Popular family folk-rock group, The Cowsills, pandered their "Bubble gum" style of music before a capacity crowd at Emens Community Auditorium Saturday night and drew a standing ovation even though the singing off key was the rule rather than the exception throughout the 90 minute performance.
However the Cowsills – especially guitarists John and Bob – played much better than they sang.
The Cowsills – who are signed for NBC’s Kraft Music Hall and ABC’s Music Scene and the Hollywood Palace – were cute as ever as they flaunted such “Oldies but Loudies” as “One Way Ticket to Happy,” “Indian lake,” “We Can Fly,” “The Rain and the Park and Other Things,” and the theme from the Broadway production “Hair.”
Their latest single, “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” and the theme from the Broad- was a refreshing change from the ordinary Cowsill record. The group improved when they performed such old Peter, Paul, and Mary hits as “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “If I Had My Way,” and “Cruel War.”
Barbara Cowsill, Mother of the MGM recording group, was especially underwhelming when she sang “I Really Want to Know You.” She did not participate in the singing of “Hair” but the “off color” jokes bantered about by five of her seven children didn’t seem to bother her even when ten-year-old Susan got into the discussion.
“I guess with all these kids, I have to be a Catholic,” she said. And Bob pointed out that Father suffered from lack of rhythm.
Sue Cowsill – perhaps the brightest feature of the group – did an excellent job on “When I’m 64,” a Beatles original. Although at times, she appeared to be struggling for notes, the youngest Cowsill seemed at home on a stage.
Susan was not expected to appear with the group but she flew to Muncie at the last minute to join the Cowsill family. She had been in New York taping a segment for the Dean Martin Show to be shown on NBC on Thanksgiving.
The Cowsills spent a half hour signing autographs after the performance before they left for Indianapolis.