The Family Stand Is Not To Stand Still
A band that never really made it, but certainly should have
Being connected to a specific musical genre as an artist can be both a blessing and a curse. Or, as Kevin Ayers once put it, ‘it begins with a blessing and ends with a curse…’
That Ayers lyric can be something that has been following Dallas/New York combo The Family Stand throughout their career. The core trio of Sandra St. Victor, Jeffrey Smith, and Peter Lord, that shifted lineup through its existence started out as an all-out R&B/funk outfit as Evon Jeffries & the Stand, making some sort of name for themselves when Paula Abdul sang ‘A Promise of a New Day,’ a song she co-wrote with the band.
Still, that was not where the band wanted to be. Their initial offering, Chapters: A Novel By Evon Geffries & Stand is certainly an R&B funk effort, yet with their lyrics, they tried to tackle everything from politics and social issues to sexual tension. Something they continued with ‘Chain,' (1990) their first album under The Family Stand name.
As the band was diverse in the themes it tackled lyrically, it also wanted to try to go cross-genre as much as possible, without really leaving their main soul/R&B soul. That line of musical thinking became evident first with their The Moon In Scorpio album (1991), full of incredible musicianship that covered everything from soul to grunge.
For some reason though, the critics who embraced their initial efforts thought that their cross-genre play was a bit too much as if you had to stick to one line of musical thinking you started out with, something they accepted with some other artist with ease.
Yet, some of them commented, that ideas, excellent musicianship, and lyrical play were always thought to be promising. If only they would stick to ‘what they do best.’ The problem was that they were missing the fact that The Family Stand seems to be ‘best’ at almost any musical form you wish.
That became even more evident with their 1998 follow-up Connected, possibly their best effort to date. It seems that the band was conscious of the quality they produced up to then, yet baffled that they didn’t get the acclaim they deserved. And, again, even with a lineup change, it seems that the band was deemed ‘too experimental, too diverse,’ forget the quality.
At some point, the band went dormant, with the original lineup deciding to pick it up again in 2006, with inspiring live shows that spurred the release of the ‘Super Sol Nova’ album in 2007. Again, the creativity abounds, and the band is all over the musical spectrum with excellent results, yet that didn’t seem to be enough.
They made another (excellent) attempt at it with In A 1,000 Years,’ released in 2011, with, again, the same results. The same blessing was there, The Family Stand showed they could produce great music in any genre without losing their main musical thread. But then, so was the same curse - were they too much of a good thing?