Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Everly Brothers - EB 84

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of EB 84, the first studio album from Don and Phil Everly after an eleven year hiatus. This 1984 release went to number 90 in Canada, number 38 on the US Billboard Album chart (with seventeen weeks total on the chart), number 36 in the UK and number 24 on the US Billboard Country chart.

Joining the Everlys on this record were Dave Edmunds (guitar), Jeff Lynne (bass), Paul McCartney (guitar), Pete Wingfield (keyboards) and more.

Side one opens with “On the Wings of a Nightingale”. Written by McCartney, this single went to number 78 in Australia, number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 49 on the US Billboard Country chart, number 41 in the UK, number 39 on the Canadian Country chart, number 10 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart, number 9 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and number 6 in South Africa. Given its origin and the Everlys’ singing, it very much has a 60’s vibe to it.

“Danger Danger” features a catchy blues-rock rhythm. The song is about a girl with an aura of trouble that is too irresistible. I think this might have made for a better lead single.

“The Story of Me”, written by Lynne, wafts along on a sleepy synth wave. This one reminds me a bit of Lynne’s collaboration with Roy Orbison on the latter singer’s final album Mystery Girl in 1989.

The tempo picks back up once more with the light-rocking “I’m Takin’ My Time”.

“The First in Line” closes the side on a gentle country note.

Side two begins with “Lay Lady Lay”, a cover of Bob Dylan’s 1969 hit. The Everlys give the song a bit of a different phrasing/pacing that allows them to brand their own sound to it.

“Following the Sun” is a calm response to a break-up, leading to a logical moving on. It is the first of three tracks on the record written by Don Everly.

Don serves up a reggae-influenced rhythm with “You Make It Seem So Easy”.

Wingfield co-wrote “More Than I Can Handle”, another song that has a throwback sound, this time from the early 1970’s.

“Asleep”, the closing track, was the B-side of the single and the last one written by Don. This lovely song is yet another example of the wonderful vocal harmonies these two brothers shared. At times, their two voices blend so perfectly that you might think they were just one.

Apparently EB 84 has been out of print for a while now (a version was released on CD in 1994). Given its rarity, it will surprise no one that this was first listen to any of these tracks. As a kid of the 60’s, I remember fondly hearing the Everly Brothers on radio and TV. This record shows that the guys still had it. Luckily, they did not attempt to try to sound “current”; they just did their thing the way that they knew how.

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