Cowman Milk Your Cow

No. 23 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72

By Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Lead Vocal: Adam Faith
Single A-side 1967

“That could be a million years and that’s a long, long time”

This was given to pin-up Adam Faith in an attempt to resurrect a chart career which was all but over by the mid-late 60s.  With its pulsing bass, treble lead guitar and obscure lyrics, Cowman Milk Your Cow marked a dramatic change of style from Faith’s previous pizzicato stringed boy-meets-girl confections.  My understanding is that the Bee Gees made their own recording but, to my knowledge, no tapes have yet emerged.

I came across the song as the opening cut on a compilation of Gibb covers spanning 1966-92 – The Bee Gees Songbook: the Gibb Brothers by others [Connoisseur, 1993, VSOP CD 184]. Nothing else on the album is anything like it (though I can hear some stylistic similarity between Faith’s ‘Cowman’ and the brothers’ own Lemons Never ForgetMaybe this gives an idea of what a Bee Gees version of ‘Cowman’ might sound like).

With more conventional lyrics, ‘Cowman’ would be a thoroughly enjoyable pop song.   Bass and overlaid guitar sound great together.  But the lyrics on offer here skirt around life, death, future and fate with a whimsical persistence.

From its opening of chiming guitars to the closing ‘chant to fade’, ‘Cowman Milk Your Cow’ is prime 1967 pop-psych.   Adam Faith delivers the whole thing with a mandatory air of profundity.  The single did nothing.  Budgie was still four years away.

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