The Family Circle – 1973 – The Family Circle
A lost harmony soul treasure – by an obscure family group from the Newark scene!
The Family Circle have a fantastic style that mixes together sweet and deep soul styles into a darkly tinged approach that we’d rank with the best harmony soul of the early 70s – similar to work from bigger New Jersey groups, like The Moments or Whatnauts – but with an interesting twist too, given the mix of male and female vocals..
Nearly every track on the album is an original tune – conducted with baroque arrangements by George Andrews, and delivered with a near-perfect approach that makes this album a real treasure all the way through – not a soul record that’s great because it’s rare, but just a great album all the way through.
A1 I Hope You Really Love Me 2:27
A2 It Doesn’t Make Sense 4:20
A3 Try It, You’ll Like It 3:28
A4 La La So Lucky 2:41
A5 Mariya 3:53
B1 Loving You Makes The World Go Round 2:55
B2 If You Really Wanna Make It 3:40
B3 Well Runs Dry 2:40
B4 Change 2:44
B5 Bridge With One Side Down 3:17
Family Circle’s 1973 LP draws a tight ring around the most beguiling soul tropes of its era, with its full house of ambitious players and hook-laden originals.
Newark, New Jersey’s Simmons siblings—George, James, Mary, Don, and David—rallied around journeyman arranger George Andrews and business maven/producer Randy Irwin, whose industry ties brought studio luminaries into the Simmons orbit: session guitar giant Cornell Dupree, guitarist/songwriter Billy Vera, and the inimitable Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums.
Charles Simmons’ “Well Runs Dry” dipped several toes into Jackson 5-saturated waters, while “I Hope You Really Love Me” stayed together with the Al Green ethos. Where the bowling, basketball, and karate-obsessed Simmons fivesome was hitching to—thumbs unfurled and dressed to impress in Central Park on Family Circle’s back cover—is anyone’s guess, but their sparkling, layered sound, gospel-honed vocal chops, and instantly relatable melodies should’ve dropped them off on everybody’s turntable. Give Family Circle a lift, drive ‘em around awhile.