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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible collection!!!!
From the "First Family of Pop" comes this comprehensive collection of their late 60's hits. Beginning with the first big hit "The Rain, the Park and Other Things (The Flower Girl Song)" and continuing through to their last big hit which is the title song of the super successful Broadway rock show, "Hair", this C.D. is a musical journey that...
Published on March 22, 2000 by Joe Comer

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars El Cheapo Collection in Every Way!
This Best Of can't be recommended, even at the dirt cheap price.

Sonically, it gets a 1 star and sounds like about a 5th generation dub. In addition, the mastering is so poor, that there are noticable db fluctuations between certain songs!

Also, there are NO liner notes whatsoever.

You'd be much better served by popping 2 more bucks for...
Published on August 1, 2004 by D. L Masters


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible collection!!!!, March 22, 2000
By 
Joe Comer (Robinson, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
From the "First Family of Pop" comes this comprehensive collection of their late 60's hits. Beginning with the first big hit "The Rain, the Park and Other Things (The Flower Girl Song)" and continuing through to their last big hit which is the title song of the super successful Broadway rock show, "Hair", this C.D. is a musical journey that is both wide-ranging and surprising.
Of all the bands of the 1960's, the Cowsills were probably the most underrated. Hailing from Newport, Rhode Island, they began performing in local churches and clubs when John Cowsill (their drummer) was only 7 or 8. In 1966, as a foursome (Bill, Bob, Barry and John), they were signed to Joda records. They recorded one single, the garage folk/rock, "All I Wanta Be is Me". Featuring Bill on rhythm guitar, Bob playing lead, Barry on bass and John on drums, it was quite an achievement for a first effort. Unfortunately, it sold very little nationally and the band slipped back into relative obscurity. It was through an appearance on the "Today" show that a talent scout signed them to the Wing branch of Mercury records. They recorded several singles. One of them, "Most of All", a catchy saying-goodbye-for-the-summer number was something of a regional hit, but they remained basically unknown. Although that contract yielded little notoriety, one of Mercury's employees, Artie Kornfeld, who, two years later in 1969, became a producer and organizer for the original "Woodstock", had a song about a girl sitting in a park in the rain and had some hopes that it might be a hit. He thought it might be perfect for the Cowsills. Kornfeld is given credit by most people as the person who suggested that their mom, Barbara, sing with them. This was a bit of a disapointment for the boys as they had always attempted to mold their sound after a certain other famous foursome from Liverpool, England. Although, the Beatles were all young men at the time of their first success, the Cowsills, in 1967 were all in their teens or younger. However, the addition of their mom gave the band just enough of a difference to stand out. Kornfeld recorded them and MGM finally signed the band. The rest, as they often say, was history. Later sister Susan and brother Paul joined and the harmonies rang all the more stronger. Only Bob's twin brother Richard was denied the opportunity to sing with his famous family, but that's another story for another time.
This CD release of the original vinyl is a mix of ballads ("Meet Me at the Wishing Well", "A Time for Remembrance"), socially aware songs ("Newspaper Blanket" must have been one of the first songs written about the homeless) and rock 'n roll ("Gotta Get Away From It All"). Most of the songs here were written or co-written by Bill and Bob. It's nice to know that unlike a certain other recording act (not to mention any names here but their last name started with the letter P) that was based on the life and career of the Cowsills, this band were 100% real. That television show cast were not a real family or even a real band. And except for David Cassidy and a very inconspicuous Shirley Jones, the sound was the creation of studio musicians and vocalists. The Cowsills, however, were very much in evidence in the studio. Besides writing a good deal of the tunes, Bill and Bob produced the majority of the Cowsills recordings and had a good deal of control over what was created. And the fact that from "Hair" on, the band played all or most of the instruments made them just as formidable as any other act from the period, maybe more so. One listen to the guitar work on "Hair" (Barry's bass guitar is incredible for anyone let alone for one who was only 14 years of age) and any remark about their lack of talent is completely out of line. The vocal arrangements, also a product of Bill and Bob, are among the best ever. C.D.'s were invented for the crisp and clear sound of voices and arrangements such as the Cowsills'. And if you think the Cowsills were only a band for the 60's and early 70's, one listen to their latest recording, GLOBAL will change your mind immediately. It's available through the bands web site.
But if you are looking for an overview of the early sound of this super-talented family, this C.D. is the one for you. And it's an excellent representation of the "happy, happy, happy" infectious rock of the period. And that's not bad at all!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars El Cheapo Collection in Every Way!, August 1, 2004
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
This Best Of can't be recommended, even at the dirt cheap price.

Sonically, it gets a 1 star and sounds like about a 5th generation dub. In addition, the mastering is so poor, that there are noticable db fluctuations between certain songs!

Also, there are NO liner notes whatsoever.

You'd be much better served by popping 2 more bucks for the 20th Century Masters Collection which has much better sound, some liner info, and a better song selection.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Big Hits...Lots of Misses, February 3, 2000
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
Thirty years later, the Cowsills hits are still as engaging and cheery as the day they were released. Their debut "The Rain, the Park, and Other Things" was elbowed out of the top spot only by Lulu's "To Sir with Love," and was characteristic of the kind of catchy pop song put out by the group that served as the real-life inspiration for TV's "The Partridge Family."
Their other big hits are here: "We Can Fly" (No. 21), "Indian Lake" (No. 10), and the million-seller "Hair" (No. 2).
But quite frankly some of the rest of the material is hard to listen to. The Cowsill's original "Meet Me at the Wishing Well" is as schmaltzy as anything by Bobby Goldsboro. Another original "A Time for Remembrance" is overly sentimental. "Newspaper Blanket" is a saccharine attempt at social revelance. They occasionally hit the mark with tracks like "Gotta Get Away from It All," "In Need of a Friend," and "Poor Baby." [The last two were minor hits--No. 54 and No. 44 respectively.] Overall, the album tracks haven't worn very well and in most cases only serve to tarnish the image of the band. If you have to have all their hits, this is the way to go. But if you're really only interested in "The Rain" and "Hair," seek out any number of various artists compilations that inlcudes these songs (along with others you'll probably enjoy just as much).
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best of The Cowsills, June 20, 2000
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
I've never been one to think that feel-good, harmony driven pop was in anyway inferior to the more "serious" rock of the late Sixties. But that's what The Cowsills did so well, tight harmonies, well crafted songs, and more good Karma than the law should allow.
This CD is basically the same as their premature Sixties "Best Of," with the addition of their 1969 hit "Hair", and "Meet Me at the Wishing Well." Also included is their 1967 smash "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things" (or "The FLower Girl"), as well as 1968's "Indian Lake." A good sampling of lesser hits and LP cuts are included, with what was probably the first pop song ever written about homelessness ("Newspaper Blanket") standing out. However, if you're expecting to find their earlier pre-MGM singles (i.e."Most of All"), or their early Seventies 45's like "Love American Style," and "Silver Threads and Golden Needles," you won't find them here. However, treat yourself to "Poor Baby," one of their near-hits that is a true harmony-driven feast for the ears and rivals anything The Beach Boys or the Turtles were coming up with back then. Check it out.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Fun!, October 6, 1999
By 
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
A fine re-issue of thier original Greatest Hits album. I had it when I was a kid and it brings back a lot of sweet memories. A lot of rock critics have written off the Cowsills as a "Bubblegum" novelty act but the group had tremendous talent. The group has re-formed and has a website at [...] Plus they released a new CD called "Global" which shows the group in fine form!

Now I wished some comapny would re-release the other Cowsills albums that are still not available on CD, especally "We Can Fly" and "Captain Sad & His Ship of Fools"
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Complete Collection on CD, June 21, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
Even though some of the songs don't qualify as hits, the well-known songs are here. Ironically, some of the album cuts hold up better than the hits, and one wonders why such a skilled group didn't make waves on the pop charts more often. Excellent production values bring out the complexity of the group's arrangements (their harmonies were tighter than most recording artists' at the time, including their biggest influence, the Mamas and the Papas). Missing are two songs that reached the bottom of the pop charts, and there are no liner notes, but this CD is the best you can find.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome music from the 60's, November 4, 1999
By 
Rick Wade (Lewisville, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
Cowsill music will never be forgotten. Their keen sound and mellow words remind me of my college days in the 60's, with the Vietnam mess and political unrest. They were truly refreshing to hear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st class vocal harmonies, good stereo mixes, September 14, 2010
By 
Sonoma's Davey (Guerneville, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
The Cowsills, along with Harpers Bizarre and several other contemporary groups, were at the top of the Sunshine Pop craze. Their vocal harmonies are just great, and this album has most of their best. (See The Best of the Cowsills: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection for a few of their later hits that didn't make it onto this album.)

The mixes on this album are stereo, while the 20th Century album presents them in the original 45 mono mixes. Which you like best is a matter of taste. I greatly prefer the stereo mixes, from the delightfully funky moving harp intro in We Can Fly to the ahead-of-their-time sound effects on The Rain, The Park, and Other Things. It's hard to directly compare the stereo mix with the mono mix of the same song. They're just different. I like the stereo mixes better because you hear details of the song that don't come through in mono. Only the Poor Baby track is in mono, but it's a favorite with the extended a capella chorus, very much like in The Sloop John B by The Beach Boys. However, unlike the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album, which was brilliantly remastered in stereo recently, these stereo mixes are the way the songs were originally released on LP, during the era where both mono and stereo versions of an album were published.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please Buy the 20th Century Masters Release Instead, July 26, 2009
By 
M. Hulme (Herndon, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
Please take seriously the other reviews that have knocked the audio quality of this CD. Buy The Best of the Cowsills: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection instead.

I always wanted stereo mixes of "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" and "We Can Fly" but these stereo mixes are TERRIBLE! Take "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" for example. The lead vocals are in the center with reverb only in the left channel. The harp and xylophone are also in the center. All other instruments are only in the left channel, including the bass, with reverb only in the left channel, and buried in the mix. The background vocals are only in the right channel, with a little reverb only in the right channel. Finish it off with a low cut filter that removes the bass drum and makes the bass guitar sound like clicking twine. I couldn't get past the opening seconds of "We Can Fly"; the harp switches - not pans - from the right, to the center, to the left. There are drop outs and abrupt level changes. I know you can only do so much when the original master tapes were made on four-track equipment but these stereo mixes are grating and make the original mono releases sound glorious by comparison. Great Wrecking Crew musicians, Charlie Calello instrumental arrangements, and Cowsills vocal harmonies completely ruined.

The Cowsills had some great music so I am not giving them one star, but I am giving this particular CD one star because the sonic quality of this CD is disgusting.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rain, The Park , Hair ,and Bubblegum!, February 9, 2000
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
A nice compilation with all the hits...granted the rest is a bit hard to take at times. Certainly if you are a fan of this music in the first place it'll bring back wonderful memories and get you smilin". My only complaint...where is the B-side to ' Hair' - 'What Is Happy?'. That one was a great little tune! (surely you all remember it everytime you flipped the 45 over) . Long Live Pop!
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