"The Family Stand has got to be one of the most brutally overlooked and underrated R&B/Soul groups in recent memory. Their diverse musical approach, strong songwriting, and solid instrumental chops (Sandra St. Victor's vocals DEFINITELY count in this area!) were what set them a great deal apart from many of their watered-down contemporaries at the time. This group combined the sexy soulfulness of Rufus & Chaka Khan with the heavy social awareness and musical ventures of Sly & The Family Stone and Stevie Wonder. It's a shame that they couldn't even buy a break with any kind of promotion or hype that probably would've gotten them over for good (have to blame their management for that). Then again, it didn't really help at all to have a debut album that never truly showed what the Family Stand could do as a musical force with CHAIN. The songwriting seems to be the only thing indicative of what the group was about, but the production and arrangements found throughout sound like something that tried too hard to get them onto the Billboard charts. Maybe that was partially THEIR fault in terms of this. Personally, I sure as hell wouldn't want a fan base to crop up behind a get-me-over album like CHAIN when I know that's not what I'm really about as an artist.Still, they managed to bounce back creatively with a vengeance on their second attempt a year later, MOON IN SCORPIO. Now THIS album was the one that showed the Family Stand's true colors! The only real weak point about the album was that they could've left off several tracks to better showcase their diverse songwriting, production, and instrumental talents. Unfortunately, their record label probably didn't care by then how well MOON IN SCORPIO could've done, so that album went pretty much out of print (maybe it might be re-released eventually because it's STILL worth an engaging listen).The group ended up in relative obscurity for the next seven years with all three members going their separate ways producing for and/or performing with other artists. It wasn't until 1998 that they reformed (with Jacci McGhee taking over for St. Victor, who departed from the band for a solo project) to make CONNECTED, an album that wasn't as musically adventuresome as MOON IN SCORPIO yet proved to be a fine return to form for the group. CONNECTED was deemed "retro" by some critics (must've been the heavy use of live instruments as opposed to the constant drum and keyboard programming of "contemporary" R&B/Soul during this time, lol), but it may have turned out to be the Family Stand's most focused and consistently accessible effort. Again, management failed in promoting this album the way it was done to death for Alicia Keys' lackluster debut just recently. So CONNECTED ended up going out of print as well.As of now, there is very little information concerning whether the Family Stand is still together or not. It just goes to show that the music business is pretty much what it is, a BUSINESS. MUSIC always takes a backseat to MONEY in such an industry, a practice that continues to undermine and devalue genuinely talented artists like this sadly forgotten group. So if any of you come across MOON IN SCORPIO or CONNECTED one way or another, just pick up any of those two albums and be grateful that during a time as creatively shallow and uninspired as the 90's there were still artists that fought hard to get their ideas across for the sake of the music and not just for commercial viability."
Armando M. Mesa | Chandler, AZ | 08/29/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was warned by several opinionated reliable music collectors not to buy this c.d. I did. Do I regret it ? Partially. The fault or miss of this c.d does not lie in the lyrics or song writing (references to Reagan, Bush,Margaret Thatcher, and Janet Jackson may sound out-dated,though). It begins with the sound or style of the first two opening tracks (which may turn out to be the best tracks as a whole). Ghetto Heaven and Twisted are air-brushed with the Minneapolis sound popularized in the 80's by Prince and his family. The instrumental Ovasaxed is lush but not memorable; It could be used as a theme for a late midnight light jazz hour on any radio station.As for the other tracks the only saving grace is the presence of Sandra St. Victor's vocals. Is this a pass or fail c.d. Let's just say it neither easily passes or painfully fails."
Buy Moon In Scorpio& Connected, pass on this one
Paul Pelt | washington, d.c. United States | 04/30/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"unless you're a 'black rock historian'. On this disc they sound like they weren't sure what direction they wanted to go in."
These reviewers just don't get it...
Paul Pelt | 09/19/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I read the earlier reviews of this cd and I do agree in principle with their arguments. It seems, however, that they are reviewing this cd as if it is a pop, or bubblegum R&B cd, which is totally unfair. This cd is about addictions of the human experience, so therefore, all of the tunes shouldn't be polished and melodic. Award the artists for trying to articulate the feelings of those in chemical and/or sexual bondage (Ghetto Heaven) or those addicted to a person (In Summer I Fall, The Last Temptation), scold the marketing department for not knowing how to get this music to the masses. The major fault of this cd may be that there were too many ideas and too much experimentation. Save the harmonies for The Carpenters!!"
Chain is a slow starter
Qawi S. Robinson | Washington, DC United States | 06/19/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The tracks from "Chain" are indigative of the times when certain black groups were trying to break out of the R&B mold (i.e. Living Colour). I bought the album for "Ghetto Heaven" although the single had a better variation of the song. "Sweet Liberation", "Ghetto Heaven", and "Little Black, Little White Lies" are the best of the eleven. I would characterize the music of this album as more R&B-Rock than Funk. Certain songs are over-produced which makes some of it sound monotonous, even with Sandra St. Victor's strong voice. "Moon in Scorpio" (their next album) is slightly better. However, their latest album "Connected" is by far superior than the collection of the other two. It unfortunately is receiving the same "one hit wonder" airplay as the previous albums. Lyrically though, the social consciousness remains the same throughout all three albums. Buy this album "Chain" if you are a collector, not necessarily if you want vintage tunes to listen to."