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Rowans, The/The Rowan Brothers

Chris and Lorin Rowan originally performed as a duo called The Rowan Brothers.

The young brothers had been playing since their teen days in the rural town of Wayland, Massachusetts, and grew up with their big, awe-eyed cuteness intact.

rowanbrothers

Signed by Columbia records, the brothers spent seven months and $110,000 cutting a debut album, and the label splashed out a further $100,000 for a promotional push which came skidding to a halt in the fall of 1972 after the album was released to so-so reviews (good songs buried by saccharine overproduction) and quickly bombed.

Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead called them “the Californian Beatles“, but – as Rolling Stone rock critic Dave Marsh remarked – he was probably stoned when he said it.

In late 1973 older brother Peter joined the group, and for the next year the three Rowans – along with a rhythm section – eked out a living in San Francisco Bay Area clubs as a better-than-average boogie band that wildly excelled on harmony vocals.

rowanbrothers3The hard work paid off with a new recording contract, this time with Asylum – at a decidedly more modest advance than the one Columbia had thrown at them.

This trio of brothers recorded two albums with Asylum – Sibling Rivalry (1976) and Jubilation (1977). Each record contained super-slick MOR in a bewildering range of styles – from rinky-tink Tin Pan Alley to reggae, Latin rock and bluegrass.

The 1976 and 1977 albums are now available on a single CD via Collectors Choice Music.

Lorin Rowan
Chris Rowan
Peter Rowan