Friday, June 13, 2014

Cowsills -- "Indian Lake" (1968)

Swim in the cove
Have a snack in the grove
Or you can rent a canoe

Napoleon once said that "There is no such thing as accident.  It is fate misnamed."  (Napoleon was a wise man.  Except when he invaded Russia in 1812.)

So was it fate that when I dropped by the Hertz desk at the Providence (RI) airport last month to pick up the car I would drive during my annual Memorial Day visit to Cape Cod, I was given a Chevrolet Sonic with a Sirius XM satellite radio?  (A Chevrolet Sonic is a dog of a car, and I have feeling I was given one as punishment for declining to pay $15 extra per day to be upgraded to a Volvo S60.)

Chevrolet Sonic
And was it fate when I stopped at a Cape Cod bike store to rent some wheels, and heard the song that I had been listening to on the '60s on 6 channel on my car radio playing on the store's satellite radio?

I idly mentioned that to the bike store proprietor, and promptly found myself listening to a monologue that touched on (among other things) his Vietnam War wounds, what the Newport Folk Festival was like in the early sixties, the Providence gangster's daughter he dated when they were teenagers, and his high school friendship with Billy Cowsill -- the oldest of the Cowsill siblings who formed a band in 1965 and went on to record three top ten singles.

And was it fate that when my bike ride was over and I was driving back, one of the songs I heard on my Chevrolet Sonic's satellite radio was "Indian Lake," one of the Cowsills' top ten hits?

Here's the proof for all you doubting Thomases out there:

How many Indian Lakes are there in the United States?  Go ahead -- take a guess.

According to the U. S. Geologic Survey's "Geographic Names Information System," there are exactly 99 Indian Lakes.

There are 27 states with at least one Indian Lake.  Alaska, California, Georgia, and Missouri are among the states with only one Indian Lake.  Arizona, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas each have two Indian Lakes.

For some reason, there are an inordinate number of Indian Lakes in the upper Midwest.  Wisconsin has nine, Minnesota has 12, and Michigan has a whopping 25.  (It would seem that Michiganders aren't the most imaginative folks around when it comes to naming the state's natural wonders.)

Not Indian Lake
There are about a thousand lakes and ponds on Cape Cod, but none of them are named Indian Lake.  

What's the difference between a lake and a pond?  There's no clear answer to that question.  

Some biologists consider a body of water to be a pond only if it is shallow enough for sunlight to penetrate to its bottom, which allows rooted plants to grow there.  But that definition is not universally accepted.

Most people think of lakes as being larger than ponds, but that's not always the case.  For example, two beautiful ponds that are right on the Cape Cod Rail Trail -- Seymour Pond and Long Pond -- cover 181 and 735 acres, respectively.

Not Indian Lake either
But Scargo Lake, which is only a few miles east of those two ponds, has an area of only 59 acres.  (Go figure.)

I'm not sure which Indian Lake the late Tony Romeo was thinking of when he wrote "Indian Lake" for the Cowsills in 1968.  He was born in Troy, New York, so maybe he thinking of one (or more) of the six Indian Lakes in New York state.

Romeo -- who also wrote "I Think I Love You" for the Partridge Family -- lived for a number of years in Dutchess County, New York, so perhaps he was thinking of the Indian Lake in Dutchess County.  (That lake is located smack dab on the New York-Connecticut state line, and part of it is located in Litchfield County, Connecticut -- which means that there are at most 98 Indian Lakes, because that U. S. Geologic Survey listing I mentioned above names that particular Indian Lake twice.)

The Cowsills with Ed Sullivan
I remember seeing the Cowsills on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967.  At that time, the group consisted of brothers Billy, Bob, Barry, and John Cowsill, their little sister Susan, and their mother Barbara.  (Billy, who was 19 at that time, was the oldest of the siblings.  Susan, who was only 8, was the youngest.)

My father said he thought it was nice that the mother and the little sister were in the group.  My retort was that the father probably said the only way he was buying the boys the drums, guitars, and amplifiers they needed was if they let their mom and their annoying little sister be in the band.

Here's "Indian Lake," which sold a million copies and reached #10 on the Billboard charts in 1968:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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