the great John Wetton, was in the house – and his vocal work added a new dimension to Family’s mercurial sound. But, to this day, I still have a hard time reconciling this LP with Family’s previous and subsequent releases. It’s a strange mix of harmonic melody, hippie prog, art rock and pub psych blues, though none of those tags fully fit or explain Fearless. “Save Some For Thee” (below) even includes a faux marching band, for chrissakes. Group leaders Roger Chapman (vocals) and Charlie Whitney (guitars) would further embellish their bluesy and boozy side in later years – culminating with the screeching heaviness of their next configuration, Streetwalkers (1974-1977). But Fearless is a happy anomaly that stands apart from their catalog, which I, like many other Yanks, came to embrace when the import LP market opened up around this time. Especially this LP’s follow-up, Bandstand. The bonus tracks, “In My Own Time” b/w “Seasons,” were both recorded during the Fearless sessions, originally issued as a single prior to the album’s release. Oldsters remember the cover art, as well, since it featured four additional die-cut cardboard pages, no doubt making it even harder for the band to recoup their advances. Hear a couple of examples below, including the mesmerizing but atypical, “Larf And Sing.” This is the 2000 bonus track version, but a 2011 reissue is at Amazon, HERE, with two additional live bonus tracks. Wait another 10 years and you might get two more. We’ve got some Streetwalkers and solo Roger Chapman in the archives, HERE.
Between Blue And Me (5:03)
Sat’d’y Barfly (3:59)
Larf And Sing (2:45)
Spanish Tide (4:02)
Save Some For Thee (3:43)
Take Your Partners (6:27)
Crinkley Grin (1:06)
Burning Bridges (4:46)
In My Own Time (3:33) – Bonus Track
Seasons (2:21) – Bonus Track
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