As with the other entries in See For Miles Records' EP collections, the virtues of this CD are considerable, although the order and arrangement of the material may seem strange to Americans. In the United States, the Everly Brothers' music was available on singles and LPs, but in England -- where See For Miles is based, along with its primary audience -- most teenagers couldn't afford to buy LPs; albums were what one gave at Christmas time, a birthday, or similarly special occasion. The record labels responded with the EP, or "extended play" single, which gathered together four (or sometimes five) tracks on a 45 rpm platter, priced higher than an ordinary single but considerably less than an LP, at that time around 13 shillings (roughly equivalent to $1.35 American). The British labels (in this case Decca Records) would assemble the material in the manner best suited to their marketplace, and with the most obvious appeal -- a 12-song U.S. LP could yield three full EPs, the contents reshuffled and combined (Americans saw the reverse of this process on their side of the Atlantic -- as U.K. EPs by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Gerry & the Pacemakers -- were reshuffled onto U.S. LP releases). As a result, British listeners got to hear distillations of albums such as Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. This EP Collection starts from the U.K. configurations of the Everlys' Cadence Records material and presents their highlights -- the order is sort of irrelevant to anyone who wasn't there at the time, but the songs are still great, as are all of the vocals and the arrangements, and hearing them in this different order allows one to focus on different aspects of their work, giving primacy to songs such as "I'm Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail" and "Rockin' Alone in an Old Rockin' Chair," while "(Till) I Kissed You" ends up fourth in the pecking order, and "Let It Be Me" is sandwiched in at number six. The mastering is superb, utilizing the latest digital conversions of the material (circa 1997), so the individual songs sound fantastic, and one does get a wider appreciation of the full range of the duo's output than any ordinary hits collection would afford. The annotation by Bob Naylor is also very informative, giving a British perspective on the duo's appeal and the growth of their fame on the far side of the Atlantic -- they were, of course, immensely influential on such acts as the Beatles and the Hollies during this period, and this CD recalls some of the order in which John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Graham Nash, and Allan Clarke would have heard and discovered their work. The whole CD is a lot of fun and just unusual enough that it might be worth a listen, even to relatively jaded listeners of the Everly Brothers' work.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder