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Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, The Everly Brothers

Rhino, 1958

Track Listing: 1. Roving Gambler, 2. Down In The Willow Garden, 3. Long Time Gone, 4. Lightning Express, 5. That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine, 6. Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet, 7. Barbara Allen, 8. Oh So Many Years, 9. I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail, 10. Rockin’ Alone In My Old Rockin’ Chair, 11. Kentucky, 12. Put My Little Shoes Away

The last thing I remember, I pushed Play. The Everly Brothers did the rest. My ears began to tingle, reverberating disbelief. I can still hear the uncanny perfection. It is strange to be so giddy, lost in serenity and the beauty of that sound as you listen to songs that should really be saved for weeping in the dark with their mournful tales of death and loss, cheatin’ hearts, and murder down by the river.

“Down in the Willow garden
Where me and my love did meet
As we sat a-courtin’
My love fell off to sleep
I had a bottle of Burgundy wine
My love she did not know
So I poisoned that dear little girl
On the banks below”

-fromDown in the Willow Garden” (originally composed by Tim O’Brien)

What would it be like to be Don or Phil Everly? When they sing, do they get the same crazy chills that their heavenly voices invoke in others? What they brought to the table was a gift that so precious few possess: voices that blend together as one. The resulting union is an instrument added to the mix.

As the title suggests, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us consists of mostly non-original tunes—some of the folk, country, and bluegrass songs that they grew up on in Kentucky.

I miss the old folks singing in the silvery moonlight
I miss the hound dogs chasin’ coons
I know that
My mother, dad and sweetheart are waiting for me
I will be coming soon”

-from “Kentucky” (originally composed by Karl Davis)

It’s hard to imagine these songs being more fully realized than they are here. That is the highest praise an artist can give to the song’s original composer.

The album is a love letter. Imitation remains the highest form of flattery.