Before Ray & Dave, Noel & Liam, There Was Don & Phil...
The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert: Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Eagle Vision, 120 minutes, $11.98.
Long before the professional pairings of the Robinsons, Gallaghers, Davies or even the Righteous, (and just after the Burnettes), there was the early rock and roll fraternal act of the Everly Brothers.
In the late '50s and early '60s, the duo with the unmistakable close harmonies and acoustic strumming racked up a string of massive hits including "Cathy's Clown," "Bird Dog," "Wake Up Little Susie," "Bye Bye Love," "When Will I Be Loved," and "All I Have to Do is Dream."
But by 1973, personal and professional divisions split the boys from Kentucky, with Phil famously walking offstage in the middle of a show, leaving a dead-drunk Don to finish alone. Fast-forward a decade after they patched things up and the nattily dressed Everlys played this, their first show together, before a rapturous crowd including Tom Petty, who flew over from the States just for the show.
And with emotions and expectations clearly running high, the brothers delivered the goods - incredibly - in this 22-song set, with crystal-clear voices so in sync it's almost eerie.
Singing into their two-headed mike stand with joy, intensity and wistfulness all rolled together, here the Everlys are clearly no oldies act looking for another lap around the track of success. A crack backing combo, including guitarist Albert Lee, complements the whole evening with expert picking and thumping.
By the time they've run through the hits, covers, obscurities and a mini-set of folk ballads taught to the brothers by their guitarist father Ike, the show comes to a close with near-spiritual "Let It Me Be." And though the lyrics speak of romance, the way Don and Phil look into each other's eyes speaks more of bromance, on a level that only they could understand.
Included as a bonus feature is the documentary "Rock 'n' Roll Odyssey." Shot around the time of the reunion show, it features the Everlys telling their history with vintage clips, rehearsal shots, and the talking heads of admirers like Petty, Linda Ronstadt and Brian Setzer, the last looking impossibly young.
If you've ever found yourself letting out a yowl upon hearing Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London," you have to give thanks to...Phil Everly! At one time, Zevon was a pianist/bandleader for the Brothers; he played on that 1973 final gig.
Later, film fan Everly was telling Zevon about an old English horror film called Werewolf of London, adding that he should write a song with the same title and start a dance craze. Zevon, bassist Waddy Wachtel and guitarist Ray Marinell (who provided the song's signature lick) set to the task mostly as a lark, throwing out gruesome lyrics and laughing hysterically.
The effort provided Zevon with the biggest hit of his career.
Ed. Note: Just because Bob mentioned Warren Zevon, we'd like to put in our own gratuitous plug for "Lawyers, Guns & Money"... yes, the Hank Jr. version. Never a bad idea.