Richie Parsons and The Psycho Sisters

Richie Parsons “Honey and Tears”

Veteran musician Richie Parsons has been a part of the Boston area music scene for years, and now he’s finally put together a debut album produced by Ken Stringfellow (Posies). The clear, rich melody of “When Fall Begins,” reminds me at times of the last Sunrise Highway album. “LOve Letter” is another gem with fantastic layered jangle. Next comes the “wall of sound” Phil Spector approach on the echoing ballad “Evelyn.” The instrumentation here is excellent, and you’ll hear influences of The Beach Boys, and even modern country music with the strong twangs of “Summer.”

Richie’s style also reminds me of Roy Orbison in spots, especially on a cover of Glen Campbell’s “Hey Little One” with his wailing vocal treatment. “Mix Tape” is a pure power pop delight, and after a few listens it really sticks in your head. Lots of highlights here and overall Highly Recommended.

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The Psycho Sisters “Up On The Chair Beatrice”

Despite the horror-themed name, The Psycho Sisters are not “psycho,” nor are they sisters. They’re sisters-in-law, Susan Cowsill (The Cowsills) and Vicki Peterson (The Bangles). And both have been in family-based bands since childhood. Once Vicki married John Cowsill, the two became related and it took a long time, but the duo finally recorded an album together.

Starting out with the sweet harmonies of “Heather Says” its a story of an evil 4th grade girl who makes life difficult. “Never Never Boys” (co-written by Peterson and Bob Cowsill)  is a great country pop single that’s full of hope and catchy hooks. The rock guitar and fiddle makes “Numb” a unique approach to a rocker that brings to mind the Wilson sisters band Heart. “Fun To Lie” is a jangling gem that recalls The Bangles and “What Do You Want From Me” is a strong response to an ex-boyfriend who doesn’t know when to quit. A poignant coda here is “Cuddly Toy,” written by Harry Nillson that was a big hit for the Monkees. It was done to honor the passing of Susan’s reported favorite Monkee, lead singer Davey Jones. Highly Recommended.