The Wolf Den pulls me in again with The Cowsills.
A Sunday spent in line talking with wonderful people who give me new insights while watching a sound check and waiting to be seated for a 7:00 PM show.
There is the 80 year old former DJ who is also an expert on American China, a couple of friends from Massachusetts, and a party who has traveled over three hours from the state of Maine. I get swamped with information:
“We have traveled through five states in three months following The Cowsills.”
“Wait till you hear Susan sing 'To Sir With Love.'”
“They are so sweet. They just can’t believe people still want to come see them.”
“At the concert in Indiana they stayed in line for two and a half hours talking to fans. Paul got leg cramps and had to take a break.”
“Have you watched the video on their family? They had a terrible life.”
No, I have not seen that video yet, but everyone has heard stories of their lives and more so later on with Bill’s illness, Barry’s disappearance during Hurricane Katrina and the loss of Dick, Bob’s twin. Whether or not they feel their lives growing up were terrible, I don’t know. But the concert tonight has nothing but joy, talent, and the connection of family.
There are a total of 21 songs performed. TWENTY-ONE! They joke about their own songs: “Did we have three hits or four?” When they perform Simon and Garfunkel’s "The Boxer," Bob says: “The older you get, the more you’ll think these were our songs.” Paul: “I think they’re our songs!”
They begin with their 1967 hit, ‘The Rain, The Park, and Other Things’ and end with their hit ‘Hair.’ In between, they perform, banter and charm us with talent. This is talent that has grown and developed over the years. Susan was 7 or 8 eight years old at the beginning, so we really didn’t know if she had talent or was riding the wave with her brothers. Today it is clear ... She has talent! So do her brothers, whose male harmonies can successfully deliver songs like ‘the Boxer.’
At the halfway mark, they sing a couple of Peter, Paul and Mary songs , delivering them with sibling mayhem and pantomime that tries to explain Puff the Dragon’s loss of Jackie Paper to other toys. (Susan and Paul pretending to inhale and pass something between them.)
They have a new album coming out called ‘Rhythm of the World,’ with all new songs written by The Cowsills. This presents a new adventure for them and for us, as they perform several of these songs before they are available to the public. There are stories that go along with these new songs and reasons why they were written. (‘Nuclear Winter’….”Thinking we were socially relevant performers. HA!”)
Everything is so fast-paced and lively. They have spent a life-time together, literally, and can react, comment, and disrupt situations with such ease that trying not to miss anything keeps your attention flying from one to another.
They appear at Mohegan every year and a half, but they have decided to come back yearly now ... “Who knows what will happen and when. We better step it up.”
They are super! They deserve everything they have and have obviously worked to grow. The drummer is Susan’s husband, the guitar players are sons of Bob and Paul, and each of the front Cowsills: Bob, Paul and Susan all play guitar or keyboards. Busy family!
I will leave you with a set-list as the tag here to show the range of their abilities.
- The Rain, The Park and Other Things
- You’ve Got Your Troubles, I’ve Got Mine
- We Can Fly
- The Boxer
- To Sir With Love (“We wrote this song.” Haha. NOPE.)
- The Long Run
- Bus Stop
- Indian Lake (with a guest drummer from the audience. No, don’t contact them for their next gig. Take it off your bucket list.)
- Gotta Let It Go (Susan alone)
- Puff The Magic Dragon
- If I Had My Way
- Love Is (Elton John)
- I’ll Be Back (The Beatles)
- Helplessly Hoping (Crosby, Stills and Nash)
- You Were On My Mind (We Five)
- Rhythm of the World
- Love American Style (“One we did that people don’t know we did.” “I didn’t know we did this.”)
- Nuclear Winter
- You Gotta Get Up (written for Howard Kaylan)
- Reach Out (I’ll Be There)
The Happy Together Tour gives you their hits.
Their solo concerts gives you The Cowsills!
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
Without a doubt, one of the most consistently entertaining artists we've seen over the past several years has been The Cowsills ... they never disappoint. There is just SO much talent in this band ... and they seem to be having so much fun up there .. you can't help but come along for the ride (and get wrapped up in all the joy!)
And for the record, I agree ... go to hear the hits on The Happy Together Tour ... and then go again to hear the full scope of their talent ... it truly is amazing. Thanks, Shelley! (kk)
Oh yeah ... and by the way ... you've just GOT to watch The Cowsills documentary ... quite a powerful film.