By late 1964, the Everly Brothers were in the odd position of having a long-term major-label recording contract that still had years to run, but having become passé as a recording act. Their commercial eclipse had begun by the start of 1963, and it was made even darker by the onset of the British Invasion a year later. Nevertheless, the duo broke a string of flops by placing "Gone, Gone, Gone" in the Top 40 in early December 1964, and that same week they went into a recording studio in Nashville to make an LP of rock & roll covers called Rock 'n Soul. The key to its artistic failure may lie in the recording location; using a band of country session musicians, the Everlys were hobbled by flat-footed arrangements that were rhythmically challenged as they essayed everything from the work of '50s contemporaries of theirs like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry to Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street," which had just dropped off the charts. No matter what they tried, the backup remained ham-fisted and stiff. Six months later, they tried again in Los Angeles, this time using a band made up of James Burton, Glen Campbell, and Sonny Curtis (guitars); Billy Preston and Leon Russell (keyboards); Larry Knechtel (bass); and Jim Gordon (drums). Although none of these musicians were famous yet, they all knew how to rock, and the resulting LP, Beat & Soul, was a vast improvement over its predecessor, with effective Everlys covers of songs including the Motown standard "Money (That's What I Want)" and Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," plus, as a ringer, their own excellent composition "Man with Money." Amazingly, the album even got into the charts briefly. This two-fer CD combines both albums and adds nine rarities as bonus tracks. "Don't Let the Whole World Know," "Give Me a Sweetheart," and "Don't Even Try" appear in stereo for the first time, while this version of "Kiss Your Man Goodbye" is previously unreleased, and other tracks, such as the Italian-language single "La Luna e un Pallido"/"Non Mi Resti Che Tu," are making their CD debuts. The remastered sound quality is excellent, and annotator Andrew Sandoval, if a bit over-enthusiastic, provides valuable information about this difficult period in the Everly Brothers' career.
Share this page