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One of the more intriguing bands to develop in New Orleans is the Continental Drifters, not only because of its quasi-supergroup status, but because most of its principals moved to New Orleans from other states. They are Peter Holsapple (jangle-guitarist supreme, former member of the dBs, touring member and confidante of REM, and guest artist on a virtual hall-of-fame of rock records); Vicki Peterson (ex-Bangles) and Susan Cowsill (yes, one of the Family Cowsill who recorded "Indian Lake"); bassist Mark Walton (ex-Dream Syndicate and Giant SAnd); drummer Russ Broussard (ex-Bluerunners and Terrance Simien); and multi-instrumentalist Robert Mache (ex-Steve Winn band, Lydian Lunch).
They came together after an initial merry-go-round approach to membership and , in 1994, recorded a self-titled CD released on New Orlean's Monkey Hill label and in Germany on Blue Rose. Rolling Stone called the Drifters one of the two best unsigned bands in the United States.
But despite these accolades and although the CD had its charms, it quickly faded. The band settled into a typical New Orleans-type torpor, working a variety of day jobs and performing a regular Tuesday night gig at Howlin' Wolf that turned into a residency famous for the band's easy family-like vibe.
In 1999, the Drifters released their long-awaited second CD, Vermilion. Forged from a vaguely folky background, with joint lead vocals from Cowsill and Peterson or Holsapple, Vermilion sounds as if the Band, the Indigo Girls, and the Mamas and Papas got together for a game of Twister.