“Hi, Norman, this is mother. How are you?”
It was Mrs. Barbara Cowsill (sometimes known as Mini-Mom), leader of a singing, traveling family that produces hit records; and after her on the phone came the rest of her brood.
“Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi,” said all nine Cowsills including Bud (father) from their variety of extensions.
Three years ago, when Papa Cowsill retired from the Navy as a chief petty officer, he decided to turn all of them into a recording group, “come hell or high water,” as Mrs. Cowsill says.
His determination and the family’s spunk almost led them to the brink of financial ruin. But last year they recorded a little song called “The Rain, the Park and Other Things.” It sold 1,000,000 single records and sent the Cowsills bouncing across the country promoting, singing and making friends everywhere.
Said Mother Cowsill on the phone: “In Barbados (West Indies) for five days, Chicago, then to San Remo, Italy, and then to England.”
Mom provided a rundown on her family: bill, 19. Then the twins, Bob and Dick, 18; Paul, 16 (he and Dick are the road managers). Barry will be 13 in September and he’s the bass guitarist. John, the drummer, is 11, and Susan is 8 ½, and you better add that half.”
“Mom wasn’t really in the group at first,” said Bob. “But we bribed her with clothes and a washer and she joined us.”
“Since my family became famous,” Mom said, “I just added singing to washing, cooking, cleaning.
“They just asked me to sing on the album a couple of month ago and I haven’t been home since. Now, at 40, I’m starting a new career. I mean, I’m used to washing dishes, nto singing in front of people.”