Chris Rowan - guitar, piano, vocals; Lorin Rowan - guitar, piano, vocals; Peter Rowan - guitar, mandolin, vocals ; Dudley Trucks - drums; Bill Elliott - piano, keyboards; Joe Carroll - bass
Taken from the archives of the late promoter, Bill Graham, this recording of the Rowan Brothers is from a period when the group was firing on all cylinders. The setlist is a variety platter of music, including a slew of material from the band's soon-to-be (at the time) Asylum release, entitled Sibling Rivalry.
Opening with "Calle Music," the group offers up memorable versions of "Ooh My Love," "Pretty Senorita," " King's Men," and "Tired Hands," as well as their own version of "Panama Red" and "Land Of The Navajo" (written by older brother Peter for the New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Old & In The Way, respectively). Called back for an encore, they close the show with the upbeat and infectious, "Ya Ba Da Ba."
The group emerged in 1971, opening for the Grateful Dead during the closing of the Fillmore West. Chris & Lorin Rowan had worked with their older brother, acclaimed musician Peter Rowan, and musician/producer David Grisman, performing a unique blend of rock, country, bluegrass, and pop music. Peter Rowan and Grisman had formed two key bands, Boston's Earth Opera (1967- 1978) and the San Francisco-based Seatrain (1969-1973) which released two critically acclaimed albums and a hit single called "13 Questions."
It was the elder Rowan and Grisman who decided to take Lorin and Chris into the studio and develop the songs they had been writing. The two became the object of a bidding war between Columbia Records prexy Clive Davis and Asylum Records CEO, David Geffen. Davis won out and the duo released a critically acclaimed debut on Columbia. Eventually, Peter Rowan left Seatrain to work with Grisman and members of the Grateful Dead in a bluegrass revival act called Old & The Way. While a part of that project, he also joined his two younger brothers.
The group faced a crisis, when, shortly after the debut LP was released, Clive Davis was bounced from Columbia. The label, knowing they were his pet project, essentially ignored the Rowans, who fortunately got dropped and then quickly picked up by Geffen for Asylum. As a trio, they released a few more discs but nothing that would tip the scales from a commercial standpoint.
Peter would remain an on-again, off-again member, but as a recording entity, after a handful of albums on Asylum, they returned to the duo format of Chris & Lorin. The duo and its band still reside in San Francisco and have had considerable success as songwriters. Their material has been recorded by acts such as Jefferson Starship and bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs, who won a Grammy for his album that included a cover of the Rowans' "Soldier Of The Cross."