http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/7a8fbfa8379263c51bad0b05123452aff47aec1a.jpg Born Yesterday

The Everly Brothers

Born Yesterday

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
February 27, 1986

Like other classic Everly Brothers albums — such as 1960's hit-packed The Fabulous Style of the Everly Brothers and the landmark '68 country-poperetta Roots — Born Yesterday is the product of a basic, infallible equation: Don and Phil's peerless Kentucky voices plus a dozen judiciously selected tunes equals lasting pleasure. Jeez, the federal tax code would sound good set to the silvery tingle and cozy glow of the Everlys in full vocal flight.

Since their return to active duty in 1983, the brothers have embraced with sensitivity and enthusiasm the hip new songwriting that bears their influence, particularly the ingenuous merger of barnyard bounce and Top Forty polish on their hits of the late Fifties and early Sixties. Frankly, on Born Yesterday it's sometimes hard to tell the influencers from the influenced; Rank and File's country swinger "Amanda Ruth," which gallops along here like the Everlys fronting Rockpile, would have been right at home on Roots.

Yet, as on the duo's studio reunion LP, EB '84, there is a sense of frisky adventure about Born Yesterday — in their daring song selection and the gutsy understatement of Dave Edmunds' artful production — which establishes the Everly Brothers as vital song interpreters for the Eighties. While Mark Knopfler's entry, "Why Worry" from Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms, hints broadly at Everly oldies like "Let It Be Me" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream," Don and Phil deliver their lines without a drop of nostalgia, animating the song instead with a brassy hopefulness. At times, Edmunds emphasizes that reborn quality in the Everlys' singing with just the barest hint of modern studio technology, like the synthesizers that accent the breezy chorus of "I Know Love." More often than not, though, he relies on organic touches — Albert Lee's pithy guitar fills, a pinch of Irish pipes and tin whistle on Bob Dylan's "Abandoned Love" — to frame the Everly Brothers' natural harmonic splendor.

Almost metallic in their unblemished sheen, with maybe a slight choke in a hushed romantic passage, those voices do no wrong here. Disparate tunes like the lilting "Arms of Mary," originally cut in the Seventies by the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, and the uptempo rocker "Always Drive a Cadillac" (alas, a little overdressed for radio consideration) seem custom written for the Everlys' singular harmonies. It's too bad that the title song, a poignant love tragedy by Don Everly, is the only original on the LP, but there's always next time. Based on their enduring vocal charms and the sharp, contemporary cut of their material on Born Yesterday, the Everly Brothers have plenty of tomorrows ahead.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »