By Michelle Carter
There was a meeting on the bridge over the Generation Gap last night at Circle Star Theater and almost all the full-house audience agreed it was successful.
The Cowsills, a family singing group, in the tradition of no one presented the first of four concerts they will give this weekend in San Carlos. Eighty percent of the audience was composed of the under 16 set who have been buying their records for two years and they weren't to be disappointed. Not even the over-20 and over-30 oldsters who were there - most often with a teen in tow.
The group includes four brothers, a fifth as mother put it, is on "hiatus" and a sixth in Vietnam, a sister, almost ten, and a mother, Barbara Cowsill.
Much of the credit for the group's success must go to Mrs. Cowsill, one of the better looking representatives of the over-30 generation who lends a clear lyrical voice to the very with-it music her sons and daughter produce.
She does this without sacrificing dignity or respect from her children or their fans.
With daughter Susan moving out in perpetual motion to the rock sounds, Mr. Cowsill remains almost serene. Perhaps thanks to her senenity they lyrics of this group can be understood - surely a concession to the over-16's. But mother drops out for the Cowsills latest hit, "Hair," from the most celebrated musical by that name not out of disapproval, but out of realization, perhaps that this isn't Mother's kind of song.
Or, the subject of hair, the boys have modishly long locks, but more theatrically long than protestingly long and hardly of the John Lennon variety
More about the boys later, though. While Mother is serene, Sister Susan is knocking 'em dead. She's a delight to watch, but even more delightful to hear. She belted out "Hello, Hello" and "To Sir With Love" in a bright voice showing good range and tone and lacking only in a little control which will come in time. She returned after intermission and logged out a vampish "When I'm 64" that no one could resist.
The boys, of course, are the core of the group with Bob and Barry on guitars, Paul at the piano and John playing the drums. Their business is rock and their voices are better than many of their comtempories. Bob took over as lead singer in older brother Bill's absence and each brother was features at least once in the program.
If there's fault to be found anywhere in the presentation it's because some of their arrangements are less than original. "Monday, Monday" was done in Mamas and Papas tradition, and "Hey, Jude" was indistinguishable from the Beatle's version but then those were the hit arrangements, so why not?
It's something of an understatement to say there's more to come from the Cowsills collectively or individually. They will perform again at 8:30 tonight and at 5 and 8 p.m. tomorrow at Circle Star.