Forgotten series: Ted Munda – The Enfields / Friends Of The Family (1993)

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Both these bands hailed from Wilmington, Delaware and featured the enterprising handiwork of singer, songwriter and guitarist Ted Munda. Founded late in 1964, the Enfields enjoyed a good deal of regional acclaim until their demise in 1967. Shortly after the band splintered, Ted formed Friends Of The Family.

An 18-track package, “The Enfields/Friends Of The Family” (Get Hip Recordings) contains each band’s entire recorded output, along with liner notes and photos.

Signed to the Richie label, the Enfields proceeded to lay down four singles for the local operation. Molded of soft, breathy vocals, chiming guitars and tugging breaks, cuts like “She Already Has Somebody” and “I’m For Things You Do” reflect a strong Zombies influence. Peppered with the sad and lonely whine of a harmonica, “You Don’t Have Very Far” and the droning, delicate tapestry of “In The Eyes Of The World” are thoughtful ballads, set in a vein parallel to the moody folk rock aspects of Love.

Mining mod territory, “Face To Face” and “Time Music” reel and roll with power popping rhythms, cool harmonies and slash and thunder guitar chords, suggesting the Enfields had been inhaling the toxic fumes of bands such as the Who and the Creation.

A tasty trilogy of pop, rock and jazz personified the sounds of Friends Of The Family. Numbers such as “Bambi’s March,” “Jello Lights,” “Last Beach Crusade” and “Hot Apple Betty,” which even dumps a dose of country curves into the pot, dive right into the band’s penchant for crisscrossing genres. A sense of humor emerges on the nutty “You See I’ve Got This Cold” and the breezy, intimate delivery of “Together” contests to be an interesting fusion of soul and jazz.

Not your average garage bands, but armed with a garage band heart and attitude, the Enfields and Friends Of The Family pushed boundaries by adding a touch of maturity and sophistication to their material. Swollen with unconventional but catchy melodies, progressive arrangements, and inspired singing and playing, The Enfields/Friends Of The Family is a nice overview of a couple of bands that followed their bliss. Although neither band achieved commercial success, they certainly scored points on an artistic level.

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