Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Everly Brothers Sing, Reviews

The Everly Brothers appearing on "Music Scene" in November, 1969

Many music fans know the Everly Brothers for their early hits like "Bye, Bye Love" and "Wake Up Little Suzy," and perhaps "Cathy's Clown," a mega hit that put their second record label, the newly minted Warner Bros. Records, on the map.  The Everly Brothers went on to record albums [together and separately] throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, and the quality of their later albums never waned.  Although not as accepted by the American public, nor music critics -- who wanted Don and Phil to remain the same 50s duo -- their later releases were every bit as good as their early hits.  Here are my reviews for two of their later albums: 

The Everly Brothers were often accused of trying to sound hip when they performed or created music in the late 1960s - early 1970s, and why should that be?  Some listeners forget just how young the brothers were when they first hit the charts in 1957.  Phil was 18, and Don had just turned 20.  They were still young men in the late 60s and early 70s.  Why wouldn't their music (and hair) reflect the contemporary times they were living in?  Many of the 1960s musicians who followed and were influenced by the Everly Brothers were in the same age bracket as their idols.  Note that Don was born in 1937, Phil in 1939, Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones in 1936, John Lennon of the Beatles in 1940, and Eric Burdon of the Animals in 1941.

So why listen to this neglected and their later albums?  My answer is for the voices ... and to hear recording artists, who, indeed, changed the times, but also allowed themselves to be changed by the times.  On this album the hit, "Bowling Green," Don's solo, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," and the reissued "It's All Over" -- with Phil singing the solo lines -- are all brilliant songs.  Both Don and Phil are spectacular lead ... and harmony singers.  A listener will never find better voices.

Some Hearts:  (The last studio album)
It would surprise no one that I have all three of the Everly Brothers' Mercury studio albums. I like this last album just as much as the first two (produced by Dave Edmunds). "Some Hearts," produced by Don and Phil, themselves, features what they do best - love songs, and they sing them ... well ... from the heart. Once again their songs capture interesting observations about falling in and out of love. Like their first two 80s albums, this last one brings the Everlys' sound up-to-date while keeping the emphasis on their crisp, stirring voices. Standouts, for me, include the ballad: "Be My Love Again" and the stompers: "Ride the Wind" and "Angel of the Darkness."  There is always a little bit of country and a lot of rock and roll in the Everly sound.  And what is true of their music overall also holds for this, their last studio album, namely, you'll never grow tired of listening to it. {Also pick up Roots, which Rolling Stone calls "one of the finest early country-rock albums."}

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  1. Thank you for this lovely piece on my very favorites, the Everly Brothers. They deserve every accolade that has ever, or will ever, come their way. It is so great to see their talents recognized!!!

  2. Loretta,
    This one was easy to write.

  3. Debbie,
    We have GOOD taste in music!!

  4. I was mistaken about Phil singing the solo in "It's All Over."

    Caroline Diamond wrote the following in an emal and for the sake of accurancy I want to cute and paste what she said:

    "Don wrote this beautiful song and sings lead melody in a high pitch. Phil sings the lower voice harmony. Unusual for Phil to sing the lower tone, but it was still harmony. And it is Don who sings the solo part, again in a higher than usual tone.

    How do I know this you ask? Phil Everly told me himself.

    The song was out when I was 16 and had the honor (through a friend that played drums in the backup band) to spend about 15 minutes with the boys in their dressing room between sets. I asked Phil about his first time solo in "It's All Over" and he explained to me what I'm explaining to you here."

    So interesting!

  5. I found the most incredible song "Why Worry Now" Everly Brothers with Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler also Michael McDonald (was in the Doobie Brothers- not sure??) OMG! Mark Knopfler wrote it!