There is something truly special about the voices of families who harmonise, and who often grow up together, sharing tunes and learning their craft. As usual, I don’t want the usual suspects like the Jacksons, so here are some lesser known family harmonies.
Possibly the most famous and significant singing family are the Copper Family, who are English folk singers who can trace their traditions back at least 7 centuries. Here are 3 generations of them singing unaccompanied with Adieu Sweet Rose
This features aging belter Jimmy Barnes of Australian band Cold Chisel. I can’t find any decent recordings of him with his older brother John Swan, so here is Jimmy doing the band’s anti Vietnam war song Khe Sanh :
this is his older brother John Swann belting out ‘If I was a carpenter’
This is a lovely tune, ‘Walking Song’ by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. It is often covered by Kate’s son Rufus.
The Proclaimers are not really my taste, but they were the first group I ever heard singing in proper broad Scottish accents. This is a song about their accents. They are also twins.
This is a clip of two of the sweetest voices and most talented songwriters – Paul Simon and son Harper. A bit rough, but still worth listening to.
This is one of the finest pop videos ever. Simple but surreal, by Split Enz, with the voices of brothers Tim and Neil Finn. ‘I Got YOu’ Neil later founded Crowded House
The Handsome Family are married Mr & Mrs Sparkes, but they are wonderful so this is their ‘My Friend’