“On the Floor of Heaven: Deluxe Edition” (Bumstead, 4 stars)
Before he died in February 2006, Billy Cowsill, one of the lead singers and writers for the Blue Shadows, expressed the wish that the Canadian Quartet’s 1993 debut album would be reissued so it could find a wider audience – it had never been released in the United States. Cowsill, who had been part of the ‘60s pop group the Cowsills, had a right to be proud. “On the Floor of Heaven” was to use the cliché, a lost classic. Now, with this two-disc set, we can lose the “lost.”
Certain comparisons are inevitable with the Blue Shadows. Cowsill and his co-front man, Jeffrey Hatcher, mixed country and pop, but not in the kind of vanilla way that passes for country these days. Rather they cut their twang with crisp, Beatlesque tunefulness and Everly-like harmonies. The result sounds more timeless than retro, although the approach certainly was a throwback even in ’93.
The second 12-song disc contains self-penned outtakes that could stand with the dozen cuts on the just-about-perfect original album, as well as sharp covers of Merle Haggard and Joni Mitchell and a killer take on the George Jones-sung stone-country balled “Hell Stays Open All Night Long.”