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On The Floor Of Heaven - Deluxe Edition

The Blue Shadows Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Price: $16.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 24 Songs, 2010 $6.99  
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On The Floor Of Heaven - Deluxe Edition + Lighthouse + The Best of the Cowsills: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 15, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 2010
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: The Blue Shadows Records / Bumstead Records
  • ASIN: B003KZZ4C6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,487 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Coming On Strong
2. The Fool Is The Last One To Know
3. If I Were You
4. Think On It
5. Deliver Me
6. A Thousand Times
7. If It Ain't Rockin'
8. On The Floor Of Heaven
9. When Will This Heartache End
10. The Embers
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. A Little Bit Lonesome, A Little Bit Blue
2. Give Give Givin'
3. A Paper 'n A Promise
4. And The Curtains Close
5. Heart of a Lion, Soul of a Dove
6. Wonder 'Bout Me

Editorial Reviews

Review

The press release that accompanied this album sure seemed heavy on the hype. The record, it claimed, represents 'one of the great unheralded achievements of the alt-country movement' - a 'lost Americana classic' that came out in the 'legendary' Blue Shadows' native Canada in 1993 but went unreleased and consequently mostly unheard south of the border. I grew even more skeptical after I read that one of the quartet's singer/guitarists was the late Billy Cowsill, who started his career as leader of the bubblegum-pop group the Cowsills - an outfit the press release also called 'legendary.'

But damned if it isn't all true - ok, everything but the part about the Cowsills' legendary status. On the Floor of Heaven turns out to be alt-country heaven. It's jam-packed with harmonies redolent of the Everly Brothers, the twangy, reverb-heavy guitar sound of early Johnny Cash and melodies that take you back to mid-period Beatles. If I Were You, a high point, sounds like a cross between the Searchers and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

This reissue combines the original 12-track release with a bonus CD that features another dozen gems, including outtakes and covers of songs like Merle Haggard's If We Make It Through December, Arthur Alexander's Soldier of Love, Joni Mitchell's Raised on Robbery and George Jones' Hell Stays Open All Night Long.

'Lost Americana classic' sounds just about right. --Jeff Burger, No Depression.com

Most people's memories of the Cowsills are confined to their giddy hits of the late '60s - The Rain, the Park and Other Things, We Can Fly, Indian Lake and a cover of Hair that helped bring that counter-cultural phenomenon to a wider audience. Stigmatized by their sappy sweet image as an innocuous PG-rated, family-friendly bubblegum band, they provided the perfect blueprint for TV's Partridge Family, before yielding to the competition when their claim on the pop charts expired.

Naturally then, they weren't given much of a second thought thereafter, even though several family members gamely attempted to further advance their own musical ambitions. Susan Cowsill spent time with the communal combo the Continental Drifters before recording two excellent solo sets. Barry Cowsill issued an album of his own, released shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck his native New Orleans and made him a victim of its fury. But it was Billy Cowsill who was the most determined to carve out a career, beginning with his solo debut Nervous Breakdown, and subsequent participation in the Co-Dependents and the Blue Shadows, a pair of Canadian combos that kept him busy throughout much of the '90s.

Up until recently, Bill Cowsill's work has been all but impossible to locate here in the U.S., but thanks to the steadfast dedication of a small Canadian indie label called Indelible Music, his recordings with the Co-Dependents - as well as a solo show titled Live at Crystal Ballroom and his contributions to various compilations - are now available. Now, along comes On the Floor of Heaven, a reissue of Bill's first album with the Blue Shadows, expanded to a two disc set with the addition of covers and outtakes from the original sessions. He shares the spotlight with a perfect foil, Jeffrey Hatcher, veteran of a number of north-of-the-border bands that crafted the framework for their Americana stance.

To be sure, the Blue Shadows were a traditional outfit with an old-fashioned feel. While Cowsill and Hatcher were responsible for writing most of the material, the music sounds as if it was written and recorded in the '40s, '50s and '60s, when honkytonk was rampant and barroom balladeers shed tears in their beers. Steel guitar adds a suitably weepy touch to slower songs like A Thousand Times, The Embers and Learn to Forget, but it's the up-tempo tunes and lilting harmonies of A Paper 'N a Promise, Deliver Me, and Think of It that give the band its homegrown flair. That makes it all the more disappointing that the Blue Shadows never got their due; with a little push they might have sealed their place as the illegitimate offspring of the Eagles, Poco and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Indeed, there's a timeless quality to this music. It's manifested in part by their choice of covers - check their rambunctious version of Joni Mitchell's Raised On Robbery or their appropriately Beatlesque take on an early Fab Four staple, Buzz Cason's Soldier of Love - as well as their stylistic debt to such famous forebears as the Everly Brothers (I Believe), Buddy Holly (Wonder 'Bout Me) and various country crooners (A Little Bit Lonesome, A Little Bit Blue, Heart of a Lion, Soul of a Dove).

Sadly, Cowsill succumbed to ongoing health issues in 2006, a year after his brother Barry passed, making any glory gained from this wonderful reissue ultimately seem way too belated. Yet it's also comforting to know that with the Blue Shadows' work finally seeing the light of day, Bill Cowsill's legacy may indeed live on. --Lee Zimmerman, Blurt-online.com

Product Description

On The Floor of Heaven is considered by many of those who got to hear it upon its initial release in 1993 as one of the great, unheralded achievements of the alt-country movement. The roots rock masterpiece is now reissued as a two-disc Deluxe Edition via Bumstead Records. Formed in the early 1990s, The Blue Shadows consisted of guitarist and singer Billy Cowsill (now deceased) - who began his career as leader of the legendary American bubblegum group The Cowsills and roots rocker Jeffrey Hatcher - who enjoyed cult success in the 1980s fronting Jeffrey Hatcher & The Big Beat. Together with drummer J.B. Johnson and bassist Elmar Spanier (later replaced by Barry Muir), the quartet forged a style built on the rustic sounds of classic country fused with the pop sensibility of The Beatles and tight harmony vocals that have drawn flattering comparisons to the Everly Brothers. Disc one is the complete original album while disc two has some great cover tunes, lost B-sides and other gems!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:MP3 Music|Verified Purchase
I discovered this group thanks to a segment on NPR's Fresh Air. First, let me say that I'm not a huge country fan, but I do appreciate the classics like George Jones, and Hank Sr. I am also a fan of more recent 'alt-country' artists like Neko Case and Rank and File (from the 80's). I had never heard of the Blue Shadows until I heard the Fresh Air piece but now that I have downloaded and listen to the entire album "On the Floor of Heaven" I am very happy with my decision to buy this. The songs are well written, are true to the genre, feature excellent playing (especially if you're a fan of the 12 string electric guitar), and the harmonies are outstanding.

If you like the music of the Byrds, Rockpile, or classic country crooners, you'll enjoy this collection.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tunes for the Tuneless August 18, 2010
Format:Audio CD
I've known about these guys for over ten years (I live in Canada). Such honest, tuneful, heartfelt music. It's sad these boys didn't last but, a short life was inevitable as they burned so bright.

This is why recorded music is so important; it means we get to enjoy an artist's work when they are out of sync with the fashion of their time. With the re-release of this record a whole new generation will hear what some crazy Canucks (and an even crazier Yankee) were up to in some obscure time and place. (1992 Bullfrog Studios, Kitsilano B.C.)

Thanks to Bumstead, Amazon, NPR, No Depression and every other music fan that kept the embers burning for this fine recording.

P.S. Here's an excerpt from Adrian Mack's review in the Tyee entitled: The Best Record Ever Made In Vancouver?

What they heard was lovingly dubbed "Hank goes to the Cavern Club" by the honeymooning partners. It'd be hard to top such a pithy description. Check out "Coming On Strong," which opens On the Floor of Heaven with a genius marriage of post-Paisley Underground jangle and hillbilly harmonies, finished off like a dash of Tabasco with bayou fiddle. After that, miraculously, On the Floor of Heaven just gets better and better, plowing its unique middle path through Nashville trad and Brit invasion with unforgettable country rockers ("The Fool is the Last One to Know," "Deliver Me") and crystalline neo-Everlys heartbreakers ("A Thousand Times"). In a blind test, I doubt you'd be able to identify the era. Musicians and critics loved The Blue Shadows, and country radio axiomatically wouldn't touch them. There was too much good taste behind the enterprise. Between that and the bad moon orbiting Billy, they were born to lose.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Cd's from the 90's August 14, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I've been lucky to have owned this cd since the mid 90's. A music journalist from Canada who was attending the South by Southwest Music Conference gave it to me as a gift. Wonderful harmonies recall a time, maybe the 50's or the 60's but with a crisp modern feel. For the last 15 years I've pulled this cd out many many times and it inspires me to pull out my guitar as well and play along with the music (no way I can compete with the thrilling vocals). When I saw they'd finally released this cd in the U.S. with a bonus disc I immediately ordered two copies and ran down to the local store to buy one while I waited for the other two. The album sounds as good as ever and the bonus disc is a welcome discovery. Not every song on the bonus disc is up to the standard of the original album but I have found all of them to be quite enjoyable and I highly recommend "Hell Stays Open All Night Long" and "A Paper N a Promise." The Blue Shadows put out a second cd which I hope might also be released and according to the liner notes I understand there are some live recordings. Here is to hoping those see the light of day as well. But no matter what, I am just happy this cd is finally getting some well deserved attention in the lower 48.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salute to Bill Cowsill. April 11, 2014
By joe
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I always liked the lead vocal on THE RAIN, THE PARK AND OTHER THINGS by The Cowsills. Ever since then any song featuring the lead vocal by Cowsill member Bill cowsill attracted my interest. Hearing his voice on BLUE SHADOWS reveals the range and other genres of music he could clearly interpret with ease and passion. This disc will occupy space next to my vintage Hank Williams and other vintage honky tonk and blue grass music pioneers. I'm glad to have discovered this title and to have enjoyed the music Bill Cowsill has left for us to remember him by.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it. May 5, 2013
By vfr
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I'm just going to say that this is one of the best CDs that I've bought in 10 years. I knew nothing about the Blue Shadows until I saw the Cowsills documentary and now I'm just glad that I discovered this music. Every song, start to finish, is a gem. If you like traditional country, honky tonk, Everly Brothers or Gram Parsons-era Byrds/Burrito Brothers you'll enjoy this CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everly Brothers meets Foster and Lloyd August 6, 2012
Format:MP3 Music|Verified Purchase
I had never heard of these guys, who apparently did alright in Canada but couldn't get a record deal in the States 20 years ago, until I heard this album featured on NPR. With tight harmonies and driving guitar, they have an inviting sound that would have been called cowpunk or alt country back in the day. Good stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid alternate country September 18, 2010
By mccnisk
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Consistently great songs and performances by a group that should have been heard more. A bit "twangy" for some tastes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great alt country record. Loved Billy Cowsill with the Co-dependants as well.
Published 12 days ago by Keith Hawes
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice value; good music
If you enjoy Blue Rodeo & earlier Canadian folk/country/rock crossover artists (or even early U.S. folk/country artists), this is well worth checking out. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dave from the States
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Shadows
Oh wow!!!! I am so glad that I purchased this cd. I have long been a fan of "The Cowsill's" and brother Billy does not disappoint!! Read more
Published 8 months ago by sandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Classic From Billy Cowsill and Crew
The Cowsills were the inspiration for the Partridge Family and generated some excellent harmony heavy pop music in the mid-late 60's. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Stoneman
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
Great retro-sounding music that should've been given the chance at a wider audience upon its initial release. Read more
Published 15 months ago by J.M. Tetreault
5.0 out of 5 stars RIP Billy Cowsill
Great songs from a great artist. Sad that he left us so soon and before he got his due as a great songwriter.
Published 15 months ago by Scott Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars timeless American music
I bought this album following an NPR rave review, primarily because I was mesmerized by the sound of "Is Anybody Here," with its beautifull harmony, and then, well everything else. Read more
Published on September 21, 2010 by Nancy Jo Merritt
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