Give Me a Future is Varese's sequel to Too Good to Be True, the label's first collection of Everly Brothers songwriting demos from the '50s and '60s. Where the first disc -- which arrived a mere three months prior to this -- had songs that sounded as if they could have been included on a regular Everlys album, along with a healthy selection of demos for songs that were hits, Give Me a Future reveals another side of the Everlys, since it consists of material that feels a little bit different than the songs that wound up on their albums. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule -- there's the bright, galloping "I'll Bide My Time," plus a demo of "Maybe Tomorrow," the only big hit featured here -- but for the most part, this 18-track collection is heavy on brokenhearted, introspective tunes, whether they come from the pen of Don or Phil. Many of these moody songs are about lost love, and there's a haunting quality to these spare, unadorned recordings of Phil's "You're the One" and Don's "Will I Ever Have a Chance Again," but this collection also finds each brother turning inward and tackling ambitious subjects, like Phil's "Captain, Captain" or Don's "I'm Tired of Singing My Song in Las Vegas" and "Only Me" (the latter two date from the '70s). At first, it's a little disconcerting that this collection is devoted to solo performances after the opening three songs -- it's strange to hear an Everly Brothers album with so little of their signature harmonies -- but these solo recordings help reveal the differences between Don's and Phil's writing, and shows that Phil, who didn't have as many songs on their '50s and early-'60s albums as his brother, more than held his own next to Don. Give Me a Future feels more like a collection of demos than Too Good to Be True, but like that album, this is simply a treasure for devoted Everly Brothers fans -- a few songs may sound a little unfinished, but there's a wealth of good previously unreleased, sometimes unheard, Everly songs from their prime, and that's worth the time of any true fan.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine