Phil Everly

TrackAlbum
Don'’t Say You Don’'t
Love Me No More
Every Which Way But Loose OST
God Bless Older LadiesStar Spangled Springer
Invisible ManThere'’s Nothing Too Good For My Baby
It’'s TrueThere’'s Nothing Too Good For My Baby
LouisePhil Everly
PatientlyMystic Line
She Means Nothing To MePhil Everly
Snowflake BombardierStar Spangled Springer
Sweet Southern LoveRare Solo Classics CD
The Air That I BreatheStar Spangled Springer

Contributor: Peter Viney

RIP, Phil Everly. Phil’s solo material is worth looking at in its own right. Star Spangled Springer was his 1973 solo album on RCA and it is hailed as a lost classic. Produced by Duane Eddy, arrangements by Warren Zevon who also played keyboards and guitar, James Burton and Duane Eddy on guitars, Buddy Emmons on steel guitar, the great Earl Palmer on drums.

The Air That I Breathe had been written by Mike Hazlewood and Albert Hammond in 1971 and sunk without trace. Phil revived it, and The Hollies learned it from Phil’s version, which was issued as a single.

God Bless Older Ladies (For They Made Rock ‘n’ Roll) was the B-side of the single. He composed it with Terry Slater, and which became a classic. Slater co-wrote seven tracks on the album.

Sweet Grass Country is about Sweetgrass County Montana and sounds most like the later Everly Brothers in style.

Snowflake Bombardier is a change in style and pace for Phil. He may want to be a snowflake bombardier whatever that is, but it’s a narrative song. Another on the album with ‘interesting’ lyrics is Poisonberry Pie

Phil made the next two albums in Britain for the Pye label (now both on one CD as The London Sessions.) The first in 1974 was There’s Nothing Too Good For My Baby, co-produced by Phil and Terry Slater, and they co-wrote most of the songs.

It’s True was written with Warren Zevon and so you expect it to be different, in this case a touch of European café torch song. More Leonard Cohen than Everly Brothers!

I chose Invisible Man because it comes on something like Magic Bus by The Who.

Mystic Line followed in 1975, with the same production team plus Warren Zevon on keyboards and arrangements. Foggy Little on guitar and Clem Cattini on drums complete a perfect “British session guys” band.

The opening track, Patiently, was written by Phil in 1960 for The Everly Brothers and should have been a hit in 1960 or 1975. It wasn’t.

The Lion & The Lamb is another Everly-Zevon co-write. He also reprises When Will I Be Loved as straight reggae, just as Trojan was doing reggaefied classic rock at the time. It’s fun, though does not come up to the original. As on the previous album he has a go at novelty trad band backed stuff with Back When The Bands Played In Ragtime. I’d love to hear the New Vaudeville Band doing it, but it’s not classic Phil Everly. Friends is a spare and gorgeous ballad.

Phil then placed songs in two Clint Eastwood movies Every Which Way But Loose and Every Which Way You Can. He duetted with Sondra Locke on Don’t Say You Don’t Love Me No More which is on the OST album. It is a little overwrought for a film abut a man and a pet orangutan, but it does point the way forward to the two stunning male/female Everly Brothers tribute albums in 2013: Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on What The Brothers Sang and Billie Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones on Foreverly. If you can’t have the two brothers, a male/female duet seems to work better.

1979’s Living Alone was on Elektra, didn’t sell, and never got a UK release, and I haven’t even heard it. He then switched to Epic for two singles, Dare To Dream Again and Sweet Southern Love. Both were minor country hits. Sweet Southern Love appears on the Rare Solo Classics CD.

After appearing with Cliff Richard on British TV, Phil came to England to make Phil Everly for Capitol. The first single, Louise, was a minor British hit, then the opening track, She Means Nothing To Me, was a duet with Cliff Richard, and was a #9 hit in the UK in 1983. The album also reprised God Bless Older Ladies. The album featured Mark Knopfler on guitar, and Pete Wingfield on keys, who was to lead the band when The Everly Brothers reunited a year later. Chrstine McVie sang with him on When I’m Dead And Gone, which I think is inappropriate in the circumstances (otherwise it was a contender). Sweet Pretender was another standout track.

Albert Lee engineered the Everly Brothers reunion in 1984, with Paul McCartney donating On The Wings Of A Nightingale to get them started. After twenty years apart they still chose to do parts separately in the studio.

A solo version of All I Have To Do Is Dream was a #14 UK hit in 1994, coupled on disc with Cliff Richard’s Miss You Nights.

 
Remembering Phil Everly by Peter Stone Brown

Phil Everly (19th January 1939 – 3rd January 2014)

TopperPost #160

2 Comments

  1. David Lewis
    Jan 9, 2014

    It’s almost as simple as no Everlys, no Beatles. Or at least not in the form we know them.

    A very good list. His stuff with Zevon is among both men’s best.

  2. David Hughes
    Nov 14, 2014

    I enjoyed the comments on Phil Everly very much. The album you mentioned that you have not heard Living Alone also contains some good songs from Phil. The ones worth a listen to are Living Alone, I just don’t feel like dancing, I am yours, Charleston Guitar, The fall of 59. A lot of his work should be put out on cd. It is worth listening to.

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