Sunday, 22 May 2016

"The Everly Brothers" by THE EVERLY BROTHERS (2006 Ace Records 'Hip Pocket' 5" Card CD Repro and Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...They’re Off And Rolling..."

God Bless their little Steele Road cotton socks - but Ace Records of the UK probably thought the 'Hip Pocket' Series of card facsimiles/CD reissues was a good idea. But in truth - some of them have ended up looking every so slightly naff and inconsequential when that was clearly never the intention (this issue is a case in point). Not that the January 1958 Cadence Records Mono LP debut of The Everly Brothers is a dismissible platter - nothing could be further from the truth. In fact re-listening to its sub 28-minutes in 2016 (with just shy of 60 years distance) and its genuine brilliance and classiness is all the more remarkable. The Ev's first album is one of Rock's great debuts and a starter point for both harmony Rock 'n' Roll and (what we now call) Country Rock. Shame the card sleeve of it just ends up looking ordinary when you would have wanted more for this most brilliant of beginnings. That said let's get to the factoids and music...

UK and Europe released September 2006 - "The Everly Brothers" by THE EVERLY BROTHERS on Ace Records CDCHM 1127 (Barcode 029667021425) is part of Ace Records 'Hip Pocket Series' of CD Reissues (see list below) and plays outs as follows (27:03 minutes)

1. This Little Girl Of Mine
2. Maybe Tomorrow
3. Bye-Bye Love
4. Brand New Heartache
5. Keep A Knockin'
6. Be Bop A-Lula
7. Rip It Up [Side 2]
8. I Wonder If I Care
9. Wake Up Little Susie
10. Leave My Woman Alone
11. Should We Tell Him
12. Hey Doll Baby
Tracks 1 to 12 are their debut album "The Everly Brothers" (aka "They're Off And Rolling...") - released January 1958 in the USA on Cadence CLP-3003 and March 1958 in the UK on London HA-A 2081 (Mono only). It peaked at No. 16 in the US LP charts.

The 5" card sleeve repros the original American Cadence Records LP with some basic (boxed) reissue notes on the rear sleeve. Although it doesn’t say who did the mastering (probably Nick Robbins or Duncan Cowell) – Ace always use real tapes and the Audio here is fabulous – full of that Fifties atmosphere – the instruments and production kept so sweet. The CD label mimics the maroon colour of the rare original American LP – but there is no inner-sleeve or any assessment of the album - and it makes the reissue feel unnecessarily bare. It's also mid-price so available for less than six quid in most places. 

The whole 'Hip Pocket' series is designed to ape those 4" multi-track mini records (played at 33 1/3) put out in the USA between 1967 and 1969 as a way for fans to get the music in a 'handy and portable' way (they issued about 60 titles). As you can see from the list below – most of these albums are either obscurities - or overlooked classics Ace feel you should pay attention to. Genres stretch from 50ts Jazz (Chuck Higgins) to Blues Piano and Vocals (Roosevelt Sykes and Hadda Brooks) to 70ts Metal (Motorhead) to Punk (Radio Stars) and 60ts Garage & Psych (Sonics and Zombies) and beyond...

"The Everly Brothers" (sometimes called "They're Off And Rolling..." because of the liner notes on the front cover) is essentially a compilation of their first three US 7" singles (both sides) – two of which sold millions of copies - with six other tracks added on. The self-titled debut LP for Kentucky's DON and PHIL EVERLY may be short on playing time but is chock-full of hits and quality songs. "Bye Bye Love" b/w "I Wonder If I Care As Much" made No. 2 in the USA and No. 6 in the UK on Cadence 1315 and London HLA 8440 respectively - while the irresistible "Wake Up Little Susie" b/w "Maybe Tomorrow" went one better and hit No. 1 in the USA on Cadence 1337 (No. 2 UK on London HLA 8498). The third 78"/45 "This Little Girl Of Mine" b/w "Should We Tell Him" stalled at No. 26 in the USA (Cadence 1342) but didn't chart in the UK (London HLA 8554).

Of the other tracks "Rip It Up" and "Keep A Knockin'" are of course Little Richard covers while the UK's primo wildman Gene Vincent gets a look in with their Side 1 ender of the Screaming End's signature tune "Be Bop A-Lula". The two Ray Charles cuts "This Little Girl Of Mine" and "Should We Tell Him" suited their stunning Brotherly Harmonies so well as did the Titus Turner cover of "Hey Doll Baby" that ends Side 2. But impressively the album is dominated by the songwriting talents of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant – a husband-and-wife songwriting duo from Georgia who would become synonymous with both The Everly Brothers and that other great era crooner - Roy Orbison. They penned "Bye Bye Love", "Brand New Heartache" (beautiful Audio on this track) and "Wake Up Little Susie". Not to be outdone the boys penned "I Wonder If I Care As Much" and "Should We Tell Him" in very much the same vein - boppy catchy hits.

If you want to go the whole hog I'd recommend the truly gorgeous "Classic Everly Brothers" - a 3CD Box Set by Bear Family from 1992 and their stunning "Studio Outtakes" single-disc mini box set from February 2006 that offers fans 34 previously unreleased outakes complete with studio patter and Audio that defies its age.

Simon & Garfunkel covered "Bye Bye Love" on their "Bridge Over Troubled Water" 1970 LP masterpiece - singing "...I'm through with romance...I'm through with love..." Sixty years on and we're still not through with this fantastic start and the incomparable Everly Brothers...

Titles in Ace Records Mid-Price 'Hip Pocket' CD Series are:

1. DONALD AUSTIN – Crazy Legs (Ace/Westbound CDHP 016, Dec 2006)
2. THE BISHOPS – Cross Cuts (Ace/Chiswick CDWIKM 256, June 2005)
3. HADDA BROOKS – Femme Fatale (Ace CDCHM 1129, Nov 2006)
4. THE CHAMPS – Go, Champs, Go! (Ace CDCHM 1126, Sep 2006)
5. THE DAMNED – Machine Gun Etiquette (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 027, July 2007)
6. THE ESCALATORS [ex Meteors] – Moving Staircases (Ace CDHP 017, Dec 2006)
7. THE EVERLY BROTHERS – The Everly Brothers (Ace CDCHM 1127, Sep 2006)
8. FUNKADELIC – Maggot Brain (Ace/Westbound CDHP 030, Aug 2007)
9. CHUCK HIGGINS – Pachucko Hop (Ace CDHP 024, April 2007)
10. B. B. KING – The Jungle (Ace/Kent CDHP 031, Nov 2007)
11. JOHNNY MOPED – Cycledelic (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 029, Oct 2007)
12. JACKIE LEE – The Duck (Ace/Kent CDHP 032, Dec 2010)
13. LONNIE MACK – The Wham Of That Memphis Man! (Ace CDCHM 1134, Nov 2006)
14. MOTORHEAD – Motorhead [1977 Debut LP] (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 021, Oct 2007)
15. THE OLYMPICS – Something Old, Something New (Ace/Kent CDHP 018, Dec 2006)
16. THE RADIO STARS – Songs For Swinging Lovers (Ace/Chiswick CDWIKM 5, June 2006)
17. THE SONICS – Here Are The Sonics! (Ace/Big Beat CDHP 022, Feb 2007)
18. THE SONICS – The Sonics Boom (Ace/Big Beat CDHP 023, April 2007)
19. ROOSEVELT SYKES [aka 'The Honeydripper'] – Sings The Blues (Ace CDCHM 1132, Nov 2006)
20. VARIOUS – For Dancers Only [Kent's 1st Reissue LP compilation] (Ace/Kent CDHP 019, Feb 2007)
21. VARIOUS – For Dancers Also [Kent's 2nd Reissue LP compilation] (Ace/Kent CDHP 020, April 2007)
22. VARIOUS – Hollywood Rock 'n' Roll [80ts Rockabilly compilation] (Ace CDHP 026, July 2007)
23. VARIOUS – Fool's Gold [70ts Punk compilation] (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 028, August 2007)
24. LINK WRAY – Early Recordings (Ace/Chiswick CDCHM 6, June 2006
25. THE ZOMBIES – Odyssey And Oracle (Ace/Big Beat CDHP 025, June 2007)

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