Gary Pig Gold – The Night Don and Phil Walked Right Back

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It’s already been a shade over two years since Phil Everly left us; meanwhile, big brother Don just hit 79 on February One. Yet, all numbers aside, not even the most peripheral rock ‘n’ roller should need any explanation whatsoever how those two Kentuckians placed an indelible stamp upon, most obviously, nearly every Lennon and McCartney vocal duet from “Love Me Do” onward – not to mention those most blatant protégés by the names of Simon and Garfunkel.

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The Everlys and The Beatles

Meanwhile, there are albums such as Songs Our Daddy Taught Us (1959) and the ever-amazing Roots (from ’68) which created the undeniable, if criminally under-acknowledged template for the Folk- and/or Country-rock of any Dylan, Byrds, or even Rank and File track you’d care to name-check. “We owe those guys everything,” the man I like to call Bob is on record as admitting. “They started it all.”

Roots

Plus need I even mention a staggering string of globe- and genre-spanning hit singles of the two-minute, 7-inch variety which continue to reverberate within the DNA of popular music creators and listeners to this very day?

Everly Hits

Absolutely not. But what I feel I do need to state here and now, however, is the incredibly long-awaited DVD release of The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert: Live At The Royal Albert Hall, now here for all to watch, weep, and learn from.

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Ending their first run beneath the spotlight with a literally explosive on-stage break-up in 1973 – culminating with Don’s caustic statement “The Everly Brothers died ten years ago” – the pair saw and spoke with one another only once (at their father’s funeral) during the ensuing downcast decade. Not surprisingly though, I suspect, as one can imagine little constructive musical place for the duo throughout an era book-ended by “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Billie Jean.”    

But in finally burying various personal and musical hatchets (“We settled it in a family kind of way,” Phil Everly told the Associated Press. “A big hug did it. I guess fate just turned”), the brothers returned to the country which always seemed to not only love, but understand them most with a 1983 performance in London. There, somehow, it took only twenty-five songs in less than an hour and a half to forever erase the years of bickering, brawling, bitterness and deeply-seeded sibling rivalry.

PlayTheEverlyWayThe Everly Brothers Reunion Concert presents it all. Every roll of the toms, every rural-baked guitar lick (courtesy of the stupendous Albert Lee), every thrash of Don’s signature acoustic and, of course, every note-and-inflection-perfect vocal duet still dripping pathos one bar, then grating passion the next. As only these two Everlys honestly ever could.

Rounding out this superb package is the (unfortunately truncated, however) 1984 documentary Rock ‘n’ Roll Odyssey, which chronicles not only the songs and successes, but strains and struggles behind this most often completely misrepresented act. And it is most apt, perhaps, that nearly every frame of contemporary footage shot for this film finds Don and Phil being chased with persistent rainfall, be they driving through their childhood hills of bluegrass or arriving in England to sound-check, face the press, and reconnect with their most ever-loyal fan base. “If I wait for cloudy skies, you won’t know the rain from the tears in my eyes” after all, as their own song still goes.

Of course the Everlys followed their Royal Albert triumph with one P. McCartney-penned hit (the soaring “On The Wings Of A Nightingale”) and landmark album (1986’s Born Yesterday) which returned the duo to a much-deserved critical, if sorrowfully not commercial level unsurpassed since their late Fifties/early Sixties achievements.

In fact an older, wiser, and most definitely still vital Don and Phil continued to harmonize on stage clear into Century 21, though all attempts to get the brothers recording again (save for a lone track climaxing their 4-CD 1994 career retrospective Heartaches & Harmonies plus a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down The Wind four years later) failed. But then, as no less an authority on the subject as Don Everly himself stated in his own inimitable manner, “I don’t know whether there’s a place for us. Country music’s turned into a kind of a video soap opera – a contest of cute butts and pretty faces”.

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“I was raised in front of a microphone, and on the other side of the microphone was an audience. So it got instilled in me from the beginning:  You go out there and do your best, and if they appreciate it, that’s the reward.”

Your reward? Reveling anew in Don and Phil’s Reunion Concert, and with it the fantastic flood of heartaches and harmonies those Everlys forever bring your way.

=GPG=

Gary appears here whenever he wants

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com.

DBAWIS_ButtonGary Pig Gold may have grown up in Port Credit, run away to Hamilton to join his first rock ‘n’ roll group, hung out with Joe Strummer on his first-ever night in the UK, returned to T.O. to publish Canada’s first-ever rock ‘n’ roll (fan)zine, run away again gary pig gpld facong leftto Surf City to (almost) tour Australia with Jan & Dean, come home again to tour O Canada with that country’s first-ever (authorized!) Beach Boys tribute band …but STILL, he had to travel all the way back to the USSR to secure his first-ever recording contract www.GaryPigGold.com

5 Responses to “Gary Pig Gold – The Night Don and Phil Walked Right Back”

  1. i was fortunate to see them on their final tour. they opened w Green River! wow! and played lots of that kinda stuff, along w the required hits. Roots is wonderful. as for the reunion alb i prefer the live 73 Everly Brothers Show, a kickin two-rekkid set! their drummer sounds like dave grohl! and Don did some nice solo albs i the 70s!

  2. Edward C Segarini Says:

    Great writing cous !

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Allen G. Kracalik Says:

    “The long awaited DVD release?” I’ve had an Image Entertainment DVD of this concert on the shelf for close to 15 years! Does this new release include something missing from the 2002 Image version other than extras?

  4. I saw The Everly Brothers with Simon & Garfunkel at The Staple Center. I say “with” them because S&G had the class (and enough respect for The Everly’s) to open the show, and then bring The Everly’s out as guests, rather than to have their main influences open for them. They also sang together which was fantastic.

    The Staple Center isn’t the best place to see an acoustic act, but even from way in the back it was a night to remember!

  5. […] I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party  Both Everlys notwithstanding, The Beatles hear-by invent Alt. Country and, coupled with its original A-side […]

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