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Archive for March 29th, 2013

Those Oldies But Goodies: Bear Family Offers Up Vintage Everly Brothers, Paul Anka

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Everly Brothers BalladsThough best known for its definitive box sets spanning careers or large swaths of them, Germany’s historically-minded Bear Family label also keeps busy with a steady flow of single-disc anthologies, all with the label’s hallmarks of quality.  Three such anthologies have recently arrived from Bear Family, two focusing on The Everly Brothers and one on Paul Anka.

Brothers Don and Phil Everly successfully straddled the line between country and rock-and-roll (with a healthy dollop of R&B in there) beginning with their first hit record, 1957’s “Bye Bye Love.”  Still an oldies-radio staple today, the Felice and Boudleaux Bryant classic began a long stretch of successes for the duo.  Archie Bleyer, of Cadence Records, signed the boys in February 1957 and was keenly aware of their potential to appeal to both teenaged and adult markets.  And so the Everlys were instructed to pair a rocking A-side with a romantic B-side on each single.  Bear Family has now tapped into both styles for their pair of releases, The Everly Brothers Rock and The Ballads of The Everly Brothers.

Bear Family’s long-running Rocks series has previously put the spotlights on rave-ups from artists both expected (Ronnie Hawkins, Wanda Jackson) and unexpected (Pat Boone, Marty Robbins) and everybody in between (Bobby Darin, Conway Twitty).   The Everlys’ volume chronologically includes 30 songs from “Bye Bye Love” on the Cadence label to “Dancing on My Feet,” recorded in 1962 but not issued until 1995 on Bear Family’s box set The Price of Fame 1960-1965.  (That box falls between Classic Everly Brothers and Chained to a Memory: 1966-1972.  Taken together, the three boxes tell the entire Everly story up to 1972.  A subsequent mini-box, The Outtakes, was released as a companion volume.)  The compilation includes beloved Cadence records like “Wake Up Little Susie” (1957), “Bird Dog” (1958), “Till I Kissed You” (1959) and “When Will I Be Loved” (1960) along with tracks from the duo’s subsequent Warner Bros. stint such as “Cathy’s Clown” and “Temptation” (both 1960).  Among the most interesting tracks are a trio from lyricist Gerry Goffin – two co-written with Carole King and one with Jack Keller.  This collection truly takes Don and Phil from Nashville to Hollywood.

Everly Brothers RockThe Ballads of the Everly Brothers is comparable in scope, also including 30 tracks from the same 1957-1962 time period.  Previous Ballads volumes have focused on Johnny Horton, Johnny Burnette, Wanda Jackson and Gene Vincent, among others.  The Everlys’ entry begins with the flipside of “Wake Up Little Susie,” the Don and Phil co-write “Maybe Tomorrow,” and ends with Goffin and Keller’s “No One Can Make My Sunshine Smile,” also first issued on the Price of Fame box and featuring Wrecking Crew personnel including Ray Pohlman and Billy Strange.  The Keller/Goffin team also supplied the Everlys with “Don’t Ask Me to Be Friends,” while Carole King teamed with Howard Greenfield for the hit “Crying in the Rain.”  Both songs are included here.  There are also a number of Broadway and Hollywood songs that might strike casual fans as atypical: Cole Porter’s “True Love” from High Society, Bob Merrill’s “Love Makes the World Go Round” from Carnival, and Jule Styne and Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s “The Party’s Over” from Bells Are Ringing.  Ironically, Ballads also includes “Hi Lili, Hi Lo” from Lili, the screen version of the same story depicted in Broadway’s Carnival.  The versatile Brothers even stretched back to the thirties for Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields’ “Don’t Blame Me” and Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “When I Grow Too Old to Dream.”

Even when their personal lives were far from harmonious, The Everly Brothers sure sounded heavenly.  Both volumes, produced and annotated by Andrew Sandoval, are available now, and both feature 34-page booklets with complete discographies/sessionographies for the disc’s songs.  You’ll find the full track listing and order links after the jump, along with the scoop on Paul Anka’s Dianacally Yours! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 29, 2013 at 10:08