The Enfields/Friends of the Family
The Enfields were one of the countless garage bands competing for airplay in the 1960s. They released a series of quality local 45s before morphing into the more progressive Friends of the Family, of which by that time, principal songwriter Ted Munda was the only surviving member. The Enfields hailed from Wilmington, Delaware, where they were unquestionably the area’s top group.
“In The Eyes Of The World” was their first Richie 45 released in late 65/early 66. This track is really a teenbeat gem with the great reverbed hollow-body guitar work of John Bernard and plenty of ghostly harmonies via Ted Munda and Charlie Berl. “In The Eyes Of The World” did not have a B-side but sold well locally, making Wilmington’s top 40 and established the group as a force to be reckoned with. The Enfields’ next number, “She Already Has Somebody/I’m For Things You Do” was a #4 local smash and perhaps their finest moment on vinyl. Very similar to the Dovers’ material from around the same time, “She Already Has Somebody” is a minor key folk-rocker with solid hooks, lots of nervous energy and fine guitar work. By the release of their third single the Enfields began branching out into harder, more aggressive sounds. “Face to Face,” another near classic from 1966, opens with a toggle switch guitar sound (probably influenced by the Who), features tough Taxman-like riffs and a brief psychedelic guitar solo. The single’s A-side, “You Don’t Have Very Far” is musically very strong but represents somewhat of a throwback to the 1965 folk-rock sound. This is definitely a “must own”45 from 1966!
After the Enfields broke up in 1967, Ted Munda formed Friends of the Family. He recruited Wayne Watson and Jimmy Crawford from local group the Turfs. They released one disappointing 45 in 1968 but thankfullly made it into the studio for two recording sessions. Munda and his new group recorded throughout 1967 and 1968, amassing about an album’s worth of material (11 songs). While these recordings barely reached the demo stage, the music is accomplished and worth your time. Tracks like the excellent “Last Beach Crusade,” “Together” and the 6 minute “Hot Apple Betty” are progressive and sound like a jazz influenced Left Banke. These three tracks were recorded in 1968 and show the Friends experimenting with lots of keyboards, challenging guitar solos, Zombies/Beatles’ influenced vocals and complex song arrangements. “Funny Flowers,” one of the earlier songs recorded in 1967, is just as appealing but more song-based (jangly folk-rock). “You See I’ve Got This Cold,” another highlight from the 1968 sessions, is a personal favorite that reminds me of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. It’s full of psychedelic weirdness; check out the bizarre lyrics, tinkling piano, and trippy wah-wah. The band forged on into late 68 opening for The Who and Pink Floyd at the Philadelphia Music Festival. Eventually, Friends of the Family broke up and some years later Ted Munda formed Hotspur, who released an album on Columbia in 1974.
The best way to hear the Enfields/Friends of the Family saga is through Get Hip’s superb 1993 cd reissue, Classic Sounds of the 60s. Normally a patchwork reissue like this doesn’t work but Ted Munda rarely recorded anything bad, making The Enfields/and early Friends of the Family a very impressive release.
“In The Eyes Of The World”