Newspaper Articles

Cowsills, Checkmates Delight Youthful Audience
by Grace Cramer
July 31, 1969
Amsterdam Recorder
Amsterdam, New York

Shrills and screams were the chemical reactions to the family ingredients of Bill, Bob, Barry and John Cowsfll, more commonly referred to as the family singing group of The Cowsills last night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Also featured at Tuesday evening's performance was The Checkmates Ltd., who made contact instantly with the audience and made everyone feel part of their presentation.

Bob Cowsill, spokesman for his group, explained that they usually perform with their minimommy and 10-year-old sister, but that both were recuperating from a virus pneumonia in a Newport, R.I., hospital and weren't able to make the Saratoga appearance. He added though, "There're with us. Spiritually, if not physically."

The four brothers in the group ranging from 13 to 19 years of age all have the "freckles, smiles, and big brown eyes" with the neat and clean appearance that were loved by the crowd of 4,000, made up mostly of teens 16 years and under.

We Love You

The Cowsills, who explained the name of the group with a simple "it's our family name!" set off screams and shrills throughout the evening: Some fans even had large banners painted brightly with "We love you" and other friendly messages.

The group, musically, was enjoyable. The. blending of harmonies was very well done with good rhythm to follow, thanks to John's outstanding ability on the drums, with excellent guitar and organ playing adding to the singing by the rest of the group.

Some of the songs included within the concert were "Indian Lake," which was high on the charts last summer, "The Rain, the Park and Other Things," "We Can Fly" and "Monday, Monday."

Versions of the Beattle's tunes "Yesterday", "Hey, Jude" and "Happy Birthday" were done flawlessly: If you hadn't known it was the Cowsills, it would be understandable to mistake them for the Beatles themselves!

To change the pace, they sang "My Diane" and "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" which were well received by the parents as well as the teens.

Other popular numbers were "Rolling on the River," "Postman." "Hair" and "The Prophecy of Daniel," the group's latest release. Bob Cowsill explained the song as a warning to man to beware of the evils surrounding him. "Six is the number'', repeated several times throughout the song is a reference to the Bible significance of "7" being the perfect number. "Six is stressed to make people realize that man will always fall short of being perfect no matter what be does."

After the concert hordes of teens gathered around the stage door which they left chanting "We want the Cowsills!"

The Checkmates Ltd. were a good soul group that went to great lengths to get the audience involved in the songs with a "Lets-put-your-hands-together-and-go-like-this." idea.

The five-man group used all the present dance steps in their acts with every attempt to get the audience to feel the soul vibrations radiating from the stage. Members of The Checkmates even ran through the aisles shaking hands and making people clap hands to the beat of the tunes.

Some of their best, numbers include "Gimmie Some Loving," which featured the group's drummer, known as "Sweet Louie"; “Do Your Thing," and the well-known version of "Sunny."

"Mo-town" sound was heard in "Black Girl," a record currently on the top ten in the country.

Good singing mixed with comedy was heard in "Let the Sunshine In."

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