Monday, August 9, 2010

Oldies Homework: The Everly Brothers

I feel bad for people who didn't grow up listening to oldies; there are at least a few hundred songs which I would consider as important for the development of the young soul as To Kill A Mockingbird or Macbeth. As the repositories of folk wisdom, the patchwork brilliance of the common parlance, and our very national character, oldies should be protected like our national parks.

The Everly Brothers are among rock's early titans, not perhaps worthy of Rock's Mt. Rushmore (which would, I suppose, have to include Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Little Richard's hair, Buddy Holly, and Elvis), but nevertheless they belong somewhere near the top. The Everlys did their most famous and best work between 1957 and 1960 for Cadence Records. They then signed with Warner Brothers, but record company politics and the British Invasion soon kept them off the charts in the US (they remained big in the UK), even though they recorded for the rest of the 60s. One of the outcomes of this move was that their Warners records are less well known now, as record labels don't like to cross-license hits. A shame, since they cut some excellent material there. Here's a few of my personal favorites.

From 1960, here's one of their very best songs, the rhythmically stuttering, immortal "Cathy's Clown":

From 1967, here's "Bowling Green", a tribute to their home state of Kentucky:

And from 1968, here's the haunting "I Wonder If I Care As Much", from their excellent concept album Roots:

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