The Everly Brothers, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us

Lenny Kaye

By Lenny Kaye

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Songs Our Daddy Taught Us

The Everly Brothers

The Everly Brothers were seasoned performers by the time they arrived in Nashville. They might have aspired to the Grand Ole Opry, but the wave of rock and roll that was upheaval-ing the country (and western) coupled with the Brothers undeniable teen appeal headed them straight for the pop charts. Their "overnight" ascent was so rapid that Cadence Records couldn't help but look for ways to meet the sudden demand, and what better mode to spotlight not only their lengthy pre-hit repertoire but their family values and heritage than by producing an album of the mountain ballads and folk songs that their father, Ike, had sung to them.

Early rockers explore their country and western roots.

The resultant album (Cadence also released the cuts in three EP volumes, still not believing that teenagers would buy the large-size package) is among the Brothers 'most appealing and least-known works. It shows their harmonic blend sprung as much from the Carter Family and the balladic tradition of the Appalachians as it did traditional country brother acts like the Louvins and the Delmores.

Many of the songs had been staples of the Everly Family Radio Hour which had its home-base on KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa; and one can imagine these rural audiences appreciating the sentimentality of "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine," or singalong standards like "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet." "Barbara Allen," among the best known Olde English ballads to make the transatlantic crossing sits on the front porch next to a song like "Roving Gambler," which would hardly be out of place on a Kingston Trio record. In a sense, the Everlys not only were avatars of rock and roll, but presaged the folk revolution to come, a "Who's Your Daddy" that places them within a quilt of American song, handed down through generations.