The Everly Brothers

Pass the Chicken & Listen

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The Everly Brothers had been making records for more than 15 years when they cut Pass the Chicken & Listen in 1973, which found Don and Phil reaching an impasse. While the Everlys had cut some fine country rock albums in the late '60s and early '70s, the contemporary rock audience had passed them by, and with Chet Atkins in the producer's chair Pass the Chicken & Listen often feels like an effort to reintroduce the Everlys as a country act, albeit one with a younger feel and a more pop oriented approach than most of the folks working in Nashville at the time. The brothers' harmonies were still in superb shape, and they could conjure a high lonesome sound that was made to order for songs like Mickey Newbury's "Sweet Memories" and Roger Miller's "Husbands and Wives," and they picked some adventurous material by Nashville standards, covering songs from Guy Clark ("A Nickel for the Fiddler"), John Prine ("Paradise"), and Kris Kristofferson "Somebody Nobody Knows"). While Atkins' production sometimes feels just a bit too slick for the material, the arrangements strive not to intrude on the melodies, and most of the time Pass the Chicken & Listen strikes a graceful balance between countrypolitain orthodoxy and the most adventurous flavors of contemporary pop/rock. However, the biggest stumbling block of this album is the Everly Brothers themselves: they never sound less than professional, but their hearts don't always appear to be in their work, particularly on the more twangy numbers, and it's significant that the duo broke up under acrimonious circumstances a few months after this album arrived in stores. It proved to be the Everly Brothers' last recording together for ten years.

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