To use a word more commonly associated with a popular documentary series, The Family was unsung. Generally the least praised of Prince’s peak-era side projects, their one album (released in 1985) is a psychedelic pop/soul/funk mashup that’s way more accomplished than it might seem. Featuring Susannah Melvoin, the twin sister of Prince’s guitarist Wendy Melvoin, as well as former Time members Jellybean Johnson and Jerome Benton, sax player Eric Leeds and vocalist “St.” Paul Petersen, The Family are probably best known today for originally recording “Nothing Compares 2 U”, which went on to become a transatlantic #1 hit for Sinead O’ Connor.
The group disbanded before their one and only album was even six months old, left to become a footnote in pop history. Until Susannah, Eric, Jellybean and Paul reunited. There was an initial flurry of activity on social media, then a bit of a lull, to the point where I thought they’d disbanded again before getting the chance to release any new product. However, I was wrong. They were still in the studio, putting together an album that would eventually be called Gaslight. And guess what? Gaslight is officially coming out this September. Needless to say, this excites me quite a bit.
Somewhat unfortunately, however, the band won’t be called The Family. Their former boss has raised his notoriously crabby (and occasionally litigious) hand and reportedly forbade the name to be used. So, they’re FDeluxe. No big deal, right? Same funky package. Gaslight features contributions from producer/songwriter Oliver Lieber (perhaps most famous for working with Paula Abdul back in the day), Doyle Bramhall (who has worked with everyone from Derek Trucks to Meshell Ndegeocello) and, of course, Wendy and Lisa.
There’s been no tour announcement as yet, but I (as well as Family fans everywhere) am certainly hopeful that there will be shows.
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