Saturday, November 04, 2017

Songs My Mother Bought Me & "Songs Our Daddy Taught Us" - The Everly Brothers (1958)

I was I think about 12 years old. That Christmas my mother bought me a cassette tape of a greatest hits compilation by the Everly Brothers. I wish the cover had been more cool and retro, but it was a late 70s or early 80s re-issue. Ah well. But the music, the songs, the harmonies. Their music was, and still is, a masterclass.

So I was amazed to only recently discover that Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Norah Jones teamed up to record a new version of the Everly Brothers’ second album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, from 1958. It’s a really important album as it connected the brothers back to their father’s childhood - songs like Down In The Willow Garden (which the superb  BBC tv series 'Wayfaring Stranger’ from earlier this year traced back to Coleraine, and Barbara Allen (a song so old it can be found among old song manuscripts from the Scottish Borders and parts of England), Bailes Brothers songs, songs recorded by Bill Monroe and Bradley Kincaid…  it’s wonderful. It was a shocking move in its day, a bold move for the record company, for a couple of fresh-faced chart-topping pop sensations to record oldies and dark murder ballads. 

The Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones update, entitled Foreverly, is very good. Stick it on your Christmas list. Rockin Alone in an old Rockin Chair would bring tears from a stone - for me it brings back vivid memories of a mother who loved music and who once upon a time bought me an Everly Brothers’ compilation album for Christmas.

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Everly brothers