The Continental Drifters emerged from the fertile L.A. pop scene of the 1980s and ‘90s, an ad hoc band of musicians mostly moonlighting from their “day bands,” to collaborate in a free-form environment at Raji’s nightclub in Hollywood.
The band that came to include Peter Holsapple (of the dB’s), Vicki Peterson (the Bangles), Susan Cowsill (the Cowsills), Mark Walton (Giant Sand and the Dream Syndicate) as well as singer-songwriters Carlo Nuccio, Gary Eaton and Ray Ganucheau will now get another moment in the spotlight with the July 17 release of a new two-CD retrospective set “Drifted: In the Beginning & Beyond” from Omnivore Recordings.
The Times is premiering one of the 33 tracks on the new set, “The Mississippi,” an allegory written by Ganucheau and Nuccio and originally released in 1992 about exploring backwater vistas that lopes along on a ragged, rolling groove.
Viewed by some as an L.A. counterpart to the freewheeling early-‘70s Southern rock collective Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, the Continental Drifters combined sharp songwriting with skillfully executed instrumental interplay.
“I believe that this was a band who were the very illustration of a shattering live experience, the embodiment of a force majeure, a family-style drinking society of impavid proportions, and purveyors of some of sweetest harmony songs of its decade,” Holsapple said in a statement.
“I love that we are an old enough band that people consider things we’ve done in the even further past as some kind of importance," Cowsill noted. “How cool is it to be 2015 and have a Continental Drifters release? I've often thought that our band is, was and always will be timeless.”
The Drifters moved from L.A. to New Orleans and continued to play there for a decade until the city was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, which scattered the band members.
The Omnivore set combines many of the group’s earliest recordings with rare cuts and live performances, many of them previously unreleased or released only outside the U.S.
“Playing in the Continental Drifters rescued my musical soul,” said Peterson, who, along with Cowsill, joined up with the band shortly after it formed. “This collection captures the early moments when I first fell in mad love with the band.”