The Everly Brothers

Both Sides of an Evening

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Both Sides of an Evening is usually cited as the place where the Everly Brothers' music and career started to go wrong. Their relationship with their longtime producer and publisher, Wesley Rose, had fallen apart in late 1960 amid a conflict over copyrights, specifically their decision to record as a single an old Nacio Herb Brown/Arthur Freed song called "Temptation" that he didn't publish. Cut off from their regular source of songs, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who were Rose-published composers, were left to their own devices as songwriters, with the complication that they were also signed to Rose and there were now pending lawsuits in the relationship. Finding potential hits in such circumstances, much less a dozen good songs at a time to record, was a serious challenge. Their answer was an album consisting of rhythm numbers on side one ("For Dancing") and slow ballads ("For Dreaming") on side two. Most of the first side -- apart from the unfortunate decision to record "Mention My Name in Sheboygan" -- worked beautifully, their version of "Muskrat" even getting a kind of shimmering Bo Diddley-style "shave and a haircut" beat, and the duo even put a fresh (and unexpected rock) spin on the Al Jolson number "My Mammy." Side two is very soft for a rock & roll album and isn't helped by the presence of "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo" and "Little Old Lady," though it is sung so beautifully that any of the group's teenaged fans that listened to it all the way through couldn't complain of the singing. In some ways, Both Sides of an Evening was the duo's most ambitious and mature record to date, but it just wasn't terribly exciting or of much interest (especially the second side) to the teeenagers that made up the vast bulk of their audience.

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