The Continental Drifters and their music has been described as “earthy roots rock sound with pure pop,” “full of ragged acoustic and electric guitars, superb songs, and sublime harmonies,” “one of Ameririca's greatest purveyors of mature, organic music,” “college-rock/indie-rock/power-pop supergroup,” “ all-star roots-pop outfit,” “a supergroup that for once lives up to the name,” “a certain amount of soul, good vocals,” and “one of the American underground’s resident treasures.”
A large contributor to the above descriptions is our own Susan Cowsill.
Susan wasn’t a part of the Drifters when the group was first organized in 1991, but she grew tremendously as an artist during her years here.
“I actually learned to write during my Continental Drifters days. So they are precious to me for a million reasons.” Susan said, “The Drifters were definitely, the guys - especially in the early version were really instrumental in encouraging me to try and play the guitar …. And learned to write with them and they were very encouraging and very supportative of me.” “The Drifters being one of the most wonderful musical experiences of my life.”
It all began when two New Orleans natives, Carlo Nuccio and Ray Ganucheau, started playing together with Mark Walton and Danny McGough. It’s said that 'The Continental Drifters' name came from a group that Carlo had played with back in New Orleans.
By 1992 the Drifters were playing every Tuesday night at Raji’s, a Hollywood club. It was during these Tuesday gigs that other musicians, including Susan, Vicki Peterson, Gary Eaton and Peter Holsapple, would sit in.
Peter was next to officially join the band and then later on Susan and Vicki. It was this group that eventually opened for Bob Dylan at the Pantages Theater in May of 1992.
Soon thereafter, Carlo and Ray decided to move back to New Orleans. Within a year Susan, Peter and Mark Walton also made the move to the Big Easy, while Gary and Vicki commuted for shows. Gary departed the group and Vicki was the last of the group to make the move south. After a sickness of Ray’s, Robert Mache was added. This configuration of the band release a self titled CD in 1994, but after a successful tour of Europe, Carlo Nuccio left the band and Russ Broussard took over as the drummer. The group was now The Continental Drifters that we Cowsill fans came to know. This band stayed in tact until January 9, 2002 when for personal reasons, Susan and Russ took leave from the band.
Carlo Nuccio - drums
Ray Ganucheau - guitar
Mark Walton – bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
Danny McGough - keyboards
Gary Eaton - guitar
Peter Holsapple - guitar, keyboards, acordian, mandolin, vocals
Vicki Peterson – guitar, vocals
Susan Cowsill – acoustic guitar, vocals
Russ Broussard - drums
Robert Mache – guitars, mandolin, vocals
One fun fact about the Drifters can be found on the bandtoband site. It shows that 263 bands are associated with the members of The Continental Drifters.
|Recording ||Date / Company ||Comments|
"The Mississippi" b/w "Johnny Oops"
|1992 / SOL ||This was a 7" record.|
The Continental Drifters
|Nov 23, 1994 / Monkey Hill|
Feb. 20, 2001 / Razor & Tie
|This CD included "Desperate Love," the first song written by Susan that was recorded by The Drifters.|
This was recorded at Egyptian Room in New Orleans, Louisiana
"Christopher Colombus Transcontinental Highway" b/w "Meet On The Ledge"
|1997 / Black Dog ||This was a 7" record.|
|May 25, 1998 / Blue Rose|
Oct. 12, 1999 / Razor & Tie
|Vermilion was recorded beginning March 2, 1998. This recording session was at Dockside Studios on the Vermilion River and lasted 15 days.|
Vermilion is described as "mature, artistic and affecting" and showing the bands' "impressive range of talent, from the sweet harmonies."
|June 5, 2001 / Razor & Tie and Blue Rose|| Better Day was also recorded at Dockside Studio in Maurice, LA from January 2 - 20, 2001 |
| Nov. 5, 2001 / Blue Rose|| This was released in two forms: CD and 10" EP|
This was recorded November 21, 1998 at St. Ann's in Brooklyn, New York and was a tribute to Sandy Denny's music.
One of the Susan songs from this period was "The Rain Song." It was recorded by three different group. I thought it would be fun to put together a little combo of the Continental Drifters, Hootie and Bangles versions.
Here are chords for a couple Drifter's songs.
That Much A Fool
Highway Of The Saints