The Cowsills were pop-rock’s first family band and, yes, the model for the Partridge Family. During a two-year period beginning in 1967, they scored four Top 40 hits, with “The Rain, The Park & Other Things,” predating both the Jackson 5 and the Osmonds.
The lineup originally consisted of five brothers and mother, Barbara. Today, it’s brothers Bob and Paul with sister Susan. Barry and Bill are deceased, while John drums with the Beach Boys – so in keep-it-in-the-family tradition, Susan’s husband, Russ Broussard, is behind the traps.
Their first new album in 30 years is a revelation. The sibling harmonies are not only intact, they’ve matured. The songwriting, production, and musicianship are self-contained and impressive. Bob handles most lead work, like the title song’s 12-string Byrds-esque riff. On “Hawks On The Line,” he summons Duane Eddy twang about as good as anyone else.
They tackle timely themes of homelessness and climate change (“Lend A Hand” and “Nuclear Winter”). The biting closer, “Katrina,” is named for the hurricane and flood that took Barry’s life in New Orleans in 2005. This is anything but nostalgia.
This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.