Thursday, 14 July 2011

"Studio Outtakes" by THE EVERLY BROTHERS. A Review Of The 2006 Bear Family CD Reissue.

"…All These Many Years…Kept It Locked Inside…"

Bear Family of West Germany have serviced Everly Brothers fans across two decades with three extensive and sumptuous CD Box Sets – "Classic" was the first in 1991 and it covered their Fifties Cadence Label period (3CDs), "The Price Of Fame 1960-1965" came in January 2006 and covered the first part of the Warner Brothers years (7CDs) - while "Chained To A Memory 1966-1972" came in June 2006 and covered the remaining WB period (8CDs+1DVD). Huge hauls for two artists who thoroughly deserved every bit of it - but this 1CD mini box set seems to have gone unnoticed – and unfairly so...

"Studio Outtakes" was released February 2006 on Bear Family BCD 15931 AR and breaks down as follows (79:42 minutes):

Tracks:
1. Bye Bye Love (Take 1)
2. I Wonder If I Care As Much (Take 3)
3. Wake Up, Little Susie (Take 1)
4. Hey, Doll Baby (Take 4)
5. Brand New Heartache (Take 2)
6. Keep-A-Knockin’ (Take 5)
7. Love Of My Life (Take 1)
8. Leave My Woman Alone (Take 1)
9. Rip It Up (Take 4)
10. Maybe Tomorrow (Take 3)
11. Claudette (Take 1)
12. Poor Jenny [One O’clock Version] (Take 7)
13. Problems (Alternate Take)
14. All I Have To Do Is Dream (Take 5)
15. Take A Message To Mary (Take 7)
16. Bird Dog (Take 1)
17. Oh, What A Feeling (Take 4)
18. (‘Til) I Kissed You (Take 3)
19. Poor Jenny [Ten O’clock Version] (Take 3)
20. This Little Girl Of Mine (Take 2)
21. Be Bop A Lula (Long False Start) (Take 4)
22. Claudette (Take 7)
23. Wake Up, Little Susie (Take 6)
24. Hey, Doll Baby (Take 1)
25. All I Have To Do Is Dream (Take 1)
26. Poor Jenny [One O’clock Version] (Take 5)
27. That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine (Take 2)
28. Down In The Willow Garden (Take 3)
29. Long Time Gone (Take 3)
30. Oh, So Many Years (Take 4)
31. Rockin’ Alone (In An Old Rocking Chair) (Take 12)
32. Kentucky (Take 7)
33. Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet (Take 15)
34. I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail (Take 2)

It’s packaged in a 5” mini card box, which apes the 'Scotch Tape' boxes of old used as Master Tapes in the Fifties. Inside is a single card sleeve which repros the reel-to-reel tape box (inside is a similarly themed CD). A nice touch is the reproduction of original adverts on all parts of the inner box that inform us of the SCOTCH 'magnetic tape' and its 'frequency response'. As well as the great music is the other big prize in a Bear Family release - a fat and beautifully laid out 64-page booklet with fabulously detailed notes by ANDREW SANDOVAL (see the 6 Kinks ‘Deluxe Editions’ issued in 2011 for more of his work). His track-by-track analysis goes from Page 3 to Page 39 while 40 to 57 is a discography referencing all 34 outtakes. It shows that Tracks 1-8, 11, 13-14, 16, 20-25 and 27-34 are ‘Previously Unreleased’ and ‘not’ on the "Classic" 3CD box set from 1991.

Sound - I’ve raved about JURGEN CRASSER and his remasters before - and these are no exception – beautifully rendered sound – clear, warm and detailed – but never without being overbearing. Highlights include the extraordinary harmonies on Take 3 of "Maybe Tomorrow" while Take 1 of their most famous song "All I Have To Do Is Dream" is like eavesdropping on the making of musical history; even at this early stage, their first take is so ridiculously accomplished.
The different versions of classics like "Wake Up Little Susie" and "Bye Bye Love" are nice if not a little 'too' familiar. But for me it’s the lesser-heard tracks that really shine – "Long Time Gone" and "Oh, So Many Years" (lyrics above) are just lovely – and it’s a proper treat to hear these gems (locked away in a box somewhere for over 50 years) in such beautiful clarity today – saved for posterity by a reissue label that genuinely gives a damn.

Bear Family have done Janis Martin (1 CD), Johnny Cash (3 CDs), Billy Riley (2 CDs), Johnny Tilllotson (2 CDs) and Gene Vincent (6 CDs) in the “Outtakes” series – but with the multiple disc sets in particular, the repetition can become a listening chore instead of joy. This one disc set isn’t like that.

A fabulous reissue - and once again, the mighty Bear Family delivers the goodies.

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