The Family That Plays Together

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The Family That Plays Together
Studio album by Spirit
Released December 1968
Recorded March 11-September 18, 1968
Genre Psychedelic rock, progressive rock
Length 34:44 (original)
57:52 (1996 reissue)
Label Ode Records (original)
Epic/Legacy Recordings (current)
Producer Lou Adler
Spirit chronology
Spirit
(1968)
The Family That Plays Together
(1968)
Clear
(1969)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone (?)[2]

The Family That Plays Together, the second of four albums released by the original Spirit lineup, was marketed by Ode Records in 1968. More than its predecessor, Spirit, their self-titled and surreal debut, The Family That Plays Together displays the band's ability to play beyond the genre of psychedelic rock. Tracks such as "It Shall Be" and "Silky Sam" demonstrate the ease with which the ensemble can incorporate jazz into their idiosyncratic form of rock, while "Jewish" and "Aren't You Glad" show the band's competence in exploiting both world music and jam rock. "Poor Richard," "Jewish," and "All the Same" feature double track lead breaks by guitarist Randy California. The album's title was inspired by the stepson-stepfather relationship between guitarist Randy California and percussionist Ed Cassidy. It alludes to the slogan "The family that prays together stays together," created by ad-writer Al Scalpone for the Family Rosary Crusade and popular in American and British rhetoric beginning in the 1940s.

The album's arrangements were created by Marty Paich, who also arranged and conducted Spirit's eponymous debut album and their third album, Clear, as well as Model Shop (the soundtrack to a film of the same name, which was recorded after "Family" but not released until 2004).

At some point after "Family's" first issue, the final mixes for the album were lost. Because of this, all subsequent CD releases by Sony, as well as the recent vinyl re-issue by Sundazed Records, are taken from new mixes made from the original multi-track tapes (the tracks that appeared on the Time Circle compilation were re-mixed as well, though the mixes differ) by Bob Irwin, Randy California and Ed Cassidy in 1996. Liner notes on the 1996 CD version state that it was "mixed and mastered by Vic Anesini, Sony Music Studios, New York." A general comparison between the original LP and the 1996 CD reissue makes this point obvious. Those who have more than a passing interest in the work should consider tracking down the original version on vinyl, as there are substantial differences in some places.

The 1996 compact disc reissue also contains five bonus tracks. Two of these appeared on the 1991 Time Circle compilation, while the other three are previously unissued.

The album cover was shot at the Sunset Highland Motel, located at 6830 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California, just across from Hollywood High School.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jay Ferguson except noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Got a Line on You"   California 2:39
2. "It Shall Be"   California & Locke 3:24
3. "Poor Richard"   Jay Ferguson 2:31
4. "Silky Sam"   Jay Ferguson 4:57
5. "The Drunkard"   Jay Ferguson 2:27
6. "Darlin' If"   California 2:27
7. "All the Same"   California, Cassidy 4:41
8. "Jewish"   California 3:23
9. "Dream within a Dream"   Jay Ferguson 3:13
10. "She Smiled"   Jay Ferguson 2:30
11. "Aren't You Glad"   Jay Ferguson 5:25
12. "Fog †"   California, Locke  
13. "So Little To Say †¹"      
14. "Mellow Fellow †¹"   Locke  
15. "Now Or Anywhere †"      
16. "Space Chile †¹"   Locke  
  • † - Tracks specific to the 1996 reissue

¹ - Previously unreleased material

Personnel[edit]

Spirit[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Lou Adler - Producer
  • Bob Irwin - Producer
  • Marty Paich - Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
  • Vic Anesini - Mastering, Mixing
  • Armin Stiener - Engineer
  • Adam Block - Project Director
  • Tom Wilkes - Art Direction
  • Guy Webster - Photography

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1969 Billboard 200 22
1972 Billboard 200 189

References[edit]