Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Everly Brothers - Harmonies From Heaven

I just had the pleasure of viewing an advance screening of the new Everly Brothers Documentary "Harmonies From Heaven" from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  (It hits the streets commercially this Friday, September 9th)
The main crux of this compilation is a very interesting biography put together by the BBC and previously not shown here in The United States.  Excellent sound quality and fully restored vintage clips make this a pleasure to view from start to finish.
We all know about the falling out between Don and Phil (and some of that is hinted about in the running commentary that accompanies this tribute) but these clips predate all of this and show the boys at their dynamic best with vintage clips of television appearances from back in the day, nearly all of which I had never seen before, but ALL presented in pristine quality.
Commentary throughout the film is supplied by the likes of Keith Richards, Art Garfunkel, Dave Edmunds, Graham Nash, Albert Lee,Tim Rice, Waddy Wachtel and others, all singing the praises of their unique, one-of-a-kind sound. (Like nearly every other established American artist, the music of The Everly Brothers fell by the wayside once The British Invasion hit our shores ... yet nearly ever act coming over ... from The Beatles to The Hollies to The Rolling Stones ... to duos like Chad and Jeremy and Peter And Gordon... to Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits and The Kinks ...ALL owed a HUGE debt to The Everly Brothers and their invaluable lessons on harmony.
It also features behind the scenes looks at their incredible songwriting team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant ... and how much of the throught process went in ahead of time, at the writing stage, as to how to best utilize the talents of Phil and Don Everly ... and their impeccable use of harmony ... and cater this music to best capitalize on that sound.
The special runs about an hour,, which flies by rather quickly without a dull moment to slow things down.  While one might wish for "more of the story", this film capitalizes on the golden hey-day of the duo, 1957 - 1962.
As a bonus, there is also a live disk featuring a show they did for Australian TV at The Chequers Nightclub in 1968.  With a pretty sparse band (just a guitar, bass and drums) Phil and Don carry the show vocally as they run through some of their biggest hit "Bye Bye Love", "Cathy's Clown", "Wake Up Little Susie", "Bird Dog","'Til I Kissed You", "So Sad To See Watch Love Go Bad", "Let It Be Me" and more.  (There is a particularly fun segment spotlighting the bass player, however, that even has The Everly Brothers cracking up a bit.)
Don Everly pretty much dominates the show here with all the between-song chatter, including numerous attempts at sibling humor, most often at Phil's expense.  (Watch Phil's face closely during the proceedings and you'll see that the jokes run thin after awhile ...imagine putting up with that every single night on stage!)  Still when it comes time to sing, the boys are spot on, even doing their recent hit "Bowling Green" as part of the act.
Affordably priced, this one will make a welcome addition to your home video library and is available thru all of the usual suspects:
Highly Recommended
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits