The Cowsills

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

The Cowsills

Central Presbyterian Church, Thursday, March 13

Even without their late brothers, Barry and Bill, the Cowsills made a joyful noise in the acoustically lovely setting of Central Presbyterian Church. This was a rare appearance by the late-1960s pop-rock group whose true-life family band inspired The Partridge Family but saw their star fade amid changing musical trends. There was an element of sadness in the brothers' recent deaths amid the pure pleasure of the group's performance. Susan Cowsill, who'd performed her own showcase before the reunion, had been heard to say that she, Paul, and Bob had wanted to reunite for a long time but the other brothers didn't. Yet on this night, the years melted away with the catalog of songs that made them famous. "The Rain, the Park, and Other Things," "We Can Fly," and "Poor Baby" (but not "Indian Lake") were delivered with jubilant sibling harmonies shimmering and soaring into the wooden Gothic arches above. They even traded the bowdlerized verses of their Top 40 version of "Hair" for the original lyrics and performed an outstanding cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Helplessly Hoping." Nearly 40 years later, the Cowsills' moment in the sun still gleamed golden.

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