Gary’s Nineteen Nineties

Still in a most list-ful mood, but this round-up certainly wasn’t a very easy one to compile, I’ll have everyone know. The pickin’s were extremely, uh, thin, to say the very least.

Nevertheless (or should I say Nevermind)…..

Number One: Mark Johnson12 in a room (1992)
Powerful pop most firmly rooted within the Brill Building anteroom.

Two: CowsillsGlobal (1998)
America’s once-and-forever First Family of Song leave no Partridge unspurned.

Three: Brian WilsonSweet Insanity (1991)
Just to make sure the Nineties weren’t ALL Pet Sounds re-issues.

Four: Dave Rave GroupValentino’s Pirates (1992)
Wherein the former Soviet Union signs its first Western act, then promptly dissolves.

Five: Johnny CashAmerican Recordings (1994)
Rick Rubin produces a Johnny we thought only Sam Phillips could.

Six: Tiny TimRock (1993)
Includes possibly definitive readings of “Eve of Destruction” and “Rebel Yell,” I kid you not.

Seven: PuffyJet CD (1998)
Oh-so-effortlessly crosses ABBA, Sabbath, and Who’s Next …and all by way of Jellyfish.

Eight: MonkeesJustus (1996)
Those Prefabs go out on a very high note (which, I’ll have you know, they played ALL BY THEMSELVES).

Nine: Shane FaubertSan Blass (1993)
Former head Cheepskate most definitely goes for baroque.

Ten: NRBQYou Gotta Be Loose (1998)
Proof very positive: The greatest live r-n-r band In The World.

Eleven: EvaporatorsI Gotta Rash (1998)
Before Ali G, Baba Booey, and most definitely Tenacious D.

Twelve: Neil YoungArc (1991)
Truly too cool – not to mention loud – for (many) words.

Thirteen: Go-NutsThe World’s Greatest Super Hero Snak Rock And Gorilla Entertainment Revue (1997)
For once, the title says it all.

Fourteen: High LlamasGideon Gaye (1994)
More than filling that cavernous sonic gap between SMiLE and the XTC reunion.

Fifteen: Blue ShadowsLucky To Me (1995)
Hank Williams visits The Cavern by way of Big Pink.

Sixteen: Mojo NixonGadzooks!!! (1997)
Includes “Bring Me The Head of David Geffen” …and then some.

Seventeen: James Richard Oliver
The Mud, The Blood and The Beer
(1998)
alt. Country with a capital “Oh!”

Eighteen: Chesterfield Kings
Surfin’ Rampage
(1997)
Upstate New York’s finest give their Stones cloning a rest whilst hanging all ten.

Nineteen: JandekTwelfth Apostle (1993)
So many Jandek albums; so little space.

Heard of Cowsills?

Small Image

It just seems like I can never write as much for this blog as I want to. Luckily, I have some free time and I am enjoying sitting around my house catching up on some little projects and listening to a great new album from Susan Cowsill.

Released recently on the label Blue Corn Music, the album is called Just Believe It and I am having a hard time doing just that. Just imagine, all of the horror of what has happened to New Orleans juxtaposed with the experience of listening to the heavenly vocals of one of the city’s most talented singer/songwriters.

For those who may not remember, or do not know at all, Susan is one of the celebrated Cowsills, a contemporary in concept to the Jackson 5 I guess you could say, only with more members and with a female vocalist in the person of Susan. In other words, the band was made up of brothers and one sister, Susan. The band had a few hits right out of the box in the late ’60’s, possibly the most famous being the song “Hair” which you would remember from the play or the movie of the same name.
After touring for awhile, the band broke up and each sibling went their own way, some pursuing music and some not. For the most part, Susan has stayed in the music business, supplying her angelic vocals to artists as diverse as Dwight Twilley and REM. For quite awhile, Cowsill was co-leader of one of the best bands of the ’90’s, The Continental Drifters, and you would be well advised to check out their CDs for some glorious country-flavored pop.

The Cowsill family also reunited for a critically acclaimed but obscure CD by the name of Global. This CD is wonderful and probably one of the best CDs of 1999. It was a glorious return to form for the band that not only wrapped up their legacy but also gave them new spark at the dawn of the new millenium.

Unfortunately, the band never got a chance to record another CD. Besides the rigors of normal life keeping them apart, Susan lost a brother in the mess that happened to New Orleans last year and has pretty much been on the road ever since like a lot of other Big Easy bands that lost their homes and possessions.

To think of all she has lost this year and hear her voice pouring out of the speakers singing her new songs seems bittersweet to me. Still, the album is fantastic and I hope you search it out. She can hold her own with any female singer out there from Crowe to Pink to Amos and, shit, any male singer as well. Her voice is glorious and so is this CD.

The Music Nerd Knows……