Cowboy is a band that rarely comes to mind today, which is a shame. They were a southern rock & country band that had a laid back style. There could rock out at times but it was their introspective acoustic songs that made them one of more creative bands of the early 1970’s.
Songwriters/guitarists/vocalists Scott Boyer & Tommy Tarlton were joined by keyboardist Bill Pillmore, guitarist Pete Kowalke, bassist George Clark, and drummer Tom Wynn not only fit together well but allowed each other room to improvise in the southern rock traditions of the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker Band. Guests Chuck Leavell and Duane Allman also make significant contributions to the music.
The roots of Cowboy and their relationship with the Allman Brothers began in the 1960s when band member Scott Boyer played with Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, and Butch Trucks in a group called the 31st Of February. It was Duane Allman who was instrumental in Cowboy signing with the Capricorn label.
5’LL Getcha Ten was the band’s second album released in 1971 and represents the high point of their career. They had just come off the road after touring extensively with the Allman Brothers in support of their debut album, Reach For The Sky.
“Seven Four Time” finds the band in full southern rock mode. “Right On Friend” is a creative rock song due to the use of an electric sitar to carry the sound. In many ways they were a lyrical band and the poignant “All My Friends” and the anti-war cover, the only non-original composition, of John McKenze’s “The Wonder” show the importance of the message in their music.
Duane Allman provides electric guitar on “Lookin’ For You,” some flashy finger work on the title tune, and dobro on “Please Be With Me.” A faster version of “Please Be With Me” was included on 1972’s Duane Allman: An Anthology. The take included here has a much slower tempo. The song would also be covered by Eric Clapton on 461 Ocean Boulevard.
Cowboy sort of faded away as the 1970’s waned. Boyer and Talton have sporadically played together and the original members recently recorded together. What is left is a legacy of a very good southern rock band.
5’LL Getcha Ten may be a little understated in places but that is what sets them apart from many of their contemporaries. A must listen for anyone interested in the southern rock tradition or just good rock and roll.