Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Mehverley Brothers
There are a handful of artists who possess a quality so special that it often transcends all else. Emmylou Harris and Richard Thompson immediately come to mind. Neither has made a bad record. That's not to say every release was a winner. But it's hard to find a true loser among their catalogue. Even the weakest releases will have Emmylou's voice and Richard Thompson's storytelling and guitar playing. Just sit, listen and wait for it and those qualities will show up strong as ever.
This is also how I feel about the Everly Brothers.
The sound of Phil and Don singing together is pure. It is a sound that comes from the blood. Like the Louvin Brothers before them, the Everlys voices become one, and the sound of those voices is what makes great records like "Songs Our Daddy Taught Us" greater and lazy cover records like the brothers 1965 releases "Rock'n Soul" and "Beat & Soul" more than listenable.
There have been many positive reviews, as well as some good word of mouth from friends about the new Norah Jones & Billie Joe Armstrong record "Foreverly," a recreation of the Everly Brothers second LP, "Songs Our Daddy Taught Us," released yesterday. Many of the reviews and comments all shared the same sentiment, something along the lines of "pleasantly surprised." I imagine that feeling comes from "Foreverly" not sounding like Green Day, though that may have made for a more exciting release.
There's nothing particularly wrong with "Foreverly." As a matter of fact, there is plenty to like. For instance, it's nice to know that two major artists with completely different but uber-successful careers can just come together and release something without fanfare. And, it's more than listenable. But my issue with "Foreverly" is, why listen more than once?
I am a fan of both Norah Jones and Green Day, though I don't love either and I don't necessarily play either's records very much. Their voices together, though pleasant enough, do not have that quality. "Foreverly" comes and goes, unlike the original "Songs Our Daddy Taught Us" which has a certain power thanks to the history of the songs and the voices of the singers singing those songs. I just don't see the point in bothering with "Foreverly" more than a first pass curiousity anymore than I see the point of listening to the Broadway cast of "Beatlemania" instead of "Rubber Soul."