The Cowsills – Rhythm of the World
What started 5-decades ago as a bubble-gum pop-family ensemble from Rhode Island (1965) that posed competition for The Osmonds became by 1967 the group that would inspire TV’s The Partridge Family.
However, The Cowsills with time morphed into a far more magnificent musical unit that gave Americana fans the voice of Susan Cowsill. The Guthrie family wasn’t the only American folk family of potent music & talented offspring.
With 6-siblings & Mom, Barbara (d. 1985) they harmonized well, signed to MGM Records & appeared on many prime-time variety shows.
Many Cowsills remained active in the music business, but Susan particularly recorded some solo LPs & became a full-time member of The Continental Drifters. An Americana band with Susan’s first husband Peter Holsapple. I remember being surprised to find her name on an LP like this with a musician like that. But it worked. I was impressed.
Music that sounded like it should’ve been The McGarrigle Sisters by a Cowsill? This was great stuff from what once was a name associated with commercial pop (some actually good – the million-selling “The Rain, the Park & Other Things,” was a hint of things to come, the giant hit cover of the title song from “Hair,” recorded on a new 16-track machine was innovative).
With this new set something splendid brewed. An all-original 11-cut beautifully packaged Rhythm of the World (Drops Sept 30–Omnivore) with a stitched lyric insert. The band really never went away & is just as magical & diversified today.
This is their first CD in nearly 30 years as The Cowsills with songs produced in Louisiana by the 3 original members. The lead track “Ya Gotta Get Up,” is a driving impeccably strikingly production. You can still hear a tint of the 60s in their tone & a crazy man yelling by Howard Kaylan (The Turtles). The performance is bracing in a Beach Boy tradition — with a cool spray of guitars, musicianship & vocals that sparkle, drums that snap — nothing short of cool.
The diversified vocals make each song an interesting listen. “Every Little Secret,” stuns while “Nuclear Winter,” is a propulsive rocker from the first notes with a progressive Beach Boys gloss driving it. The impetus draws a listener in & along. This is a tight unit. Amazing.
They do indeed still sound convincingly good.
Musicians – Susan, Bob & Paul Cowsill (Lead/bgv vocals) & Brendon Cowsill (bgv), Russ Broussard (drums/percussion), Mary Lasseigne (bass), Ryan Cowsill (Hammond B3/Juno G/synths/cello), Susan, Brendon & Bob Cowsill (acoustic rhythm guitars), Brendon & Bob Cowsill (electric rhythm guitars), Bob Cowsill (lead guitar/tremolo lead guitar/Rickenbacker 12-string/bells) & Paul Cowsill (piano).
Highlights – “Every Little Secret,” “Nuclear Winter,” “Rhythm of the World,” “Ya Gotta Get Up,” “Goodbye’s Not Forever” & “The Long Run,” (great guitars).
Group photo courtesy of LouAnn Cowsill. Color trio image by Danny Clinch. CD @ Amazon + https://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/rhythm-of-the-world/ & https://cowsill.com/home/