OFFICIAL (P)REVIEWS 2005
NOVEMBER 28 (BRISTOL)
Their music comes
from the backwoods of America, from out of the Kentucky coalmines, from the days
when they joined their Ma and Pa for some strumming and harmonising on local
radio stations, until the time that fame and fortune came calling. There was a
truly magical moment when Don and Phil, in the midst of some reminiscing about
times long past, played a tape. It was an extract from a radio broadcast they'd
made with their father, Ike, and their mother on a local radio show in Iowa. The
date was 1951. They were in their early teens.
Their father introduced the boys to the listeners ... and as they began to play on air, after a few bars, Don and Phil joined in on stage. It sent a shiver down the spine and felt as if someone had transported you back through the years.
The Everlys' catalogue of songs is legion and they know how to serve them up. They know that any audience is secretly clamouring for them to run through their chart repertoire. And they do. In fact they squeezed in a vast number.
I confess I was wishing and hoping they would not omit my personal favourite. It's the gloomy air disaster song Ebony Eyes. They obliged, featuring it as part of what they dubbed their "Deadly Medley," sandwiching it between Devoted To You and the classic Love Hurts.
Fast or slow, the Everlys can still make their hits count and they delivered some rip-snorting country rock and blues, courtesy of some impeccable back-up from their band. And what a band! With Pete Wingfield on keyboards and Albert Lee on lead guitar, the sound was tight and gutsy, yet never over the top to the detriment of the duo.
Throughout the evening the Everly Brothers kept the hits coming thick and fast. I'll Do My Crying In the Rain, When Will I Be Loved? Bye Bye Love, Till I Kissed You, Lucille, Cathy's Clown, Wake Up Little Suzie, Claudette, So Sad, Dream, and, then, included in a delightful acoustic set were some of those evocative songs from long ago. If you believe the reports, this may well be the last major UK tour that the Everly Brothers embark on. Yet, if you were there in the Colston Hall, watching Don and Phil in action, you would find it very hard indeed to believe you were witnessing the end of an era.
NOVEMBER 24 (LONDON)
Evening Standard (by John Aizlewood)
London's public houses may have stayed open late last night, but closing time for Don and Phil Everly was a distinctly monkish 9.30pm. In fact, their whole evening was not an especially taxing one. Having started at 7.45, they took a lengthy interval and allowed their backing band a dreary interlude.
Still, the pair displayed remarkably full heads of hair for men of 68 (Don) and 66 (Phil) and they fulfilled Don's promise to play "a few old songs and a few older ones".
They rattled out most of their rock'n'roll-epoch-defining hits, from a turbo-charged Wake Up Little Susie - perhaps the most innocent song ever written - to the mournful splendours of Crying In The Rain and Bye Bye Love ("hello emptiness, I feel like I could die") and threw in obscurities such as the self-penned opener, Green River.
Looking like an Inspiral Carpet's eccentric uncle, Don did most of the talking, albeit in an unintelligible, hoarse rasp, but when he stepped up alongside the avuncular Phil, they sang almost every word of every song together in a mostly virtuoso display of close harmony singing.
They soared on the ballads - although shamefully, Love Hurts was tossed away in the evening's solitary medley - and thundered through the likes of the up-tempo Claudette and Cathy's Clown with the precision that only filial tightness can bring. Heaven knows what they must have been like in the Fifties.
Tonight they play the Royal Albert Hall. We can safely assume they will be rested after a long, long night's sleep.
NOVEMBER 18 (MANCHESTER)
Manchester Online (by Dianne Bourne)
“I’m still Phil, I’m still Don and we’re still the Everly Brothers.”
So comes the cry from the rock’n’roll guitar-playing greats as they preach to the converted at a packed Manchester Carling Apollo on Friday night.
It’s an unbelievable 50 years since the brothers recorded their first single back home in Tennessee.
But their blissful harmonies on their classic tunes like Cryin’ In The Rain, Wake Up Little Susie and Let It Be Me stand the test of time during their two-hour set.
Salfordian Graham Nash, of folk-rock supergroup Crosby Stills and Nash, joins the lads on stage for an enjoyable harmony of So Sad, while the show’s poignant highlight comes when the duo play a recording of an early performance on their parents’ radio show, and then launch into a live, pitch-perfect conclusion to the song – quite a feat to sound as good as an OAP as you do as a teen.
NOVEMBER 11 (BIRMINGHAM)
MUSIC legends Don and Phil Everly may now be based in Nashville, Tennessee, but the UK will always have a special place in their hearts.
"Britain has always been a favourite place to play, a real special spot on this earth for us," says Phil. "We get a really good reception in the UK. We've always enjoyed ourselves and I'm looking forward to the trip. It should be a lot of fun,"
Many of their classic songs, including All I Have To Do Is Dream and Cathy's Clown, will get an airing at the NIA Academy on Monday, Don promises. "We're planning to do more acoustic numbers this time but we'll be doing all the hits, for sure. I think that's what people want to hear. If I go to see Bo Diddley I expect to hear 'Bo Diddley' by Bo Diddley! And that's the way I am!"
"Plus we know all the lyrics to the hits," jokes Phil. "Don and I are funny about the way we put things together. As show time approaches we'll still be talking about what we're fixing to do." The upbringing that the brothers enjoyed in the States meant that they were always destined to become musicians. Music was everywhere at home and the boys performed for their family and on various radio performances that earned the family their money.
Phil remembers: "Our family moved all over the States due to the fact that we usually worked on early morning radio shows and in the summer they'd always lay us off because the farmers would be out planting crops!
"It was probably pretty good training for travelling on the road." Don adds: "We had in fact been appearing in public for many years before we ever cut a record. We were just pursuing the dream that we had always had. We wanted to be at the Grand Ole Opry and cut records. And that was it."
Bye Bye Love was the first of an incredible series of hits for the Everly Brothers who had signed a deal with Cadence Records. The second single that they put out, also written by the husband and wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, was Wake Up Little Suzie and it too sold a million copies.
Don comments that the family bond, though at times stretched during their personal history, works for them. "The job comes first, we've always felt that. The harmony singing works well because we fit together. Every where I go people say 'Where's Phil?'"
After years of success and sell out tours, the Everly Brothers are now regarded as pioneers of Rock and Roll and have received honours all over the world.
"It's hard to say I prefer this award over that one," admits Phil. "Being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a really important one. Being in the Country Music Hall Of Fame is also fantastic. We're also in the Songwriters Hall of Fame here in Nashville and I'm real proud of that. "If I were pressed that would probably be the recognition that I'm most proud of as that's really the foundation of our music."