Label / Cat. No: Hirra HLS 207831
First Released: 1974
What The Album Blurb Says...
The Kaye Family must surely rank as unique among musical entertainers. Mother, Father, Daughter and Son, whilst each projecting strong individual qualities in their respective talents, merge into a blendship of melodic unity, which is smoothly maintained throughout a warm and appealing performance.
Audience attention is commanded by supreme musicianship, smack on timing that would do justice to a space shot and a superb arranging ability. Deeply insighted into people's requirement in entertainment, they have the happy gift of presenting the very best material covering a spectrum from light to popular music.
This intimate family unit, small as it is, nevertheless produces the big sound.
The skillful change of immaculate gowns, by the ladies who supply the vocals, compliments their splendid harmony.
There is nothing magical in their success, just hard unrelenting work, dedication to their art and that impelling desire in all true professionals to bring and give only of the best to the people.
Ringing the curtain down on The Kaye Family is a difficult task, the clamour is always for more.
Call your own family together, set the turntable to 33 1/3 r.p.m. and be assured that you too will spin this disc many times.
What I Say
Can I get this out of the way first. Musical family groups are creepy. From the Von Trapp singers to The Jackson Five, there is something just so.... wrong about large members of the same family performing together. I think the optimum level is two brothers - just look at Oasis, Spacehog or The Black Crowes. Two brothers bring the necessary friction, the dynamic which pushes both to outperform and out achieve the other.
But just look at the Kaye Family. You know behind the bearded face at the keyboard lies a tartar. A man who has marshalled his wife and children into his dreams of stardom. "Sharon darling, we need another baby. We don't have a drummer. Brace yourself...".
And this is the result.... I'm saying nothing.
To be fair, the family are all talented musicians (in their own
way), but how many teenagers would a) voluntarily practice their musical instruments, b) want to spend large amounts of their free time rehearsing with their parents, and c) appearing in public,
not only with your parents, but wearing the same clothes as them. I can only imagine the number would be very small, which means that either the Kaye Family are one in a million, or Old Man Kaye
beats his children in time to the 'Rumba' setting on his organ.
Of course he doesn't. I think legally I need to make it clear that I do not believe that Mr Kaye in any way mistreats his family. Though of course, he does mistreat the audience with his organ led arrangements. The Rumba is his favourite setting (NOT for beating his family, NOT for beating his family - I can't stress that enough), as everything has that very 1970s latin arrangement to try and make them sound exotic and mysterious. I'm not sure how exotic and mysterious the Canton Liberal Club, Cardiff on a June night in 1974 really was, but I'm sure the Kaye Family helped the atmosphere along enormously.
These are clearly a band who've done the club circuit. They belt out the numbers double fast, not giving the audience the chance to catch their breath, throw missiles or shout insults. Just listen to the introduction and see how long it takes them to launch into the fastest version of 'Cabaret' that you will ever, ever hear. And 'Aquarius' gets the same treatment. Be still my racing heart, it's all that I can do to keep my breath.
I've often found that if you listen carefully to a lot of these old albums I find, you can often find one of the musicians, there in the background, just itching to be allowed a chance to break free and really show what he can do. You don't have to look too hard on this album to find that member of the group. The son (let's call him Jim. I have no idea what his name is, but Jim seems as good as any) clearly toes the party line on the drums. His father's arrangements are strictly adhered to. But there seems to be a pay off. Maybe Jim's got something on his old man... some indiscretion maybe, or knowledge of a dark family secret. But clearly there is a deal been struck here. Jim plays his old man's parts to the letter, but he's allowed to let rip at the end of the songs. And by Jove does this boy let rip! Think Animal from The Muppets on steroids. Jim is up for some serious thrashing of those skins. So the gentle folk rhythms of 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone' end with Jim rockin' the house. And good on him I say.
Dad demands his moment in the spotlight, and gets a solo spot with his 'Short Selection of Famous Overtures', which I will just say is possibly the most tedious thing I have ever had to listen to. Although Jim livens it up a bit at the end in his own inimitable style. And then Jim gets to lead on 'Midnight In Moscow', and things start to go crazy. Seven Russian Themed songs in a medley with drums as lead instrument all the way. Magic in a tin it is, magic in a tin.
Ultimately, I can't blame them for the way they look, because it was 1974 so this was what was expected (even the silver capes, I suspect). I can't blame them for providing populist entertainment because they're doing the club circuit, and that's what's needed. I can't even blame them for being slightly creepy because they're a family, and unlike a lot of families, at least they're spending a lot of time together and doing something creative.
What I can blame them for is getting Dick Doyle to write their album blurb, and for using a word as obscene as 'blendship'. Eurghhh. What were they thinking?
Oh, and it turns out his name's not Jim. It's Adrian. I should have guessed. He looks like an Adrian.
Put On A Happy Face
Something's Going To Happen Tonight
Love Me With All Your Heart
Never Ending Song Of Love
Everybody Loves A Lover
High On A Hill
Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
White Rose Of Athens
A Short Selection Of Famous Overtures
Midnight In Moscow
Volga Boat Song
From Russia With Love
6.5 out of 10 but only because I'm strangely drawn to their bass playing daughter...