“Gave in Career booklets” / “Sent away for LP – ‘Old Songs, New Songs’ Family £1.05” / “bought singles 20p”
No idea what career booklets were, but I’ll hazard they were booklets intended to help us schoolkids pick a career. I’ll warrant none of them featured the careers many of my closest friends, or I, eventually followed.
“sent away for LP – ‘Old Songs, New Songs’ Family £1.05” meant that this was likely my first purchase from the ‘back pages’ of Sounds. Many, MANY mail order companies advertised albums for sale at discounted prices, amongst them (eventually) the incarnation of what was destined to become the mighty (Sir) Richard Branson-owned Virgin corporation. (As you will discover later dear reader, Branson owes a some of his success to l’il ol’ me)
Business was obviously so brisk for discounted vinyl, one company – I can’t remember it’s name – used to regularly advertise (basically what was just a list of titles with prices) on the entire back page of Sounds and NME, and I wouldn’t bet against the notion it was from them I ordered Raft Records’ compilation of Family tracks called “Old Songs, New Songs“.
The Roaring Sixties (formerly the Farinas) were a simple bar band from Leicester, signed in the late 60’s by the ‘happening’ Liberty Records, and given their more distinctive “Family” name (originally “The Family” – eat your heart out Prince!) by none other than legendary American producer Kim Fowley.
Several band changes and record labels later they ended up at Raft (an offshoot of Reprise) with the core group of Rob Townsend, Ric Grech, Jim King, Charlie Whitney and vocalist Roger Chapman. Chapman arguably gave the band their distinctive sound, his gravely cries perfectly off-setting the well-structured jazz/folk/rock fusion. I guess they could be considered “Prog Rock”, but their name never appears when that genre comes up in conversation… and certainly not from me.
Chapman’s delivery isn’t for everybody. My wife HATES his voice, and to be fair it is an acquired taste. In a nutshell – “a little bit bleaty, a little bit goat’n’roll!”
I’ll always have a soft spot for Family though. Mainly because I’m pretty certain the first 7″ single I ever bought with my own pocket money was their hit “In My Own Time” the previous year. I continued to buy the material they released in subsequent years, and enjoyed seeing them on Top of the Pops doing their other “hit” singles like “Burlesque” and “My Friend the Sun“. I don’t think – or, at least recall if – I ever saw them perform live, but my future diaries may tell a different tale that will shock me and regret the later intake of memory-thieving herbs.
As for “bought singles 20p“, oh how I WISH I’d written what I’d bought and where I’d bought them from. Your guess is as good as mine, as long as your guess isn’t the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards version of “Amazing Grace”, which had just been a Number 1 hit in the UK. People who know me will know how I feel about bagpipes.