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The Canadiana Classic
December 2010
Wordpress
Canada

I donít know where to start when it comes to the legacy of Billy Cowsill. It strikes me as an opportunity in the making for some budding young music journalist to dig in and tell his story. Thereís definitely a tale to be told. Some of you may be old enough to remember The Cowsills. They had three huge hits in the late 1960s when family bands were all the rage. The Rain, The Park and Other Things reached #2 on the Billboard chart in 1967, Indian Lake charted in 1968, and so did their cover of the title song for the musical Hair in 1969. For a time the band was so big that they inspired the television show The Partridge Family. The good times would not last however, as internal conflict tore the group apart by the early 70s. Apparently Billy was the first to go when his father kicked him out for smoking a joint. Fast forward to the 1980s in Vancouver, British Columbia. Billy Cowsill is now the leader of a band called Blue Northern which would dissolve and become The Blue Shadows by the end of the decade. Blue Northern had some regional success, but its later incarnation managed to record two alt-country classics in the span of four years that found a Canadian national spotlight. I canít tell you much about what happened after that, but from what I gather Bill Cowsill carried with him quite a few demons that worked against the forward momentum of the band. By 1997, The Blue Shadows were no longer. Billy moved to Calgary and started another group called the Codependents in 1998, but they didnít go anywhere. Billy Cowsill died on February 17th, 2006 due to a number of ailments. His brief Canadian success is now but a footnote in the official history of The Cowsills. Which is a shame. Here was a band that could have, should have, and would have rivaled Blue Rodeo if they had of continued. The bandís 1993 debut album, On The Floor of Heaven, was recently remastered and re-released with a whack of bonus material. Their follow-up from 1995 called Lucky to Me has yet to receive the same treatment. Our Canadiana classic this week comes from that still out of print second and final album. Weíll hear a song called Let The Cowboyís Ride.




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