The Best of The Cowsills: The Millennium Collection
One of the true pioneers of the where-are-they-now phenomenon, The Cowsills were a Rhode Island family comprised of a mom, five brothers and a sister, who in the late ’60s predated The Osmonds and The Jackson Five as America’s premier musical family. It’s no secret that The Partridge Family was created to approximate the look and the sound of The Cowsills, a fact that firmly entrenches them in pop cultural history. Twelve of the group’s best-loved hit songs are preserved on The Best of The Cowsills, part of Universal Records’ Millennium Collection series. Among the many family-friendly pop songs, the family also dabbles in Christian rock (“The Prophecy of Daniel & John the Divine”) and pop country (covering “Silver Threads & Golden Needles”), but nothing on the record quite reaches the dizzying level of euphoria delivered by their outrageously psychedelic rendition of the theme to the Broadway musical Hair, (though “The Rain, The Park and Other Things,” “Indian Lake,” and an amazing flashback cover of the theme song from TV’s Love, American Style come close). Accentuated by high gloss production and gorgeous crescendos of multi-part harmonies, The Cowsills made music that was without irony, pretense, or posing. While the bubblegum factor is writ large, and many of their songs do sound like cartoon pop from some Saturday morning animated rock band, it is useless to try and resist their power: You will want to sing along, and you will like it. The cheese, as they say, stands alone.